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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

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 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 24, 2020

UFCW: Amazon CEO Sells $3.4 Billion in Stock Before Market Collapse While Failing to Protect Workers from Coronavirus  

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Condemns Jeff Bezos for Putting His Own Profits Before Worker Health and Safety During Outbreak 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, condemned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for failing to protect the company’s workers during the coronavirus outbreak even as the Wall Street Journal reported that he protected his own wealth by selling $3.4 billion in stock in the first week of February, before the market collapsed.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“As the Wall Street Journal reported, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has now been exposed for putting his wealth first on the eve of the coronavirus outbreak, even while the company refuses to do enough to protect Whole Foods employees and other Amazon workers from this pandemic.

“It was already outrageous that Amazon refuses to provide any paid sick leave until after they test positive for the virus. That may now be explained by the fact that Bezos is apparently more concerned with adding to his personal wealth than protecting the health and welfare of his workers, their families, or the public.

“Make no mistake, union and non-union grocery workers are literally on the front lines of this national coronavirus outbreak. They are putting themselves at risk every day to help feed America’s families. Is it really so much to ask that billionaires and non-union employers, like Amazon and Whole Foods, do more to protect their workers and the public?

“The America people, our elected leaders, and especially Whole Foods and Amazon customers, have the right to demand to know why Bezos sold this stock when he did, and more importantly, why he isn’t doing more to protect workers and this nation from this terrible pandemic that has impacted every single American.”

Background:

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sold $3.4 billion in Amazon shares in the first week of February, shortly before the stock market peaked, allowing him to avoid losses of roughly $317 million if he had held the stock through March 20. Bezos sold almost as much stock during the first week in February as he sold during the previous 12 months.

Earlier this month, UFCW called out Amazon and Whole Foods for failing to provide any paid sick leave to employees until after they tested positive for COVID-19 and suggesting that employees “donate” their paid time off (PTO) to coworkers facing medical emergencies during the coronavirus outbreak. With coronavirus testing incredibly scarce, this leaves Whole Foods employees – and all Amazon employees covered by the policy – at great risk before they are able to get tested.

UFCW has been a vocal critic of Amazon’s aggressive move to devalue and degrade grocery jobs at Whole Foods. In September 2019, UFCW slammed the company for cutting medical benefits for hundreds of part-time workers. In March 2019, UFCW condemned actions by Whole Foods to reduce employee hours just months after Amazon announced a wage increase that was supposed to be an investment in Whole Foods workers.

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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 21, 2020

UFCW and Stop & Shop Announce Ten Percent Pay Raise for Grocery Workers During Coronavirus Pandemic

Over 70,000 Workers Across New England, New York, and New Jersey to Receive Raise, Additional Two Weeks Paid Sick Leave

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, applauded Stop & Shop for giving all union Stop & Shop and Peapod employees represented by the UFCW a ten percent increase in pay during the coronavirus outbreak. Workers will also receive two additional weeks of paid leave if they become sick.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After discussions between Stop & Shop and the UFCW, Stop & Shop is announcing a 10 percent raise and additional sick leave for grocery workers during the coronavirus pandemic. This essential pay and benefit increase will not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities.

“As we know, grocery workers like Stop & Shop employees have been on the front lines of this crisis, serving the needs of millions of families in the northeast. Protecting them is absolutely essential to our communities and food supply now more than ever.

“Every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – in the Northeast and across America must follow the example that Stop & Shop has set and follow their lead.”

Background:

UFCW International and UFCW Locals have been negotiating with employers across the country to recognize how hard grocery workers are working to provide necessary food and supplies to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • UFCW and Safeway announced that Safeway would provide a two-dollar-per-hour increase in pay for its grocery workers across the country during the outbreak.
  • In California, UFCW Locals applauded Stater Bros. Markets for implementing a $2.00-per-hour pay raise to its workers. The raise will apply to all hourly employees over the course of four weeks beginning March 23.
  • In Missouri, UFCW Local Union 655 secured a deal for grocery workers at Schnucks, Dierbergs, and Straubs to waive all co-pays for coronavirus testing, maintain pay for those who become sick, and expand access to telemedicine with zero out-of-pocket costs.

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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 20, 2020

UFCW & Safeway Coronavirus Talks Lead to Grocery Worker Pay Raise for Employees Across the Country

America’s Largest Grocery Worker Union & Safeway Announce $2 an Hour Pay Increase for Safeway Employees on the Front Lines of the Outbreak

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, applauded the move by Safeway to provide a two-dollar-per-hour increase in pay for its grocery workers across the country during the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“After close talks between Safeway and UFCW, the union representing over 1.3 million grocery store and food processing workers, we are proud to support the significant wage increase adopted by Safeway, one of America’s largest supermarket companies.  “Safeway and the UFCW both recognize that grocery store workers are on the frontlines of this crisis. They are vital to our food supply, and serving the needs of millions of American families.  “What Safeway did today shows real leadership. They worked with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all grocery workers are making every single day across this nation. This pay increase will not only help protect these workers and support their families, it will also ensure they are able to continue to perform an absolutely vital role in our communities.  “We hope that this sends a message to every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – across this country that it is time for every company to recognize the sacrifice America’s food workers are making – sacrifices that Safeway has rightfully recognized and which other companies must also recognize.  “At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, it is critical that every employer do more to protect our food supply and grocery stores by protecting the hardworking men and women who work there and keep them open.”

Background:

Earlier this week, UFCW Local Unions 21, 367, and 1439 in Washington State announced a deal with Safeway as well as Albertsons and Fred Meyer/QFC grocery stores to provide two weeks of paid leave for these workers, strengthen childcare access, and protect healthcare coverage for any workers who become sick.

In Missouri, UFCW Local Union 655 also secured a deal for local grocery workers to waive all co-pays for coronavirus testing, maintain pay for those who become sick, and expand access to telemedicine with zero out-of-pocket costs.

UFCW also recognized Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont this week for designating their states’ grocery workers as front line responders, expanding access to free childcare as these employees continue to help local families during this crisis.

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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 19, 2020

UFCW Applauds States for Offering Emergency Protections to Grocery Workers on Front Lines of Coronavirus

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Praises Leadership in Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont to Provide Childcare for At-Risk Workers 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the largest U.S. private sector union which represents grocery workers across the country, praised leaders in Minnesota, Michigan, and Vermont for recognizing the critical work being done by grocery workers in their states. All have indicated that grocery workers, similar to health care workers and other essential personnel, will be provided with childcare.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“UFCW members in grocery and retail stores across the country are working around the clock to make sure that families have the food and supplies they need. We applaud Minnesota, Michigan, and Vermont for recognizing that these workers are on the front lines, providing an essential service to their communities.

“As our country confronts this outbreak and its devastating impact on our economy, there has never been a more important time for strong leadership. Congress must follow the lead of these states and provide paid leave and other essential protections needed to support the brave grocery and retail workers keeping our communities strong.”

Background:

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued a directive as part of an order for “Care for Children of Families of Emergency Workers,” which instructs closed schools to continue to provide care for children of emergency personnel who are “critical to the response of COVID-19.” Under the order, grocery workers are considered “essential tier 2 workers” and would be covered. Minnesota officials stated that “districts should make every effort to provide care for school-age children” of these workers.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to expand the capacity for childcare services for health care workers, first responders, and other members of the essential workforce providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This expands the essential workforce to include grocery workers who are helping to provide essential supplies and goods during the outbreak.

Vermont is developing a plan to reimburse private childcare centers for providing care to essential workers. Public safety commissioner Michael Schirling announced that his office would add grocery store workers to the list of essential employees who would receive services like childcare.

Last week, as part of UFCW’s advocacy for grocery workers on the front lines, the union 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.

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.