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2 California supermarkets closing after city orders pay hike

Virus Outbreak Supermarket Closures
Posted at 1:49 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 21:04:16-05

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Kroger Co. will close two supermarkets in Southern California in response to a local ordinance requiring extra pay for certain grocery employees working during the pandemic.

The decision announced by the company Monday follows a unanimous vote last month by the Long Beach City Council mandating a 120-day increase of $4 an hour for employees of supermarkets with at least 300 employees nationwide and more than 15 in Long Beach.

Kroger says it will close a Ralphs market and a Food 4 Less on April 17.

In a statement, Kroger said, "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."

In response, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who supports the law, tweeted, "We go to court this month and we will defend the workers vigorously."

Kroger says the two stores have been struggling for a long time and the closures are permanent.