California continues to report the underside coronavirus case prices throughout the nation.
More than 50 p.c of Californians are completely vaccinated. People are going once more to work and flying on planes and filling consuming locations, bars, and leisure venues.
And on June 15, our state will end the tier system, leading to a reopening of our monetary system and signaling the worst of the pandemic is behind us.
Even with all this good news, positive cities are refusing to end grocery worker additional pay mandates that have been handed earlier this yr. Most of these additional pay mandates require grocers to provide staff an extra $5 per hour.
Several monetary analysis, along with these by cities themselves, estimated these additional pay mandates have important unintended penalties for consumers, grocers, and even the staff they’re meant to help.
According to at the very least one report, additional pay mandates of $5 per hour would end in a imply family of 4 paying $400 per yr additional for groceries.
The enchancment would hit low- and moderate-income households exhausting, notably these struggling with job losses and earnings reductions on account of COVID-19.
In order to offset these costs, grocers that perform on skinny margins have wanted to extend prices in outlets all via Southern California, hitting consumers throughout the pocketbook and depriving them of entry to their native grocer.
As unhealthy, the insurance coverage insurance policies are harming staff. Five grocery outlets in Long Beach and Los Angeles closed as a result of extra pay mandates.
Grocery staff have been definitely selfless heroes in the middle of the pandemic. That’s why, together with the government-required additional pay, grocers supplied their staff important pay and revenue enhancements, additional sick and journey days, and totally different financial assist in the middle of the worst of the pandemic.
In addition, grocers spent a whole bunch of 1000’s additional making certain prospects and staff have been protected against virus hazard by placing in partitions, hiring additional personnel to do additional cleaning, and providing PPE for workers.
It’s time to end the extra pay mandates on June 15 when the state ends the tier system and all of us return to an additional common life. Grocery consumers and grocery staff shall be larger off.
No one can afford bigger grocery bills attributable to those ordinances. Especially not on prime of inflationary pressures that, individually, are driving grocery costs bigger and higher.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that grocery prices would possibly enhance 3 p.c in 2021. Many economists say grocery prices would possibly go even bigger and preserve bigger for longer. That’s on prime of a 3.9 p.c grocery worth enchancment in 2020.
By sustaining these additional pay mandates in place, native elected officers are knowingly elevating grocery prices on their constituents rather more, and risking additional retailer closures which hurt not solely the staff out of a job, nonetheless the residents who lose a helpful place to purchase.
It’s time to maneuver forward. It’s time to end dear and pointless additional pay mandates.
Ron Fong is president and CEO of the California Grocers Association. For better than 120 years, the California Grocers Association has served due to the voice of the state’s grocery neighborhood. A nonprofit, statewide commerce affiliation, CGA’s membership is comprised of over 300 retailers working better than 6,000 brick-and-mortar outlets, and roughly 150 groceries present companies.