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The City Council’s Unanimous Vote Underscores Frontline Employees’ Sacrifice in Serving their Communities and their Contributions During the Pandemic

Port Hueneme, CA– Grocery and drug retail workers in the City of Port Hueneme will receive a one-time $1,000 grant check funded by the American Rescue Plan Act following a 5-0 unanimous vote by City Council members to allot premium pay for these frontline workers.
As the new variant of Coronavirus spreads throughout California and nearly two years into the global Covid-19 pandemic, grocery, and drug retail employees continue to face hazardous working conditions while doing their jobs.

“As essential employees, we’ve struggled to stay safe throughout the Covid pandemic. Yet we’ve been going to work every single day to serve our communities. Many of us got sick and some workers lost their lives to Covid. I, like many of my coworkers, worry about taking the virus home. I have a very vulnerable family member who I’m afraid could be infected. This is still a scary and challenging time as the pandemic is not over,” says Rite Aid employee Joyce Roberson. “I’m happy that this body of government recognizes that we’re essential workers and that we face higher risks to serve our customers,” she adds.

The City of Port Hueneme was allotted $5 million of federal funds from the ARPA, which will be distributed to union and non-union employees who worked in the city between March 2020 and March 2021, for at least 9 months.

Workers will receive a $1,000 grant check-in gratitude for their work. This will cover five businesses in the City, with an estimated allotment of $175,000.
The original recommendation distinguished part-time and full-time workers. UFCW 770 recommended that no distinction be made as all workers faced grueling hours and unpredictable schedules throughout the pandemic, and continue to do so amidst new variants.

On December 1, during the hearing to pass the motion, the Mayor of Port Hueneme, Steven Gama, and the entire City Council expressed their gratitude to grocery and drug retail workers for their commitment and courage to serve the community through such a challenging time period.

Union grocery and drug retail workers have fought for hazard pay since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. This year, numerous cities in California including unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, and other cities including Montebello, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, and Calabasas passed mandates granting some type of appreciation pay for grocery and drugstore workers.