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Auburn City Council Consider Hazard Pay for Grocery Workers

The Auburn City Council Study Session on April 26, 2021, focused on pandemic hazard pay for grocery store workers amid the COVID-19 state of emergency, the partnership with Pierce County on affordable housing options, and the State of Our Streets for the city as a whole.

Ordinance No. 6818 – Hazard Pay For Grocery Workers
Ordinance Information Sheet

The Auburn City Council’s Study Session highlighted Ordinance No. 6818, which concerns the protection of health, safety, and prosperity of grocery workers and the general public during the existing state of emergency. No action was taken by the council in the study session. The Ordinance will be brought forward at a future council meeting for a vote.

Councilmember Larry Brown presented the ordinance at the session to council. “Grocery stores that are part of a corporate structure, but not a small mom & pop operation,” he said.

Councilmember Yolanda Trout-Manuel said she had received correspondence, calling into question Brown’s involvement as chair of the ordinance, as he is also the president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Brown said, “In the case of this ordinance here, if we passed this ordinance (on May 3), I will have no relationship whatsoever with the union that would be representing (grocery workers).”

There was also confusion as to whether it would cost grocery stores $2 million or $5 million to implement the pay increase program.

Councilmember Bob Baggett asked “how did we arrive at the figure (of $4 per hour for grocery workers) for this hazard pay?”

Brown replied that it was based off of the Seattle City ordinance, but less than the $5 an hour that the Burien ordinance had enacted.

State of Our Streets
SOS Presentation & Capital Projects

Council members were also provided with a presentation about the State of Our Streets for the City of Auburn, looking specifically at the pavement condition index (PCI) that rates the type and severity of distresses observed on pavement surfaces from a 0 to 100 rating. The average of all Auburn City Streets is a 68 PCI, local streets are at a

75 PCI and Auburn City Arterial & Collector Streets have a 61 PCI. The goal of the city is a collective 70 PCI.

Auburn spent an average of $3.63 million annually on road improvements from 2017 to 2020 and estimates a $3.3 million annual improvement from

2021 to 2024, with the expectation that average PCI will continue to decline on arterial & collector streets.

City Assistant Traffic Engineer Kenneth Clark estimated that it would take an annual $5 million commitment over the next 14 years from the city in order to improve the arterial & collector street goal to 70 PCI, from its long-tail estimate of dropping from 61 PCI to 55 PCI by the year 2034.

South Sound Housing Affordability Partners
Presentation

Council members also received an update on South Sound Housing Affordability Partners as the formation, purpose, and next steps for the Pierce County affordable housing collaborative effort occur.

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