The Coachella City Council has voted to become the first in the nation to offer something called “hero pay” to farmworkers and other essential employees. The unanimous vote now requires a $4 an hour pay increase for employees of certain ag operations, grocery stores, restaurants, and drug store chains. The emergency ordinance takes effect immediately and will last for at least the next 120 days.
The regulation applies to businesses that employ 300 or more workers nationally, and more than five employees in Coachella. Similar efforts have been put forth in other areas of California. Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez indicated that it is the first time that farmworkers have been included in essential worker pay increases. Mandates in other areas have faced significant opposition from associations representing grocers, restaurants, and retailers. Several farm employers in Coachella have raised concern about how it will impact local production.
Listen to the radio report below.