UFCW International President Marc Perrone spoke with CNN’s lead political anchor, Wolf Blitzer, today on about the importance of protecting the health and well-being of those working to keep our grocery stores and food processing facilities running during the coronavirus outbreak.
Though Congress recently passed an emergency relief bill, the bill fails to provide paid leave for 80 percent of American workers.
The need for Congress to act is demonstrated by the irresponsible actions of companies like Whole Foods and Amazon, who have chosen to extend paid sick leave only to those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
At a time when testing is incredibly scarce, requiring testing before offering paid leave is not only heartless, but dangerous to public health as it makes it impossible for workers who cannot afford to go without a paycheck to adhere to the recommended health guidelines to stay home if they feel ill.
The UFCW has been working with union employers like Stop & Shop and Safeway on ways to improve protections for employees while keeping stores operational. In Stop & Shop stores across the northeast, 70,000 grocery workers received a 10% raise and two additional weeks of paid leave.
In Seattle, UFCW Local 21, 367, and 1439 announced a Safeway/Albertsons deal including increased scheduling flexibility to accommodate childcare, expanded use of paid sick leave to cover childcare needs, and protecting worker eligibility for medical coverage while out on sick leave.
In Missouri, UFCW Local 655 announced Schnucks, Dierbergs, and Straubs grocery stores will 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.