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Grocery workers, UFCW call for reinstatement of hazard pay

TUMWATER (Sept. 4, 2020) — On Thursday, grocery workers represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 367 held a protests outside Fred Meyer stores in Tumwater and Lacey to call on the CEOs of essential businesses in Washington state and across the country to immediately restore hazard pay. The effort is part of a national campaign launching this week to highlight the growing impact of COVID-19 on frontline workers who continue to face the daily risk of catching the virus on the job.

“Workers are putting their lives on the line every day that they show up to work,” said Angel González Irizarry, UFCW Local 367 President. “The reality is that this pandemic is far from over and the health threats are just as real now as they were when this crisis began. These companies are raking in billions during this pandemic, but the CEOs still refuse to restore hazard pay even as more of these workers are getting sick and dying every week. As long as the hazard of COVID-19 continues, these companies must do what is right and provide the hazard pay these frontline workers have earned and deserve.”

“As an employee risking my health and the health of my family during these troubling times, I feel the employers should recognize my sacrifices and continue to provide Hazard Pay and expand safety measures,” said Michael Solberg from the Graham Safeway Dairy Dept. “The epidemic still presents a risk to everyone, we must continue all safety measures put in place and enforce them. The profits you are seeing are larger due to the hard work of all employees. Safeway should do the right thing and share those profits, in the form of safety improvements and Hazard Pay for their workers. We are all in this together and working together is how we will come out of this epidemic as better people.”

Read some of the essential worker stories posted by UFCW 367 members about the daily risks they face at work and the need for hazard pay.

UFCW 21 is also participating in the national effort to restore hazard pay.

As part of the national campaign, additional grassroots actions are being held in Washington, California and many other states hit hard by COVID-19. Frontline workers are highlighting the serious health threats they continue to face and are calling on the American people to pressure essential businesses like Fred Meyer, QFC, and Safeway to do what is right and restore hazard pay for the risks these workers face.

These frontline workers are recording first-person testimonials, pleading for the sake of their families that hazard pay is immediately reinstated. To view these videos and learn more, please click here.

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