Senator Ed Markey Stands with UFCW Local 1445 and Stop & Shop Workers to Protest Cuts to Hazard Pay
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
DORCHESTER – Senator Ed Markey Monday hosted a press conference with United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1445 President Fernando Lemus and Stop & Shop employees to demand management reinstate hazard pay for grocery store workers. The 10 percent pay increase ended on July 4th even as the United States reports record numbers of coronavirus cases.
Stop & Shop employees “come in close contact with hundreds of customers every single day, exposing themselves and their families at home in order to keep our communities fed,” said Lemus, adding that he wants “to thank Ed Markey for being here in support of our workers at Stop & Shop to keep our hazard pay.”
Kristen Flanagan, Deli Manager at the Somerville Stop & Shop, shared that “we had 13 positive cases just with workers in my store, myself included, and my husband is immune compromised, going through cancer treatments,” explaining that “I have to risk my life… and my family’s life every day to come in here and make sure that my customers are taken care of.”
Referring to Stop & Shop employees like Kristen, Senator Markey emphasized that “these workers are heroes, but heroes need help.”
“They’re taking a risk right now inside of this supermarket in order to provide food for everyone who lives in this region. You cannot Skype into your job as a meat cutter. You cannot Skype into your job as a cashier. You cannot Skype into your job behind the counter at the deli… These are heroes, but heroes need help and they need appreciation which is another way of saying they need hazard pay,” Markey said.
UFCW Local 1445 is part of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops, cannabis, and other industries.
As the son of a union leader, Senator Markey is committed to fighting for the rights of union workers across the Commonwealth and nation. In February, he joined airline catering workers for a rally at Logan Airport calling for fair wages and affordable healthcare. Senator Markey is endorsed by unions throughout the state including American Postal Workers Local #4553, UNITE HERE Local 26, AFSCME, SEIU 888, SEIU 32BJ, CWA 1400, AFT, AFA, and AFGE.
Senator Markey has been at the forefront in Congress calling for protections for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was one of the first to call for President Trump to invoke the Defense Protection Act to dramatically ramp up production and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, gowns, and other medical equipment. Senator Markey is also pushing for additional stimulus payments and cash refunds for flight tickets to protect working families in this period of financial crisis.
Liz Vlock, Press Secretary
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