Worker Victory!

UFCW Local 324


March 17, 2021

Worker Victory as Costa Mesa City Council Passes Hazard Pay Urgency Ordinance 

Workers have endured a year on the frontlines; more cities pass temporary ordinances to uplift essential grocery and drugstore workers. 

Buena Park, CA – The City of Costa Mesa voted Tuesday to pass a temporary hazard pay urgency ordinance that will provide grocery and drug store workers an extra $4 per hour for 120 days. Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 324 have been calling on local cities to pass hazard pay ordinances after a long fight with big corporate grocery chains to reinstate extra pay that quickly ended a few months into the pandemic. In Orange County, the cities of Irvine, Santa Ana, Buena Park, and Costa Mesa have voted to support ordinances honoring workers.

The Costa Mesa City Council heard directly from workers Tuesday night calling for the much-needed support and shared their experiences of coping with the risks. 

 “My dad is a dialysis patient, therefore his immune system is very weak. I tried my hardest to follow protocol to protect myself, but most important, to protect my dad,” said Estefania Barragon, a Ralph’s worker in Costa Mesa. “I did, however end up getting COVID back in November 2020 and ended up giving it to my sister because we share a room. I constantly find myself having to repeatedly ask customers to put on a mask. And some are not civil about it. They yell, they curse, they insult us, one customer even spit on a co-worker of mine.”

“We thank the City of Costa Mesa for listening to workers and recognizing the risks workers face during this pandemic,” said Andrea Zinder, President of UFCW Local 324. “This hazard pay is long overdue and has been rightfully earned by workers who have contributed to the success of grocery chains who are raking in the big profits.”

 More than 2,200 grocery and drug store workers within UFCW Local 324 have tested positive for COVID-19 since March 2020.