The council goals to cost $ four an hour for the pay of heroic employees for grocery employees. • Lengthy Seaside Publish Information

Moncton food workers could be standing up for a raise soon after the city council voted Tuesday night to work out a salary to restore emergency ordinance that could result in a $ 4 hourly increase.

When the pandemic hit the region in late March, many grocery retailers began paying so-called “hero wages,” with employees being paid at least $ 2 an hour because of their increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus. However, many dropped out of this practice as the number of COVID-19 cases began to decline in the summer.

In view of the renewed increase in coronavirus cases, city councilor Mary Zendejas called on the city to intervene and draw up an ordinance that stipulates the increase in pay.

“This is something I firmly believe in and, as a matter of justice and fairness, we as councilors can do a lot of good on behalf of our residents,” said Zendejas.

If the Council adopts the regulation in the coming weeks after it is drafted, the new regulation would cover all hourly workers in grocery stores and could last at least 120 days. At this point the regulation could be referred to the Council for possible extension.

An amendment requested by Vice Mayor Rex Richardson limited the regulation’s impact on larger companies with more than 300 employees domestically.

“I think our intention here is to treat the big publicly traded grocers of bigger chains differently than the small businesses that have a hard time keeping up with only PPE [personal protective equipment] and things like that, ”said Richardson.

If big corporations don’t advocate paying for food workers’ dangers, we will protect these heroes. Thank you to Moncton City Council for passing the $ 4 emergency wage for grocery workers. I’ll sign the law as soon as it reaches my desk.

– Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) December 16, 2020

Mayor Robert Garcia has already expressed his intention to sign the regulation if the Council adopts it.

“Our grocers are at the forefront. They work hard and it has been an honor and a pleasure to know many of them and watch them work non-stop to make sure that people in our city continue to have access to food, “said Garcia. “I was happy when they got hero money earlier in the pandemic, and they should get it now, too.”

The regulation would go into effect immediately once it was finally approved, but it is unclear exactly when that could be. Tuesday’s session was the last scheduled session of the city council until January 5th.

During Tuesday’s meeting, several grocers also spoke out in favor of the regulation, claiming their employers put them at risk during the pandemic. They said that adequate protection had not been installed in their workplace and that workers were forced to stay home unpaid if they showed symptoms of illness.

Elizabeth Leon, a Moncton resident who said she worked in the grocery store for five years, was moved to tears when she tried to share her account of working on the front lines during the pandemic.

“I’m stressed, physically and mentally drained and go to work every day with the question: Is today the day?” Said Leon. “Is today the day I get infected with COVID? Is today the day I give it to my kids? “

No council member or speaker spoke out against the regulation on Tuesday evening.

The limited window of time to pay the hero means it could run out if key employees get the new coronavirus vaccine – something health experts hope will happen by spring.

The shots have started to hit the Los Angeles area and Moncton is expected to receive several thousand by the end of the month.

Although health care workers and vulnerable populations like those living in long-term care facilities are ahead of other key workers to get the vaccine, food workers could be coming soon – along with groups like public safety workers, teachers and public transport workers, Garcia said Earlier this month.

Zendejas recognized the possibility that the vaccine could alleviate the threat to food workers, but did not rule out the possibility that this regulation could be extended beyond the stated time window of 120 days.

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