UFCW Advocating for Grocery Clerks as Emergency Workers
In addition to demanding that employers provide adequate measures to minimize the risk of infection to our members, we have introduced a recommended emergency legislative package in Sacramento that would do the following:
- Require a minimum of fourteen days sick leave and increase unemployment and state disability benefits during the State of Emergency.
- Grocery workers are allowed to flexibility in their scheduling for those that have children at home. UFCW is coordinating with unionized employers to compel the state to create a fund to subsidize childcare for workers who are designated as essential employees.
- Mandate that grocery retail, drug retail, and food delivery employees are allowed time to wash their hands (every 30 minutes) and that employers provide, at their expense, all necessary sanitary cleaners, including, but not limited to, hand sanitizer, disinfecting cleaning products, and protective gear (gloves, etc.) and appropriate training on their proper use. Mandate sufficient staffing to ensure sanitary bathrooms are stocked with necessary soap, towels, toilet seat covers and toilet paper, and are made available to employees and public entering such work sites.
- Provide access to coronavirus testing at no expense to grocery, drug store and food delivery workers.
- Permit workers to alter their schedules to address childcare and family needs arising from pandemic without retaliation and with good faith effort to maintain hours. Offer full-time hours to current employees before hiring new employees.
State Efforts to Assist California Workers
California will continue acting swiftly to help workers hurt by COVID-19. Affected workers can visit the Labor & Workforce Development Agency’s website to review what benefits are available to them. For instance,
- If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 you may qualify for Paid Family Leave (PFL).
- If you’re unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness, you may qualify for Disability Insurance. Those who have lost a job or have had their hours reduced for reasons related to COVID-19 may be able to partially recover their wages by filing an unemployment insurance claim.
- If a worker or a family member is sick or for preventative care when civil authorities recommend quarantine, workers may use accrued paid sick leave in accordance with the law.
- If workers are unable to do their usual job because they were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of their work, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. All information and resources can be found at Labor.Ca.Gov/Coronavirus2019
California’s Response to COVID-19:
We have been actively and extensively planning with our local public health and health care delivery systems. Here are some of the things we are already doing:
- As in any public health event, the California Department of Public Health’s Medical and Health Coordination Center has been activated and is coordinating public health response efforts across the state.
- California continues to prepare and respond in coordination with federal and local partners, hospitals and physicians.
- Governor Newsom declared a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, and help the state prepare for broader spread of COVID-19.
- Governor Gavin Newsom requested the Legislature make up to $20 million available for state government to respond to the spread of COVID-19.
- California activated the State Operations Center to its highest level to coordinate response efforts across the state.
- 24 million more Californians are now eligible for free medically necessary COVID-19 testing.
- California made available some of its emergency planning reserves of 21 million N95 filtering face piece masks for use in certain health care settings to ease shortages of personal protective equipment.
- The Public Health Department is providing information, guidance documents, and technical support to local health departments, health care facilities, providers, schools, universities, colleges, and childcare facilities across California
- The California Employment Development Department (EDD) is encouraging individuals who are unable to work due to exposure to COVID-19 to file a Disability Insurance claim.
- EDD is also encouraging employers who are experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy to apply for an Unemployment Insurance work sharing program.
- California continues to work in partnership with the federal government to aid in the safe return of 962 Californians from the Grand Princess cruise ship. This mission is centered around protecting the health of the passengers, and ensuring that when the passengers disembark, the public health of the United States, the State of California, and partner communities is protected.
- The Public Health Department is coordinating with federal authorities and local health departments that have implemented screening, monitoring and, in some cases quarantine of returning travelers.
- In coordination with the CDC, state and local health departments, we are actively responding to cases of COVID-19.
- The Public Health Department is supporting hospitals and local public health laboratories in the collection of specimens and testing for COVID-19.
For more the most up to date information on COVID-19 and California’s response, visit the CDPH website