Kroger Closes 2 Stores in California City that Required ‘Hero Pay’

Kroger Closes 2 Stores in California City that Required ‘Hero Pay’

Kroger Closes 2 Stores in California City that Required ‘Hero Pay’:  The Kroger grocery chain said it closed two stores in California on Saturday after the Long Beach City Council passed a COVID-19-related “hero pay” ordinance that increased wages by $ 4 an hour. The wage increase, demanded in January, was for workers who worked in pharmacies and retail stores with 300 or more employees in the southern California city.

The move was announced earlier this year, but Ralph’s and Food 4 Less, both operated by Kroger, were closed on April 17, employees told local media.

“As a result of the City of Long Beach’s decision to pass an ordinance requiring additional pay for supermarket workers, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close Long Beach stores that have been in trouble for a long time.” a Kroger spokesperson said several weeks ago. “This misguided action by the Long Beach City Council goes beyond the traditional bargaining process and applies to some, but not all, of the city’s grocery store workers.”

Kroger Closes 2 Stores in California City that Required 'Hero Pay'

Last month, Kroger also announced it was closing three stores, two Ralphs and a Food 4 Less, in nearby Los Angeles, which approved its own $ 5-an-hour “hero pay” raise for workers amid the pandemic.

Robert Gonzales, a Kroger employee for 26 years, addresses a crowd of supermarket workers gathered to protest outside a Food 4 Less supermarket in Long Beach, California on February 3, 2021 (Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images). )

Kroger, in a statement, said they were “underperforming stores” while maintaining that the additional cost of the temporary risk payment made the operation impossible.

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“The pay heroes mandate in the Los Angeles term will add an additional $ 20 million in operating costs over the next 120 days, making it financially unsustainable to continue operating the three underperforming locations,” the firm said. “Despite our efforts to overcome the challenges we were already facing at these locations, the additional payment mandate makes it impossible to run a financially sustainable business that ensures our ability to continue serving the Los Angeles community at those three locations with Reliable access to affordable, fresh groceries and other staples.

He added: “We are proud of our role as a leading employer in Los Angeles and remain committed to our dedicated frontline associates serving our 65 other area locations.”

“Hero pay” mandates have also been passed in several other Southern California cities, including Coachella, Montebello, and Irvine.

Last week, two members of the Los Angeles City Council filed a motion to investigate Kroger’s decision to close several of its stores in the city.

“The city is interested in considering whether it should take legislative action to address these closings and possible future closures of other grocery stores, especially in areas of the city that are commonly known as Food Deserts,” the motion tabled by councilors Marqueece Harris- Dawson and Paul Koretz, both Democrats, read. Stay tuned with for the latest updates on Kroger news.

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