Edmonds grocery store workers may soon earn hazard pay

Some employers are required to increase wages by $4 an hour, the city council voted Tuesday.

EDMONDS — Grocery store workers may soon receive an extra $4 an hour in Edmonds after the city council voted in favor of the pay increase at its Tuesday night meeting.

Edmonds is the first city in Snohomish County to require employers to pay their workers more during the pandemic. Nearby cities such as Seattle have also adopted the practice, known as hazard pay.

The ordinance was approved 4-1-2, with Councilmembers Adrienne Fraley-Monillas, Luke Distelhorst, Laura Johnson and Susan Paine voting for, and Councilmember Vivian Olson voting against. Councilmembers Diane Buckshnis and Kristiana Johnson abstained.

“My number one priority is keeping Edmonds safe and healthy,” Mayor Mike Nelson said in a written statement. “Grocery store employees serve a key role in our community for safe and reliable access to our food. The proposed ordinance is critical to promoting job retention during the pandemic. Grocery workers are on the front line working in a hazardous situation every day.”

The new pay applies to companies with 500 or more employees statewide, with stores over 10,000 square feet or over 85,000 square feet with 30% or more of the sales floor dedicated to groceries.

The ordinance does not apply to convenience stores, food marts or farmers markets, a news release said.

Employers have 30 days to start paying the new wages, council President Paine said.

She said it was right to vote “yes” because grocery workers are around the public all day, including some who may not follow safety guidelines.

“It’s really important to recognize they are doing hazardous work,” she said, “especially now with the variants being so stubborn and infection rates going up.”

Early on in the pandemic, some grocery stores were offering more pay on their own, Economic Development and Community Services Director Patrick Doherty said.

“Most of the hazard pay at grocery stores that existed then has now expired, while the risks to workers still remain,” he said.

That’s one reason the city considered the ordinance now.

The new rule is to be in effect until Gov. Jay Inslee declares Washington is no longer in a state of emergency.

This story was corrected to reflect that council member Laura Johnson voted in favor of the ordinance.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
Things are heating up in Olympia — and not just the weather

Here’s what’s happening on Day 94 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Jesse L. Hartman (Everett Police Department)
Suspect in fatal Everett shooting captured at U.S. border

Jesse Hartman was arrested in California as he tried to re-enter the country from Mexico.

Eric Adler, the mystery man who is on Twitter as @EdmondsScanner (E. Wong)
Revealed: The mystery man behind the @EdmondsScanner tweets

He’s a 50-year-old mail carrier who dusted off his English degree to curate 6,000 tales on Twitter.

The state House transportation budget proposes $15,000,000 to widen state improving Highway 524 between 24th Avenue West in Lynnwood and 9th Avenue SE.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Who wants a wider Highway 524 between Bothell and Lynnwood?

The project list includes expanding the three-mile, two-lane road between Bothell and Lynnwood.

People on jet skis and boats drive past the Hannah Marie, formerly called the Midas, that was run aground along the banks of the Snohomish River on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett couple writes check to clean up the Snohomish River

Phil and Kelly Johnson have donated $50,000 to the county project that removes derelict vessels.

FILE - This Monday, June 17, 2019, file photo shows 5-mg pills of Oxycodone. While the nation's attorneys general debate a legal settlement with Purdue Pharma, the opioid epidemic associated with the company's blockbuster painkiller OxyContin rages on. The drugs still kill tens of thousands of people each year with no end in sight. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
High court ruling spurs effort to retool state’s drug laws

Meanwhile, the Blake decision has gotten people out jail, charges dismissed and possibly clemency for some.

Gabriel van Winkle, center, struggles with lifting a bag of rice weighing nearly half his weight as he and volunteers help move the Granite Falls Food Bank from their old location to a new one on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in Granite Falls, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
New digs will give Granite Falls nonprofit room to grow

The small town’s community coalition and food bank have found a home on school district grounds.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
5 wrinkles for lawmakers to iron out in session’s last days

Here’s what’s happening on Day 92 of the 2021 session of the Washington Legislature.

Most Read