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Kroger to Close Two Supermarkets in Long Beach, CA


Two under-performing stores under the Ralphs and Food-4-Less banners will be closed by Kroger following a Long Beach City Council ordinance mandating COVID premium pay for workers.  The recently enacted ordinance requires an extra $4 per hour to wage-earning workers for a period of 120 days.


A Kroger spokesperson noted “as a result of the City of Long Beach decision to pass an ordinance mandating extra pay for grocery workers, we have made the difficult decision to close long-struggling store locations in Long Beach.”  Since the ordinance only applies to stores with more than 15 workers, Kroger is justified in claiming that the ordinance “oversteps the traditional bargaining process and applies to some but not all grocery workers in the city.” 


Naturally the ordinance was supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 324 representing 22,000 members of grocery and food operations in Orange and Los Angeles Counties.  UFCW regards the closure of the stores as “intimidation to discourage workers from standing up and using their voice to create better working conditions and wages.”


The ordinance was opposed by the California Grocers Association resulting in a lawsuit against the City claiming that the ordinance is invalid and unconstitutional.