(KMAland) -- The United Food and Commercial Workers Union is asking for the reinstatement of hazard pay for its workers, who they say are on the frontlines in facing COVID-19.
Marc Perrone is the International President of the UFCW. He says the food and commercial workers face more risk than the rest of society.
“These workers have borne all the risk, they work every day, and they interact with millions of Americans while millions of us have been able to stay at home. But, because of the significant threat that COVID-19 poses to these workers, the UFCW has been determined to lead and speak out in favor of significant steps to protect them.”
Perrone says some of the nation’s largest employers seem to feel that COVID-19 is over.
“For weeks, retail companies like Amazon and Walmart and Kroger’s have acted as if the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Beginning in June, America’s largest retailers stopped paying hazard pay, or hero pay, whatever you want to call it. Mask wearing was neither mandatory nor was it being enforced, and tragically, we are now all witnessing that this pandemic is not over.”
The UFCW union has lost a number of workers to COVID-19.
“The UFCW has lost 278 of our members, including 93 grocery workers. In addition, over 33,000 of our workers have become sick or exposed to COVID-19. The concern is very real. Our latest national survey of nearly 4,000 union grocery workers across this country found their biggest concern was COVID-19. The second-biggest concern was wages and hazard pay, and the high cost that these workers are having to pay because of this virus.”
The union is asking some of the country’s biggest employers to reinstate hazard pay, along with other mandates to keep workers on the frontlines safe from COVID-19.
“The time has come to not only establish a mask mandate, but hazard-pay mandates for all those frontline workers. A mandate that would ensure that all frontline workers, union and non-union alike, receive hazard pay for as long as they must endure the incredible threat posed by this virus in this pandemic.”
Again, Marc Perrone is the International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.