Washington Food Industry Association calls on Seattle mayor to end hazard pay

Days after the end of the statewide indoor mask mandate, the President and CEO of the Washington Food Industry Association (WFIA) is calling on Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell to end the the city’s hazard pay ordinance.

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In a letter, Tammie Hetrick of the WFIA notes that Seattle grocery stores are the “only employers still impacted by a wage ordinance enacted at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” and that the safety concerns that prompted prescription are no longer a problem. She also says the risk premium, coupled with rising inflation, rising energy costs and supply chain challenges, has put a strain on independent grocers who are simply trying to keep their doors open.

“Many of these same businesses also pay more for security to protect against shoplifting, property damage, and other security issues,” she writes.

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“The cumulative impact of all of these additional costs has real impacts on our members, many of whom are small, family-owned businesses,” Hetrick continued. “Annual inflation in the United States is now at its highest rate since 1982. It is difficult for these small businesses to compete on costs in the current environment; they cannot spread these costs to other stores and have no choice but to raise prices. This hurts working families and other members of the communities served by these grocery stores. »

“I ask that you reconsider this measure immediately and treat grocery stores as you would all other public offices, industries and businesses. The end of the mask mandate should also signal the end of the hazard pay ordinance in Seattle.

Andrew B. Reiter