America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Town Hall with Dr. Fauci Underscores COVID Risks Essential Workers Face, Urgent Need to Expedite Vaccine Access as States Weaken Pandemic Safeguards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million frontline and essential workers hosted a national town hall on COVID safety measures and vaccine access for essential workers with Dr. Anthony Fauci, senior advisor to President Biden on pandemic response. Click here for video of Fauci COVID town hall with UFCW grocery and meatpacking workers.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone on vaccine access for essential workers: “Essential workers face a 55 percent higher risk of catching COVID, compared to non-essential workers. Vaccine access for essential workers is absolutely critical given the daily hazards that they face. Yet over 35 states are failing to prioritize vaccine access for essential workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, even as they continue to face greater health risks. We are confident and hopeful that President Biden and Dr. Fauci will help ensure vaccine access is expanded to more essential workers. As a part of our commitment to help improve vaccine access, UFCW local unions in California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Colorado, and Washington have all hosted vaccination sites to serve many of the brave essential workers that our union represents.”
Dr. Fauci on Texas and Mississippi ending COVID mask mandates: “I think that was ill-advised. It is really quite risky to do that for the simple reason that if you look at the amount of infection that is in the community right now, even though the slope is coming down sharply, if you look at the last seven day average, it’s plateaued. That’s a dangerous sign because when that has happened in the past, when you pull back on measures of public health, invariably you’ve seen a surge back up. So, we really don’t want to claim premature victory. Right now, the level of community spread is between 55,000 and 70,000 cases per day. In order to completely pull back on all public health measures, you want that level to be remarkably low, and 60,000 to 70,000 per day is not low. So, I think that is really risky to pull back on mitigation measures of public health.”
UFCW has been a leading national voice for frontline workers during the pandemic and has urged all 50 states to prioritize essential workers for vaccine access. A new report highlights that over 35 states are failing to provide vaccine access for grocery and meatpacking workers even as these workers continue to face the daily risk of COVID exposure on the frontlines of the pandemic.
As the largest union for grocery workers, UFCW has highlighted the growing threat in stores as the pandemic continues. Grocery COVID outbreaks have spiked in the past two months with over 130 different grocery COVID outbreaks in Southern California, nearly 200 Costco worker infections at a single store in Washington State, and close to 500 grocery worker infections at Kroger stores in Houston just since Christmas.
COVID NUMBERS: UFCW announced the COVID threat to frontline food workers is worsening every day. Among the union’s members across the country, there have now been:
- Nearly 400 frontline worker deaths and 77,600 frontline workers infected or exposed
- 137 grocery worker deaths and over 30,100 grocery 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