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September 1, 2020

National Hazard Pay Campaign Launches Today As COVID-19 Continues to Threaten and Sicken Thousands of America’s Frontline Workers

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Announces National Hazard Pay Campaign With Actions in 26 Cities and 10 States Targeting Top Grocery Chains

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – America’s largest food and retail union with 1.3 million members, announced the launch of a new national campaign to restore hazard pay for millions of America’s frontline workers. The new campaign will call on the country’s leading grocery companies — including Whole Foods, Walmart, Kroger, Albertsons, Ahold — and many other essential businesses, to reinstate hazard pay in light of the continuing human cost being paid by America’s grocery workers and other essential employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the first phase of the UFCW’s national hazard pay campaign, at least 26 worker actions will be held this week at grocery stores and other essential businesses across the country in CaliforniaTexasGeorgiaVirginiaColorado,WashingtonTennesseeMarylandWestVirginia, and other states hit hard by COVID-19.

The new campaign will include grassroots actions as well as targeted paid and digital media to highlight the serious health threats these workers continue to face. UFCW will connect customers and communities with essential workers to call on these businesses to guarantee hazard pay as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone said, “America’s grocery workers are putting their lives on the line every day that they walk into the store, because this pandemic is far from over and the health threats are just as real now as they were when this crisis began. It is outrageous that the CEOs of these companies refuse to restore hazard pay even as more of these workers are getting sick and dying every week. Hazard pay for grocery workers must be reinstated now.”

This past week, UFCW confirmed there have been at least 103 grocery worker deaths and over 14,300 grocery workers infected or exposed to COVID-19. As a new investigation by Bloombergreported last week, the actual national number of workers who have died, become sick, or been exposed, is likely much higher given that America’s largest food companies have launched an effort to hide the true human cost.

“While top grocery chains rake in billions in profits during this pandemic, these frontline grocery workers continue to put themselves at risk to ensure our families have the food we need. As long as the hazard of COVID-19 continues, these companies must do what is right and provide the hazard pay these grocery workers have earned and deserve,” Perrone added.

During the campaign, the UFCW will be releasing first person testimonials from workers on the frontlines, as well as customers and local community members, calling on these companies to provide hazard pay to all of these essential workers. To view these videos, please click here.

Background:

UFCW has been a leading national voice in calling for grocery chains to restore hazard pay for these workers who continue to be on the frontlines of this pandemic.

In a CNN op-ed with Senator Kamala Harris, the union called for top companies like Kroger, Whole Foods, Albertsons and others to ensure that all of their employees receive the hazard pay that they have earned for putting themselves at risk.

Additionally, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown led a group of Senate Democrats in a letter calling on the CEOs of the country’s top supermarket chains to end the delays and reinstate grocery worker hazard pay.

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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 ufcw.org