Today’s Solutions: January 30, 2023

Essential workers have kept our medical facilities, grocery stores, sanitation services, and emergency response systems functioning throughout the pandemic at great risk to their personal health. While other countries have passed hazard pay mandates for these workers, the US has been slow to boost protection and compensation for critical workers. The city of Oakland on the other hand is making moves to compensate essential workers with a newly passed hazard pay measure for all grocery store employees. 

Grocery store employees have kept us fed and orchestrated safe shopping conditions throughout the pandemic, but often don’t get the recognition that other frontline workers do, like nurses and doctors. The City of Oakland now requires that grocery stores pay their employees an additional five dollars per hour for the duration of the pandemic. 

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union praised the decision citing the recorded 120 grocery store workers their union has lost to covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Those who opposed the measure argue that raising workers’ wages would trigger increased food prices, but despite this risk, many other cities, including San Francisco and San Jose are considering similar hourly raises ranging from two to five dollars per hour. The state of Vermont has even gone one step further and offers hazard pay for any essential worker making less than $25 per hour.  

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