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March 15, 2020

UFCW: Congress is Failing American Workers with Coronavirus Relief Bill that Puts Corporations First

Ahead of Senate Vote, Largest U.S. Private Sector Union Calls for Congress to Immediately Strengthen Worker Aid in Coronavirus Relief Bill  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the largest U.S. private sector union, condemned Congress for passing a coronavirus relief bill that fails to provide real relief to millions of American workers in the grocery, retail, and food processing industries.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“We are in the middle of a national crisis, and America’s grocery, retail, and food processing workers are on the front lines. These workers must be protected. It is unacceptable that Congress is proposing a bill that fails to cover 80 percent of the workforce. Even worse, the bill’s paid leave protections were gutted as a result of pressure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents giant corporations like Amazon and Walmart.

“Our country’s grocery, retail, and food processing workers are working tirelessly during this outbreak to help keep calm and ensure families get the food and supplies they need. We need these workers to stay healthy more than ever before, but this flawed legislation will force them to choose between their health and work. In the middle of a pandemic, such poor policy making is unacceptable and outrageous. Both parties must put people and public health first.

“We are urging Republicans and Democrats to work together to fix this broken bill and pass real protections, including two week paid sick leave, immediately.”

Background:

Last week, UFCW sent a letter to President Trump and Congressional leaders outlining the union’s top policy priorities for economic relief legislation.

In the letter, UFCW called for action by Congress and the White House to provide the aid needed for the nearly 80 million hourly workers – representing about 60 percent of the U.S. workforce – who are most at risk. Top UFCW priorities for worker relief in the letter include:

  • At least two weeks of paid sick leave for all workers;
  • Extension of unemployment benefits for workers temporarily laid off or whose work hours have been disrupted;
  • Protection against unfair termination or discrimination for those suspected of being exposed to the coronavirus.

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.