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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

What you need to know before going to the grocery store

Before You Go


Plan your trips carefully

Despite the CDC’s recommendations, grocery workers across the country have been reporting some customers are still making routine daily trips to the grocery store. While under normal circumstances workers are happy to see familiar faces every day, it is not safe right now because of coronavirus.

Make fewer trips to the store by practicing meal planning and balancing fresh produce and other perishable items with frozen, dried, or canned goods. Bring a list with you.

If you still find yourself making frequent trips for small items, try to coordinate with friends or neighbors and take turns making shopping trips. Just be sure to use good social distancing practices when exchanging groceries.

Check store policies

Look online for what your store is doing to protect both customers and workers. Many stores now close early to sanitize or offer dedicated shopping hours to senior customers and other at-risk groups. Some stores have installed sneeze-guards at the checkouts and put colored tape on floors to help customers keep their distance while in the checkout lane. If you find your store hasn’t taken any precautions, call and ask to speak with the manager and let them know safety is a priority for you and they need to do better.

Wash your hands

Yes, you need to wash your hands when you get back to the store, but washing your hands before you leave also can cut down on you inadvertently spreading germs to others.

Go solo

We know your family is going stir-crazy, but a trip to the grocery store right now should be treated as a serious occasion and a necessity, not a social outing. If you are able to, have one person in the family go shopping and while others stay at home.

 

At the store


 Bring your own hand sanitizer and wipes, if you have them

While the UFCW has been working with many union grocery employers to make sure they provide hand sanitizer and wipes, recognize that this is a challenging time for everyone. It’s best to bring your own if you can just in case they are out. Use the wipes to wipe down the shopping cart.

But don’t panic if you don’t have any wipes. “The risk of becoming infected from touching any individual shopping cart is probably very, very low,” said Dr. Daniel Winetsky, infectious diseases fellow at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in a recent article in The New York Times. “So if wipes are not available, there is no need to abandon your grocery shopping needs. Just try not to touch your face while shopping, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after you are done.”

If you use gloves, use them properly

Gloves, when used properly, can help you keep your hands clean, but it is important to remember that if you touch your face while wearing gloves or touch anything else you are shopping for, an unwashed glove and an unwashed hand both carry the same risk of cross contamination. So remember, don’t let the fact you are wearing gloves lure you into a false sense of security. You should still avoid touching whatever surfaces you can while you are shopping.

Put used gloves into the trash can

Used gloves should be discarded of immediately directly into the trash can, not thrown on the ground of the parking lot or shoved into a pocket. Making someone else clean up after you and exposing them to all the germs you could have picked up while shopping is not in the spirit of the #ShopSmart pledge, and isn’t being very thoughtful to the essential workers who already have enough to deal with.

Follow rules and posted guidelines

Remember to not only keep 6 feet away from other customers, but from workers, as well. If a grocery worker is stocking a shelf and you need an item near them, either let them continue doing their job and check back at the end of your trip, or politely let them know you would like to get an item near them.

Avoid cash transactions if you can

This includes not only paying for groceries, but purchasing lottery tickets or getting cash back from the register. Cash passes through a number of hands, both before and after it touches your wallet. It’s also safer for workers to avoid using cash if you can right now.

When You Get Home


Wash your hands and face

You probably know to wash your hands already, but it is a good idea to wash your face, as well. Sometimes, it is difficult to know whether you’ve touched your face or not while you were out because it’s often such a subconscious act. If you have sensitive skin, your normal facial soap is likely fine to use. Since we’re dealing with a virus, you don’t need soap that specifically says it’s “antibacterial” for it to work, it just needs to be able to get you clean.

Take your shoes off or disinfect them

Disinfecting the soles of your shoes can help keep from tracking any germs, not just COVID-19, around your house. This is especially important if you have kids who might spend more time rolling around on the floor than you do.

Disinfect what groceries you can

While there is no evidence the coronavirus is transmitted through food, there’s no harm in wiping down non-porous items such as bottles of juice or removing cereal from the outer box it comes in just in case. Wash produce with soap and water. Put all of the discarded packaging and soiled paper towels into a bag, then seal it up and throw it away.

When you are done, wipe down the surface the groceries were on. Put any bags into a clean back and seal them up. If you plan to reuse the bags around the house as trash bags like lots of thrifty households do, keep them sealed up and stored somewhere out of the way for at least a few days first.

Change your clothes and take a shower

Change your clothes when you get home from the grocery store and put them in the wash. Shopping right now is stressful. In addition to being cleaner and reducing the chance of any cross-contamination, you’ll also just feel better if you take a shower when you get home.


Take the pledge to #ShopSmart

 

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 9, 2020

What the UFCW is asking the CDC to do in response to the coronavirus

During the coronavirus outbreak, employers, reporters, customers and community groups have been turning to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidance on what the government recommended actions are to curb the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, the UFCW sent a letter to the CDC with our recommendations for safety measures that should be taken in grocery stores, pharmacies, and food packing and processing facilities.

This guidance is based on both the advice of health and safety experts as well as needs we have heard echoed from hard working UFCW members across the country who desperately need better protections in place in order to continue to serve the American public.

“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,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “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.”

If you are a UFCW member and you are experiencing problems where you work because of COVID-19, please submit a report to us so we can continue to track what is happening across the country.


Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Learn more at

UFCW & COVID 19

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 8, 2020

A special thank you from Senator Sherrod Brown to UFCW members

Senator Sherrod Brown had a personal message for UFCW members hard at work on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis. We appreciate his recognition of their valiant efforts and encourage others in the position to do so to voice their support for the essential workers keeping our communities running.

Thank you to the UFCW members who, right now, are on the job serving the American public. We know that we all have anxieties from this illness and from worries about the future. On top of that are people like UFCW workers who are potentially exposed to this virus who are out doing work while many of us are at home. I am urging this administration to add a pandemic pay so that those workers who are exposing themselves potentially to this virus in food service who are working at grocery stores, who are UFCW members, that they are taken care of. If we care about the dignity of work in this country, we fight for the people who make it work. That means UFCW members who are working to provide us food in our grocery stores around the country.

We agree — any relief package should include “pandemic pay” for ALL food workers who are being exposed to this virus while keeping our communities and our families fed.

For more information, visit www.ufcw.org/coronavirus

April 8, 2020

Tips for how to clean your groceries

If there is one thing that should make you feel more at ease about getting groceries, it’s that there isn’t currently any evidence that the coronavirus can be spread by food. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like a packaging container, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

In general, because of poor survivability of the coronavirus on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from groceries or packaging.

Even though the risk is low, since the virus can live on surfaces for some time, it makes sense if you are being extra cautious to treat the boxes and bags you bring home from the grocery store like any other surface that has been exposed to the public.

You don’t need to go over the top, but there are some simple precautions you can take to give yourself a little piece of mind. If you have a garage or area separate from your main living space, you could store items there for a few days that you don’t plan to use right away. Since the virus can live anywhere from a few hours to three days on different types of surfaces, leaving items untouched for a few days is a good way to significantly reduce any potential virus that might have been on the products.

Groceries you need to put in the fridge or use right away should be wiped down. For other packaged items, prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Wipe down non-porous items such as bottles of juice or cans. Wipe down boxes, or remove items like cereal from their outer packaging. Put all of the discarded packaging and soiled paper towels into a bag, then seal it up and throw it away.

When you are done, wipe down the surface the groceries were on. Put any bags into a clean bag and seal them up before discarding. And as always, don’t forget to wash your hands when you are finished.


Learn more about what the UFCW is doing to help protect both grocery workers and customers at:

UFCW & COVID-19