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Seattle Area Grocers Welcome City Council Vote to Sunset ‘Hazard Pay’

The grocery industry in the Seattle area expressed thanks to the Seattle City Council today for its vote to add a sunset that will bring an end to emergency hazard pay adopted February 3, 2021.

For the past 18 months, a handful of grocery stores in the City of Seattle have been required to pay an additional $4 per hour for all workers. Tammie Hetrick, President and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA), representing the state’s independent grocers, convenience stores and suppliers, said the council’s decision recognizes the shift as the city moves forward from the pandemic. “It has been months since our communities returned to pre-pandemic activities,” Hetrick said. “Our industry has been unfairly singled out for this extra pay, and we are deeply appreciative for the Council’s recognition tonight that we have turned a corner and are no longer operating in a pandemic emergency.”

“We are pleased that the Council has finally attached a sunset to end the emergency COVID-related hazard pay and hope the mayor can sign it quickly,” said Amanda Dalton, President and CEO of the Northwest Grocery Association. “Many of our member stores and their labor union have ratified a new union contract, providing higher wages and benefits to their workforce not just in Seattle, but throughout the region. Our member stores have remained safe places for employees and customers throughout the pandemic, and this is an important step forward.”

“It’s time we move forward and beyond the pandemic regulations, and we sincerely encourage Mayor Harrell to sign the sunset immediately,” said Hetrick.

“We hope the cities of Olympia, Edmonds, and Bellingham will take similar action soon and sunset their pandemic-related hazard pay ordinances,” added Dalton.