Union for Grocery and Meatpacking Workers Facing Daily Risks in Pandemic Urges Governors to Mandate Masks Nationwide to Combat Spread of COVID-19
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other essential businesses, welcomed Vice President Joe Biden’s call for a national mask mandate for the next three months to protect workers and combat the spread of COVID-19. Biden cited health expert estimates that a national mask mandate would save over 40,000 lives. UFCW has made public mask mandates a priority since the beginning of the pandemic.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“Vice President Biden’s call for a national mask mandate underscores the need for immediate action to protect millions of America’s frontline workers. As COVID-19 spikes across the country continue to put our communities at risk, it is time for governors to step up and make a public mask mandate the law in all 50 states.
“In every grocery store in America, frontline workers are continuing to put themselves in harm’s way to make sure our families have the food we need. Every day that governors hesitate to enact mask mandates that are fully enforced, millions of American workers and shoppers will continue to be needlessly put in danger of being infected by COVID-19.
“It’s time for our nation’s leaders to put the safety of the American people first by enforcing public mask mandates nationwide. Our country’s workers and families cannot wait any longer.”
A new Washington Post report confirmed at least 130 grocery worker deaths and over 8,200 grocery worker infections since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
UFCW has been a leading national voice in the push for public mask mandates to combat outbreaks and protect millions of America’s frontline workers. In July 2020, UFCW joined over 100 health experts to call for a national mask mandate in a full-page New York Times advertisement.
A recent USA Today report shows that over 40 percent of governors still refuse to enact public mask mandates, including in states like Arizona, Florida, and Georgia which have seen COVID-19 cases continue to increase at alarming rates.
UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 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.