QFC’s decision to close two Capitol Hill stores including its 15th Ave E grocery over Seattle’s COVID-19 hazard pay ordinance will cost 109 workers their jobs, the company revealed in a state filing Friday afternoon.
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification announcements are federally required for employers with 100 or more employees “to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment.”
A QFC spokesperson did not respond to CHS’s inquiry about how many workers of the 109 are currently employed at the 15th Ave E store.
Parent company Kroger also blamed COVID-19 hazard pay requirements for its decision to close a Ralphs and a Food 4 Less in Long Beach, California.
CHS reported last week on the company’s decision to shutter two Seattle stores over the $4/hour hazard pay requirements for large grocers. Both the 15th Ave E and Wedgwood store are set to close April 24th.
CHS reported on the potential impact to the 15th Ave E neighborhood here including the developer who purchased the 15th Ave E block home to the QFC and its plans to keep the building activated during the two years remaining on QFC’s lease.
Capitol Hill is also home to two QFCs on Broadway while the Safeway a few blocks away at 15th and John could be up for redevelopment in coming years.
While the company has not released specifics on employees or the profit and loss at the 15th Ave E store, it described both stores that will close in April as “underperforming” and a company spokesperson told the Puget Sound Business Journal that QFC spent around $600,000 across the two stores “on remodels in the last few years” and described the stores as “the most expensive to operate.”
For the more than 100 employees at the stores, QFC said representatives “will be meeting with each impacted associate to help them with this transition and will comply with any contractual commitments and consider any transfer requests.”
The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis is still being measured and understood. Statewide, unemployment numbers have dropped with the slow reopening of the economy but claims still remain about twice levels seen before the start of the pandemic last spring. Earlier this month, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new bill to boost the minimum unemployment benefit and halt an increase in unemployment tax on businesses.
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