The recent COVID-19 pandemic has given us a broad definition of just what “essential” means in our society. In a time like this, we knew that medical and emergency services were essential. Another essential cog in our lives is the acquisition of food. Because of this, grocery store employees, truckers, and warehouse workers never stopped for even a minute, despite the dangers they faced. As that work continues, some are saying that the level of compensation they saw at the beginning of the pandemic should continue as well.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is asking for the reinstatement of hazard pay for their workers. Mike Perrone is the International President of the UFCW, and he says that their workers put themselves at risk every day.
Perrone says that many of the major retail chains had been acting like the pandemic was over, and discontinued hazard pay to their employees. Now, we are seeing that it is not over. As retailers like Wal-Mart move to mandatory masks for their customers, UFCW feels workers should be compensated for the risk once again.
Perrone says several UFCW members have been lost or become seriously ill during the pandemic.
The union wants to see retailers step up and properly compensate their workers, union members or not, for putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us stocked up during the pandemic.