In 2020, the UFCW established itself as a national leader in the effort to strengthen protections and support for frontline workers during a global pandemic.
During the beginning of COVID-19 outbreak, the UFCW worked with major employers in the grocery industry to obtain a temporary designation of “extended first responders” or “emergency personnel” for grocery workers in stores across the country. We called on Congress and state governors to designate our members in the grocery, retail and food processing sectors as first responders and mandate that these workers have at least two weeks of paid leave.
Our union also called on President Trump and members of his administration to protect meatpacking and food processing workers during this pandemic, including testing and access to personal protective equipment. We called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue mandatory guidance for grocery stores, pharmacies, and food processing facilities during the outbreak. International President Marc Perrone also testified at both a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the growing number of deaths across the food industry from COVID-19 and at a U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the need to protect essential workers.
Our union launched the “Shop Smart” campaign to protect our members in grocery stores, as well as a national campaign to restore hazard pay for millions of America’s frontline workers. We also worked with elected leaders around this issue and amplified the voices of our members about the importance of restoring hazard pay for frontline workers as COVID-19 cases continue to climb nationwide.
Here are the articles about the UFCW’s effort to protect our members that appeared in OnPoint this year: