Stop & Shop granted 70,000 employees a 10 percent pay raise and two weeks of paid sick leave Thursday after the supermarket workers' union raised concerns over the perilous conditions members are facing during the coronavirus outbreak. "This essential pay and benefit increase will not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities,” United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) President Marc Perrone said in a statement. The news comes as grocery stores across the country have been overloaded with customers who seek to stock up on groceries for fear that they will run out of resources during the pandemic. read more about it here
RWDSU Local 338 Secretary-Treasurer joins grocery store workers and customers in discussing the increasing respect people are showing for workers on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis. Watch it here at NY1
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Across America, retail workers are on the front lines in the battle against Coronavirus. The New York Times profiles stories of these workers. read it here
A look inside: The final hours in Macy’s Herald Square before all stores shut temporarily because of coronavirus
On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of Macy’s stores across the country were still open for business, including its sprawling flagship location in Herald Square in Manhattan. I decided to take a trip to Midtown, from my Upper East Side apartment, to see what shopping — if any — was taking place there. Come to find out, this would end up being the final few hours that Macy’s — which bills itself as “America’s department store” — was open for business through at least March 31. Read more about it at CNBC Continue reading
Macy’s is closing all of its stores nationwide, effective at the end of business Tuesday through March 31, to try to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The closures include all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage and other outlet stores, the company said in a press release. Macy’s said it will offer benefits and compensation to its affected workers during this time. “The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority,” CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement. read more at MSNBC
March 17—In the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks in Amazon warehouses, a global alliance of unions is calling on the company to take a series of urgent measures to protect workers and their communities. The alliance, coordinated by UNI Global Union, is making these demands as workers in Italy are striking and workers in Spain are filing complaints to make the company fulfil its legal and ethical obligations to provide a safe workplace. Christy Hoffmann, General Secretary of UNI Global Union said “Amazon workers are on the front lines of this crisis. Amazon is facing increased demand as families around the world prepare to stay home, and with that increased demand comes increase risk for workers. Workers are doing their part, but Amazon is failing to abide by safety rules set by governments in Spain and Italy once again putting profits over people. Amazon needs to negotiate with unions to ensure worker safety and smoothly functioning supply chains.” Italian Amazon workers are on strike in Castel San Giovanni (Piacenza) and announced a “state of agitation” in facilities in Piedmont and Passo Corese near Rome over unsafe conditions. Already, Amazon warehouse employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Italian Union CGIL claims that Amazon is not fully adhering to COVID-19 protocols jointly negotiated between trade unions and the government. Tania Scacchetti, Confederal Secretary of CGIL, said “Amazon workers are mobilizing for their health as the e-commerce multinational continues to fail to provide the right protection. The company puts productivity and profit before safeguarding the personal safety of its employees.” After confirmed coronavirus cases in Amazon warehouses in Barcelona and Madrid, Spanish union Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO) has filed a complaint with authorities in Barcelona over Amazon’s response to the outbreak. Additionally, in the United States the company has been rapidly hiring workers to fill growing demand. In the United Kingdom, workers are reportedly being forced to work overtime. “Amazon is once again putting its own profits ahead of worker safety,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and of UNI Global Commerce. “Jeff Bezos should remember that workers make Amazon run, and that his continued denial of workers' rights is inconsistent with effectively mitigating this crisis.” Appelbaum is also the President of the Amazon Alliance. The full statement of the alliance is here at UNI Global Union.
The companies that feed America brace for labor shortages and worry about restocking stores as coronavirus pandemic intensifies
Working men and women are heroically helping to provide for Americans during this crisis. Read about the challenges they are facing as Americans plunder stores for goods.
Working people are at the front lines of the battle against Coronavirus. Read about it here at New York Times
As coronavirus spreads, sowing panic and economic dislocation, unions across the country are using the crisis as an opportunity to call for priorities that were dismissed as left-wing fantasies not long ago—and now seem like common sense. read more at In These Times