Lawsuit against grocery worker hazard pay
The Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Food Industry Association are suing the City of Seattle and will seek a preliminary injunction to stop it from implementing a requirement — passed by City Council in late January — that large grocery chains pay their employees an extra $4 dollars per hour hazard pay for their work during the covid-19 pandemic. The requirement, passed under emergency legislation, is already in effect citywide.
The two trade associations filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court, the independent news outlet City Council Insight reported. They claim the hazard pay requirement is illegal under the National Labor Relations Act and is an unconstitutional government interference in collective bargaining between grocery workers unions and the stores. They also claim it unfairly targets grocery stores and not other businesses.
The CEO of PCC Community Markets wrote an open letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan asking her not to sign the hazard pay legislation (an action which would not have vetoed the bill, which in any case passed with a veto-proof majority).
Trader Joe’s temporarily raised employee pay in its stores nationwide by an extra $4 dollars an hour to match the requirement in Seattle. But in exchange, the company decided to cancel its usual twice-yearly permanent pay raise, which is normally 65 to 75 cents per hour, The Seattle Times reported.
Regional Homelessness Authority has a CEO at last
The King County Regional Homelessness Authority voted to approve the hire of Regina Cannon as its new CEO on Feb. 4, The Seattle Times reported. The Homelessness Authority planned to hire a CEO in September, but was delayed by the covid-19 pandemic.
The Authority is meant to consolidate funding and decision-making over homelessness in King County into one agency. Its governing board is made up of elected officials in Seattle, King County and suburban cities and leaders with lived experience of homelessness.
Cannon will be the first employee hired by the Authority, and is responsible for hiring staff, overseeing contracts with shelters and service agencies and more. Her career has focused on the intersections of race and homelessness, and she worked as chief equity and impact officer at C4 Innovations in Massachusetts, which provides consulting and training around addressing homelessness, substance abuse and more.
Homeless Authority lead will likely be paid $200,000-$250,000 per year
The Regional Homelessness Authority’s approach to choosing a final candidate drew questions about transparency to the public, with some public meetings to choose final candidates for the job announced 24 hours before they occurred; a high salary offer was made public.
Read more in the Feb. 10-16, 2021 issue.