Union wants faster vaccinations, hazard pay for essential food workers
The union that represents many essential workers in the food chain wants hazard pay and earlier COVID-19 vaccinations.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union President Marc Perrone says there have been nearly 400 grocery and meatpacker worker deaths and nearly 80-thousand workers infected or exposed to coronavirus. “Ninety-one percent of our members are concerned about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty-seven percent of those workers are more concerned now than they were thirty to sixty days ago.”
Perrone criticized large retailers and government leaders for not doing enough to protect essential workers and says they need the vaccines sooner. “Federal, state and local (elected officials) must in fact prioritize essential workers and further delays are unacceptable. You know, we’re not saying that these workers need to be first, but they shouldn’t be last, either.”
Perrone says his members’ top two concerns are catching the virus at work and bringing the virus home to their families.
Perrone says these workers, union, and non-union deserve hazard pay, which has been implemented in places like Seattle and Los Angeles, but he says some grocers have closed stores or cut jobs exposing remaining workers to more risk instead of paying workers more.
Perrone is also critical of Kroger and Walmart, which he says refuses to disclose the full impact of COVID-19, including how many frontline workers have been infected and died.