Following news of the first confirmed COVID-19 cases in several area grocery stores, UFCW Local 400 is urging DC Mayor Bowser to declare grocery workers as “first responders.” The union, which represents thousands of grocery workers at Giant, Shoppers, and Safeway stores in the DMV area, is calling on Mayor Bowser to provide access to free, dedicated testing sites and protective equipment for grocery store, pharmacy, and food processing workers, as has been made available to other first responders in the District. “Our members working on the frontlines of this crisis are exposed to hundreds of customers per day and thousands per week, not to mention their coworkers, families and neighbors,” said UFCW Local 400 president Mark Federici. “We must do everything in our power to ensure these essential personnel are not putting themselves at unnecessary risk or serving as unintentional vectors for the virus. Without adequate testing, there is simply no way to know how widespread their exposure could be. The time to take immediate action is now, now, now!”
UFCW has launched an online action targeting Mayor Bowser and governors from surrounding states.