The Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce has joined two coalitions strongly urging our region’s local elected leaders to undertake a complete economic impact assessment to fully understand the consequences of any proposed mandatory grocery worker or food sector wage-increase ordinances before moving forward.
Such a steep increase in payroll costs will have a detrimental impact on the grocery industry, which has been and presently is operating on thin profit margins with many stores operating at a loss. Similarly, restaurants are closing at an alarming rate with hundreds of thousands of workers being laid off and they simply cannot survive mandated pay increases.
It is crucial to view this issue considering all the costs that businesses have faced throughout COVID and are still facing. The grocery and food service industry has incurred significant costs to keep their employees and customers safe and to comply with constantly changing guidance from local public health departments and the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Grocery stores’ efforts to protect employees are proving effective. Less than 1% of COVID-19 workers’ compensation claims in California have been filed by grocery store employees according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute. Restaurant workers similarly account for less than 5% of all claims.