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King County Council committee approves hazard pay for grocery workers

On Wednesday, an ordinance was pushed forward that would require grocery stores in King County to pay their workers an extra $4 an hour.

KING COUNTY, Wash. — A proposal to raise hazard pay for grocery store workers cleared a King County Council committee Wednesday and heads to a full council vote.

The proposal would require grocery stores in unincorporated areas of King County pay their workers an extra $4 an hour until the King County executive ends the COVID-19 emergency declaration. 

The King County Council is set to take up the ordinance again on Tuesday, March 9.

RELATED: Lawsuit over Seattle grocery hazard pay comes as some stores embrace it

Two cities in King County have already approved hazard pay for grocery store employees.

During a council meeting on January 25, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously in favor of a $4 an hour pay raise for grocery store workers in Seattle.

The Burien City Council approved hazard pay for grocery store workers last month as well, raising their hourly wage by $5.

The ordinances are not without potential consequences. 

Last month, QFC and parent company Kroger announced the closure of two Seattle stores, saying the decision was accelerated by the new hazard pay. A QFC spokesperson said the stores were already underperforming and that this new hazard pay legislation was the deciding factor.

The Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Food Industry Association also filed lawsuits against Seattle and Burien over the ordinances claiming they are unconstitutional. The groups allege the ordinances single out some grocers and ignore other groups of frontline workers.

RELATED: Burien begins extra $5 per hour hazard pay for large grocery stores

RELATED: Trader Joe's goes nationwide with Seattle $4 hourly grocery hazard pay