SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- As the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge, grocery store workers in California and across the country want more protections in place as they continue to do their jobs.
The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery store employees in the U.S., is asking that governments consider them as extended first responders.
In California, it’s mandatory for essential employees to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and included in that essential employees group are grocery workers. The union that represents them says companies need to go a step further and require customers across the country to cover up as well.
UFCW President Marc Perrone said, “I honestly believe that somebody needs to step up to the plate and say if you’re going to a food store put a mask on and put on gloves if you have them if you don’t have them make one out of something.”
The union wants grocery store employees to have access to free coronavirus testing, and they’re also pushing for more paid sick time and hazard pay.
Perrone added, “If you’re not going to get paid, then even if you do have symptoms, you may show up to work anyway and then you are a public health risk.”
They also want shoppers to respect the social distancing rule, keeping their distance not just from other customers but also from employees.
They also want people to put together a shopping list. So they know what the need minimizing the amount of time inside of the stores.
The union is reminding shoppers who wear masks and gloves inside stores to throw them away in the trash after use, so employees don’t have to pick them up, decreasing the risk of spreading germs.