Union for 80,000 Ohio Frontline Workers Joins Senator Brown, U.S. Rep Joyce Betty in Call for Congress to Approve $3.5 Trillion Budget and Infrastructure Plan to Strengthen Ohio Economy
CLEVELAND, OH – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the union for over 80,000 Ohio essential workers in grocery, meatpacking, and other frontline industries, joined U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03) for a virtual roundtable with Ohio workers calling on Congress to pass President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and highlighting how it helps Ohio working families.
Ohio frontline workers at today’s roundtable are union members of UFCW Local 1059 in Columbus, UFCW Local 880 in the Greater Cleveland area, and UFCW Local 75 in Dayton. Ohio workers urged Congress to pass Biden’s plan to create good Ohio jobs and address issues like paid sick leave, the Child Tax Credit, and protecting the right of workers to unionize for better working conditions as the pandemic continues.
VIDEO: Click here for a video of today’s Ohio worker roundtable
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown: “So many of you have been on the front lines of this pandemic, risking your lives so that Americans can keep food on their table and get their medicine and all their essentials. Corporations try to get positive press off of their workers, while paying them poverty wages and in too many cases, failing to protect their safety. Workers don’t need a PR campaign – they need fair pay and protections on the job, and a union like UFCW to fight for them and be their voice.”
U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-03): “Unions like UFCW, and the essential workers they represent, have held this nation together through a year and a half of COVID recovery. It was an honor to join my union brothers and sisters, and my dear colleague Senator Sherrod Brown for this roundtable, and to share everything we are doing in Washington to push for safer, fairer workplaces, livable wages, and everything else the UFCW fights for.”
Dawn Bowen, a Kroger grocery worker in Galloway and member of UFCW Local 1059: “As a mother and essential worker, I’ve faced so many challenges during this pandemic. My managers tried to get me to go to work, although my son tested positive for COVID-19, but my union had my back and helped me deal with the added stress of having to fight for the benefits I have earned. I urge Congress to pass the grant program for food workers in the reconciliation package to help us with the continued out-of-pocket expenses we have had during the pandemic.”
Melinda Edwards, a Kroger grocery worker in Cincinnati and a member of UFCW Local 75, said, “So many Ohio essential workers live paycheck to paycheck and they cannot afford to lose a day’s pay when they are sick. Many Ohio workers have been forced to take unpaid time off during the pandemic to care for a loved one. Working people like me face a real challenge when having to take unpaid leave to care for those we love. I am asking Congress to help Ohio working families by making sure the Build Back Better bill includes paid time off work in order to take care of our family during this ongoing pandemic.”
Christine Darrow, an Acme grocery worker in Parma and a member of UFCW Local 880, said, “As a single mom, I have to be very careful about how and where we spend our money. The Child Tax Credit has had a huge impact on my family, helping me provide more for my son. And I know the Child Tax Credit is helping families across Ohio provide for their children the life that they deserve. If this essential lifeline could be extended, that could make a big impact on our lives. Congress should make the Child Tax Credit permanent in order to help all Ohio working families.”
Bill Finnegan, a Campbell’s Soup plant worker in Napoleon and member of UFCW Local 75: “This past year has been an eye-opening experience as UFCW Local 75 has met with Ohio essential workers across the state. People need workplace protections, good wages, and fair schedules. I am asking Congress to ensure that the final budget reconciliation bill strengthens the right of Ohio workers to unionize so that worker voices can be heard and we can help make work better for all of America’s workers.”
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has been a leading voice for Ohio essential workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and many more frontline businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. UFCW has helped to enact policies like the Child Tax Credit and strengthened pay and protections for essential workers across Ohio.
COVID WORKER IMPACT: UFCW recently confirmed that the COVID-19 Delta surge continues to impact essential workers in Ohio and across the country. Among the union’s members nationwide, there have now 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
United Food and Commercial Workers is the union for over 80,000 Ohio essential workers in food processing, grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other frontline industries. To learn more about UFCW, go to www.ufcw.org/about.