COVID-19 Impact: Oakland passes measure to give grocery store workers hazard pay

The move helps those on the frontlines of COVID-19, but may increase the price of your groceries.
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of Oakland has decided to require large grocery stores to pay their employees an additional $5 an hour for hazard pay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The City of San Jose is looking at the idea, but has yet to approve the measure.

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The move helps those on the frontlines of COVID-19, but may increase your food prices.

Tuesday night, the San Jose City Council spent hours debating if they will require a three dollar, down from five dollar an hour, increase for all grocery store workers in the city due to coronavirus dangers.

"Our union nationally has lost 120 workers to this disease," says John Nunes of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Another person commented, "Grocery workers have been putting their lives on the line feeding us while often times struggling to feed us."

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California announced earlier this week it would transition to a new age-based prioritization strategy next month after the current phase is complete.

ABC7 News talked with grocery store workers, who were all for the idea.

"Personally me working at Costco I wouldn't mind that raise," says Matt Singh, who is employed by Costco.

The City of Oakland isn't waiting. They approved a measure Tuesday to require supermarkets to up the wage of full and part time grocery store workers by $5 an hour.

The California Grocers Association was quick to criticize the move saying, "this will lead to higher food prices of up to $400 a year for a family of four."

RELATED: San Francisco considers $5 per hour hazard pay for grocery workers

Two grocery stores in Southern California announced Monday they will close due to a similar $4 requirement. One of the reasons that the City of San Jose has yet to decide on the measure.

"I am concerned that increasing wages may cause unintended consequences in the form of grocery stores being closed in a community that cannot lose a grocery store," said San Jose councilwoman Pam Foley of District 9.

Many are arguing that with sales at certain locations high, companies must be required to take care of the employees who are risking their lives.

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