Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold of the world, many people realized what we at Local 152 have known all along: that the hardworking members of this union are the cornerstones of our communities.
Our members in manufacturing plants maintain the food supply chain so our country doesn’t descend into chaos. Our grocery store members keep families fed in a time of crisis. Our healthcare members look after the most vulnerable among us.
Surely, these important citizens must be among the first in line for the vaccine so they can keep doing what they do in their high-exposure workplaces.
We are calling on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prioritize these brave men and women for early access to the COVID-19 vaccine, with health care workers at the front of the line.
Better for all of us
Protecting our country’s workers in the grocery, meatpacking, and food processing industries is essential to keeping our communities safe now and in the future. The CDC must recognize the vital services these workers provide by ensuring they are among the first to receive access to the COVID-19 vaccine after health care workers.
The data shows why we must act on this as soon as possible. A report by the UFCW International Union recently confirmed the rapidly growing impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers. The numbers show that among our UFCW brothers and sisters across the country there have been at least 350 frontline worker deaths and at least 48,000 infected or exposed. These include at least 109 grocery worker deaths, plus more than 17,400 infected or exposed to the virus.
Fighting for you
It is my role as a union leader to help you in any way I can to represent your interests and protect your health as you do your job.
In addition to fighting for your right to vaccine priority, we continue calling on all of our employers to provide hazard pay, guarantee free COVID-19 testing and PPE for workers, provide paid sick leave to all sick or exposed workers, increase transparency when an outbreak occurs, and much more.
You deserve these protections because you help make our communities healthy, secure and pleasant places to live and work. The sooner you receive the vaccine, the sooner we can all spend more time together in our homes and public spaces.
— President Brian String