Union Demands All Grocery Chains Reinstate Hazard Pay as Workers Continue to Serve Minnesota Families During COVID-19 Pandemic
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Jessica Hayssen, firstname.lastname@example.org 651.261.8559
BROOKLYN CENTER, MN – Today, United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 663 applauded Kowalski’s Market for extending hazard pay of an additional $2.00 per hour for their grocery workers. The hazard pay extension comes as UFCW Local 663 and the Minnesota communities they serve have been calling on grocery chains and other essential businesses to extend hazard pay for workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UFCW Local 663’s President Matt Utecht released the following statement:
“Minnesota grocery workers have been on the frontlines of COVID-19 since day one, putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure our families have the food we need. UFCW 663 applauds Kowalski’s Markets for recognizing the incredible risks these brave workers face and extending hazard pay as COVID-19 cases continue to grow.
“At a time when giant corporations in the industry have abruptly ended hazard pay for these courageous frontline workers, Kowalski’s is stepping up to do the right thing and make this critical investment in the frontline workers serving Minnesota families during this crisis. Every grocery chain and retailer, both union and non-union, must follow Kowalski’s lead and invest these essential workers helping to keep Minnesota families fed during this crisis.”
Dwight Gaddis, Produce Manager and UFCW Local 663 member at Kowalski’s Market in Eden Prairie, MN says:
“I feel good that we are getting this boost in pay during the COVID-19 crisis. I put myself at risk every day when I go to work, and the hazard pay helps me feel my effort is recognized.
“In addition to all the other safety precautions we take to make sure we and customers are safe when they shop, reinstating hazard pay is also the right thing to do.”
The call to reinstate hazard pay in Minnesota echoes the call by UFCW International for top grocery CEOs across the country to extend COVID-19 hazard pay for all frontline workers. About this UFCW International President Marc Perrone said the following:
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, UFCW has called for hazard pay, increased access to COVID testing and PPE, and the enforcement of mask mandates in stores to keep workers and shoppers safe. It is outrageous that top grocery chains across the country have cut hazard pay for these essential workers, even as they rake in billions in profits and the danger of COVID-19 continues to grow.
“As of today, nearly 100 grocery workers represented by UFCW have died and over 12,000 grocery workers have been infected or exposed. Leaders from the White House to countless retail boardrooms have simply failed to do their jobs to protect the American people and these companies still refuse to tell the truth about how many of their workers are getting sick or dying. These CEOs have a responsibility to fight this virus and provide a safe place to shop and work. The time has come to establish not just a national mask mandate, but to guarantee hazard pay for all American frontline workers.”
UFCW Local 663 represents more than 13,200 hard-working retail, meat packing and processing, food preparation and manufacturing, healthcare, and other workers in Minnesota and Iowa. We strive to improve the lives of our members and of all working families by fighting for economic, political, and social justice in our workplaces and communities. UFCW Local 663 is part of the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.