Grocery stores and food markets are the new front lines in the war against coronavirus, and workers in Washington are stepping up to meet the need, according to the Seattle Times.
“Grocery store workers make up one of the largest workforces in the state. But it’s also one of the most vulnerable, with many working part-time or nonunion jobs. During the pandemic, the stress has been amped up,” according to the paper’s website, but steps are being taken to support these workers in their efforts.
Several stores have created at-risk shopping hours – dedicated periods for those who are older, pregnant or with compromised immune systems, and Safeway, one of the country’s biggest grocery chains, reached an agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents thousands of grocery-store workers in Washington, to provide up to two weeks’ pay for workers diagnosed with coronavirus. UFCW is also aiming to have grocery workers included in the same class as firefighters, EMTs and police when it comes to coronavirus services and relief.
“I think grocery-store workers are used to being first responders,” said Sarah Cherin, UFCW Local 21’s chief of staff. “…when you think about things like this pandemic, grocery-store workers are the front line, just like health care workers.”
Read more about grocery workers on the frontlines in Washington state and across the country here.