There’s a push to classify grocery store, distribution, warehouse and other workers as first responders.
United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 880 represents employees at grocery stores, drug stores, pharmacies, distribution centers, warehouses, food centers, nursing homes, processing plants and more throughout Northeast Ohio.
“We’re working with the state and federal governments trying to get our members classified as first responders to receive all the same benefits that first responders received because in essence that’s exactly what they’re doing,” explains, the union’s Secretary and Treasurer Barb Caruso.
The union is also fighting to make sure all of their members get extra pay, which in some cases is classified as “hazard pay.” Caruso says some employers are already doing so.
The union is pleased with the way employers are protecting workers and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic and they visit stores to make sure proper procedures are being followed.
“One of the biggest concerns that we have a hard time controlling is the consumer respect to follow the guidelines of the stores because our stores have set up the guidelines, some a lot of extra things not even necessarily things the CDC has suggested,” she says.
“So we would ask the public to please be contentious of that for their safety and our members safety.”