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City Council Advances Measures to Support Grocery Retail, Drug Store and Food Delivery Workers

Proposal would mandate flexible work schedules, opportunity for more work hours and employee status for grocery and drug store and food delivery workers in Los Angeles. 

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Friday to give grocery and drug store workers increased flexibility in scheduling and access to full-time work while Los Angeles is under the State and City emergency orders. Fourteen days of sick leave will be extended to these workers as well.

As businesses close and the state has been ordered to “shelter in place,” grocery and drug stores remain open, leaving  workers on the frontlines of a global pandemic and with increased chances of exposure to COVID-19. With the additional pressure of children home from school and loved ones to care for without the possibility of working from home, the immediate action will allow grocery workers to create schedules that work with these new realities. The ordinance also requires retailers to add full-time positions rather than part-time jobs with no sick time or healthcare.

The motion also notes that food delivery workers who are afforded none of the rights of employees by the companies they work for, like Instacart, Doordash and Shipt, be treated as employees as required by California law. It also prohibits companies from retaliating against workers for asking for schedule changes or more hours. The ordinance would sunset when the city’s emergency declaration is lifted.

The council did not take action on needed uniform health and safety measures in city stores, intensifying the call on Gov. Newsom to take state level action.

The City Council also adopted a UFCW supported ordinance granting 14 days of sick leave for employers over 500.  This will cover most grocery stores and pharmacies. It requires all workers to be presumed employees, extending leave to food delivery workers.

“I’m proud to help my community in this time of crisis, but all of us who show up to work everyday have also been impacted immensely,” said Pam Hill, a cashier at Albertsons in Los Angeles. “Many of us have kids who can no longer go to school due to indefinite school closures or elderly or ill family members who need daily care. It’s critical that we receive greater flexibility and much needed protections immediately in order to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy.”

“What’s expected of grocery and drug store workers has transformed seemingly overnight,” said John Grant, president of UFCW 770. “They’ve found themselves on the frontlines of a global pandemic with inadequate protections. Our first priority is their health and safety. Once we have secured that across the state, additional measures like increased flexibility, will help keep stores open in this unprecedented time, especially while the schools are closed.”

About UFCW Local 770:

UFCW Local 770 represents over 20,000 grocery workers in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Overall, the union represents more than 30,000 members in the retail food, retail pharmacy, meatpacking and food processing, laboratory, and cannabis industries. Its retail members are disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.