UFCW Local 400 is calling on employers of its members to provide enhanced sick leave policies amid the COVID-19 state of emergency. The union has sent notices to every employer, including Giant Food, Safeway, Kroger, and Shoppers grocery chains, where stores have been overrun by shoppers.
The letters recognize that “in many cases the recuperation or self-quarantine related to the virus is often lengthier than someone’s accrued sick leave,” and call on employers to “provide no less than fourteen days of paid sick leave to all employees with no fear of disciplinary action.”
The union is also calling for every employer to negotiate “over time and attendance policies, adequate staffing to ensure cleanliness and safety if people call out sick at the last minute, policies for elderly and immune-compromised staff and staff impacted by school closures, as well as contingency plans in the event of staff or hours reductions or temporary closures.”
“Frankly, we are making this request because it is the right thing to do,” explained Local 400 president Mark Federici. “Particularly in the grocery industry, where stores are experiencing a significant increase in traffic, it is more important than ever that workers are able to be able to access paid time off in the event that they or their families become sick.”
“Without paid sick leave, workers are forced to choose between missing much-needed income to pay their bills or coming to work sick and risking infecting others. All too often, workers come to work rather than missing a bill for rent, utilities or other necessities,” he added.
“For the safety of our members, our customers and our communities, we are asking our employers to do the right thing and provide paid sick leave and other protections for the safety and health of their employees, customers, and the communities we serve.”
A complete list of employers represented by UFCW Local 400 is available on the union website here.
The union has also indefinitely postponed all union membership meetings scheduled through April 2 until further notice.
UFCW Local 400 represents 35,000 members working in the retail food, health care, retail department store, food processing, service and other industries in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.