Latest Labour News

Kroger, UFCW Announce Increased Pay, Benefits for Grocery Workers on Front Lines of Coronavirus Outbreak

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union and America’s Largest Supermarket Chain Recognize Incredible Service of More Than 460,000 Kroger Employees and UFCW Members

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Kroger Co. and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union announced a new increase to the pay and benefits for the company’s more than 460,000 workers across the country. UFCW represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, and welcomed the increase as an essential investment in grocery workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Following talks between UFCW, America’s largest food and retail union, and Kroger, UFCW is proud to join the company today in announcing a $2 per hour wage increase, additional emergency paid leave, new workplace safety measures, and other critical worker protections.

“Working together, UFCW and Kroger have listened to workers and customers across the country to identify the most urgent needs and determine the best way to support these hardworking men and women on the front lines who are serving our communities every day throughout this national crisis.

“Today’s increase in pay and benefits is a good first step in our ongoing conversations with Kroger to keep customers and workers safe in stores during this crisis. We look forward to continuing to work with Kroger to strengthen support and protections for these essential workers on the front lines of this outbreak as they continue to serve families across the country.”

Background:

UFCW and Kroger have been working closely to ensure that these grocery workers are able to continue to provide the necessary food and supplies to their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. UFCW and Kroger announced the following increases to pay, benefits, and protections for frontline associates across the country:

  • $2 Per Hour Pay Increase which will be paid to hourly frontline associates in retail stores, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, central fills, pharmacies and contact call centers for the next three weeks at which point UFCW and Kroger will revisit discussions.
  • Providing Emergency Paid Leave: This ensures that any associates who are affected by COVID-19 – whether experiencing symptoms and self-isolating, diagnosed or placed in quarantine – can recover with the financial support they need.
  • Additional Cleaning and Sanitizing protocols which include allowing associates to wash their hands and sanitize their registers every 30 minutes.
  • Shortened Store Operating Hours to provide ample time to allow restocking, cleaning, and to provide appropriate rest and relief for associates.
  • Installing plexiglass partitions at check lanes, pharmacy and Starbucks registers across each store.
  • Adding floor decals to promote physical distancing at check lanes and other counters.

Additional Associate Support and Resources

In addition to the $2 per hour pay increase, UFCW and Kroger have worked together to take several additional actions to support associates, including:

  • Earlier Access to Pay: Beginning next week, the Kroger Family of Companies is adding ExpressPay – a new benefit that allows most hourly associates to access some of their pay faster, putting money in their pockets sooner than usual.
  • Financial Assistance for Childcare and Other Needs: Kroger will make $5 million available for those facing hardship, including lack of access to childcare and for those considered high-risk, due to COVID-19 through the Kroger Family of Companies Helping Hands fund.
  • Employee Hotline: Kroger will offer an associate hotline to answer benefit questions quickly.
  • Expanded Health Care Services: Kroger will provide access to mental health services and other benefits to support associates’ mental and physical well-being during this stressful time.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org

WCB and COVID-19 update from MAHCP President

Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals -

The possibility of exposure to COVID-19 at work is a serious matter. Your safety while on the job has been a top priority for MAHCP since the first hint of this crisis.

We remain focused on making sure Employers provide appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and follow other public health protocols to provide the highest level of safety for our members.

In the event you are exposed, or if you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 at work, you should inform your supervisor immediately in writing and document the suspected exposure. If you then test positive for COVID-19, you should file a WCB claim immediately. If exposure happens at work, it is MAHCP’s firm position that COVID-19 should be covered by WCB, just like any other safety issue. It is the Employer’s responsibility to keep you safe on the job. Once a claim is made, WCB will investigate the details in order to determine coverage, which is why proper reporting and documentation is so important.

The Manitoba Federation of Labour has called for presumptive workers compensation coverage for ALL Manitoba workers who are exposed to COVID-19 on the job. Presumptive coverage means that you would be “presumed” to have contracted the virus at work and would be covered by WCB unless proven otherwise.

MAHCP supports MFL’s position on presumptive coverage and I will be writing to WCB to make our position clear. You can also add your voice by writing to the Premier on this issue through the MFL’s action website.

Please feel free to contact your Labour Relations Officer if you have any questions, and please stay safe, on the job and at home.

 

In solidarity,

Bob Moroz

MAHCP President

Demanding Compassion: Rent Strikes & Emergency Benefits

Rank and File - latest news -

by Emily Leedham So you want to organize a rent strike? On this week’s Rank & File Radio, Stefan Hodges discusses tenants unions, rent strikes & responding to evictions. Alvin Finkel discusses the future of the Canadian social safety net after COVID-19. Compassion: A Global History of Social Policy by Alvin Finkelwww.macmillanihe.com/page/detail/co…=9781352003093 Tenants Rights Provincial Continue readingDemanding Compassion: Rent Strikes & Emergency Benefits

UFCW: Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods Must Do More to Protect Workers on Front Lines of Coronavirus Outbreak

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Calls on Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods to Immediately Increase Pay, Paid Leave, Safety Gear for Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, announced its strong support forAmazon warehouse workers in Staten Island as well as Instacart workers and Whole Foods workers nationwide who are walking off the job this week to protest the failure of these companies to strengthen emergency pay and protections for essential workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods workers are sending a powerful message that it’s time to stop putting corporate profits ahead of the health and safety of the men and women who are critical to our food supply, and are on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.  It is shameful that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta, and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey are ignoring not only the concerns of workers, but the potential threat to public safety.

“For the sake of public health and worker safety, every non-union grocery worker must speak out. If Amazon, Instacart, and Whole Foods are unwilling to do what is right to protect their workers and our communities, the UFCW is ready to listen and do all we can to help protect these brave workers from irresponsible employers who are ignoring the serious threat posed by the rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak.”

Background:

 In February 2020, Instacart workers in the Chicago area joined UFCW Local 1546, making history as the first workers with the company to join a union. As a result of the majority of Instacart’s 175,000 workers are misclassified as independent contractors, they are not eligible to join a union and today’s strike is a way for them to demand the emergency pay increase, paid leave, and protective gear that they have earned and deserve.

 In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched a campaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers in New York. UFCW has been a vocal critic of both Amazon and Whole Foods for the treatment of their workers.  

On March 13, UFCW called out Amazon and Whole Foods for failing to provide their workers with paid sick leave until after testing positive for COVID-19. With testing incredibly scarce, this policy has left thousands of workers across the country in limbo, putting their safety and the safety of customers at risk during the outbreak. In September 2019, UFCW condemned the move by Amazon to cut healthcare coverage for part-time Whole Foods workers across the country.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org. 

New resource details support for workers affected by COVID-19

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – March 28, 2020 – With more and more workers facing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has launched a multi-billion-dollar aid package providing income support and benefits to workers impacted by the crisis, and a new resource from UFCW Canada helps workers and their families navigate and track this support.

Weekly labour news digest – March 29 2020

Rank and File - latest news -

Holes in the safety net: CERB and EI coverage falls short The federal government is moving at breakneck speed in the midst of the pandemic. Within a week, it announced two new income support programs, before replacing them with the newly legislated Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The redesigned social safety net is an improvement, Continue readingWeekly labour news digest – March 29 2020

Kenney’s surprise cuts will damage education and the economy

Unifor -

EDMONTON—Alberta Premier Jason Kenney must reverse education cuts announced March 28, 2020 to avoid more harm to classroom education and an already fragile economy, says Unifor.

“Jason Kenney wants Albertans to think they have to choose between their children’s education and their health,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Instead of showing leadership, Kenney wants to pit Albertans against one another.”

Despite promising to honour the funding for boards of education until the end of the year, the Minister of Education emailed boards to announce a funding cut in several areas, including so-called “non-essential” staff at schools. 

Unifor represents 4,000 school support staff in Alberta’s Francophone and Catholic school system.  The union says the 14 per cent cut will be devastating for members and will impact learning.

“Support staff play a critical role in Alberta’s school system. Today’s cuts will hurt the quality of education, and in many cases, directly impact some of the most vulnerable children in the system,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “The Premier must reverse these cuts immediately.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at ian.boyko@unifor.org or 778-903-6549 (cell). 

Holes in the safety net: CERB and EI coverage falls short

Rank and File - latest news -

By Zaid Noorsumar The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) introduced this week by the Liberal government is a vast improvement over the beleaguered Employment Insurance system but still excludes many people.  The CERB applications are expected to be available online on April 6 with payments to be issued within 10 days. Recipients will be paid Continue readingHoles in the safety net: CERB and EI coverage falls short

How Edmonton posties are fighting for health and safety

Rank and File - latest news -

By Doug Nesbitt Postal workers across the country are pressing Canada Post management to clean up its act. COVID-19 infections among postal workers have already led to the suspension of mail delivery in Newfoundland and most recently the closure of a mail depot in North Bay, Ontario. In Edmonton, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Continue readingHow Edmonton posties are fighting for health and safety

Revised Ontario emergency powers may do more harm than good in long-term care

Unifor -

March 29, 2020

TORONTO— Unifor is concerned that the latest revisions to Ontario’s emergency powers could cause future health and safety issues for residents in long-term care homes, as they don’t have to report incidents or follow normal hiring guidelines. Shortages in personal support workers have already plagued the industry well before the pandemic.

“Our members understood the need for the Ontario government’s initial temporary order giving long-term care operators extraordinary emergency powers to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “These latest revisions to the act from Doug Ford jeopardize the health and safety of our most vulnerable citizens. Our seniors deserve highly trained and qualified health care workers caring for them, not shoe-ins determined by the employer without appropriate oversight."

On March 23, 2020, the Ontario government introduced the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act giving long-term care homes extraordinary emergency powers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 similar to what they did days earlier for hospitals. The revisions to the act amend subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency management and civil protection act, which changes language on reporting obligations and hiring of new staff in long term care homes.

“The revised powers given to employers are extreme and allow long term care home employers to get out of many of their reporting obligations and they can now circumvent the qualifications needed to hire new employees,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “We have already heard that some employers are asking library workers to temporarily work in long-term care homes. Library workers and health care workers are both important in their own right, but having any worker who is not trained to work in a long term care home is careless, dangerous and unfair to Ontarians.”

“We’ve given the Minister of Long-Term Care, Merrilee Fullerton concrete suggestions on how they could actually attract qualified personal support workers who have left the industry to come back,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President. “They can immediately up-staff all nursing homes, utilizing casual and part-time workers who are able to work full time hours so they actually have time to provide safe care practices to protect these residents, and add a modest premium to attract qualified staff. We know that COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care are deadly, and this government should be pulling out all the stops to protect lives.”

Unifor will continue to provide updates as information becomes available at unifor.org/COVID19.

On the Front Lines: UFCW Canada beverage members

UFCW Canada -

Toronto – March 27, 2020 – The continued operation of grocery stores, take out restaurants, and liquor and beer stores in most provinces during the COVID-19 pandemic means that UFCW Canada beverage members remain busy on the front lines working hard to supply stores, eateries, and other facilities throughout the crisis.

Unifor salutes workers for delivering Canadian customer service in a crisis

Unifor -

March 27, 2020

OTTAWA – Unifor members at Bell Canada step up as shutdowns in offshore facilities combined with increased need for assistance cause a spike in calls to customer support agents.

“As millions of Canadians face sudden loss of income, Bell Canada has avoided layoffs and increased employment by bringing customer service calls back to Canada,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Unifor members across the country are stepping into new roles and taking customer service calls, keeping Canadians connected.”

Several overseas call centres are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing customer service calls back to Canada. Since the closure of international call centres, Unifor members in several different certifications have retrained to take customer service calls at home.

“Unifor members are ready to serve business and residential clients through the crisis and in the future,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “Telecom workers right here in Canada are more than capable of delivering the service that Bell customers expect when they need assistance.”

The union remains in constant communication with Bell Canada and all telecommunications employers on solutions to decrease risk and secure safe working conditions for members across the industry during the pandemic.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

Information about the union’s response to the pandemic, as well as resources for members can be found at unifor.org/COVID19.

For further information, contact Sarah McCue, Unifor National Communications Representative at 416-458-3307 (cell) or sarah.mccue@unifor.org.

For French interviews, please contact Unifor Quebec Communications Representative, Marie-Andrée L'Heureux at marie-andree.lheureux@unifor.org or 514-916-7373 (cell).

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