What Qfc Stores Are Closing In Seattle

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What Qfc Stores Are Closing In Seattle

What Qfc Stores Are Closing In Seattle

All exchange options for exchange: QFC plans to close two stores, blaming it mainly on risk charges

Kroger Shuts Qfc Stores, Citing ‘misguided’ Seattle Hazard Pay Mandate

On Tuesday, February 16, retailer QFC announced that it will be closing two stores this spring: one in Wedgewood and one in Capitol Hill (located on East 15th Avenue). The grocer’s statement said the decision was “accelerated” by the risk pay bill recently passed by the city council, although QFC also noted that both stores were “underperforming”. The locations will be open for the next 60 days, until April 24.

“When you consider the increased costs of operating in the era of COVID-19, along with the continued financial losses at these two locations and this new surcharge mandate, it becomes impossible to run a business that financially sustainable,” the company said in a statement. . in part.

As for what will happen to employees at those locations, corporate manager Tiffany Sanders told Eater: “We’re working with our partners on the details of these two locations, and we’re doing everything within our ability to make it happen when possible. move We fulfill all contractual obligations with honor.”

The hazard pay mandate is an increase of $4 an hour, which applies to those working under the minimum wage law in supermarkets with more than 500 employees worldwide and in stores larger than 10,000 square feet. Businesses affected by this rule include shops with a wider presence outside of . QFC’s parent company is grocery giant Kroger, which announced it would close two of its stores in Long Beach, California, after the city passed a similar hazard pay law.

Qfc To Shut Down Two Seattle Stores; Said Decision ‘accelerated’ After City’s Hazard Pay Ordinance

The new announcement also follows a contentious dispute between PCC Public Markets and UFCW Local 21, the union representing Washington retail workers. Shortly after the council passed its new law on Jan. 25, PCC CEO Susie Montford released a letter arguing that the bill would unfairly hurt the co-op’s business because it has the resources or profits of larger chains.

Mofford’s letter was met with backlash from PCC employees and customers, and PCC eventually agreed to pay not only the workers, but all nearly 1,500 unionized workers at 15 locations throughout the Puget Sound region a $4 an hour wage . . He was not alone. Trader Joe’s also recently decided to extend hazard pay to all its employees across the US, although the grocery chain is now canceling the average raise.

Meanwhile, two industry groups, the Northwest Food Association and the Washington Food Industry Association, have also recently filed a lawsuit against the company, arguing that the hazard pay mandate was unconstitutionally incorporated into bargaining agreements. together and that it is a favour, not a favour, for workers. in larger chains. all trade workers.

What Qfc Stores Are Closing In Seattle

The fate of the lawsuit remains unclear, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping local lawmakers from considering policies along the way. On Friday, February 12, King County council members introduced another bill that would essentially extend the temporary raise to food workers in a wider area: all of unincorporated King County.

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Regarding the QFC decision, UFCW 21 didn’t mince words in a statement: “Kroger’s announcement today to close these two QFCs is a case of extreme greed and humiliation, and shows how out of touch Kroger is with our community. The general public supporting hazard pay and supporting our grocery store workers.” The company’s decision to close two grocery stores due to hazard pay is a political move and the economy is more complicated.

QFC in Wedgwood on February 22, 2020. Kroger, the parent company of QFC, is closing two Seattle grocery stores. The company said the closing was in response to a new city law requiring a $4-an-hour wage for grocery store workers during the pandemic. (Dorothy Edwards/)

A few weeks ago, I applauded the Seattle City Council for providing hazard pay to food workers. But in the back of my mind, I wondered if I should write this column you’re reading after all. Supermarket retailer Kroger recently announced the closing of two grocery stores in Long Beach, the first city in California to implement a “wage hero” ordinance. Kroger blamed the new law. Will he pull the same stunt in Seattle?

As it happens, yes. Kroger’s QFC announced last week that two of its 13 Seattle stores will close in April. One in my neighborhood is QFC, just a few blocks from my apartment on Capitol Hill. Not exactly a food desert here, but still, I’m raving about everything. The 109 workers whose future jobs are up in the air may also be feeling overwhelmed.

Video: Security Guards Take Down Man At A Seattle Qfc

But that hasn’t changed my mind about the law of risk payments, and I’d like to explain why. Let’s put aside the question of whether food workers need and deserve hazardous pay, because they certainly do. If you don’t count QFC’s protests about how it has taken care of its workforce during the pandemic and won huge bonuses, opponents of these new laws typically don’t argue that workers are already making enough money. On the contrary, they argue that, because of their very thin profits, the food industry cannot absorb the additional costs.

That’s how Kroger explained its decision to close stores it said were already “struggling” and “underperforming” before the pandemic. Of course, the company does not open its books for public inspection, so we only have a good word that the move is a business necessity. I’m not generally into corporate releases, but this one surprised even me. Almost every news story about the Seattle closings repeated QFC’s stark claim that the new law would “increase our store operating costs by an average of 22%.” I thought that sounded suspiciously high, so I put on my thinking cap and did some simple math.

The food industry is about selling goods. The store’s biggest cost, which consumes 70% or more of its total revenue, is buying these goods. A little more than half of its remaining costs are labor-related, and the rest includes rent, utilities, maintenance, depreciation, and miscellaneous expenses.

What Qfc Stores Are Closing In Seattle

QFC says its labor costs equal 13% of total sales, and its Seattle workers average $25.96 an hour, including benefits. (It’s unbelievable: many newbies make slightly more than minimum wage, starting at $16.79, and many veterans make nearly $23, earning over the union pay scale.) Meanwhile . At a hazard wage of $4 an hour, generously accepting an additional dollar for ancillary costs such as higher payroll taxes and pension contributions, QFC’s labor costs would increase by less than 20%. But what about the company’s operating costs?

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Day to day costs of doing business. But that doesn’t mean it’s Kroger, because a 20% increase in labor costs doesn’t increase total costs by more than a few percentage points. Maybe Kroger doesn’t include cost of goods sold? This would be an unusual but still defensible definition. But even then, it’s hard to imagine how the new law could increase store operating costs by more than 10% or 12%. That’s pretty significant, but nowhere near 22%.

Is this a mistake? A bald lie? Or maybe Kroger, like Humpty Dumpty, uses words to mean what he chooses them to mean. Does the company have an obscure internal definition of operating costs that no one else knows about? I asked QFC’s media relations department to show me the company’s math, and received a cheerful reply explaining that $4 is 20% to 22% of $19.97, which is the company’s average hourly wage at its Seattle stores. . This is correct. But this is not a statement printed in a “fact sheet” and republished in the news across the country.

After all, the temptation to close shops is a political move, pure and simple. There is no doubt about it

A political movement. Tom Geiger, director of special projects for UFCW 21, the union representing grocery store workers in the Puget Sound area, notes that Kroger does not typically issue press releases when a store closes. “In my opinion, it’s a real blow to other communities across the state and across the country,” he said.

Kroger Will Close More Stores Over Hazard Pay Laws For Workers

If it’s a game, it doesn’t work at all. Several California cities have already followed Long Beach’s lead. Burien hit Seattle with a $5 levy this month, and King County is also considering an order. Still, it’s easy to imagine the store shutting down pesky elected officials and giving ammunition to risk-paying opponents. If Kroger’s political moves help curb the