As Congress considers passing its second CARES bill and its 4th COVID-19 response bill, the UFCW’s Legislative and Political Action Department (LAPAD) is working hard to lobby members of Congress in both the House and Senate to ensure that our members in all sectors are protected during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. Our priorities for the next bill include priority testing, OSHA standards that protect social distancing and slow line speeds in food processing plants, premium pay, pension reform, online SNAP safeguards, expanded sick leave, and a non-food retail stimulus package.
Despite not being able to meet in person, the LAPAD team has been engaged in countless numbers of calls and video conferences to promote the interests of our members to key congressional offices. The department has also been encouraging people to sign our online petition to support essential workers.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone; International Vice President and Director of the Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division Mark Lauritsen; International Vice President and President of UFCW Local 2 Martin Rosas; and International Vice President and LAPAD Director Ademola Oyefeso have all been engaged in briefing members of Congress about what our members are facing daily during this pandemic, and Perrone gave testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee to stress how this health crisis has affected our members.
Locals across the country have been promoting online efforts to engage membership about these important issues, and the LAPAD is planning to launch an online campaign targeting specific U.S. Senators regarding the 4th COVID-19 response bill. We will be calling on Senate Leader McConnell to take action to protect pensions during these turbulent times, as well as to ensure there are OSHA standards in place to protect our 12,000 meat processing members in Kentucky.
“What our members are facing during this pandemic was unimaginable a few months ago,” Oyefeso said. “And now, what we do is on the front page of every newspaper across the country and on the lips of all the politicians. We need to make sure we are getting more than lip service in this next federal stimulus package, which is why we are calling on our members to engage in grassroots advocacy in a deeper way than we have ever asked before. We know their lives are on the line and we will continue to go to the mat for them while they are keeping America safe and fed.”
The next CARES bill is expected to be introduced soon and could pass before the end of the month. For more information about this stimulus bill, contact Karen Gasper at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can sign the online petition here.