Facing Pushback, City Council Delays Vote on 'Hero Pay' Mandate

It may be a while before Culver City grocery and drug store workers will receive their "hero pay" increase.

At its Monday night meeting, the City Council discussed an ordinance that mandates a temporary $5 hourly pay raise for national grocery store or retail drug companies and retail companies that have at least 300 employees nationwide and more than 10 employees per store site.

The ordinance also calls for "hero pay" for non-managerial hourly workers at Southern California Hospital at Culver City -- a provision that didn't sit well with a number of councilmembers.

After hearing from three dozen speakers and engaging in a lengthy debate, the Council refrained from voting on the ordinance. Instead, the panel, by a 3-2 vote, directed staff to draft 2 "hero pay" ordinances – one for grocery and pharmacy workers and the other for hospital employees -- and bring them back at the next meeting.

The ordinance for grocers workers, modeled after the recently-passed Los Angeles County measure, will most likely be adopted as three councilmembers expressed strong support for the proposal.

"We are thankful for all the sacrifices they have made in the past year," said Vice Mayor Daniel Lee, praising the grocery and pharmacy workers in Culver City

If the ordinance is approved by the City Council later this month, Culver City will join many cities across California that have adopted "hero pay" mandates for frontline grocery or drug retail workers who, as essential workers, were required to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those cities include West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Oakland, Irvine, Berkeley, Irvine, Montebello and Long Beach.

If the 'hero pay" mandate is adopted locally, city officials said, it takes effect 30 days after passage, meaning grocery workers may see an increase in pay until late May or early June. The mandate lasts 120 days.


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