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Costco To Increase Minimum Wage For Employees To $16

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Costco-2
Photo Courtesy of Costco

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said Thursday the warehouse retail giant is expected to raise the minimum wage for employees to $16 starting next week.

Jelinek made the announcement during a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing on worker wages which included many of the country’s largest employers.

“It helps in the long run by minimizing turnover, maximizing employee productivity, commitment and loyalty,” Jelinek said during the hearing. 

The company has around 180,000 employees in the United States, and 90% of them work hourly, according to Costco. 

“Although there is a lot of external focus on starting wages and minimums, it’s important to us that Costco employees have an opportunity to make more than just $15 or $16 an hour,” he said. 

In 2019, Costco raised their minimum wage to $15, with over half of hourly employees making above $25, according to the CEO.

“I want to note this isn’t altruism,” Jelinek said. “At Costco, we know that paying employees good wages makes sense for our business and constitutes a significant competitive advantage for us.”

Employees at Costco have also received $2 an hour in hazard pay during the COVID-19 pandemic since March. The CEO said the retailer would end the extra pay,  however, some of it is expected to be converted to permanent pay raises.

Other major retailers have also been raising their minimum pay. Amazon announced in 2018 the company raised its starting wage to $15 an hour with Best Buy making the same move last year. 

Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25, with California at $13 for smaller companies and $14 an hour for companies with 26 or more employees, according to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). 

The California minimum wage is expected to be raised by $1 an hour for the next two years to $15 for all companies by Jan. 1, 2023. 

Costco has multiple locations across Southern California, including Canyon Country, Lancaster, Pacoima and Burbank. 

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City Of Burbank Extends Outdoor Dining Changes, Commercial Eviction Ordinance

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Los Angeles County Outdoor Dining COVID19

The Burbank City Council approved the extension last week of outdoor dining changes and a commercial eviction ordinance which were enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outdoor dining ordinance is expected to allow restaurants to continue to expanded tables in private parking lots until Dec. 31, unless extended again, according to the City. 

Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed County staff to explore options to make similar dining expansions permanent. 

Burbank officials said the “devastating economic impacts” of the Safer at Home order are still being felt, citing a loss in jobs across L.A. County. 

Many of the jobs lost were in the hospitality industry, however, in the past several months some of these positions are coming back.

“As the pandemic fades, the negative economic impacts will continue,” the dining ordinance said. “As such, the City should consider the welfare of its businesses while protecting the health and wellness of its citizens.” 

In addition to the dining expansion, the Burbank City Council also extended the local commercial eviction moratorium until Sept. 30.

The commercial eviction ordinance for commercial tenants does not forgive the payment of rent, but rather acknowledges a commercial tenant is still obligated to pay any missed rent as deferred payments.   

Any deferred rent will be due six months after the end of the expiration of the Ordinance in September, unless extended again, according to the City. 

This means all deferred rent would be due on March 30, 2022.  Additionally, the property owner may not charge or collect interest, late fees or other penalties that could accrue on unpaid rent through the end of the six-month grace period.  

Residential evictions continue to fall under Assembly Bill 832, which increases the value of the reimbursement the state’s emergency rental assistance program.

The City Council continues to encourage commercial tenants to pay any portion of the rent they can afford along with speaking with landlords to arrange a repayment plan. 

For more information, visit the dining expansion ordinance and the commercial eviction ordinance

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Outdoor Dining Program Extended In L.A. For At Least One Year

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Los Angeles County Outdoor Dining COVID19

Outdoor dining spaces are set to be in place for at least one more year after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a new ordinance extending COVID-19 measures for bars and restaurants. 

The emergency ordinance, expected to be codified within the next two weeks, extends the City’s “Al Fresco” program which allows dining areas to expand into parklets, sidewalks, parking lots and other areas near businesses.

After 12 months, the City Council has the option to extend the program for up to two more years, according to the ordinance. 

The order also suspends the previous requirement that restaurants provide a minimum number of parking spots for vehicles taken up by the expanded dining area.

L.A. Al Fresco aims to help local businesses reopen safely, and allow customers and employees to maintain physical distancing by temporarily relaxing the rules that regulate outdoor dining. 

On May 29, 2020, Garcetti launched the first phase of L.A. Al Fresco to support outdoor dining opportunities for restaurants hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, in coordination with the L.A. County Department of Public Health allowing dine-in service at restaurants. 

Permits through the program were previously expected to only be valid through Sept. 1, 2021.

This action comes at the heels of a similar extension by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last month.

The supervisors called upon County staff to establish permanent guidelines for expanded outdoor dining spaces in sidewalks, alleys and parking facilities.  

“We should make every effort to ensure this program becomes a permanent option for eateries throughout the region,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “This is a valuable resource for the restaurant and hospitality industry, which was devastatingly impacted by the COVID-19 closures.”

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Tinhorn Flats Evicted From Burbank Property After Repeated Violations

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Tinhorn Flats

Tinhorn Flats, a Burbank bar that repeatedly deified orders to close during the pandemic, has been evicted from its Magnolia Park building. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department turned over possession of the Tinhorn Flats’ location to the property owner, Isabelle Lepejian, as the last step in the eviction process she initiated against the establishment, according to the City of Burbank.

The eviction proceeding is a separate legal action from the recent temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction issued by the Los Angeles County Superior Court in the City’s civil suit against Tinhorn Flats for continuing to operate after revocation of its public health permit and Conditional Use Permit.  

The permanent permit was revoked by the Burbank City Council on Feb. 22, citing Tinhorn Flats’ “flagrant disregard for life safety and violations” of the Los Angeles County Health Officer Orders, which endangered the public health, safety and welfare, along with creating a public nuisance, according to the City.

In March, the building was “red-tagged” as part of multiple attempts to prevent the establishment from operating after COVID-19 violations.

Tinhorn Flats co-owner, Lucas Lepejian, 20, was later arrested after removing sandbags placed by the City of Burbank in front of the establishment to prevent anyone from entering, due to the unsafe conditions, according to the Burbank Police Department (BPD).

Isabelle Lepejian is the mother of Lucas and ex-wife of Baret Lepejian, who is the other co-owner of the establishment.

The Tinhorn Flats owners said they are raising money for a legal defense fund to reopen the restaurant. 

“We will not comply with tyrannical rules and closures,” the owners said. 

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