Hoping To Label Employees As First Responders, A Grocer Wants Worker Protection
United Food and Commerical Workers International Union has partnered with Albertsons Companies in an attempt to appoint grocery store employees as “first responders,” according to Business Insider. The UFCW told the Insider that the new worker status would be temporary, but the designation would also grant employees with early COVID-19 testing and protective equipment. Albertsons Companies own stores that include Safeway, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions. The company’s president and CEO, Vivek Sankaran and Marc Perrone, UFCW International’s president, said in their joint statement, “The temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status would help ensure these incredible grocery workers access to priority testing, have access to personal protection equipment, like masks and gloves, as well other workplace protections necessary to keep themselves and the customers they serve safe and healthy.”
Continuing their efforts, the UFCW and Albertsons turned to advertising in the New York Times to remind the public of “the dedicated grocery and pharmacy employees who continue to serve our communities during this critical time.” Grocery employees are at a higher risk during the pandemic, and many have been vocal about testing and protective gear.
A California Safeway employee told the Insider, “We need more testing. I'm surprised no one has been tested at my store.”