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January 18, 2019

UFCW: Shutdown Threatens America’s 16 Million Retail Workers and Our Nation’s Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone, issued the following statement regarding the 28-day government shutdown and its impact on America’s 16 million retail workers and the broader economy.

“Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers continue to be locked out of their job or forced to work without pay. But this wasteful shutdown is also threatening the 16 million American workers who help power our country’s $2.6 trillion retail sector and the broader economy.

“When Republicans shut down the government in 2013, retail sales from furloughed workers dropped seven percent and the economy lost $2 billion in productivity. About 1 in 10 Americans are employed in the retail industry and the longer the current shutdown continues, the harder hit these workers and our economy will be.

“It’s high time for President Trump and Congress to stop playing politics with our economy and American workers and finally end this reckless government shutdown.”

Background: The last extended federal government shutdown in 2013 had a significant impact on the U.S. economy:

  • Annualized GDP growth for the quarter fell by 0.25 percent.
  • Private sector jobs decreased by 120,000.
  • Shopping by some 800,000 furloughed federal employees fell by 7 percent.
  • As income of furloughed workers shifted to later in the month, consumption habits shifted as well – including on gasoline – and bill payments were delayed.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.