Keeping every UFCW member safe on the job is our top priority as we work to combat this outbreak. The International’s Legislative and Political Action (LAPAD) and Digital Departments have been working with locals to reach out to federal, state, and local officials to secure essential status and expand benefits for our members on the front lines.
In Congress, the LAPAD and locals secured national economic relief for our members in the CARES Act, which was passed in March. This legislation provides up to $1,200 for members earning less than $75,000 a year (or $2,400 for a married couple making less than $150,000). Members can also now wait until July to file federal taxes, and health insurance plans are mandated to cover COVID-19 testing and treatments. The department plans to launch a new campaign to put pressure on federal lawmakers to make sure our members receive the additional protections and support they need in the next stimulus package.
On the state level, the LAPAD has been working hand in hand with locals across the country to ensure that our message is getting to governors and other local elected officials. The focus of this campaign has been getting protections and benefits for members in grocery stores and food processing facilities. These protections and benefits include free childcare, access to personal protective equipment, free testing and treatment for COVID-19, and other benefits that could be extended by governors and local officials.
The department is also working with and pushing governors to issue safety standard executive orders for workers in these industries. Governors who have deemed our work essential have been targeted to pull down federal block grant money for childcare, which was included in the CARES Act. Because of our efforts, states have expanded childcare access for our members and some states like Illinois and Minnesota are providing it for free.
In addition to organizing calls with elected officials and sending letters, the LAPAD has been working closely with the Digital Department to generate over 40,000 emails to governors, as well as 1,200 tweets. Digital ads have been created to target 10 states (Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Kansas, Indiana, Georgia, Connecticut and Missouri). These ads have been sent to our members to encourage them to make their voices heard to their respective governors. As a result of these ads, nearly 10,000 members have sent emails or signed petitions directly to their governors, asking for essential status classification, added benefits, and access to testing as it becomes available.
“We know our members are working during unprecedented times and want to make sure we are doing everything we can to support locals on the frontline of this pandemic and hold elected officials accountable to promises made to support working people,” said International Vice President and LAPAD Director Ademola Oyefeso. “We are expecting a lot more than lip service while our members’ lives are literally on the line.”
If you have any questions about what the LAPAD is doing to help locals and our members, please contact Karen Gasper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding our digital campaign should be directed to Rachelle Netzer at email@example.com.