Trader Joe’s raises ‘thank you’ pay bump to $4 an hour after Seattle passes pandemic mandate

Nation/world

Trader Joe’s has said it will temporarily raise pay for all its employees across the United States in response to a recently passed mandate in Seattle requiring large grocery stores to increase pay by $4 per hour for its front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Monday, “the ‘thank you’ premium for all hourly, nonmanagement crew members, was increased by two dollars, for a total of $4 an hour,” Trader Joe’s said on its website.

The website post does not mention the mandate but a message to employees attributed the pay increase to the recently approved order in Seattle, The Seattle Times reported.

Trader Joe’s also said it would permanently cancel its midyear pay raises this year, which employees generally get twice a year. That raise is normally 65 to 75 cents an hour, employees said. It was scheduled to be distributed this summer.

CEO Dan Bane, President Jon Baslone and a third executive said in a letter that the $4-per-hour raise will continue throughout the pandemic or until employees are “eligible for vaccines as ‘grocery workers.’”

Trader Joe’s did not immediately respond to repeated requests for comment. According to the business website Glassdoor, the average pay for Trader Joe’s crew members in the Seattle area is about $16 an hour.

Seattle and several California cities including Long Beach and Berkeley passed legislation in January mandating the temporary raises. Seattle City Council passed the mandate last week, a few days after it was first introduced.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she will sign the pay-raise legislation and it will go into effect immediately.

Other grocery stores responded differently to mandatory pay raises. Kroger, the parent company of Fred Meyer and QFC, announced that it would close two grocery stores in Long Beach, California.

“These misguided mandates could put any struggling store in jeopardy of closure,” said QFC spokesperson Tiffany Sanders.

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