Assemblymembers Send Open Letter to Local Elected Officials in Support of Hazard Pay

SACRAMENTO— Members of the California State Assembly today sent an open letter to local elected officials across the state of California in support of hazard pay for grocery, drug-retail, and pharmacy workers impacted by COVID-19.

This letter follows the recent announcement from Kroger that it would close two Long Beach grocery stores as a result of the city’s temporary required hazard pay for employees.

Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) and Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson (D-Carson) issued statements in response to Kroger’s decision:

“In difficult times, our obligation is to protect those most at risk. In this pandemic that includes frontline workers and low-income communities,” said Rendon. “The grocery workers who encounter hundreds of potentially infected customers every day deserve temporary hazard pay. The low-income communities served by these stores deserve access to healthy foods. The nation’s largest supermarket chain is the one least deserving of protection.”

“Kroger has put profit over people while sending out mixed messages of helping the Black and Brown communities. On February 1, 2021, Kroger announced that they awarded $1 million from their new Racial Equity Fund to Los Angeles-based Everytable because of the ‘extreme scarcity of health food options,’ stated Assemblymember Gipson. “Their two markets targeted for closure are located in ‘food deserts’ where residents experience the same ‘extreme scarcity’ of healthy foods that Kroger portends to address.

“At the same time that Kroger announced their philanthropic efforts, they also released news of the closure of two Long Beach markets in Black and Brown communities alleging that adding an additional $4 per hour to the salaries of their frontline grocery workers would bankrupt them. Kroger’s reported sales revealed a 9% increase in 2019 with profits doubling to $2.66 billion from $1.33 billion a year earlier,” said Gipson. “Shame on you for jeopardizing the jobs of these courageous and loyal employees during this crisis. I am prepared to support a boycott of Kroger throughout California if this action is not reversed.”

Download a copy of the open letter


Website of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon:

Website of Assembly Caucus Chair Mike A. Gipson