Stop & Shop has extended the 10% hazard pay through July 4th. As we approach that date, it will be reviewed again.

We thank all of our hardworking members for their continued dedication to serving their communities on the frontlines during this crisis. You continue to provide food security in an environment where you are exposed to thousands of customers each day with the very real risk of infection still present.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 371 thank and salute all of our UFCW members who work in supermarkets and food processing to keep the food supply chain operative, and in nursing homes caring for our sick and aged family members.  These union members make daily sacrifices to assure the public they will have food for their family table and that their families are cared for.  Our members are among the heroes holding the moral fiber of this country together during this terrible time.

 

To those fallen, we owe a debt of gratitude we can never repay. Our prayers and best wishes go out for a swift and full recovery for those ill, and we extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those we have lost.

 

Workers’ Memorial Day was established fifty years ago on April 28th to recognize workers who died or suffered from exposures to hazards at work. It also encourages us to think of ways in which we all can help to achieve the goal of safer and healthier workplaces.

 

If you are able, please take a moment of silence at 10:00am on Tuesday April 28th in recognition of Workers’ Memorial Day.  This will allow you to honor your fellow union sisters and brothers who have passed away from COVID-19, take a moment to think of your colleagues, friends, and loved ones who are recovering from the illness, and to thank first responders and essential workers like yourselves for their continued service to our communities.

 

We implore our members to continue to work smartly and safely, and please remember you are an inspiration to all who are a part of this great union.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 20, 2020

UFCW Calls on USDA to Take Five Immediate Actions to Protect Meatpacking Workers and America’s Food Supply During Coronavirus Outbreak

America’s Largest Food and Retail Union Urges USDA to Prioritize a Series of Critical Safety Actions, including Testing and Personal Protection Equipment for All Meatpacking and Food Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing all across the country, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on Secretary Sonny Perdue to take a series of immediate actions to protect meatpacking workers and our nation’s food supply.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s meatpacking workers have been on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic from the beginning, working tirelessly to make sure families have the food they need during this crisis. These brave men and women are providing an essential service despite enormous risk to their own health and the health of their families. Every day, these workers are not only putting their lives on the line to protect our nation’s food supply, they continue to work in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.

“The threat these workers face during this outbreak is real and their safety concerns must be addressed immediately. At least six of our own members in meatpacking facilities have tragically passed away and hundreds more have been impacted by this ongoing pandemic. All across the country, we are witnessing meatpacking facilities having to close down, endangering our food supply at the worst possible moment.

“For the sake of these workers and our nation, it is clear that more must be done now. We are urgently calling on Secretary Perdue to adopt a series of safety actions and enact immediate guidelines to protect these essential workers which, in turn, will protect our communities and this nation’s food supply.”

Today’s UFCW letter calls on the USDA to take five immediate steps to protect meatpacking workers from the Coronavirus:

Prioritize Essential Workers for Testing: In order to ensure the health and safety of workers and protect the food supply, essential workers, such as those in meatpacking and food processing, must be prioritized for testing

Immediate Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Though social and physical distancing are essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19, workers still need access to PPE, such as masks and gloves. The reality is that many of our meatpacking members lack the critical personal protection equipment necessary to do their job and reduce the risk of exposure. It is essential that the USDA, in conjunction with the White House Task force, prioritize all meatpacking and food workers for PPE to ensure the health and safety of these workers and to protect our food supply.

Immediate Halt On Line Speed Waivers: In the first two weeks of this month, the USDA’s Food and Safety Inspection Service approved 11 regulatory waivers for poultry plants to increase their maximum line speed. Rather than protect our food supply and workers, these waivers guarantee that workers are more crowded along a meatpacking line and more workers are put at risk of either catching or spreading the virus. It is critical that the USDA immediately cease granting any new waivers and suspend all existing waivers that allow plants to operate at faster speeds.

Mandate Social Distancing Where Possible: In order to responsibly protect workers and prevent spread of the disease, companies must enforce and practice six-foot social and physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, even if this means production slows down. Where distancing is not possible, companies should use plexiglass barriers to separate and protect workers, and/or ensure that all workers are provided with masks that can safely be used under these extreme conditions.

Isolate Workers Who Show Symptoms or Test Positive for COVID-19: In light of the largest outbreak to date at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it is critical to identify and isolate workers who have tested positive or who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. These workers should be allowed to quarantine at home, with pay, per the recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 13, 2020

National #ShopSmart Campaign to Keep Grocery Workers Safe From Coronavirus & Protect Nation’s Food Supply Announced Today

 

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Also Releases New Poll Results of Grocery & Food Worker Top Concerns & Fears

 

New Initiative Launched Amid Increase in Food & Grocery Workers Exposed to Coronavirus

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union which represents over 900,000 grocery workers, launched a new national initiative to help protect America’s food and grocery workers. The new national campaign, entitled #ShopSmart, will target American grocery shoppers and is in response to the growing number of food and grocery workers who are becoming exposed to the coronavirus and the direct threat this growing outbreak poses to our nation’s food supply. 

 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone said:”The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest health and safety crisis that America’s grocery and food workers have ever faced. Since the beginning of the outbreak, these workers have been on the front lines of this terrible pandemic. While tens of millions of Americans were told to work from home for their safety, grocery store and food workers have never had that option. More must be done to protect them and our food supply now.” 

 

The new nationwide public safety effort, which includes a new #ShopSmart ad campaign with digital and TV commercials, is being announced as the UFCW estimates that 30 UFCW members have died from COVID-19, and nearly 3,000 UFCW food and grocery workers have been directly impacted by COVID-19

 

The estimated number of deaths and exposed workers is based on reports from UFCW local unions and includes those who have tested positive for COVID-19, missed work due to self-quarantine, are awaiting test results, have been hospitalized, or are symptomatic. 

 

“Grocery workers are deeply concerned. The fact is that this pandemic represents a clear and present danger to our nation’s food supply and all grocery store workers. The “Shop Smart” campaign will help save lives by making clear that all members of the public can take key safety steps to help protect these workers and each other from the coronavirus,” Perrone added

 

To highlight the growing concern of food and grocery workers, the UFCW also released results from a survey of more than 5,000 grocery and food workers (sample of 5,000 UFCW members/1 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence level). 

 

The key survey results, which are included below, highlight the real fear and concern of food and grocery workers, and the need to take a more dramatic series of action to protect workers. 

 

  • Customer Support for Workers
    • 29 percent said customers treated them somewhat poorly or very poorly.

 

  • Top Customer Safety Issues:
    • 85 percent said customers are not practicing social distancing.
    • 81 percent said customers are hoarding supplies or groceries.
    • 62 percent said customers are blaming employees for shortages
    • 43 percent reported instances of customers shouting at employees

 

  • Safety Priorities for Grocery Stores:
    • When asked what grocery stores should do to improve customer safety and treatment of workers:
      • 72 percent supported a limit on the number of customers in stores
      • 49 percent supported stores banning unruly customers
      • 41 percent supported stores hiring more security
      • 26 percent supported stores hiring more workers to meet demand
      • 23 percent supported advertisements with customer safety tips

 

For more information about UFCW’s customer campaign, please visit www.ufcw.org/shopsmart