Members of the Los Angeles Jewish community are upset at the closure of Ralph’s supermarket, in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood, after the L.A. City Council mandated an additional $5 per hour of “hero pay” for employees for four months.
The Los Angeles Times reported Monday:
Owner Kroger Co. is shutting down the Ralphs, as well as another store in South L.A. and a Food 4 Less in East Hollywood, after the Los Angeles City Council voted in February to require large grocery stores to pay workers an extra $5 an hour for about four months. The stores will close May 15.
City leaders contend that the chain reaped record profits last year and that grocery store employees should be rewarded with “hero pay” for working on the front lines during the pandemic. Kroger executives say the stores were underperforming before the pay requirement.
The pending shutdown of the Westside supermarket has sparked fierce debates on social media, with some casting Ralphs as the villain. Others blame city politicians. “Government gone wrong,” wrote one Facebook user.
Ralph’s is known for its extensive kosher food section, including kosher sushi and a kosher bakery. Though the neighborhood has many other family-owned kosher grocery stores, Ralph’s is well-liked for its large space and its competitive prices.
Pico-Robertson is not alone. As Breitbart News reported in February, Kroger’s closed two grocery stores in Long Beach after the local city council, encouraged by labor unions, unanimously approved mandatory “hero pay” of an additional $4 per hour.
Grocery store workers have been hailed as heroes during the coronavirus pandemic for keeping the shelves stocked with food and other necessities, working indoors in customer-facing roles even as other Americans stayed home to avoid the disease.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.