Community Members Strongly Support Hazard Pay Ordinance
April 14, 2021
Despite some uncertainty from reticent city officials and councilmembers, public comments strongly supported the initiative, as local advocates emphasized the need for action.
In her argument supporting hazard pay, Julie Lind, the executive secretary-treasurer for the San Mateo County Central Labor Council of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), argued that the dismissal of the Long Beach, Calif. lawsuit should clear the way for an emergency ordinance, dismissing the notion that there could be a feasible legal challenge to San Carlos’ possible ordinance. Additionally, Lind stressed the timeline followed by other cities and the justification for the pay, encouraging that action be taken quickly.
Lind said, “Local jurisdictions that have passed these ordinances have done so within a month, from the initial point of discussion to implementation […] and in all of the jurisdictions, the justification for these workers specifically was the grade of pay and degree of exposure.”
Richard Hedges, a retired member of the UFCW Local 5, echoed these sentiments while adding that recent strains on the availability of the vaccine may mean that essential workers are not able to be vaccinated as quickly as the council may expect. Hedges communicated that Sutter Health had restricted the second shot from a large group of people over the age of 75 years old because there was not enough availability.
Hedges said, “Being front and center doesn’t matter if there is no vaccine.”
Additionally, David Tasman, a resident of San Carlos, underscored the need to act quickly and called upon the government to stop their slow, bureaucratic procedures and act in the interest of time.
Tasman said, “I really think that this should be acted upon as soon as possible as an emergency ordinance. Hearing about the timelines talked about staff study and community input is frankly ridiculous and just dragging your feet.”
Finally, Linda Burroughs, another contributor to the public comment, focused on the essential nature of grocery and drug store workers, stressing the toll COVID-19 has taken upon this group.
Burroughs said, “A number of folks in this group are without medical benefits, quite frankly by design, as many of them are considered part-time workers. This exacerbates the situation and it would seem that urgency is the word to underscore in this situation.”