Guelph, Ont. – May 16, 2020 – New analyses from food manufacturing and retail expert Kevin Grier reveal that prices, production, and profit margins in Canada’s meat processing industry have changed substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with pork prices collapsing, chicken demand increasing, and beef production taking a major hit in April.
“It’s wonderful to see celebrations taking place virtually,” said Larry Brown, NUPGE President. “We need events like IDAHOTB to bring a little joy to our lives in these difficult times. It's a great way to bring communities together.”
In Letter to 49 Supermarket CEOs, America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Urges Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods, and others to Immediately Extend COVID-19 so-called Hazard Pay For Frontline Grocery Workers
Group Also Releases New Estimate: At Least 65 Grocery Workers Have Died, and 9,810 Have Been Infected or Exposed in COVID-19 Pandemic
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, America’s largest food and retail union with 1.3 million members, sent a letter to 49 CEOs of top U.S. supermarket chains – including Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods and many others – condemning them for a failure to extend emergency pay and protections for grocery workers who are working on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak.
In the letter, UFCW International President Marc Perrone urged them to reverse the decision to end so-called hazard pay for their employees, and to publicly recognize that the health risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to cost lives all across the country. In fact, new internal UFCW estimates show that at least 65 grocery workers have died, and at least 9,810 have been infected or exposed to the deadly virus.
In the letter, UFCW called for these CEOs, most of whom continue to work from home even as their workers face dangerous conditions, to do what is right and immediately extend hazard pay until the risk of the virus has abated.
Today’s letter was sent directly to the CEOs of top supermarket chains across the country, including John Furner (Walmart Supercenters), Dan Bane (Trader Joe’s), John Mackey (Whole Foods), Craig Jelinek (Costco), Kathryn McLay (Sam’s Club), Todd Jones (Publix), and many others. Excerpts of the letter are included below:
“Millions of American grocery workers have been rightfully called essential by our nation’s elected leaders. Given the daily risks faced, these workers deserve critical protections, benefits, and a higher wage for as long as this public health crisis endures. That your companies are even considering cutting the pay of these frontline workers, while you experience record sales, is shocking in its indifference.
“Workers are still dying, including many of your own frontline employees. Every one of your grocery workers are still being asked to risk exposure to this virus and work in dangerous conditions that require them to wear protective equipment on the job. You are suggesting that frontline workers should work for less because the threat has diminished even as you and your entire executive teams continue to work from home.
“If you truly believe that the threat of COVID-19 has passed for your workers, then you should be willing to admit this publicly. Until that day comes, you have a responsibility to provide your workers with essential protections and benefits, including so-called hero/appreciation/hazard pay, until this terrible threat has passed.
“For the sake of these workers, our families, and our nation’s food supply, we ask you to remember your responsibility to ensure that these workers are receiving the premium pay that they have rightfully earned by facing the very risks that so many Americans—including all of you—have been lucky enough to avoid.”
As of today, the UFCW estimates that at least 65 grocery workers have died and 9,810 workers have become sick or exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please click here to read the full text of the UFCW letter, which was sent to the the CEOs of the following supermarket companies:
- Walmart Supercenters – Bentonville, AR
- Costco Wholesale Corp. – Issaquah, WA
- Publix Super Markets Inc. – Lakeland, FL
- Sam’s Club – Bentonville, AR
- H-E-B – San Antonio, TX
- Whole Foods Market Inc. – Austin, TX
- Aldi Inc. – Batavia, IL
- Southeastern Grocers – Jacksonville, FL
- Wegmans Food Markets Inc. – Rochester, NY
- BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. – Westborough, MA
- Hy-Vee Inc. – West Des Moines, IA
- WinCo Foods LLC – Boise, ID
- Save-A-Lot – Earth City, MO
- Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. – Jacksonville, FL
- Sprouts Farmers Markets – Phoenix, AZ
- DeMoulas Supermarkets Inc. – Tewksbury, MA
- Smart & Final Stores LLC – Commerce, CA
- Ingles Markets Inc. – Black Mountain, NC
- Golub Corporation – Schenectady, NY
- IGA Inc. – Chicago, IL
- Lidl US LLC – Arlington, VA
- K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. – Abingdon, VA
- Brookshire Grocery Co. – Tyler, TX
- Grocery Outlet Inc. – Emeryville, CA
- Big Y Foods Inc. – Springfield, MA
- Gordon Food Service Store – Wyoming, MI
- The Fresh Market Inc. – Greensboro, NC
- Bashas’ Inc. – Chandler, AZ
- Cardenas Markets LLC – Ontario, CA
- Fareway Stores Inc. – Boone, IA
- Woodman’s Food Markets Inc. – Janesville, WI
- Rouses Enterprises LLC – Thibodaux, LA
- Marc Glassman Inc. – Cleveland, OH
- Lowes Pay and Save Inc. – Littlefield, TX
- Redner’s Markets Inc. – Reading, PA
- Brookshire Brothers Ltd. – Lufkin, TX
- Four B Corp. – Kansas City, KS
- Associated Food Stores – Salt Lake City, UT
- Niemann Foods Inc. – Quincy, IL
- Cosentino’s Food Stores – Prairie Village, KS
- All American Quality Food Inc. – Stockbridge, GA
- Food Giant Supermarkets Inc. – Sikeston, MO
- Harmon City Inc. – West Valley City, UT
- Sedano’s Supermarkets Inc. – Hialeah, FL
- Stew Leonard’s – Norwalk, CT
- Fresh Encounter Inc. – Findlay, OH
- B & R Stores Inc. – Lincoln, NE
- ABC Stores Hawaii – Honolulu, HI
- Aurora Grocery Group – Charlotte, NC
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.
Toronto – May 15, 2020 – We’re UFCW union members and your neighbours on the frontline, working day and night across the country to make sure you have the food, healthcare, security and vital services you need to stay safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
(Ottawa — May 15, 2020) As the federal and provincial governments consider easing the emergency restrictions put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, colleges and universities across the country are developing plans for their operations in the fall. The options being considered raise logistical questions about how far campuses can re-open and how courses will be delivered; health and safety considerations about how best to protect all members of the campus community; and academic concerns about how to ensure our institutions can continue to fulfil their core mission of teaching and research under the circumstances. It is crucial that academic staff associations and academic governance bodies be actively involved in all discussions about planning for the 2020-21 academic year.
To assist in these discussions, CAUT is providing the following guidelines for member associations. As with all of CAUT’s advice and resources related to COVID-19, these guidelines will be updated as necessary as more information becomes available.CAUT Guidelines for Re-opening Canada’s Universities and Colleges
- The recommendations and guidance of public health authorities should inform all decisions about when and how to re-open campuses safely. The health and safety of students and staff should be the primary consideration.
- The workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) and academic staff associations must be involved in decision-making around re-opening. The JHSC is responsible for identifying workplace hazards and making recommendations for prevention and mitigation. The administration, academic staff association, other campus unions, and the JHSC must work closely on a comprehensive workplace safety plan until the risks from exposure to COVID-19 are contained, and the workplace and community can resume normal activities.
- The JHSC and the academic staff association should consider a range of possible ways to reduce the risk posed by COVID-19, including:
- Establishing recommended physical distancing protocols in classrooms, residences, libraries, and other spaces on campus;
- Enhancing sanitation protocols and enacting measures to properly train and protect staff who conduct the cleaning;
- Identifying appropriate and effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be used by students and staff;
- Establishing criteria and protocols in the event a student or staff member is diagnosed as or suspected of being COVID-19 positive; and
- Ensuring appropriate resources are in place to support the well-being and mental health of students and staff.
- Institutions should provide reasonable accommodation for staff who are at high risk or have family responsibilities that require them to remain off-campus. As much as possible, institutions should permit these staff to continue teleworking.
- Consistent with principles of collegial governance, the appropriate academic governance body should be responsible for all decisions about class cancellations, modifications, or the temporary continuation of remote teaching or blended instruction. As the CAUT Policy Statement on Distance (including Online) Education notes: “Academic staff, through collegial processes, should determine the method of course delivery and workload allocation.”
- Institutions should negotiate any changes to instructional methods and mode of delivery with the academic staff association. The principle of academic freedom as well as specific collective agreement language provide academic staff with the right to select course materials, determine the pedagogical approach, and choose methods and modes of instruction and assessment within their assigned courses, subject to institutional policies as developed by relevant academic governance bodies.
- In the event that in-class instruction is not possible, institutions and academic staff associations should ensure that academic freedom is not compromised in a remote teaching environment. Explicit protections should be in place to prevent data sharing, surveillance, and recording of on-line classes. Additionally, academic staff who create distance courses should retain their intellectual property rights relating to the content of those courses.
- Academic staff, and in particular contract academic staff, should be properly compensated for additional preparation or instructional time that may be required as a result of a continuation of temporary remote teaching. In all cases, academic staff should be provided with sufficient time and resources to further develop skills in remote teaching.
- All plans for the fall academic year should fully consider equity implications. Lower-income students and those in rural and remote regions may have inadequate or no access to computers or Internet connections to participate in on-line learning. Students and academic staff with disabilities may require specific accommodations. Institutions should provide support structures and programs for all students and staff who are experiencing increased hardship.
“The bottom line is supply issues are governing the day, not worker health and safety. The government knows that if it were up to inspectors, the precautionary principle would be a foundation in any workplace inspection. But plain and simple, inspectors are not being allowed to do their important jobs.” — Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer
(Ottawa – May 15, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has developed guidelines to assist academic staff associations in addressing logistical and other questions about fall campus operations. While emergency restrictions continue to change and possibly ease, health and safety considerations and academic concerns about fulfilling institutional core missions around teaching and research remain complex and difficult to assess.
The guidelines, like all of CAUT’s advice and resources related to COVID-19, will be continuously updated as more information becomes available.
Late yesterday, MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky was invited to join a video conference consultation meeting today with Manitoba Finance Minister Scott Fielding to discuss the Province’s responsibility for overseeing a one-time “risk recognition payment” to front-line workers in the battle against COVID-19.
On May 13, MGEU supporters joined hundreds of other Manitobans to circle the Legislative building during question period in protest of Pallister's cuts to public services.
“It makes no sense to reduce work days for staff who are very busy delivering important public services. It is even more absurd to impose layoffs or work reductions on permanent employees with mortgages to pay, and families to support while hiring summer students.” — Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU President
Toronto – May 14, 2020 – With the COVID-19 pandemic presenting a range of new stressors and challenges for workers across the country, UFCW Canada has launched a new series of webinars aimed at helping Canadians maintain their mental health in this time of crisis.