Local 152 members have been through one of the most challenging years in our union’s history.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many of you were thrust into the role of frontline workers, keeping our communities functioning by performing your duties in the grocery, health care and food processing industries. Even as you served your essential role in a functioning society, you had to stand face-to-face with the pandemic every day, working in close quarters with your coworkers and customers just by the nature of your jobs.
The risks you take on are substantial even when everyone is following the rules, which is not always the case. Whether you’re a supermarket worker dealing with selfish customers or a worker at a processing facility where safety policies aren’t adequately enforced by your employer, you take on the consequences of other people’s actions and inactions.
Now, when the end of the pandemic should be in sight, you have to deal with uncertainty of vaccine acceptance among your coworkers and the general public.
And to add even more stress, the recent string of mass shootings has everyone on edge. Most strikingly, the shooting at a King Soopers supermarket in Colorado resurfaced memories of gun violence at an Arizona supermarket 10 years ago.
What we can all do
We can’t reasonably ask our union’s members to take on anything more, either physically or emotionally. They need relief.
At the federal and state level, that means legislation to keep workers safe and healthy. For the general public, it means treating our members with respect in grocery stores and all of the places our members work. For all of our members, it means adhering to safety guidelines and getting vaccinated as soon as possible to reduce the risk for all.
As a union, we continue to fight hard to make our members across all industries feel safe. We’ve fought for the safety equipment you need and the hero pay you deserve.
Members who feel they need to talk to a mental health professional are encouraged to contact the Health & Welfare Fund at (800) 228-7484. You can also reach out to your union representative to talk and get more resources.
We’ll get through these times together, as we always have.
— President Brian String