483 Frontline Worker COVID Deaths Confirmed Among Union’s Members as Delta Variant Cases Explode Across the Country
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the union for 1.3 million essential workers in grocery, retail, pharmacies, meatpacking, and many other frontline businesses, welcomed the move by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a key step to addressing vaccine hesitancy and boosting vaccination efforts as the COVID-19 Delta surge continues to put frontline workers at risk across the country.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“Today’s FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine is a historic step in our nation’s fight against the COVID-19 Delta threat and surge so many of our communities are now facing. We are hopeful that all unvaccinated Americans and essential workers who have waited for full approval, will now take the important step to protect themselves and others and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“With more employers considering vaccine mandates after this new FDA approval, UFCW continues to urge all businesses to negotiate any vaccine requirements with their frontline workers. Ensuring that workers have a voice in COVID workplace safety policies is critical to guaranteeing these measures are implemented fairly and build the trust and strong consensus needed for these safeguards to be effective. Companies must also guarantee paid leave so that all their frontline workers can get the vaccine without fear of losing a paycheck.
“As the largest union for essential workers in grocery stores and meatpacking plants, UFCW has already helped many of its 1.3 million members to get vaccinated and is urging all Americans to get vaccinated and wear masks in public to help stop the spread of COVID. By taking these important steps, we can all do our part to help protect America’s essential workers and our loved ones. Working together, we can and will turn the tide on this deadly pandemic.”
UFCW has been one of the strongest champions of vaccines for America’s essential workers. In December 2020, UFCW called on the CDC and governors in all 50 states to prioritize these workers for early vaccine access.
In early 2021, UFCW launched a national vaccine campaign, hosting community vaccine clinics in California, Arizona, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and many other states to help essential workers get vaccinated and protect their families.
UFCW organized digital vaccine townhalls with Dr. Anthony Fauci as well as health experts from the White House, CDC, and FDA to answer questions from workers hesitant about the vaccine, with a focus on Latino and African-American workers who have been among the hardest hit by COVID.
COVID NUMBERS: In the latest data compiled, UFCW confirmed that among the union’s members nationwide, there have already been at least:
- 483 frontline worker deaths and at least 93, 900 frontline workers infected or exposed
- 198 grocery worker deaths and at least 43,900 grocery workers infected or exposed
- 132 meatpacking worker deaths and 22,400 meatpacking workers infected or exposed
- 67 food processing worker deaths and 13,100 food processing workers infected or exposed
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.