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UFCW: Biden Tax Credit Boosts Vaccine Paid Leave for Workers, All Grocery & Meatpacking CEOs Must Guarantee Vaccine Paid Leave for Workers on COVID Frontlines

April 22, 2021

30 Percent Spike in COVID Deaths of Grocery Workers Highlights Urgent Need to Expedite Vaccine Access as Essential Workers Still Face Delays in Many States

Union for 1.3 Million Essential Workers in Grocery, Meatpacking, Calls on Industry Leaders to Provide Paid Leave for All Employees to Get Vaccine

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million essential workers in grocery, meatpacking, and other frontline industries, applauded President Biden’s new vaccine tax credits for small businesses to provide paid time off to get the COVID-19 vaccine, and joined the White House in calling on all frontline employers to guarantee paid leave for their essential workers to get the vaccine. Since March 1, UFCW reports a national 30 percent spike in COVID deaths of grocery workers and 24 percent increase in grocery workers infected or exposed to the virus.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement: 

“President Biden’s vaccine tax credits for small businesses are a critical step to ensure more of America’s essential workers can get the vaccine without losing a paycheck. 

“America’s frontline essential workers in grocery stores and meatpacking plants continue to face some of the highest risks of COVID exposure and the need to strengthen vaccine access has never been more urgent. But too many states are failing to ensure essential food workers have vaccine access as they continue to face barriers with the vaccine eligibility pool expanding.

“As the union for essential food workers across the country, UFCW is joining President Biden in calling on all CEOs to guarantee paid leave for their frontline employees to get the vaccine. To keep our food supply secure as the pandemic continues, we need action now from every frontline business to eliminate the hurdles these workers face to getting vaccinated.”

BACKGROUND:

UFCW has been a leading national voice for essential workers in grocery stores and meatpacking plants who still face the daily threat of COVID-19 exposure on the frontlines while too many states fail to guarantee vaccine access for these workers.

Since March 1, UFCW reports a nearly 30 percent increase in grocery worker deaths and a 24 percent increase in grocery workers infected or exposed following supermarket outbreaks at Whole FoodsCostcoTrader Joe’s and other chains across the country.

NEW COVID NUMBERS: UFCW confirmed today that COVID-19 continues to threaten essential food workers nationwide. According to new UFCW estimates, among the union’s members nationwide, there have already been at least:

  • 456 frontline worker deaths and at least 91,400 frontline workers infected or exposed
  • 178 grocery worker deaths and at least 39,900 grocery workers infected or exposed 
  • 132 meatpacking worker deaths and 22,200 meatpacking workers infected or exposed
  • 50 food processing worker deaths and 11,700 food processing workers infected or exposed

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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