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UFCW: Biden COVID Relief Bill is Key Step to Support Essential Food Workers Facing Daily Health Threat of Virus Infection on Frontlines

March 8, 2021

Union for 1.3 Million Essential Workers in Food & Retail Calls Bill Important Initial Investment in Essential Workers Protecting Food Supply During Pandemic, Urges Swift House Passage 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million frontline and essential workers, praised Senate passage of the American Rescue Plan as a strong step to provide millions of workers and families with the urgent relief they need as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. UFCW calls for swift House passage of the bill which lays the foundation for further support for essential food workers who continue to face the daily threat of COVID infection as they serve on the frontlines to keep our food supply secure during this crisis.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will deliver the urgent relief America’s essential workers need as this pandemic continues to infect thousands every day. In grocery stores and meatpacking plants across the country, millions of essential workers are on the frontlines as they face the daily threat of COVID infection to protect our food supply during this crisis. 

“With the American Rescue Plan, these brave frontline workers will receive the support they have earned as they continue to put their own health at risk so that our families can put food on the table. President Biden’s COVID relief plan increases funding to address vaccine delays for essential workers, provides funding for COVID testing and PPE, and expands vital economic assistance through $1,400 direct stimulus payments, a pension fix, increased housing assistance, and expanded SNAP food aid for millions of hard-hit families.

“For the sake of all essential and frontline grocery and food workers, the House must pass the American Rescue Plan and send it to President Biden’s desk for his signature so that we can deliver the critical assistance that America’s essential workers need as this crisis continues.”


UFCW has been a leading national voice calling to strengthen support for essential workers in grocery stores and meatpacking plants who are still facing the daily threat of COVID exposure on the frontlines. Grocery COVID outbreaks spiked in the past two months with over 130 different grocery outbreaks in California, nearly 200 Costco worker infections at a single store in Washington State, and close to 500 grocery worker infections in Houston just since Christmas. As COVID risks continue for grocery and meatpacking workers on the frontlines, UFCW has urged both state and national leaders for action to strengthen vaccine access and increase worker safety protections in these industries.

COVID INFECTIONS: UFCW today confirmed that among the union’s essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic, there have now been at least:

  • 398 frontline worker deaths and over 79,900 frontline workers infected or exposed 
  • 139 grocery worker deaths and 32,200 grocery workers infected or exposed 
  • 132 meatpacking worker deaths and 22,000 meatpacking workers infected or exposed


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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