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April 22, 2020

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Launches National Coronavirus Safety Advertising Campaign Targeting All Grocery Shoppers 

New #ShopSmart Ad Campaign Encourages All Grocery Shoppers to Take 5 Steps to Help Protect Grocery Stores and Prevent Spread of Coronavirus 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 900,000 grocery workers, announced a new national coronavirus safety advertising campaign entitled, #ShopSmart. 

The new ad campaign is part of a Shop Smart grocery customer safety initiative that is encouraging all of America’s shoppers to help keep grocery stores a safe place to shop and work. Key customer safety steps the campaign highlights include asking that all Americans wear a mask every time they shop, keep at least six feet apart from workers and other shoppers, pay with credit cards, and use store-provided plastic bags to limit the spread of germs. 

As part of the new six-figure UFCW national advertising campaign, the grocery customer safety commercial will air on MSNBC, CNN, and media outlets across the country and will reach more than 3.2 million Americans 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement: 

“Grocery stores and workers are essential to our national fight against the coronavirus outbreak. No matter where you shop, every American must do more to help protect our local grocery stores and the brave men and women keeping them open for our families.   

“The #ShopSmart campaign is just one important piece of our national effort to protect all workers, union and non-union, and the American people. Working together, we believe that if every shopper adopts these easy safety steps, we can help protect these essential grocery workers and make sure that grocery stores remain a safe place to shop and work when we need them most.” 

The first phase of the #Shop Smart ad campaign will begin airing nationally today in 21 media markets across 8 states, including the major media markets of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. 

The UFCW Shop Smart commercial features the following text: 

Tip #1: Stay Safe

When shopping, be sure to wear a mask and gloves at all times. If you’re showing symptoms, please don’t shop. See if a loved one can shop for you. Minimize frequency of shopping trips. 

Tip #2: Social Distancing

Maintain as much distance as possible from other shoppers – especially while waiting in line – and employees when you can. The CDC recommends at least six feet, which is the length of about two shopping carts. 

Tip #3: Limit Contact

Do your best not to touch surfaces and bring your own wipes to disinfect touch-points, including the handles on shopping carts. Please use store provided plastic bags instead of reusable bags – they’re safer and cleaner. 

Tip #4: Use Credit Cards

If possible, use your credit card instead of cash…

…and wipe down your card/phone before and after your shopping trip. 

Tip #5: Be Supportive

We’re doing our best to keep our shelves stocked and stores staffed to serve you. We appreciate your patience and understanding!

Text “ShopSmart” to 23396

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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.

April 20, 2020

UFCW Calls on USDA to Take Five Immediate Actions to Protect Meatpacking Workers and America’s Food Supply During Coronavirus Outbreak

America’s Largest Food and Retail Union Urges USDA to Prioritize a Series of Critical Safety Actions, including Testing and Personal Protection Equipment for All Meatpacking and Food Workers 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing all across the country, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on Secretary Sonny Perdue to take a series of immediate actions to protect meatpacking workers and our nation’s food supply.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s meatpacking workers have been on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic from the beginning, working tirelessly to make sure families have the food they need during this crisis. These brave men and women are providing an essential service despite enormous risk to their own health and the health of their families. Every day, these workers are not only putting their lives on the line to protect our nation’s food supply, they continue to work in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.

“The threat these workers face during this outbreak is real and their safety concerns must be addressed immediately. At least six of our own members in meatpacking facilities have tragically passed away and hundreds more have been impacted by this ongoing pandemic. All across the country, we are witnessing meatpacking facilities having to close down, endangering our food supply at the worst possible moment.

“For the sake of these workers and our nation, it is clear that more must be done now. We are urgently calling on Secretary Perdue to adopt a series of safety actions and enact immediate guidelines to protect these essential workers which, in turn, will protect our communities and this nation’s food supply.”

Today’s UFCW letter calls on the USDA to take five immediate steps to protect meatpacking workers from the Coronavirus:

  • Prioritize Essential Workers for Testing: In order to ensure the health and safety of workers and protect the food supply, essential workers, such as those in meatpacking and food processing, must be prioritized for testing
  • Immediate Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Though social and physical distancing are essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19, workers still need access to PPE, such as masks and gloves. The reality is that many of our meatpacking members lack the critical personal protection equipment necessary to do their job and reduce the risk of exposure. It is essential that the USDA, in conjunction with the White House Task force, prioritize all meatpacking and food workers for PPE to ensure the health and safety of these workers and to protect our food supply.
  • Immediate Halt On Line Speed Waivers: In the first two weeks of this month, the USDA’s Food and Safety Inspection Service approved 11 regulatory waivers for poultry plants to increase their maximum line speed. Rather than protect our food supply and workers, these waivers guarantee that workers are more crowded along a meatpacking line and more workers are put at risk of either catching or spreading the virus. It is critical that the USDA immediately cease granting any new waivers and suspend all existing waivers that allow plants to operate at faster speeds.
  • Mandate Social Distancing Where Possible: In order to responsibly protect workers and prevent spread of the disease, companies must enforce and practice six-foot social and physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, even if this means production slows down. Where distancing is not possible, companies should use plexiglass barriers to separate and protect workers, and/or ensure that all workers are provided with masks that can safely be used under these extreme conditions.
  • Isolate Workers Who Show Symptoms or Test Positive for COVID-19: In light of the largest outbreak to date at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it is critical to identify and isolate workers who have tested positive or who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. These workers should be allowed to quarantine at home, with pay, per the recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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.

April 19, 2020

UFCW and JBS Announce Increased Pay and Enhanced Protective Equipment for Meatpacking Workers on Frontlines of Coronavirus Pandemic

America’s Largest Food and Retail Union Applauds Action by JBS, Largest U.S. Beef and Pork Processor, to Strengthen Worker Support and Protections  

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers all across the country, announced an agreement with JBS — the leading processor of beef and pork in the United States — to increase wages for workers by $4 per hour and further strengthen safety measures in these plants.

The agreement between the UFCW and JBS is the union’s latest action to protect workers and strengthen our nation’s food supply during the coronavirus pandemic. This follows UFCW’s recent announcement of increased pay and protections for workers across these industries.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“In the face of this pandemic, the safety of JBS workers and all our meatpacking members is paramount. The UFCW has worked throughout this national health crisis to ensure that our union members are protected and millions of Americans continue to have access to the food they need.

“We applaud JBS and our UFCW Locals for coming to an agreement that recognizes the hard work and sacrifices of these brave men and women by giving them an additional $4 an hour and, more importantly, access to the personal protection equipment like masks, gloves, and face shields that they need to do their jobs safely.

“We hope JBS’s leadership sends a message to all other companies – union and non-union. Now, more than ever, it is critical that not only is our food supply protected, but that food processing and meatpacking workers are protected as they perform such an essential role during this health crisis.”

Background:

As part of this new agreement, JBS announced the following for workers at its plants in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin:

  • Beginning April 20 and lasting through May 30, JBS employees will receive an additional $4 an hour in pay increases. This will be in addition to the previously announced $600 bonus.
  • JBS employees will have access to enhanced personal protection equipment like masks, gloves, and face shields.
  • JBS will be installing plexiglass shields in areas of plants where social distancing is not possible.
  • Expanded cafeterias and breakrooms in JBS plants will allow workers to better practice social distancing.
  • Enhanced cleaning in common areas and plants will further strengthen safety measures.

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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.

 

April 16, 2020

UFCW: Amazon and Whole Foods Must Take Immediate Action to Protect Workers From Coronavirus

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Raises Alarm After Report of Six New Whole Foods Worker Infections 

Latest Whole Foods Infections Follow Amazon Firing Workers Speaking Out About Safety Hazards 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union which represents 1.3 million workers, condemned Amazon for firing workers speaking out about dangerous working conditions as coronavirus worker infections continue to increase with six more Whole Foods worker infections just reported. Coronavirus has infected workers in at least 74 Amazon warehouses and delivery facilities.  

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement: 

“This is now a matter of life and death. Amazon and Whole Foods must take immediate action to keep their workers safe from the rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak. With six more Whole Foods worker infections reported just reported, and countless Amazon workers exposed across the country, it is stunning that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is more focused on silencing brave whistleblowers than actually taking the action needed to protect these grocery and warehouse workers.  

“Our nation’s elected leaders are being rightfully held responsible, so why is Jeff Bezos not being held responsible for firing workers who spoke about Amazon’s safety failures? Bezos needs to tell Americans why he is more focused on firing essential workers than doing what is necessary to keep every Whole Foods and Amazon worker safe.  

“Now, more than ever, corporations like Amazon must be held responsible for failing to keep its frontline workers from being exposed to the coronavirus outbreak.” 

Background: 

In the last three weeks, Amazon has fired or dismissed nearly half a dozen workers raising concerns about coronavirus safety issues. In Washington, D.C., six more Whole Foods worker infections were just reported. Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that across industry employers, at least 41 grocery workers have died from coronavirus. 

UFCW has been a leading voice calling for greater accountability of Amazon and its worker mistreatment. Earlier this month, UFCW condemned Amazon for firing the worker who led the recent strike at its Staten Island facility. In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched a campaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers at the same Staten Island fulfillment center.

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 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

April 14, 2020

Kroger, America’s Largest Grocer, and the UFCW, America’s Largest Food and Retail Union, Issue Urgent Call for Nation’s Elected Leaders to Designate Grocery Workers as First Responders

CINCINNATI AND WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, The Kroger Co., America’s largest supermarket, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union, issued a joint statement calling on federal and state government to take swift action to designate associates at grocery stores as “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel.” Today’s statement follows both Kroger’s and the UFCW’s direct advocacy on this topic with elected officials over the last five weeks.

Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen and UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Since the onset of this pandemic, Kroger family of companies associates, who are also members of the UFCW, have been working tirelessly to make sure that millions of American families have the fresh food and products they need. As all Americans are now witnessing – grocery workers play a critical role in our communities and they must be protected.

“Working together, Kroger and the UFCW have already taken significant steps to keep Kroger associates safe and reward them for their incredible sacrifices throughout this ongoing crisis. The truth is more must be done and it must be done now.

“Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action. Specifically, we are requesting our nation’s leaders to assign a temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status for all grocery workers. Make no mistake, this designation is absolutely critical as it will ensure these frontline workers have priority access to personal protection equipment like masks and gloves.

“This urgent call for temporary first responder or emergency personnel status is not just about protecting grocery store workers; it is also about protecting the customers they serve and our nation’s food supply in general.

“We urge our national and statewide elected leaders to act now and protect these essential workers.”

About The Kroger Co.

At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are Fresh for Everyone™ and dedicated to our Purpose: To Feed the Human Spirit®. We are, across our family of companies, nearly half a million associates who serve over 11 million customers daily through a seamless shopping experience under a variety of banner names. We are committed to creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.

About the UFCW

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

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April 13, 2020

National #ShopSmart Campaign to Keep Grocery Workers Safe From Coronavirus & Protect Nation’s Food Supply Announced Today

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Also Releases New Poll Results of Grocery & Food Worker Top Concerns & Fears

New Initiative Launched Amid Increase in Food & Grocery Workers Exposed to Coronavirus 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union which represents over 900,000 grocery workers, launched a new national initiative to help protect America’s food and grocery workers. The new national campaign, entitled #ShopSmart, will target American grocery shoppers and is in response to the growing number of food and grocery workers who are becoming exposed to the coronavirus and the direct threat this growing outbreak poses to our nation’s food supply.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone said:”The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest health and safety crisis that America’s grocery and food workers have ever faced. Since the beginning of the outbreak, these workers have been on the front lines of this terrible pandemic. While tens of millions of Americans were told to work from home for their safety, grocery store and food workers have never had that option. More must be done to protect them and our food supply now.”

The new nationwide public safety effort, which includes a new #ShopSmart ad campaign with digital and TV commercials, is being announced as the UFCW estimates that 30 UFCW members have died from COVID-19, and nearly 3,000 UFCW food and grocery workers have been directly impacted by COVID-19.

The estimated number of deaths and exposed workers is based on reports from UFCW local unions and includes those who have tested positive for COVID-19, missed work due to self-quarantine, are awaiting test results, have been hospitalized, or are symptomatic.

“Grocery workers are deeply concerned. The fact is that this pandemic represents a clear and present danger to our nation’s food supply and all grocery store workers. The “Shop Smart” campaign will help save lives by making clear that all members of the public can take key safety steps to help protect these workers and each other from the coronavirus,” Perrone added.

To highlight the growing concern of food and grocery workers, the UFCW also released results from a survey of more than 5,000 grocery and food workers (sample of 5,000 UFCW members/1 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence level).

The key survey results, which are included below, highlight the real fear and concern of food and grocery workers, and the need to take a more dramatic series of action to protect workers.

  • Customer Support for Workers
    • 29 percent said customers treated them somewhat poorly or very poorly.
  • Top Customer Safety Issues:
    • 85 percent said customers are not practicing social distancing.
    • 81 percent said customers are hoarding supplies or groceries.
    • 62 percent said customers are blaming employees for shortages
    • 43 percent reported instances of customers shouting at employees
  • Safety Priorities for Grocery Stores:
    • When asked what grocery stores should do to improve customer safety and treatment of workers:
      • 72 percent supported a limit on the number of customers in stores
      • 49 percent supported stores banning unruly customers
      • 41 percent supported stores hiring more security
      • 26 percent supported stores hiring more workers to meet demand
      • 23 percent supported advertisements with customer safety tips

For more information about UFCW’s customer campaign, please visit http://www.ufcw.org/coronavirus/customers/.

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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

April 10, 2020

UFCW Urges Easter Grocery Shoppers to Exercise Caution as Coronavirus Outbreak Continues

Traditionally One of the Biggest Grocery Shopping Weekends of the Year, the UFCW Calls on Americans to Take All Necessary Safety Steps When Shopping

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Kroger Co. and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in food and retail, called for customers to exercise caution when grocery shopping for Easter this weekend. Ahead of one of the biggest grocery shopping weekends of the year, the union urges shoppers to stay safe as the coronavirus outbreak continues to put both customers and workers at risk.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“As millions of Americans shop for groceries this holiday weekend, we urge all customers to exercise caution as the coronavirus continues to put both shoppers and workers at risk all across the country. Grocery workers are on the front lines of this outbreak and have been working around the clock to make sure families have the food and supplies they need to stay safe.

“To help reduce the spread of this killer virus, it is absolutely critical that all Easter weekend grocery shoppers wear a mask while shopping, practice social distancing throughout the store, safely discard gloves and masks in trash cans, limit the number of trips and shoppers to an absolute minimum, and respect special shopping times for seniors.

“All Americans have a responsibility to help protect these essential workers and their fellow shoppers. Working together, by taking simple safety steps, we can help protect countless lives and keep our nation’s food supply strong.”

Background:

With the number of COVID-19 infections for frontline workers increasing, the UFCW sent a letter to the CDC this week calling for mandatory guidance specifically for grocery stores, pharmacies and food processing facilities, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This week, the UFCW partnered with Albertsons Companies, one of the biggest grocery chains in the country, on a new national campaign to designate grocery workers as first responders to ensure that they have access to the testing, personal protective equipment, and other assistance they need to keep grocery stores open and running during the outbreak.

UFCW International and UFCW local unions across the country have been working with top companies in the grocery and supermarket companies to secure the protections these frontline workers need to stay safe and continue doing this essential work during the pandemic.

Grocery Store Safety Measures:

  • Working with Kroger and Safeway/Albertsons, UFCW secured new protective measures for 710,000 grocery workers across the country who work at these stores. These protective measures include:
    • 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.
  • In Stop & Shop stores across New England, New York, and New Jersey, 70,000 grocery workers received an additional 2 weeks of paid sick leave to ensure they are able to stay safe and healthy on the job.
  • Click here to read more about how UFCW is keeping grocery workers and customers safe.

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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 8, 2020

UFCW Calls on CDC to Issue Mandatory Guidance for Frontline Workers During Coronavirus Outbreak

America’s Largest Food and Retail Union Sends Letter to CDC Director Redfield Calling for Additional Protections for Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, and Food Processing Facilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in food and retail, sent a letter calling on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to immediately issue mandatory guidance for grocery stores, pharmacies and food processing facilities to ensure that America’s frontline workers and our country’s food supply and prescription drugs remain safe.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“American workers in grocery stores, pharmacies, and food production are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak to make sure families have the food and medicine they need. Every day, these brave workers are in close contact with sometimes thousands of customers, increasing their own risk of becoming infected with the virus.

“With the growing threat of the coronavirus, we are urging the CDC to issue new mandatory guidance that standardizes safety protocols for grocery stores, pharmacies, food processing and meatpacking facilities. Given the nature of the threat, the CDC must also provide new guidelines for physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), and best practices for customers.

“It is absolutely critical that the CDC do more to help protect frontline workers who are at daily risk of  becoming infected and even dying from the Coronavirus. This is about not just saving the lives of these workers, but also about protecting the customers they serve. It is about protecting and maintaining the safety of our food supply. Keeping these workers safe will help keep America safe. The CDC must act now to issue strong new safety guidance. American lives are on the line. These workers’ lives are on the line. We cannot wait any longer.”

Background:

Today, the UFCW sent a letter calling for the CDC to issue mandatory guidance specifically for grocery stores, pharmacies and food processing facilities, during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In the letter, UFCW called on the CDC to issue detailed guidance on the following in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among workers and customers and to keep food supply and prescription drugs safe:

Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

  1. In-Store Social Distancing:
    • Limit the number of consumers in a store at any given time to 20 to 30 percent of the store’s capacity.
    • Implement procedures to ensure that both employees and customers always remain at least six feet apart.
    • Procedures should include a marked “social distancing line” which begins six feet away from all checkout counters.
  1. Improve Disinfecting, Sanitizing & Hygiene Practices:
    • Employees must be provided with sufficient break times to wash their hands as necessary or, at a minimum, every 30 minutes.
    • Sanitize frequent touchpoints, including point of sale terminals at registers throughout the day.
    • Provide disinfecting wipes for customers to disinfect carts, as well as at cash registers.
    • Designate employee(s) to ensure cleaning guidelines set by the CDC are followed.
    • Provide set time to allow for stores to be properly sanitized and re-stocked.
  1. Mandate Wearing of Personal Protective Equipment:
    • Mandate that all workers wear masks, gloves, and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) available at the workplace.
    • Mandate all employers to provide N95 masks, gloves, and other PPE when it becomes available.
  1. Urge Americans to Help Save Lives by Shopping Smart
    • Call on all Americans to practice the following each time they visit a grocery store or pharmacy:
      • Always wear a cloth face cover, ideally a mask, when inside the store.
      • Limit number of shoppers to one per family
      • Practice social distancing throughout the store – not just at check-out stands.
      • Properly discard their own PPE in trash cans.
      • Respect special shopping times for seniors.

Food Processing and Packing Plants

  1. Improve Safety Conditions:
    • Mandate that all employers provide PPE, and that workers wear PPE during the workday.
    • Ensure social distancing practices are implemented across the workplace at all times where possible.
    • When social distancing is not possible, PPE must be provided and used by all employees. No exceptions.
    • Make sure that safety practices are clearly posted throughout facility and are in the necessary languages for employees to read.
    • Provide PPEs for workers, including face masks.

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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

 

April 7, 2020

Albertsons and UFCW Launch Joint Effort To Classify Grocery Workers as First Responders During Coronavirus Outbreak

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Announces New Partnership with Major Grocery Chain in Full-Page New York Times Ad Campaign

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Albertsons Companies — which employs more than 250,000 grocery workers across the country at Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel Osco, Vons, Pavilions, and Albertsons supermarkets — joined the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union, in announcing a joint national effort to seek a temporary designation of “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel” for supermarket associates to ensure that they are prioritized for testing and provided personal protection equipment during the coronavirus outbreak.

The UFCW is announcing the joint effort to address workplace and public safety in an open letter to our nation’s policymakers and influencers in a full-page advertisement in today’s New York Times print edition of the newspaper.

Albertsons Companies President & CEO Vivek Sankaran and UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Since the onset of this pandemic, associates in Albertsons Companies stores, who are also proud members of UFCW union, have been working tirelessly to make sure that America’s families have the food and groceries they need. These men and women are sacrificing every day to protect our nation’s food supply, and now is the time for our leaders in state and federal governments to do the same for them.

“The temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status would help ensure these incredible grocery workers access to priority testing, have access to personal protection equipment, like masks and gloves, as well other workplace protections necessary to keep themselves and the customers they serve safe and healthy.

“This joint action is an example of how all Americans must work together to protect everyone working on the front lines. This includes not only our brave first responders and healthcare workers but also associates at our nation’s grocery stores who are providing communities with the essential food and supplies needed to weather this public health crisis.”

A copy of the New York Times advertisement announcing the joint effort can be seen here.

Background:

Several states have taken measures to ensure grocery store workers have access to similar benefits and protections as first responders:

  • Grocery store workers have access to emergency childcare in the following states: Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York.
  • Governors in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have issued executive orders to ensure grocery stores are safer workplaces.

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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.

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