Kroger, grocery union calling for government to recognize workers as temporary ‘first responders’

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CINCINNATI, Ohio (WKRN) — Kroger and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) are calling on federal and state governments to “take swift action to designate associates at grocery stores as ‘extended first responders’ or ’emergency personnel.’

Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen and UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a joint statement stating that ‘grocery workers play a critical role in our communities and they must be protected’ and that Kroger associates who are also members of UFCW have ‘been working tirelessly to make sure that millions of American families have the fresh food and products they need’ since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working together, Kroger and the UFCW have already taken significant steps to keep Kroger associates safe and reward them for their incredible sacrifices throughout this ongoing crisis. The truth is more must be done and it must be done now.

Given the significant daily risk these workers face, we are calling on all of our federal and state leaders to take immediate action. Specifically, we are requesting our nation’s leaders to assign a temporary designation of first responder or emergency personnel status for all grocery workers. Make no mistake, this designation is absolutely critical as it will ensure these frontline workers have priority access to personal protection equipment like masks and gloves.

This urgent call for temporary first responder or emergency personnel status is not just about protecting grocery store workers; it is also about protecting the customers they serve and our nation’s food supply in general.

We urge our national and statewide elected leaders to act now and protect these essential workers.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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