By Aly Waddy, Secretary - Treasurer – UFCW Local 1500 | March 23, 2020

For far too long supermarket and grocery store workers have been categorized as lowly, menial workers fulfilling a non-critical role. Now, in these unique and nationally strenuous times, the community of workers – from warehouse receivers, to shelf stockers and cashiers – have become essential workers in all parts of our domestic economy. While other storefronts shutter and the food industry braces for institutional changes – supermarkets stay open, are open, and will remain open.

Through the hard work of the daily workers and 24/7 planning by management staff, Americans everywhere – especially in New York City where some communities have been hit the hardest – are able to still feed their families and stock their restaurants. Across the country, such as in places like Minnesota, grocery store workers now have access to free childcare after the state classified them as emergency workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Critically though, the workers at frontlines have not been given access to the right gear – gloves, masks, wipes and other preventative measures. Finally, through union leadership initiatives, we are proud to be able to secure the ability for their members to be able to wear masks without reciprocity or fear.

Safety has been, and will always be the number one priority for our union encompassing more than 18,000 proud members. Elected officials have been off the grid and sometimes unreachable – but we as an organization continue to stay open, and our dedicated agents are talking to members en masse – but we are still in need of dependable information on how to proceed. It is extremely troubling that there has been little to no credible information on hazard pay from the union sector. We are, and will continue to work with company officials to ensure that members are not left behind. If there is a governmental package, all members should rightfully be entitled.

For all members and interested parties, UFCW 1500 has started an email address to engage with members and the public: [email protected]

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