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Grocery makes changes to focus on essentials

Kroger is making changes in its stores, effective immediately, to help shoppers get the basics they need and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The company invited WCPO’s cameras into its Downtown Cincinnati store on Wednesday to show us the changes it is making throughout the chain.

Spokeswoman Erin Rolfes said the biggest change shoppers will see is the closing of all personal-service meat and seafood counters, as well as salad bars.

“You will see closures of our service departments, our meat case, salad bars,” Rolfes said. “It’s not due to concerns about spreading disease… it is all just to reallocate resources to make sure the shelves are stocked.”

She said steaks, seafood, and lunch meat will be sliced and packaged overnight and placed in coolers for customers to grab.

“There’s no change in product, there just won’t be someone to hand it to you from behind the counter.”

Shorter hours, more endcaps

This comes just days after Kroger reduced its hours, with Ohio stores opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 9 p.m. to allow for cleaning and restocking.

“Our reduced hours will give our associates extra time to restock the shelves overnight,” Rolfes said.

When shoppers visit their Kroger store in the morning, she said, they will see more endcaps stocked with essentials like bottled water and paper towels, making them easier to find.

She says toilet paper continues to come in from manufacturers and warehouses, and Kroger is getting it into stores as quickly as possible.

However, more items will be limited to just three per customer, including:

  • Water
  • Vitamins
  • Cold and flu supplies
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Hand soap
  • Household cleaning items
  • Eggs
  • Milk

“Those product limits are in place so everyone has a chance to purchase,” Rolfes said.

Kroger is exploring the option of early morning hours, she said, but has not made any decision yet.

Helping employees

As a token of appreciation to employees trying to keep stores stocked, Kroger is giving associates a gift of a $25 gift card.

It will also pay any full-time employees for 14 days if they are are forced to quarantine at home.

And although other employers are cutting workers right now, Kroger plans to hire 10,000 additional workers in the coming weeks to help stock and clean stores.

Applicants can visit jobs.kroger.com to apply.

Kroger hopes to have some sense of normalcy return in the next few weeks. In the meantime, the company asks shoppers to just shop for one week’s worth of groceries at a time, so everyone has a chance to get what they need.

Source: Journal-News.com

Grocery workers get further support with growing pandemic demands

Grocery workers at Safeway and Albertsons stores across the state have new protections and support after negotiations between labor unions and the company.

Among them: an effort to to work with the state and federal government to treat them as first responders and set up a child care fund for them.

This and numerous other supports were agreed upon to help address work demands through the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Washington state United Food and Commercial Workers and Teamster local unions announced the changes with Safeway/Albertsons on Tuesday.

UFCW 21, 367, 1439 and Teamsters 38 reached the understanding with Safeway/Albertsons.

The resolution provides:

•More flexibility for schedules to accommodate child care.

•A joint hiring hall to allow for more people to get work in the stores.

•Up to two weeks of pay for workers with COVID-19 or those required to self-quarantine, before needing to access sick leave and other paid leave.

•Expanded use of paid sick leave to cover child care.

Additionally, further discussions will take place on ways to meet child care needs, and to ensure employees do not lose eligibility for medical coverage or lose vacation accrual while on sick leave. Discussions also include temporarily allowing the employer to bring in extra help to serve the communities, provided the bargaining unit employees are first offered the hours, including overtime.

In addition, negotiations maintained any work done in the meat cutter classification will only be performed by those qualified and licensed — where necessary — to perform the work, the announcement said.

Source: Union-Bulletin.com

China reports no new domestic cases

For the first time since the global coronavirus outbreak began, China has reported no new domestic cases of the illness.

Only eight deaths were reported for Wednesday, all of which occurred in Hubei province, which includes the city of Wuhan where the pandemic started. Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has topped 200,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the U.S. and Europe have brought life in many major cities to a standstill, and governments are launching a variety of aid packages meant to alleviate the worst of the economic impact.

Markets were calmer on Thursday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening lower by around 200 points and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq down by just under 1 percent each.

Source: NBC News

Sales are up at supermarkets. But that brings new problems for the grocery industry

There can be such a thing as too much business, supermarkets across the country are realizing as the surge in grocery demand sparked by the widening coronavirus crisis is forcing them to modify their policies.

The rush of shoppers has helped grocers’ stock prices as much of the market has been hammered. But it has also strained supply chains, resulting in picked-over shelves, long lines, harried staff and reduced hours — leaving supermarkets the most visible symbol for many Americans of the macro and microeconomic consequences of the outbreak.

And with officials in Los Angeles and across the country beginning to order or recommend that restaurants halt dine-in service or restrict capacity, the pressure on supermarkets will probably increase.

Major grocery chains such as Walmart, Stater Bros. and a number of Kroger subsidiaries, including Ralphs, are halting 24-hour operations to allow extra time for their workers to clean, sanitize and restock stores.

The new hours vary from chain to chain: Ralphs is reducing its hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Stater Bros. is reducing to 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Walmart is reducing hours nationwide to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

John Votava, director of corporate affairs at Ralphs, said the move will allow the company to “really sanitize the store … restock, and it also gives us time to balance the needs of our associates.”

The frenzy at stores has helped publicly traded companies, such as Walmart, Costco and Kroger, outperform the volatile market. The S&P 500 index has slid 28% since Feb. 21, while Costco only lost 12% of its share value. Walmart lost nearly 10%, and Kroger managed to tick up 2.6%.

The ramp-up to the virus-related demand was captured in Costco’s most recent earnings report, which showed a 13% uptick in February sales compared with last year. Other companies are forecasting strong revenues as shoppers stock up.

But in the aisles and at the loading docks, workers and managers are struggling to withstand the new pressures, and some fear that staffing will become an issue as the virus spreads and schools continue to shut down, forcing more workers to stay home.

This comes as household staples such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper remain in short supply at many grocers. Industry experts say there’s little risk of out-and-out food shortages across the country — right now the issue is one of distribution, as demand spikes.

The major chains usually get shipments overnight, or perhaps twice a day, to restock essentials such as paper towels, toilet paper and water, but “manufacturers in some cases are having trouble keeping up, and that’s where the void is, they’re not able to keep up with demand,” said Bob Reeves, vice president for the West at the Shelby Report, a research firm that tracks the grocery industry.

“We’re seeing shipments coming into the stores sometimes without any of those products, and it will be like that until people calm down a little bit,” he said.

“We’re refilling high-demand products as quickly as we can,” Vivek Sankaran, chief executive of Albertsons Cos., which also owns Vons and Pavilions, said in a note to customers Friday.

In some cases, chains are sending their delivery trucks directly to manufacturers — bypassing warehouses and distributors — to get the items to the stores faster, said Burt P. Flickinger III, managing director of the retail consultant Strategic Resource Group.

But that still hasn’t been enough to satisfy demand, as the empty shelves attest, Flickinger said.

“This is a crisis of unprecedented proportions” compared with disruptions caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters, where “it’s a week or a few weeks and then things get back to normal,” he said, adding that it could be several weeks before conditions improve.

Some chains are limiting the number of certain items each customer can buy with each visit, but “that’s hard to manage in many cases because they don’t want to upset their customers,” Reeves said.

Rodney McMullen, chief executive of Kroger Co., the parent of Ralphs and other chains, said in an email to customers Wednesday that the company’s “supply chain teams are working to ensure that the food, medicine and cleaning supplies our customers need are reaching our stores as quickly as possible.”

Reeves said another potential problem for the chains is that they could find their staffing levels strained either because an increasing number of schools are temporarily closing, leaving children at home and forcing parents to stay with them, or because workers are becoming ill.

“Not everybody can afford to have day care,” Reeves said. “I’m not aware of any staffing issues currently, but that’s going to become a bigger problem.”

Albertsons spokeswoman Melissa Hill said in an email that the chain was “not experiencing problems with staffing but are always looking for people to fill positions, and there is certainly a need in the stores right now.”

Further up the supply chain, industry groups say that there’s no current shortage of food in the pipeline — after all, U.S. consumers aren’t eating more overall, they’re just buying their food all at once — but that might change if coronavirus outbreaks start to affect workers in food production and distribution.

The National Pork Producers Council has sent a letter to the White House and federal legislators, warning that the spreading virus could make the industry’s ongoing labor crisis worse, resulting in “serious market disruption with catastrophic implications for hog farmers.” The group urged lawmakers to offer farmers financial support and expedite worker visas to avoid shortages.

The Consumer Brands Assn., the industry group representing most major packaged goods companies in the U.S., is asking lawmakers to raise the number of hours that truck drivers are allowed to drive from 11 to 13 to deal with increased demand, and is pushing for expedited approval processes for consumer goods at ports and stricter enforcement of anti-price gouging laws.

In China, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, national food production and distribution have been stretched thin by the scale of sickness and the intensity of the government response, which saw cities and provinces shut down for weeks to try to slow the spread of the disease.

To keep supplies flowing into the most severely affected city of Wuhan and its surrounding province, Hubei, the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture ordered the farm industry to increase production “by every possible means” while keeping prices stable. By early March, officials said that they had amassed a 60,000-ton vegetable reserve near Hubei and a 10,000-ton pork reserve near the port of Shanghai.

Officials in Italy announced a national lockdown last week as the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases climbed over 12,000 and the death toll from the virus ticked past 800. When the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were locked down earlier in March, reporters found that local production of iconic artisanal foods, such as wine and gorgonzola cheese, was grinding to a halt. But even as bars, restaurants and shops close down to weather the crisis, food stores, pharmacies, and stores selling other essential items have been kept open, and there have been no reports of basic food shortages to date.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Factories shift operations in scramble to restock supermarket shelves

With supermarkets stripped of food and many other essentials, consumer product companies halted factory runs of niche items such as scented bleach in order to speed up production of more basic merchandise that is in high demand.

Brick-and-mortar retailers have warned that hoarding toilet paper, cleaning supplies and food staples was fueling shortages. Amazon.com, the biggest online retailer, said it sold out of many household staples after orders spiked.

As the fast-spreading coronavirus continues to alarm consumers across Europe and the United States, Trump held a phone call on Sunday with 30 executives from grocery stores including Amazon.com’s Whole Foods, Target Corp., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Walmart Inc. Trump Administration official Larry Kudlow assured television news viewers that U.S. supply lines were “working pretty well.”

“The grocery supply chain is not going to shut down,” said Doug Baker, who leads crisis management for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the trade group representing food retailers and wholesalers.

That does not mean that every product and Doritos chip flavor will be on store shelves.

As factories move to round-the-clock operations, they are focusing on the highest priority items to address the unprecedented surge in demand, said Baker.

For example, rather than cranking out bleach in several different sizes and scents, they will limit production to the most popular. Exotic flavors of certain foods may also be halted. That saves times because machines have to be changed to produce a different product.

“Manufacturers have also started allocating goods so they can ensure equal distribution across the country,” Baker said.

U.S. retail giants such as Walmart Inc, Publix and Kroger Co. have set restrictions on purchases of toilet paper, Lysol sanitizing wipes and other in-demand products.

Walmart, which gets more than half its U.S. revenue from grocery sales, has given store managers authorization to manage their inventory, “including the discretion to limit sales quantities on items that are in unusually high demand,” a spokesperson said.

Walmart’s replenishment efforts include “diverting products to areas of the country where they are needed most and routing deliveries directly to stores,” the spokesperson said.

Retailers are reducing hours to give harried employees time to restock and deep clean stores after frantic shoppers swarm shelves.

Companies across the grocery sector are working to ensure that they have enough labor to keep supplies moving. At least 62 have people have died from coronavirus infections in the United States, where infections are expected to rise from the currently confirmed 3,000 cases.

Baker, from FMI, said contingency plans include shifting workers from restaurant supply chain jobs as cities begin imposing curfews and “social distancing measures” such as barring sit-down dining.

Kroger – the largest U.S. supermarket operator with chains including Ralphs and Harris Teeter – put out a call for workers on Sunday.

“We have immediate positions available combined across our retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers,” a Kroger spokeswoman said in an email.

“This pressure – coming across the entire nation – is fundamentally different than regional emergencies that have been dealt with in the past,” said Hilding Anderson, head of retail strategy at consulting firm Publicis Sapient.

Meanwhile, the hunt for sought-after goods continues.

Donna El-Armale, 53, turned out in the predawn hours to line up at a Costco Wholesale Corp superstore in Los Angeles.

“We’re just trying to get our normal two-week supply,” said El-Armale, whose shopping list included paper towels and water for herself, and toilet paper for a family member.

El-Armale, a therapist, waited patiently with dozens of other shoppers who had lined up carts in the parking lot. Like many Los Angeles-area shoppers, who have weathered earthquakes and riots, she expected life to go on.

“We know the stores will be open,” she said.

Source: Reuters

Albertsons files for public offering

  • Albertsons Companies has filed a registration statement for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, according to a company release.
  • The company, which seeks to be listed under the symbol “ACI,” has not determined the number of shares it plans to offer or the price range it seeks for the offering. The Wall Street Journal reported in January that the company had filed confidentially for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
  • Separately, last week Albertsons reached an agreement with union officials representing current and former workers at Safeway stores in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The agreement provides higher pay, a continuation of health benefits and, in what was the most contentious issue for both sides, full funding of pensions for employees and retirees, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400. Details of the agreement were not released, but according to a New York Post report, Albertsons agreed to pay $575 million over the next 25 years to cover 50,000 workers.

Could it finally be Albertsons’ time to go public? The company has mounted two major efforts over the past five years — most recently when it tried merge with pharmacy chain Rite Aid — but has had to pull back each time. This time around, the grocery has a healthier balance sheet, with identical sales growing across eight straight quarters while debt has dropped to around three times EBITDA. However, it’s confronting an unstable market and faces the difficult task of convincing investors it can hold its ground against competitors, including Amazon and a resurgent Kroger.

In a letter accompanying its S-1 filing with the SEC, Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran said Albertsons is capitalizing on its national scale and prime store locations, and that it plans to continue to grow through merchandising, technology and cost-cutting measures.

“We now benefit from one of the industry’s largest networks of First-and-Main, food retail locations with leading market shares in valuable and growing markets,” Sankaran wrote. “It allows us to serve our customers locally, while delivering the advantages of national scale.”

In its filing, the company said it expects growth to come through its fresh departments and own brands as well as digital initiatives and store updates. Albertsons’ store brands now account for more than a quarter of company sales, with sales growth exceeding comp-store growth over the past 11 quarters by at least 100 basis points. The company is accelerating store remodels and has reworked assortments in several hundred stores to accentuate produce and fresh departments. Membership in its Just For U Loyalty program increased 25% over the past year.

The filing also emphasized Albertsons’ growing technology investments, both for consumers and for its operations.

“We are refreshing our entire digital interface to create a more personalized, easy-to-use and fully-integrated digital experience,” the company noted. “We are improving our mobile applications to enable more personalized rewards and services like advanced basket-building tools and product, meal and recipe recommendations.”

Robotics, revamped ordering systems and other measures are contributing to the estimated $1 billion in annual cost savings for Albertsons. Automated order fulfillment, currently being tested at two store locations, promises to improve picking efficiency while bringing down labor costs.

Over the past year, Albertsons has assembled a seasoned executive team. In addition to Sankaran, who hailed from PepsiCo, Albertsons recently elevated Geoff White to chief merchandising officer and named Chris Rupp, an Amazon and Microsoft veteran, as its executive vice preisdent and chief customer and digital officer.

Albertsons has lowered its debt from $10.52 billion in November 2018 to $8.34 billion as of last November through store leasebacks and other measures. During January’s Q3 earnings call, CEO Vivek Sankaran said the company was “in the right zone” for an IPO.

That same month The Wall Street Journal reported the company and its private equity owner, Cerberus Capital Management, were debating over whether to take the company public now or wait for results to improve further. Cerberus, which purchased 650 Albertsons stores in 2006 stores and built up a national competitor through a series of acquisitions, including the 2015 acquisition of Safeway for more than $9 billion, is more than ready to cash out of its 15-year-long investment.

With the coronavirus rattling the stock market, investors may be hesitant to put their money on Albertsons. Investors may also hesitate at the competitive pressures Albertsons faces, with Amazon about to open a supermarket in Southern California — a stronghold for Albertsons — and discount players like Walmart and Aldi continuing to move upmarket. Kroger, which competes with Albertsons in the Chicago area, in the south and along the West Coast, just closed out fiscal 2019 on a high note and received an investment from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway valued at around $550 million.

Albertsons may also face investor scrutiny over its union settlement last week. The reported $575 million in pension dues comes out to around $19 million Albertsons will have to pay out annually, the Post noted, or roughly 15% of its 2018 net income. The grocer and unions had reportedly been at odds for months over a pension fund that’s short $1.7 billion and was set to become insolvent in 2021.

Source: Grocery Dive

UFCW calls for action to protect workers and address economic impact of coronavirus

Your union is deeply concerned about securing the health and economic welfare of our members, their families and their communities.

To this end, we are working with your employers to help ensure you can protect yourself and your customers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the image below for information from HMCHealthWorks.

Meanwhile, the UFCW International Union has called for immediate action by the White House and Congress to develop and implement policies to be sure that workers – salaried and hourly – do not have to choose between their health and making ends meet.

In a letter to elected leaders of both parties, UFCW International President Marc Perrone wrote:

“Nearly 80 million American workers – or 59 percent of the entire U.S. work force – are hourly employees who only get paid for the hours they work. As the financial impact of the coronavirus is felt across every community, these hardworking men and women are on the front lines.

“I am urging each of our nation’s elected leaders to develop immediate policies to ensure workers – salaried and hourly – do not have to choose between work and their health.

“These policies should not only protect workers against financial loss (from loss of hours or job loss), but should further ensure workers seek out immediate medical attention if they feel sick or believe they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

“Now, more than ever, it is time we all focus on what matters most – protecting our families, our communities and this nation.”

Top policy priorities for the UFCW include:

  • At least two weeks of paid sick leave for all workers
  • Extension of unemployment benefits for workers temporarily laid off or whose work hours have been disrupted
  • Payroll tax cuts for all lower- and middle-income workers
  • Protection against unfair termination or discrimination for those suspected of being exposed to the coronavirus.

Union advantages

This rapidly evolving public health crisis underscores the advantages to all communities when workers have a union contract guaranteeing union-negotiated sick leave and comprehensive health care. among other major benefits. 

Please keep in touch with UFCW Local 99 for updates by visiting ufcw99.com, our Facebook page, reading our emails and all materials we send to you. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact your union representative.

In the meantime, please stay calm and take reasonable precautions to protect yourself and others in the community.

Three tips about the coronavirus

The coronavirus causes COVID-19, a respiratory illness that was first identified in China. It is highly contagious and includes symptoms like fever, cough and shortness of breath. The risk in the U.S. is currently low, but knowing how to protect yourself is key. Here are three tips:

    1. Keep it clean. Clean your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after touching surfaces in public areas, and especially if you are around someone who isn’t feeling well. Also, clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
    2. Avoid contact with sick people. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid traveling to locations where there are outbreaks of the coronavirus. And if you get sick, stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others.
    3. Contact your doctor or Teladoc. If you show early signs of illness — like a fever or a dry cough — you should contact your doctor’s office.Don’t necessarily head straight to the emergency room or urgent care, where you might infect others. There is no cure for coronavirus, but if you have symptoms of the virus, contact Teladoc and the doctors can evaluate your risk and help with next steps when necessary.

These St. Louis Schnucks pharmacies will close after CVS deal, union says

A union document says that the Schnuck Markets pharmacy in Kirkwood and other area specialty pharmacies will be among those closing when CVS purchases that part of the grocer’s business.

CVS said Tuesday it will acquire and operate 99 of the grocer’s pharmacies and brand them as CVS Pharmacy locations, resulting in 11 of 110 pharmacies closing. CVS plans to acquire prescription files from those pharmacies and transfer them to nearby CVS Pharmacy locations.

A CVS spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A Schnucks spokesman said the document, circulated by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655, is “accurate and one we provided our pharmacy teammates to help them prepare for the upcoming transition.” CVS has a store near the Kirkwood Schnucks at 10820 Manchester Road.

The document says other pharmacies set to close are in DeKalb, Illinois; Rockford, Illinois (Loves Park); Roscoe, Illinois; Sangamon, Illinois; Bettendorf, Iowa; and Janesville, Wisconsin. In addition, specialty pharmacies in Maryland Heights; on South Brentwood Boulevard; on Watson Road; and in Moline, Illinois, also will close. It said the companies planned for CVS Pharmacy to assume ownership of the other locations “by end of the second quarter of the calendar year.”

The document sought to assuage fears of pharmacy employees. It told them to apply for positions with CVS, but also said that of the 1,150 employees who work in the pharmacies, 10% may not be offered roles with CVS or transition to other Schnucks jobs.

David Cook, UFCW Local 655 president, said his union represents about 700 Schnucks pharmacy workers, all pharmacy technicians, who help prepare medications. He said he hasn’t yet spoken with CVS officials, but he anticipated they would honor Schnucks’ collective bargaining agreements.

Source: KSDK.com

UFCW Applauds Congressional Action to Protect Good Jobs in U.S. Food Industry

Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union announced its support of the Food Worker Pay Standards Act which was introduced by U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02). The bill would ensure that the federal government only purchases food produced by workers who earn fair pay and benefits.

“The Food Worker Pay Standards Act is a strong investment in American workers in our country’s meatpacking and food processing industries,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “By setting high standards for companies that receive billions of taxpayer dollars in federal contracts, Congress is sending a powerful message that these jobs need to be good jobs that put food safety and workers first. As the largest union representing America’s food workers, UFCW is proud to support this legislation. We urge Congress to stand up for good jobs in this industry by passing this bill and sending it to the president’s desk for his signature.”

Workers in the food processing industry are disproportionately workers of color, and the time is long overdue to protect their dangerous jobs with federal guardrails. This bill will signal to food processing companies nationwide that the federal government is only willing to work with businesses that put workers first. Anything less will not be funded by the American people.“The federal government should not be in the business of rewarding companies with taxpayer-funded contracts if they don’t pay or protect their workers adequately,” said Rep. Mark Pocan. “Workers in the food processing industry are disproportionately workers of color, and the time is long overdue to protect their dangerous jobs with federal guardrails. This bill will signal to food processing companies nationwide that the federal government is only willing to work with businesses that put workers first. Anything less will not be funded by the American people.


Through contracts, grants, loans, loan guarantees, and tax breaks the federal government funds work performed by millions of people.

  • About 40 percent of the government’s discretionary spending goes to contracts for goods and services covering everything from school lunches to military equipment.
  • In fiscal year 2018, the federal government spent more than $550 billion on these contracts and $1.1 billion of those tax dollars went to purchase meat, poultry, and fish.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) supports using federal purchasing power to guarantee the federal government only does business with high-road companies that respect workers’ rights, pay living wages, provide a safe workplace, and treat their workers with dignity.

The Food Worker Pay Standards Act will:

  • Ensure that workers who process meat, poultry, or processed food purchased by the federal government are compensated at or above the prevailing rate for such workers in their locality and
  • Ensure that the prevailing wage rate for meat, poultry, and processed foods workers is not less than the wages and benefits agreed to in collective bargaining agreements in those industries.

Tens of millions of Americans—around 22 percent of the workforce—are employed by companies that have at least one federal contract. It is essential to ensure that the men and women who work for federal contractors receive fair wages and work in safe and healthy environments.

Federal, state, and local governments contract for billions of dollars in food services each year. In FY 2018, the federal government spent $1.1 billion dollars on meat, poultry, and fish.

Food processing is a high hazard industry and workplace safety is a key concern.  Meat and poultry slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness, and death.

  • Poultry workers are at twice the risk of being injured on the job, suffer illnesses at a rate that is seven times as high, and have among the highest number of amputations compared to other workers.
  • Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries.
  • These injuries result in lost time or restrictions at three times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries.

The Food Worker Pay Standards Act will make our food safer. Unionized food processing plants are more likely to have robust health and safety programs which help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses and empower workers to report food safety issues. The UFCW and Tyson’s Foods have negotiated an industry-leading food safety program.

In addition to support from UFCW, this legislation is also endorsed by the AFL-CIO as well as the Bakery, Confectionery, and Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers (BCTGM) union.

This legislation is co-sponsored by Anthony Brown (D-MD), André Carson (D-IN), Danny Davis (D-IL), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Jesus “Chuy” García (D-IL), Deb Haaland (D-NM), Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Norma Torres (D-CA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), David Trone (D-MD), Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Source: UFCW International