Grocery Union Reaches Deal for Workers on Front Lines of the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Public domain photo by Daniel Lobo.

Grocery stores have been deemed essential during the pandemic, and their employees are stationed on the front lines. One San Jose grocery store worker has died of COVID-19, said Jim Araby, strategic campaigns director at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5. The union, which represents some 30,000 workers at Bay Area stores such as Safeway, Walgreens, CVS pharmacy and even some cannabis dispensaries, recently reached a deal with several retailers to ensure employee and shopper safety and an hourly wage boost for those working during the crisis.

“They were a relatively healthy 65-year-old person that worked in the meat department in one of the grocery stores. Now, we don’t know if they contracted the virus at their workplace or not. They were away on vacation a couple weeks prior to that. It really elevated the level of acknowledgement of the risk that our members are taking every day when they’re out there.” — Jim Araby



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