In acknowledgement of the ongoing risks faced by grocery workers during the pandemic, ShopRite has agreed to provide hazard pay for nearly 50,000 grocery workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. ShopRite will provide retroactive hazard pay ahead of the holiday season that covers all hours its grocery employees worked between July 26 and Aug. 22.
Last week, the UFCW, which represents 1.3 million food and retail workers, confirmed that there have been at least 109 grocery worker deaths and more than 48,000 grocery workers infected or exposed since the pandemic began. WGB reported the deaths of just some of the grocery industry workers earlier this year, including Steve Ravitz, the retired owner of five ShopRite stores.
“UFCW local unions worked with ShopRite to provide temporary hazard pay at the start of the pandemic and when that pay raise expired, these courageous grocery workers came together again to reach a new agreement with ShopRite on hazard pay as this crisis continues,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone in a statement. “UFCW grocery workers are sending a clear message to supermarket chains across the country that this pandemic is far from over, and every CEO must do the right thing by providing the hazard pay that these brave essential workers have earned and deserve as the threat from COVID-19 continues.”
The new UFCW agreement with ShopRite means that nearly 50,000 union ShopRite grocery employees represented by the UFCW and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) will receive retroactive premium pay for this past summer. The retroactive pay will be provided to each employee in the form of lump sum payments equal to $1 per hour for all hours worked between July 26 and Aug. 22.
In the case of future COVID-19 outbreaks resulting in government orders closing all businesses, except essential businesses, ShopRite has agreed to meet UFCW and RWDSU local unions to discuss additional hazard pay.
Additionally, ShopRite will observe a moment of silence on Workers Memorial Day and Labor Day each year, starting in 2021, to recognize front-line workers lost to COVID-19.
UFCW International and UFCW Locals have been negotiating with employers across the country this year to recognize how hard grocery workers are working to provide necessary food and supplies to their communities as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, says the union.
In September, UFCW launched a national campaign to restore hazard pay for America’s 3 million grocery workers still on the front lines of this pandemic.