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As Omicron Surges, Mayor Durkan Announces Veto for City Council’s Repeal of Grocery Worker Hazard Pay

Seattle (December 22, 2021) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced that she will veto Council Bill 120119, which ends hazard pay for grocery workers in January 2022. Over the last week, there has been an increase of 143% in cases compared to the previous week. In the coming week, Seattle and King County are expected to have the highest one-day case count over the course of the entire pandemic.  

“Now is not the time to roll back the pay for these critical front-line workers.  These last two years in the pandemic have taken a toll on every person, family, and business in our city, but at every turn Seattle has risen to the challenge by taking steps to protect each other, even when it was hard.  In a time that there are no good choices, there are decisions we can make to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of our residents, and hazard pay is one of the key city policies that have supported workers who have supported all of us. These extraordinary times have required unprecedented actions: from closed businesses and schools, to one of the first in the country eviction moratoriums, small business and rent relief, masks mandates, vaccine requirements for businesses and city employees – none of these decisions are easy but they are right for workers and residents,” said Mayor Durkan.  “This summer, I asked Council to not lift hazard pay for grocery workers as Delta was emerging, and now as Omicron is newly emerging, one of my last actions as Mayor will be to protect this critical pay for our frontline workers.”  

In February 2021, Mayor Durkan authored a joint op-ed with UFCW to support hazard pay, which was passed in January 2021.   Mayor Durkan will formally submit her veto on Monday, December 27