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  • City Council Pushes “Hazard Pay” Forward, Despite Clear Warnings from City Analysts

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    Van Nuys, Calif. – The Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance for “Hazard Pay,” which would require grocery stores and drug retail stores in the City of Los Angeles to pay their workers an additional five dollars per hour in wages.

    VICA President Stuart Waldman said:
    “It is frustrating that the City Council has ignored the chief legislative analyst, who warned that the only positive result of “Hazard Pay” will be higher wages, in exchange for increases in labor costs, higher grocery bills for consumers, pressure on struggling stores, reduced hours, and layoffs. This was the wrong decision.
    “It is wrong and hypocritical for the City to expect these suffocating provisions from businesses when they are not themselves providing ‘Hero Pay’ to the countless City employees that are keeping our city running.
    “The future is bleak for Los Angeles. If the City Council continues to insert itself in business affairs, disregarding community concerns, expert warnings, and concrete evidence, businesses will not want to invest in Los Angeles. I hope the Council considers the long-term economic impacts of this decision.
    “We thank Councilmember Lee for standing with the business community with his ‘no’ vote. He was a voice of reason on the Council, warning his colleagues that the unintended negative consequences of ‘Hazard Pay’ outweigh the possible benefits.
    “A five dollars per hour increase amounts to about 30 percent of wages. That cost will have to be passed to consumers in the form of higher grocery costs. We all know many consumers cannot afford higher costs right now. Too many in our region and state are struggling to get by as it is.
    “Grocery store workers have truly been on the front lines of the crisis, ensuring we have access to safe and reliable food supplies throughout the pandemic. And as an acknowledgement of that, grocers have undertaken massive efforts and spent millions of dollars to institute policies that keep both workers and customers safe.
    “VICA thanks our frontline workers, but these exclusive and rushed provisions are simply bad policies that will have lasting negative effects on our city.
    The mission of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) is to enhance the economic vitality of the greater San Fernando Valley region by advocating for a better business climate and quality of life. Visit www.vica.com for more information.
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