WASHINGTON, DC — The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has issued a statement that it is calling on Gov. Jim Justice for action to protect workers and consumers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
UFCW stated that among all of its members, 238 frontline workers have died and nearly 29,000 workers have been infected or exposed in the first 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials with UFCW explained that as West Virginia COVID-19 cases increase, Gov. Justice should be working with business leaders to introduce three policies to support and protect those in the state who are working in frontline positions.
- Reinstate hazard pay and establish a $15 per hour wage for all frontline workers.
- Establish a mask mandate for all businesses and public gatherings.
- Create a new public registry to track COVID-19 infections in frontline workers which would require companies with more than 1,000 employees to submit monthly reports on their worker deaths, infections, and exposure.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone stated these three policies would help those working in more ways than one.
“With our country now 100 days into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s frontline workers in West Virginia and across the country still face many of the same dangers they faced on day one. In grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and healthcare facilities, our country’s frontline workers are still getting sick and dying. 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.
Frontline workers simply cannot survive with the current patchwork of safety measures that still leave so many unprotected and vulnerable. We need real enforcement of strong safety standards. Even worse, some of our nation’s biggest companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Kroger are still keeping us in the dark and refusing to tell the American people how many of their workers have died or been exposed to COVID-19. Simply put, it is impossible to hold the government or corporate America accountable when they hide the true impact of this outbreak.”UFCW International President Marc Perrone
UFCW represents more than 4,400 West Virginia workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other essential businesses across the state.