UFCW: Over 11,500 grocery workers affected in first 100 days of pandemic
At least 82 grocery employee members have died from virus, says union
Russell Redman, Supermarket News
Jun 26, 2020
United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) said at least 82 grocery store workers have died from COVID-19 and 11,507 have been infected or exposed to the virus in the first 100 days of the outbreak.
The nation’s largest private sector union, UFCW represents 1.3 million employees in grocery, meatpacking, food processing, retail, health care and other industries in the United States and Canada. The Washington, D.C.-based union said in a press conference yesterday that, among its membership, 238 workers have died from coronavirus in the 100 days since the pandemic started, while almost 29,000 have been infected or exposed.
“With our country now 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s frontline workers still face many of the same dangers they faced on day one. In grocery stores, meatpacking plants and health care facilities, our country’s frontline workers are still getting sick and dying,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in remarks at the conference. “It’s high time for America’s CEOs and elected leaders to pull their heads out of the sand and take the strong action needed to protect these brave workers and the communities they serve.”
In grocery stores during April — when incidence of the virus peaked in many areas of the country — 46 UFCW members died from COVID-19, marking that industry segment’s highest single-month total during the pandemic, UFCW reported. Grocery’s biggest overall spike in the spread of the coronavirus came in May, when 5,901 new workers were infected or exposed, the union said.
At meatpacking plants, at least 65 member workers died and 14,214 were infected or exposed in the pandemic’s first 100 days, according to UFCW. New coronavirus cases (infected or exposed) hit a high mark of 8,632 workers in April, and deaths from the virus peaked at 38 in May.
Meanwhile, food processing facilities had at least 28 worker deaths from COVID-19 and 3,474 workers infected or exposed to the virus among UFCW members during the 100-day period, the union said. April was the peak month thus far, as 19 food processing workers died and 2,107 were infected or exposed.