Ralphs and Food 4 Less, both owned by the parent company Kroger, announced Monday that they will be closing 25% of their stores in Long Beach after the city council passed an ordinance requiring companies with over 300 employees nationwide to pay employees an extra $4 per hour.
"As a result of the City of Long Beach's decision to pass an ordinance mandating Extra Pay for grocery workers, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close long-struggling store locations in Long Beach," said a company spokesperson. "This misguided action by the Long Beach City Council oversteps the traditional bargaining process and applies to some, but not all, grocery workers in the city."
"Misguided" at best.
"The irreparable harm that will come to employees and local citizens as a direct result of the City of Long Beach's attempt to pick winners and losers, is deeply unfortunate," continued the company spokesperson. "We are truly saddened that our associates and customers will ultimately be the real victims of the city council's actions."
The company said that since March, the grocers' family of companies have invested $1.3 billion to both reward associates and to implement dozens of safety measures.
"In addition to providing several rewards to all frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates, the organization has invested to support associates through additional benefits like paid emergency leave and the companies' $15 million Helping Hands fund that provides financial support to associates experiencing certain hardships due to COVID-19," the companies spokesperson wrote in a joint press release. "All extra pay provided was in addition to the total compensation package Ralphs and Food 4 Less have long offered to associates, which includes competitive wages, strong health care coverage, and a reliable pension benefit."
What the heck is wrong with people?
Can't they see that businesses need to be left alone to prosper in order to undergird local, state, and national economies?
Can't they see that businesses like this are the lifeblood of Americans' financial well-being, both as employees and consumers?
Can't they see that businesses already have more than enough regulations, taxes, and restrictions, and to add something like a MANDATED addition of $4 per hour for all employees ... just because ... is often terminal?