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UFCW: Biden Labor Secretary Pick Marty Walsh a Strong Champion for American Workers on the Frontlines of COVID-19

January 7, 2021

Marty Walsh Labor Nominee

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Representing 1.3 Million Workers Says Walsh Will Put America’s Essential Workers First as Pandemic Continues

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million frontline workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, healthcare and other frontline industries, applauded President-elect Joe Biden for choosing Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to lead the U.S. Department of Labor in his administration.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s essential workers are still on the frontlines of this pandemic, and they need leaders who will step up to keep them safe on the job as they serve our communities during this crisis. President-elect Biden’s choice of Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary sends a clear message that this administration is ready to fight for America’s frontline workers. 

“Under the Trump Administration, the Department of Labor has failed to protect America’s frontline workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and so many other frontline businesses. With Marty Walsh serving as Labor Secretary, American workers will know they have a champion who will hold corporations accountable and support the good-paying union jobs our country needs.

“As Boston Mayor and throughout his career, Marty Walsh has always been a champion for American workers. Whether it was standing with Stop & Shop grocery workers striking to protect their health care, creating good union jobs, or supporting a strong minimum wage for Boston workers, Walsh has always put hardworking families first. 

“Protecting our country’s essential workers is crucial to taking control of this pandemic and rebuilding the economy. As the union for 1.3 million food and retail workers, UFCW is proud to support Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary.

BACKGROUND

UFCW has been a leading national voice for frontline workers during the pandemic and recently urged governors in all 50 states to prioritize essential workers for COVID-19 vaccine access. Mayor Walsh has been a strong champion for essential workers, standing with UFCW Stop & Shop grocery workers on strike to protect their health care, creating good union jobs, or supporting a strong minimum wage for Boston workers. 

UFCW recently released new COVID-19 infection numbers, announcing that among the union’s members across the country there have already been at least:

  • 363 frontline worker deaths and over 63,000 frontline workers infected or exposed
  • 124 grocery worker deaths and 23,100 grocery workers infected or exposed
  • 131 meatpacking worker deaths and 20,800 meatpacking workers infected or exposed

UFCW has been leading the push to support grocery workers still on the frontlines of the pandemic. This past month, the union successfully advanced new grocery worker hazard pay measures in Long Beach and Los Angeles, the first cities in the country acting to restore pandemic pay, a critical lifeline for workers and their families. This comes amid an explosion in COVID-19 grocery outbreaks in Los Angeles and Seattle. In recent weeks, UFCW’s national hazard pay campaign helped secure new deals helping over 120,000 grocery workers across the country. 

With COVID-19 infections in meatpacking plants continuing, UFCW has condemned the failure of the Trump Administration to hold employers accountable for worker safety and called for the federal government to implement an enforceable national safety standard, increase access to PPE and COVID-19 testing, and conduct rigorous proactive inspections.

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UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 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.