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April 2, 2020

UFCW Statement: VICE News Exposes Shocking Depths of Amazon’s & Jeff Bezos’ Disregard for Workers & the American People During Coronavirus Outbreak   

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Demands Amazon Fire Senior Leadership Responsible for Shameful Conduct

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in food and retail, responded to a shocking Vice News story that documents both the ruthless smear campaign against Christian Smalls, the Amazon warehouse worker who organized this week’s safety strike, as well as the high level discussions between Amazon executives on how to best utilize surgical masks for public relations value.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“In the middle of a global pandemic with thousands of Americans sick and dying, today we learned that Amazon’s senior leaders – including CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon SVP of Global Affairs Jay Carney, and Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky – were more focused on attacking one of their own workers than actually keeping their employees safe.

“Even worse, these same senior Amazon leaders weighed ‘different and bold’ ways to gain a public relations ‘win’ from their stockpile of surgical masks – masks that are desperately needed by frontline workers and first responders who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day during this unprecedented public health crisis.

“Every American should be outraged by this conduct. Not only should Amazon’s senior leadership be  investigated by law enforcement and federal regulators for these shameful actions, every Amazon executive responsible for this stunning conduct, beginning with Mr. Zapolsky, should be immediately fired.”

Background:

UFCW has been a leading national voice calling for greater accountability of Amazon and its worker mistreatment. In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched acampaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers at the same Staten Island fulfillment center where this week’s strike took place.

In February 2020, UFCW called Amazon’s new cashierless grocery store “a clear and present danger to millions of good jobs.” In July 2019, UFCW announced its opposition to a $700 million effort by Amazon to push its own workers out of jobs as it relentlessly automates its warehouse operations. And in May 2019, UFCW called out Amazon for using robots to replace thousands of its workers across the country.

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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’s work during COVID-19 at ufcw.org/coronavirus

 

April 2, 2020

As Coronavirus Outbreak Increases Demands on Meatpacking Workers, Court Advances Lawsuit to Stop Dangerous USDA Rule that Threatens Food Safety

America’s Largest Meatpacking Union and Public Citizen Continue Effort to Halt USDA’s Dangerous New Pork Plant Line Speed Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union and Public Citizen announced that their federal lawsuit to stop the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new swine slaughter modernization rule has been cleared to move forward following a ruling by the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

The lawsuit filed by UFCW International and UFCW Locals 663, 440 and 2, seeks to halt a USDA rule which eliminates the line speed limits in pork slaughter plants and turns inspection of our food over to the companies that produce it.

“America’s pork workers won an important victory with this ruling as our lawsuit moves forward to stop the USDA’s dangerous line speed rule. As we confront the coronavirus outbreak, these workers are more important than ever to protecting our food supply chain,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Stopping the USDA’s reckless pork lobby giveaway is essential to the safety of our country’s food and the hardworking men and women who produce it. We are proud to continue this fight to ensure food safety never takes a backseat to corporate profits.”

The nation’s union for meatpacking and food processing workers is challenging the rule as unsafe for workers. The court largely denied USDA’s efforts to dismiss claims brought by the unions.

The ruling, by Judge Joan Ericksen of the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, held that the unions adequately alleged that the USDA’s explanations for disregarding the impact on worker safety when issuing its rule were not rational. Read more about the case.

Background:

In 2019, the USDA published a new rule for pork meat inspections which removes limits on line speeds in swine slaughter plants and turns over major meat inspection tasks from federal inspectors to meat companies.

  • The UFCW represents about 250,000 workers in the meatpacking and food processing industries and 30,000 workers in pork plants. UFCW members handle 71 percent of all hogs slaughtered and processed in the United States.
  • In May 2018, more than 6,500 UFCW members who work in pork plants submitted comments to the USDA in opposition to the proposed rule that would increase the line speeds where they work, threatening both them and the consumers they serve.
  • All the UFCW locals who are parties in the lawsuit represent pork slaughter workers. UFCW Local 663 is based in Brooklyn Center, Minn.; UFCW Local 440 is based in Denison, Iowa; and UFCW Local 2 is based in Bel Aire, Kan. 

The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule will hurt workers across the country. 

Hazards of Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection Rule: 

  • The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule removes all limitations on line speeds in hog slaughter plants which will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers in the hog slaughter industry.
  • Even at current line speeds, swine slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness and death.
  • There is no evidence that line speed increases can be done in a manner that ensures food and worker safety.
  • In 1997, the USDA created a pilot program called the HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) which allowed five hog slaughter plants to test a new food safety program.  The hog slaughter pilot program revealed serious safety issues including a Clemens food plant in Pennsylvania which reported injuries severe enough that two workers were hospitalized, and one suffered an amputation.
  • The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule includes no requirement or funding to train plant employees on inspection techniques that were previously performed by USDA inspectors and are now their responsibility.
  • Increased line speeds will disproportionately hurt women and people of color. 

Key Facts About Pork Workers: 

  • Meatpacking workers in hog slaughter plants work in cold, wet, noisy, and slippery conditions making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each shift.
  • Research shows that the fast pace in pork plants, coupled with the forceful and repetitive nature of most of the jobs, leads to high rates of injuries and health issues.
  • Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries. These injuries result in lost time or restrictions at three times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries.
  • The previous maximum line speed for swine was 1,106 hogs per hour.

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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

April 1, 2020

UFCW and Kroger announce pay and benefit increase

UFCW and the Kroger Co. announced a new increase to the pay and benefits for the company’s more than 460,000 workers across the country.

Kroger and UFCW have been working closely to ensure that these grocery workers are able to continue to provide the necessary food and supplies to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. Kroger and UFCW announced the following increases to pay, benefits, and protections for frontline associates across the country:

  • $2 Per Hour Pay Increase which will be paid to hourly frontline associates in retail stores, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, central fills, pharmacies and contact call centers for the next three weeks at which point UFCW and Kroger will revisit discussions.
  • Providing Emergency Paid Leave: This ensures that any associates who are affected by COVID-19 – whether experiencing symptoms and self-isolating, diagnosed or placed in quarantine – can recover with the financial support they need.
  • Additional Cleaning and Sanitizing protocols which include allowing associates to wash their hands and sanitize their registers every 30 minutes.
  • Shortened Store Operating Hours to provide ample time to allow restocking, cleaning, and to provide appropriate rest and relief for associates.
  • Installing plexiglass partitions at check lanes, pharmacy and Starbucks registers across each store.
  • Adding floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters.
  • Earlier Access to Pay: Beginning next week, the Kroger Family of Companies is adding ExpressPay – a new benefit that allows most hourly associates to access some of their pay faster, putting money in their pockets sooner than usual.
  • Financial Assistance for Childcare and Other Needs: Kroger will make $5 million available for those facing hardship, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered high-risk, due to COVID-19 through the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund.
  • Employee Hotline: Kroger will offer an associate hotline to answer benefit questions quickly.
  • Expanded Health Care Services: Kroger will provide access to mental health services and other benefits to support associates’ mental and physical well-being during this stressful time.

“Today’s increase in pay and benefits is an important first step in our ongoing effort to keep customers and workers safe,” said UFCW International president Marc Perrone. “We will continue to listen to our members and will work with Kroger – and all responsible employers – to provide these incredible members and workers the support and protections they need to be able to do a job that is more essential than ever before.”

This agreement applies to all Kroger banners including Ralphs, King Soopers, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Dillons, and more.

March 31, 2020

Kroger, UFCW Announce Increased Pay, Benefits for Grocery Workers on Front Lines of Coronavirus Outbreak

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union and America’s Largest Supermarket Chain Recognize Incredible Service of More Than 460,000 Kroger Employees and UFCW Members

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Kroger Co. and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union announced a new increase to the pay and benefits for the company’s more than 460,000 workers across the country. UFCW represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, and welcomed the increase as an essential investment in grocery workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Following talks between UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, and Kroger, UFCW is proud to join the company today in announcing a $2 per hour wage increase, additional emergency paid leave, new workplace safety measures, and other critical worker protections.

“Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis.

“Today’s increase in pay and benefits is a good first step in our ongoing conversations with Kroger to keep customers and workers safe in stores during this crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with Kroger to strengthen support and protections for these essential workers on the front lines of this outbreak as they continue to serve families across the country.”

Background:

UFCW and Kroger have been working closely to ensure that these grocery workers are able to continue to provide the necessary food and supplies to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. UFCW and Kroger announced the following increases to pay, benefits, and protections for frontline associates across the country:

  • $2 Per Hour Pay Increase which will be paid to hourly frontline associates in retail stores, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, central fills, pharmacies and contact call centers for the next three weeks at which point UFCW and Kroger will revisit discussions.
  • Providing Emergency Paid Leave: This ensures that any associates who are affected by COVID-19 – whether experiencing symptoms and self-isolating, diagnosed or placed in quarantine – can recover with the financial support they need.
  • Additional Cleaning and Sanitizing protocols which include allowing associates to wash their hands and sanitize their registers every 30 minutes.
  • Shortened Store Operating Hours to provide ample time to allow restocking, cleaning, and to provide appropriate rest and relief for associates.
  • Installing plexiglass partitions at check lanes, pharmacy and Starbucks registers across each store.
  • Adding floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters.

Additional Associate Support and Resources

In addition to the $2 per hour pay increase, UFCW and Kroger have worked together to take several additional actions to support associates, including:

  • Earlier Access to Pay: Beginning next week, the Kroger Family of Companies is adding ExpressPay – a new benefit that allows most hourly associates to access some of their pay faster, putting money in their pockets sooner than usual.
  • Financial Assistance for Childcare and Other Needs: Kroger will make $5 million available for those facing hardship, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered high-risk, due to COVID-19 through the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund.
  • Employee Hotline: Kroger will offer an associate hotline to answer benefit questions quickly.
  • Expanded Health Care Services: Kroger will provide access to mental health services and other benefits to support associates’ mental and physical well-being during this stressful time.

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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

March 30, 2020

UFCW: Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods Must Do More to Protect Workers on Front Lines of Coronavirus Outbreak

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Calls on Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods to Immediately Increase Pay, Paid Leave, Safety Gear for Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, announced its strong support forAmazon warehouse workers in Staten Island as well as Instacart workers and Whole Foods workers nationwide who are walking off the job this week to protest the failure of these companies to strengthen emergency pay and protections for essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods workers are sending a powerful message that it’s time to stop putting corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of the men and women who are critical to our food supply, and are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.  It is shameful that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta, and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey are ignoring not only the concerns of workers, but the potential threat to public safety.

“For the sake of public health and worker safety, every non-union grocery worker must speak out. If Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods are unwilling to do what is right to protect their workers and our communities, the UFCW is ready to listen and do all we can to help protect these brave workers from irresponsible employers who are ignoring the serious threat posed by the rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak.”

Background:

 In February 2020, Instacart workers in the Chicago area joined UFCW Local 1546, making history as the first workers with the company to join a union. As a result of the majority of Instacart’s 175,000 workers are misclassified as independent contractors, they are not eligible to join a union and today’s strike is a way for them to demand the emergency pay increase, paid leave, and protective gear that they have earned and deserve.

 In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched a campaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers in New York. UFCW has been a vocal critic of both Amazon and Whole Foods for the treatment of their workers.  

On March 13, UFCW called out Amazon and Whole Foods for failing to provide their workers with paid sick leave until after testing positive for COVID-19. With testing incredibly scarce, this policy has left thousands of workers across the country in limbo, putting their safety and the safety of customers at risk during the outbreak. In September 2019, UFCW condemned the move by Amazon to cut healthcare coverage for part-time Whole Foods workers across the country.

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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. 

March 30, 2020

Amazon, Instacart grocery delivery workers strike for coronavirus protection and pay

Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, N.Y., and Instacart’s grocery delivery workers nationwide plan to walk off their jobs on Monday. They are demanding stepped-up protection and pay. Instacart workers in Chicago made history in February by voting to join UFCW.

March 29, 2020

UFCW talks to MSNBC on the risks of leaving Instacart & grocery workers unprotected during the coronavirus outbreak

ALICIA MENENDEZ: With me now is Marc Perrone, he is the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. The UFCW represents Instacart employees in the Chicago area as well as many other grocery store clerks and food processing workers all across the U.S. and Canada. Thank you so much for being with me. Can you give me a sense, Marc, of what these workers are up against?

MARC PERRONE: Well, Alicia, I think they’re up against their health. If they don’t provide the protective equipment that they need, rapid testing, if they don’t provide hand sanitizer, and disposable wipes so that they can clean the surfaces of their vehicles, as well as their hands, they have a very good possibility that they could contract the virus.

They also have the possibility of being able to spread the virus because of the fact that they’re going into all these transmission points to pick up groceries and bring them to different people. You have to think about it for a second. If somebody is getting their groceries delivered to them, they may be under quarantine and if they are under quarantine, it would be a good reason for them to have the protective equipment that they so desperately need.

I also believe that they should be provided with masks. Look, I know that the health care providers, as well as our fire and our police need those masks desperately. But we ultimately need to get those masks into production so that people that are in these transmission points can use them as well to protect themselves and the customers that they are dealing with.

MENENDEZ: There have been discussions within your union, I understand, about designating these workers as emergency responders. How would that designation help?

PERRONE: Well, I think that the designation would help as it relates to the testing. If they get the testing faster as well as the results of those tests can come back faster. In addition to that, a lot of these workers because they may be single mothers are having difficulty finding child care and it would give them access to some of the subsidies that the federal government put in this last bill at $3.5 billion.

And additionally, at some point in time, it would put them in the queue to receive masks once our production in the country got up to the point that we could cover our health care workers as well as our fire, our EMTs, and our police. I think that’s critical.

Unfortunately, there was a big error, a failure as it related to the testing. I think it’s also a failure as it related to our supplies that we needed in order to protect all these people that are out there working every single day trying to make sure we have food on the table and that we’re taking care of if we go to the hospital or if we have to be picked up by an ambulance service.


For updates related to COVID-19, please visit www.ufcw.org/coronavirus. 

If you are a worker experiencing an issue at your workplace related to COVID-19, please report it to us online.

March 29, 2020

A message for grocery and retail workers from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

The work UFCW members are doing is mission-critical during this crisis, and they need the necessary protections to keep them and their customers safe. It’s time for every state to recognize our members as a vital part of the front line.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy had a message for grocery workers on the front lines during the coronavirus outbreak:

“I know you have been working long and hard hours helping our fellow residents, and make no mistake each and every one of your is a vital part of our front line emergency reponse team. The work you’re doing to ensure that our families are provided for is mission critical to our getting through this emergency. I know this time to be hard on you personally and professionally. I know you need and deserve to be protected on the job”

Follow the conversation on UFCW’s Facebook Page

March 26, 2020

UFCW Announces Increased Pay, Benefits for Meatpacking and Food Processing Workers on Front Lines of Outbreak  

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Secures Higher Pay, Essential Benefits for Nearly 60,000 Workers Across the Country Protecting U.S. Food Supply Chain 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, announced agreements the union reached to increase pay and benefits for workers with Cargill, Hormel, JBS, Pilgrim’s Pride, Conagra Foods, Seaboard, Olymel, Smuckers, National Beef, Pepsi, Kraft Heinz, Campbell’s Soup, Danone, and Maple Leaf Foods. The boost to pay and benefits represents a strong investment in these nearly 60,000 workers who are essential to protecting the U.S. food supply chain during the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After talks between America’s leading food companies and UFCW, the union representing more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, we are proud to support additional and critical pay and benefit increases for these workers who are essential to America’s food supply. These wage and benefit increases will not only protect the health and welfare of these hard-working men and women, they will help ensure all of America’s families have the food they need to overcome the public health crisis our nation faces.

“What these companies did shows real leadership. They worked together with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all meatpacking and food processing workers are making every single day.

“At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, we hope that this sends a message to every company in these industries – union and non-union – that it is time for every employer to do more to protect our food supply and the hardworking men and women keeping our communities stable and families fed.”

Background:

UFCW reached the following agreements to support meatpacking and food processing workers:

  • Pilgrim’s Pride: Employees will get $300 in bonuses, with $100 paid now and $200 in May. Pilgrim’s Pride is the first poultry company to offer worker bonuses during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Conagra Foods: Employees will receive a $500 bonus on April 3.
  • Seaboard Triumph, Triumph Foods, Seaboard Foods: Employees will be paid an extra $100/week from March 30 to April 26, will have access to two weeks of paid leave for coronavirus-related absences, along with waived copays for coronavirus testing and treatment.
  • Olymel: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase starting March 23.
  • Smuckers Foods: Employees will receive a $1,500 bonus in recognition of their hard work during the outbreak.
  • Cargill: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase in effect between March 23 and May 5. Cargill will also strengthen worker safeguards with increased spacing in factory floor work areas, waive co-pays for coronavirus testing and treatment, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.
  • Danone North America: Employees will receive a 15 percent pay increase and 80 hours of additional paid leave for coronavirus-related absences.
  • Kraft Heinz: Employees who are required to quarantine will receive short-term disability benefits with waived waiting periods, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and $100 weekly childcare subsidy for workers in districts where schools have closed.
  • Pepsi: Employees will receive an additional 2 weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related absences and childcare assistance equal to at least two-thirds of their pay for up to 12 weeks or a $100 daily reimbursement if they have children enrolled in closed schools.
  • Hormel: Employees are receiving a $300 bonus for working during this time frame.
  • JBS: Employees who are UFCW members will receive a $600 bonus on May 15th.
  • Maple Leaf Foods: Employees will receive additional $80 per week in premium pay.
  • Campbell’s Soup: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase during the outbreak.
  • National Beef: Employees are receiving a $2 per hour pay increase between March 16 through May 10, 2 weeks paid leave if they are required to quarantine, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.

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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

March 25, 2020

MSNBC: Grocery and food workers win coronavirus pay raise & benefits during outbreak

UFCW International President Marc Perrone spoke with MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle about the compensation and protection won by grocery and retail employees working during the coronavirus outbreak so far, and the need to extend those increases to other companies.

STEPHANIE RUHLE: As more cities shut down in the wake of the coronavirus, businesses deemed essential, like pharmacies and supermarkets, are still up and running with workers, many at minimum wage working really long days at the front lines of this pandemic.  

The United Food and Commercial Workers with nearly 1.3 million members across the food industry in the United States and Canada, has been working with major companies like Stop & Shop, Pepsi, Kraft Heinz, Campbell’s Soup, Safeway, and Rite Aid to implement new policies aimed at keeping those workers safe. 

Joining me now is Marc Perrone, he’s president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Marc, we are seeing more cases of workers who are getting sick. Do we need more protection for them? 

MARC PERRONE: Yes, Stephanie, we really do. I can’t stress that enough. I think it is in fact difficult in order to do that, because the personal protection equipment is just not available unless you’re a first responder. And, as seen earlier this morning on Morning Joe, there will be transmission points for this virus if we’re going to stop it. We believe those transmission points will be grocery stores, pharmacies, some of those essential businesses that will have to remain open. 

RUHLE: We know some of the bigger chains can afford to do it, but should these people be getting increased wages, given what they’re putting themselves through?  

PERRONE: Well, we ultimately believe that they should be getting increased wages, because of the amount of increase of sales per man hour that’s taking place. So, the shareholders and the corporations are doing really well through that process. And those workers are actually delivering that increased productivity. And that’s why we ultimately believe that they should get it and have an opportunity to share in some of that.  

We also think that because that is taking place, the owners and the shareholders have a responsibility, when it’s available, to provide that personal protection equipment. Or at least, when it’s not available, to provide screens, plexiglas screens up on each checkstand so it gives them more protection than they presently have right now. We think that’s important and we think it’s critical, and some of our employers have started to do that systematically through their stores. 

RUHLE: Whole Foods and its owner Amazon have faced major backlash on their policies towards workers. Whole Foods even saying that those who could not work peak hours could lose their full-time status and health benefits. Have they changed their policies in any meaningful way in the last week or so? 

PERRONE: Whole Foods is a non-union corporation owned by Amazon, and I do believe it’s Amazon’s position as well as Whole Foods’ position to maximize their profits right now, even at the expense of the workers. I think it’s a terrible thing to do. I think it’s irresponsible. I think it’s irresponsible as it relates to what they’re doing for their customers.

 If people believe, for instance, they can’t go to work, because if they don’t go to work, they’re going to lose their health care, here’s what’s going to happen. They’ll show up at work, whether or not they’re sick or not sick. And if that takes place, it’s just like I said earlier, it could be a transition point that’s going to take place at some of these stores.  

That’s the reason why we’re fighting so hard to make sure workers who are impacted by the virus, in other words, they have symptoms, that they can ultimately themselves take themselves out of the public and protect the customers that they’re wanting to serve as well as their co-workers that are serving us, to make sure we have food on the shelves and that we’ve got everything available to us.  

It’s the same way with the packing and food processing sections that we are connected with. Those workers are working in close proximity to others, and it’s necessary for them to be able to take themselves out of the assembly line on positions, so that they ultimately can protect each other. because many of those places are locate in more rural parts of the United States where health care systems are already stretched to the limit, as well as there’s not as many workers in those outlying areas that they can draw upon to replace very quickly. 

RUHLE: Thank you so much.