Latest Labour News

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Launches National Coronavirus Safety Advertising Campaign Targeting All Grocery Shoppers 

UFCW Press Releases -

New #ShopSmart Ad Campaign Encourages All Grocery Shoppers to Take 5 Steps to Help Protect Grocery Stores and Prevent Spread of Coronavirus 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 900,000 grocery workers, announced a new national coronavirus safety advertising campaign entitled, #ShopSmart. 

The new ad campaign is part of a Shop Smart grocery customer safety initiative that is encouraging all of America’s shoppers to help keep grocery stores a safe place to shop and work. Key customer safety steps the campaign highlights include asking that all Americans wear a mask every time they shop, keep at least six feet apart from workers and other shoppers, pay with credit cards, and use store-provided plastic bags to limit the spread of germs. 

As part of the new six-figure UFCW national advertising campaign, the grocery customer safety commercial will air on MSNBC, CNN, and media outlets across the country and will reach more than 3.2 million Americans 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement: 

“Grocery stores and workers are essential to our national fight against the coronavirus outbreak. No matter where you shop, every American must do more to help protect our local grocery stores and the brave men and women keeping them open for our families.   

“The #ShopSmart campaign is just one important piece of our national effort to protect all workers, union and non-union, and the American people. Working together, we believe that if every shopper adopts these easy safety steps, we can help protect these essential grocery workers and make sure that grocery stores remain a safe place to shop and work when we need them most.” 

The first phase of the #Shop Smart ad campaign will begin airing nationally today in 21 media markets across 8 states, including the major media markets of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. 

The UFCW Shop Smart commercial features the following text

Tip #1: Stay Safe

When shopping, be sure to wear a mask and gloves at all times. If you’re showing symptoms, please don’t shop. See if a loved one can shop for you. Minimize frequency of shopping trips. 

Tip #2: Social Distancing

Maintain as much distance as possible from other shoppers – especially while waiting in line – and employees when you can. The CDC recommends at least six feet, which is the length of about two shopping carts. 

Tip #3: Limit Contact

Do your best not to touch surfaces and bring your own wipes to disinfect touch-points, including the handles on shopping carts. Please use store provided plastic bags instead of reusable bags – they’re safer and cleaner. 

Tip #4: Use Credit Cards

If possible, use your credit card instead of cash…

…and wipe down your card/phone before and after your shopping trip. 

Tip #5: Be Supportive

We’re doing our best to keep our shelves stocked and stores staffed to serve you. We appreciate your patience and understanding!

Text “ShopSmart” to 23396

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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 grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

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(Ottawa – April 21, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is calling on the Manitoba government to reverse its demand that universities cut deeply into their budgets by as much as 30 per cent.

“Cuts of that size will permanently damage Manitoba’s universities, and undermine their capacity to teach students who have already been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic,” warns CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

Premier Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservative government has given universities only a few days to model budget cuts of 10, 20 and 30 per cent over the next four months, either by cutting their workforces or by reducing other expenditures.

“The Manitoba government is an outlier amongst the provinces. Other governments recognize that public investment is critically needed at this time to keep the economy from falling into a tailspin, and to ensure that public services like post-secondary education are able to play their part in the battle against COVID-19,” Robinson says.

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UFCW Calls on USDA to Take Five Immediate Actions to Protect Meatpacking Workers and America’s Food Supply During Coronavirus Outbreak

UFCW Press Releases -

America’s Largest Food and Retail Union Urges USDA to Prioritize a Series of Critical Safety Actions, including Testing and Personal Protection Equipment for All Meatpacking and Food Workers 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing all across the country, sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on Secretary Sonny Perdue to take a series of immediate actions to protect meatpacking workers and our nation’s food supply.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s meatpacking workers have been on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic from the beginning, working tirelessly to make sure families have the food they need during this crisis. These brave men and women are providing an essential service despite enormous risk to their own health and the health of their families. Every day, these workers are not only putting their lives on the line to protect our nation’s food supply, they continue to work in some of the most difficult conditions imaginable.

“The threat these workers face during this outbreak is real and their safety concerns must be addressed immediately. At least six of our own members in meatpacking facilities have tragically passed away and hundreds more have been impacted by this ongoing pandemic. All across the country, we are witnessing meatpacking facilities having to close down, endangering our food supply at the worst possible moment.

“For the sake of these workers and our nation, it is clear that more must be done now. We are urgently calling on Secretary Perdue to adopt a series of safety actions and enact immediate guidelines to protect these essential workers which, in turn, will protect our communities and this nation’s food supply.”

Today’s UFCW letter calls on the USDA to take five immediate steps to protect meatpacking workers from the Coronavirus:

  • Prioritize Essential Workers for Testing: In order to ensure the health and safety of workers and protect the food supply, essential workers, such as those in meatpacking and food processing, must be prioritized for testing
  • Immediate Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Though social and physical distancing are essential to preventing the spread of COVID-19, workers still need access to PPE, such as masks and gloves. The reality is that many of our meatpacking members lack the critical personal protection equipment necessary to do their job and reduce the risk of exposure. It is essential that the USDA, in conjunction with the White House Task force, prioritize all meatpacking and food workers for PPE to ensure the health and safety of these workers and to protect our food supply.
  • Immediate Halt On Line Speed Waivers: In the first two weeks of this month, the USDA’s Food and Safety Inspection Service approved 11 regulatory waivers for poultry plants to increase their maximum line speed. Rather than protect our food supply and workers, these waivers guarantee that workers are more crowded along a meatpacking line and more workers are put at risk of either catching or spreading the virus. It is critical that the USDA immediately cease granting any new waivers and suspend all existing waivers that allow plants to operate at faster speeds.
  • Mandate Social Distancing Where Possible: In order to responsibly protect workers and prevent spread of the disease, companies must enforce and practice six-foot social and physical distancing to the greatest extent possible, even if this means production slows down. Where distancing is not possible, companies should use plexiglass barriers to separate and protect workers, and/or ensure that all workers are provided with masks that can safely be used under these extreme conditions.
  • Isolate Workers Who Show Symptoms or Test Positive for COVID-19: In light of the largest outbreak to date at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, it is critical to identify and isolate workers who have tested positive or who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. These workers should be allowed to quarantine at home, with pay, per the recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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 grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

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