Our members are essential employees in this pandemic…

But employers are still able to challenge workman’s comp claims just like they always do.

In order to ensure that grocery workers, healthcare workers, and other front-line workers get the coverage they need and deserve, we are working with lawmakers to make rules that will ensure Workers Compensation automatically covers COVID-19 infections for essential employees.

Below, hear some stories from these front-line workers.


 

Roshina, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“On a daily basis, we have customers entering the store without a mask. Management implemented a policy to give customers masks before they enter.
I have seen customers come in wearing the mask given to them, remove the mask, and continue to shop unmasked.
My main concern is about our frontline pay, as front line workers we are at risk every day.
Safeway paying $2 an hour appreciation pay is not enough.
We put ourselves on the line and risk exposing ourselves to the virus because we need to feed our families.
Mortgages are something I wish that Governor Brown could help out with, and influence employers in increasing so-called “Appreciation Pay”.
$2 an hour does not cut it.
We need a realistic amount per hour or a flat amount every week to compensate us for the dangers that we are exposed to every day. This pandemic is not getting better, it is getting worse.
Where I would like to see a change made, is people not caring, they just feel entitled, that we must be there for their needs. Humanity is almost lost in the US.”

Robert, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“Customers at Safeway are walking the opposite direction in the one-way aisles throughout our entire store, are standing very close to one another, as well as to employees. Customers are mocking the CDC guidelines, with sarcastic comments muttered under their breath.
They seem to think that when they’re wearing a mask, they’re not endangering the lives of service people and fellow customers with reckless behavior. Many impatient customers grab everything within reach on our counter, like bags and plasticware, instead of asking us to serve them when our hands are certain to be clean.
Customers become upset when informed that we’re not allowed to serve them samples due to our store policy in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
I hope something can be done to maintain prevention of needless risks to our health and safety. I’m hoping the store Safeway can actually live up to its name for a change.”

Robert, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“Customers at Safeway are walking the opposite direction in the one-way aisles throughout our entire store, are standing very close to one another, as well as to employees. Customers are mocking the CDC guidelines, with sarcastic comments muttered under their breath.
They seem to think that when they’re wearing a mask, they’re not endangering the lives of service people and fellow customers with reckless behavior. Many impatient customers grab everything within reach on our counter, like bags and plasticware, instead of asking us to serve them when our hands are certain to be clean.
Customers become upset when informed that we’re not allowed to serve them samples due to our store policy in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
I hope something can be done to maintain prevention of needless risks to our health and safety. I’m hoping the store Safeway can actually live up to its name for a change.”

Heather, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“My biggest annoyance with guests is not social distancing at the check stand.
In one instance, a guest didn’t want her produce touching the scale, but she didn’t even put them in bags to begin with. She had put the produce in direct contact with her cart and the check stand belt.
To resolve this, she reached over the plexiglass and put a bag on my scale to weigh her produce.
She was less than a foot away from my face. She wasn’t wearing any face mask either. She continued to be in my space the whole transaction.”

Griffin, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“I have had multiple people while working mask detail walking past me as if I didn’t exist while not wearing a mask. When I’ve called for managers they are too busy to deal with them. Multiple vendors also do not care enough to wear masks or social distance throughout the store because they get paid per location and rush through to get done as soon as possible. I would really like to see serious changes or our appreciation pay back.”

Marisa, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I was finishing a grocery run in produce when a man walked up next to me while I was picking bananas.
He had a mask on, but moved it below his chin and started coughing into the air and on his hands. I moved away from him and anxiety sunk in.
I didn’t know whether to tell management because I thought they’d treat it like just another silly customer, but I should have spoken up. “

Brady, UFCW555 member at Safeway

“I had a customer come in during my opening shift on the first day masks became a requirement for indoor spaces in Marion County.
Without a mask, he came into my line and told me he forgot to wear a one because his business in Silverton didn’t have to follow the guidelines. The message this sent was “My business doesn’t HAVE to do it, so I don’t care about your safety or the health of my own customers.”
I’ve also had customers intentionally cough in my line while laughing about how they aren’t going to get sick.
Cashiers have to interact with hundreds of people a day. It’s not just about your health, it’s also about protecting ours. The culture that demeans service workers also contributes to the attitude customers often exhibit implies we aren’t worthy of protection or consideration.”

Jenny, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“So I’ve been with Fred Meyer since 2007. I’ve worked at 3 different stores in the service deli, but recently moved to produce for a change of pace.
Overall I like the company and share its core values of providing quality service. At the same time, I’m no stranger to how it is a largely thankless job. Some days you’ll shtart your shift and your department is a disaster zone, and you’ll be expected to magically have everything perfectly cleaned and set before closing. This is not new.
But something that has started rubbing me the wrong way is that people don’t seem to be taking the virus seriously anymore. The company is becoming lax in enforcing safety procedures.
So, what do I mean? Back in March, I remember there being constant reminders to wash your hands. After sharing customer’s restrooms, I can sadly say some people just don’t feel compelled to wash hands after using the facilities.
As for things like masks, thankfully, the majority of customers seem to support it. But I still see too many that don’t.
Lastly there is social distancing, or rather, the lack of it.
Customers are pretty good about spacing out in checklines, but within the departments? Not so much. I’ll often get customers who will walk up and stand next to me while I’m stocking. Usually I don’t mind it, but it’s uncomfortable when that person isn’t wearing a mask and doesn’t inform me that they are there.
Sometimes I’ll finish putting something on the shelf, turn around and there’s someone standing directly behind me. I try to make it a habit to look up and around frequently but still there’s those that seem to appear from nowhere.
So overall I don’t expect a huge “thank you” from customers, but I would like them at the very least to respect my safety. As they say, “we’re all in this together.”‘

Carrie, UFCW555 member at Fred Meyer

“Since I work in Click-list, I am all over the store. Up and down every aisle, in every department, grabbing items for our curbside orders.
The aisles are all packed, too narrow, with giant displays taking up too much floor space,
to try to distract from empty spots on the shelves.
Absolutely NO way to social distance.
Even when you constantly wait for customers to move. It’s not enforced anyway.
Customers are in our faces all day, asking where something is
several customers don’t wear masks at all (or pull them down) while shopping, and the company refuses to enforce the mandatory mask mandate.
We are not allowed to refuse entry to anyone or question why they don’t have a mask. The customers that don’t want to wear them couldn’t care less about any of us.
We are getting sick more frequently.
Nothing is getting better, nothing is regulated, it’s getting worse and worse.
We’re not disposable. We have to show up for work because we’re essential. We don’t get to stay home and stay safe.
We need help to stay safer because Kroger sure isn’t protecting us. Profit over people has been proven again and again.”

Jadyn, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I have customers who come within a foot from me every single day, even multiple times every hour I’m there.
I have told a couple of them they need to respect the 6-foot distance and they don’t care. They get angry at us when we tell them we cannot bag their groceries if they have reusable bags. I see customers with no masks sneeze or cough into their hands and then touch the carts and everything on the shelves. We don’t feel the least bit respected during this pandemic by the customers.”

April, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“I work in Safeway Deli.
I’ll be outside working the bbq, people are standing very close, less than 6 feet from me.
Inside the store is worse. Customers are refusing to wear masks, and are mocking, loudly, about some people “needing their space”.
I have a young son and a mother with immune issues. Compromised health. I cannot afford to catch this and give it to my mom! I can’t do this alone! It takes everyone to stop this from spreading! Please, help us!”

Lilyan, UFCW555 member at Fred Meyer

“I work at the Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway Fred Meyer and I’ve noticed that whilethe pandemic is still not over my workplace and managers have pulled back the rules that protect us.
We have been told to bag groceries in people’s personal bags again. This is incredibly bothersome because these bags come DIRECTLY from people’s homes and cars. Also, our store has not been enforcing any mask rules. We have not been monitoring the number of people in our store or putting one-way directions on the aisles, nor is the 6 ft rule being followed.
Fred Meyer has taken very little steps to ensure the safety of its customers and employees.
We received masks from our company too late, they are pulling back rules that protect us too early, and they have given no care or consideration to anything involving the health of their people.
In addition, Fred Meyers reaction to Black Lives Matter and protecting workers who are POC is lacking. When my coworker of color put on a black lives matter mask she was suspended for not taking it off and was told it was “too political” for work.
Human rights are not political, Fred Meyer. Human rights are an expectation. I’m ashamed to belong to such a careless and clearly discriminatory company.”

Alex and Jason, UFCW 555 members at Fred Meyer

“Our coffee shop is at the back of our Fred Meyer, and we tend to see the older population as our regulars.
Every single day we see the same customers coming in without wearing masks, and they’re the same customers that will proudly tell you that Gov. Brown is taking their rights away.

Management is opening our dining area back up, with proper guidelines, but they are expecting the coffee shop employees to keep the area clean and sanitized after each customer.
Fred Meyer ended our hazard pay, and we feel that it’s not worth our jobs to risk our lives to clean up after regulars we know will sit for hours without masks, and our store has not been enforcing people wearing masks.
We know that opening the dining area back up will guarantee a COVID case at our store, it’s just a matter of time.”

Maria, UFCW555 member at Safeway

“Safeway has taken some steps to ensure the safety of the staff on a daily basis. However, I believe they have become fairly lax with cleaning procedures compared to the beginning months.
I also don’t appreciate that we aren’t being given the hazard pay, especially when we are required to wear masks but customers aren’t. The store has plenty of signs informing customers about mask use, but isn’t enforcing. As someone who is immune deficit, I certainly worry.
I hope to see a change in the future, thank you for all the great work that the union has done as well as Kate Brown!”

Juli, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“Customers ignore one-way stickers on the floor and the dedicated exits. Customers are required to wear masks but this isn’t enforced. Many do not wear masks.
It is scary because I have asthma and I take care of my 93-year-old mom who is very fragile and on oxygen.”

Maria, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I’ve worked with Fred Meyer for 5yrs now.
During this time staying 6 ft from our coworkers or customers is challenging and honestly, near impossible.
Our store is located around a senior living community and a university campus. When our seniors need assistance with their mobility putting things in their cart or have their own bag but cannot bag their own groceries, it becomes challenging to provide assistance without putting both of us at higher risk.
At self-checkout, it is the same challenge. When a customer needs assistance with coupons it is impossible to assist without putting our health at risk. We (cashiers) take a huge risk by handling money, having direct contact with customers for 8hrs during a full shift.”

Rhonda, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I work in the bakery. I work long days and hard shifts, it is a heavy workload–that of 2 and sometimes 3 people’s jobs. And half the time I have split days off, and work 3 different shifts in 5 days, closing 12-9pm, 4am-whenever.
We need some protection. Wipes, masks, etc. Maybe mandatory frontline workers get a 3rd day off and paid for, so we can rest. Wearing a mask 8 to 12 hrs a day is hard. And we need our 2 dollar hr pandemic pay again.
We all have families. We want to not worry about getting a loved one sick.
I am a gram’ma 😷
Thank you, stay safe, God Bless”

Ginny, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“I wish that everyone would wear a mask properly. Having your nose exposed is not helping. I love my regulars. Especially when they thank me for being there for them.
It hurts when groups of people come into the store with no masks on and we can not say anything to them. We are all in this together and we all should care about each other.”

Erick, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“While we have done our best to protect ourselves and customers, at times our hands are tied. At the beginning of COVID-19 we were described as heroes, as admirable members of society, providing some sense of normalcy to a traumatized populous while many of us were just as scared—but we put aside our fears to serve our local community.
I balanced my last year as an undergrad with work, unsure of how the pandemic would impact my own future— but I still went to work. If for no other reason, to support my amazing co-workers.
As the months progressed, our resolve remained strong. We continued wiping counters down every 15 minutes, wearing masks, ensuring we had all the necessary products that families would need only to be met by the same customers, who called us heroes just the months prior, now demand their conveniences back. I’ve witnessed and been at the receiving end of customers verbally, emotionally, and physically abusing us.
I’ve cried in the employee bathroom, I’ve screamed in the backroom freezer, I’ve picked up smoking cigarettes again, and this job is the reason why I can’t see my beloved family in British Columbia and the grandmother who raised me.
What other choice do you have when you’re a first-generation college student trying to earn his pre-medical degree and make that same grandmother and single mother proud?
I implore Governor Brown to do what is necessary, within the confines of judicial processes, to protect workers in any and every way possible. If we truly are the most powerful country in the world, if we truly are the best civilization humanity could offer, if we are to TRULY feel patriotic about the United States— the time has come for the government to prove it.
The job is still not completed. The longer we don’t comply [with COVID-19 preventative measures] as a state and as a country, the longer my grandmother waits to celebrate my June 2020 graduation with me in her home of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The longer I must wait to surprise my mother in Bellingham, Washington that I am now engaged.
The longer I must wait to spend time with my fiancé, who also works at a local Portland grocery store (New Seasons Market) and has been without any hazard pay since May 16th.
We can do better than this, can’t we?”

Paisley, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I am a bagger at Fred Meyers and I have the job of also making sure people are aware face masks are mandatory. I have been trying to make it positive for people and offer ways to buy a good quality mask or give them a free one for the day and unfortunately people just have a major attitude a lot of the time. I get called bad words sometimes and people say mean things under breath.”

Matthew, UFCW Local 555 member at QFC

“We’ve been having a number of people coming into the store not wearing masks, despite having signs and both entrances and throughout the store. With a small store, it can be difficult to maintain social distancing, but we have one-way aisles and spots where customers stand while waiting in line.
The hard part is the number of customers that come in. It feels like we’re having to wrangle them up. Other than that, we have some pretty nice people that don’t seem to mind the rules we set up.”

Chel, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Since the order came down to wear masks I have seen so many customers walk up to my counter wearing their masks below their nose or pulling them down below their mouth. Don’t they realize they can have this disease and not know it? What will I do if I get COVID and can’t work? What if I get it bad and I die? I’m only 25 and I haven’t done anything yet.”

Rose, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“In the fuel center, the guidelines for customers are tricky since we are outside. They’ve been cutting the hours per week for everyone in the whole department for March April and May being so slow, even though now we’re in one of our busiest months and we’ve almost doubled in business.”

Shannon, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“One evening I was closing and I had a customer come up and ask for water without mask. As she was waiting she decided to cough on the counter where we hand off our drinks and food. Then she came back for a refill and did it a second time. Me and my co-worker felt unsafe because we don’t know if she is a carrier or anything. She also endangered any customers around her when she didn’t cover her mouth and just coughed all over our counter.”

Tyler, UFCW Local 555 member at Safeway

“I work in the deli at Safeway and there is absolutely no way we are able to be six feet apart from each other while working. Also, some customers are wearing masks and others refuse and will walk right up to you while on the floor. Customers will pull down their masks to make sure you can hear them over the noise of the store. If we are expected to work during this period of time we should be paid hazard pay.”

Mila, UFCW Local 555 member at Safeway

“We have customers refusing to wear masks and throwing tantrums when asked to wear one. For all of us on the front lines of the pandemic and exposed to everything, it’s frustrating to not even make a living wage in this hazardous era.
We were temporarily receiving a two-dollar increase per hour, but no longer receive that either. At the same time, cases are increasing and our jobs are still difficult.”

Kristi, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“From when the grocery side of the store opens at 6am through ’till 7am, there is nobody to pass out masks to those that need it. I had somebody come awful close to me Monday afternoon with no mask on.

My safety is very important! We need a cart wiper/mask distributer to start at 6am on the grocery side, not 7am.”

Goldie, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I work in the jewelry department at my location. I have grown absolutely terrified to come to work.
Although my department is getting their temperatures checked daily, I’ve talked to many coworkers that have not had a temperature check in MONTHS. This is one of the only things Kroger has put in place to keep their associates safe. They aren’t even doing that.
We are not allowed to ask customers to leave, or to go get a mask if they are not wearing one. In my department, it is nearly impossible to stay six feet apart. So we are risking our lives every single day, and made completely silent.
Proper cleaning procedures aren’t taking place, and are being swept under the rug. Kroger associates and customers are at so much risk, management and corporate does not care.
I am scared to come to work and I am sick about how this company is treating their associates, like disposable waste.”

Jexica, UFCW Local 555 member at Albertsons

“We are constantly harassed and verbally abused by customers who yell scream and use profanities towards us because of masks and the fact that they can only enter one way and exit one way in the store. I’ve seen customers directly cough towards people wearing masks and making fun of people/employees wearing masks, so on and so forth. I find it ridiculous that they took our “appreciation pay” away while this pandemic is still going on and the grocery stores are setting record-breaking sales records.”

Evangelline, UFCW 555 member at Albertsons

“Since Albertsons has stopped with the $2 extra pay, they have cut hours extremely. I went from working 50+ a week down to 28 hrs! I can’t afford these cuts, I can barely make my rent and can’t qualify for unemployment because I am still employed.
Customers are coming in refusing to wear masks, and not maintaining their six feet of distancing. I have had co-workers who have had symptoms of COVID still come to work due to fear of not being able to pay their rent; they would have to be quarantined for 2 weeks, and the pay we are supposed to receive from Albertsons if we get sick is a nightmare to deal with… just to get paid for quarantined for 2 weeks.
I have worked for Albertsons for 7 years now and the fact that I have been extremely loyal and they decided to cut back our hours drastically when our CEO makes $30 million dollars a year during a PANDEMIC is sickening to me.
I have a 4-year-old daughter, who is babysat by her 65-year-old grandparents and I’m putting myself and their lives in danger every single day and I fear daily of infecting my family over pennies so I can struggle to get by. Something needs to change drastically and fast.”

Ravee, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“We are putting our lives on the line daily. We’re verbally abused and in some cases physically abused. I’ve been pinned between my case and a grocery cart. I have been told to f@%$ off and die. One of my coworkers had a bottle of wine thrown at her. We should not have to deal with being treated this way.
Most of the employees can not afford to go out on leave. It’s less then what we make. Most of us need our insurance for meds. Most of us have NO CHOICE but to show up for work daily.”

Colleen, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I am a meat cutter, our department and sales are above what we do the busiest time of the year, Christmas and Thanksgiving! Our sales are at an ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH?
Our management has asked us if we can work 6 days a week to keep up with the sales and we all said yes, however, the workload is taking a toll on us. People’s hands are sore, backs hurting, and just plain burnout as it seems we can’t cut meat fast enough for all the sales!
The $2.00 an hour pay raise gives us incentive and makes it worthwhile to keep up this insane production. I fear if it is removed, employees won’t want to keep up at this rate and will stop working the extra hours. The meat department would suffer and so would sales.
Our Governor Kate Brown has extended the Coronavirus stay until July 6th and I vote to keep our $2.00 extra pay to keep us working at such grueling demands!!!
Please do the right thing during these excessive times and extend our pay at least as long as the Governor extends the state of emergency.”

Karen, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I think we should continue to get “hero” pay for as long as the state is in lockdown! I don’t feel safe at work, haven’t since this all started. I have anxiety really bad when I’m at work, which leads to other issues physically.
In the deli there is no way we can stay 6 feet apart when everyone is crammed up in one corner or getting meats and cheeses out of the case!
If I could afford to not work right now I would NOT be there!”

Kristine, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Ending any hazard pay is another insult from the greed that hides behind “feed the human spirit”, “our promise” and “uplift every day”.
We have been told that sales are up 65%, we have hired a ton of people, yet we still have not seen any attempt on crowd control. The amount of customers is overwhelming. They do not respect us as humans; they will get in your face or push right past you, they make contact with their body.
Kroger is walking away with too much profit in this time of loss, yet we will be walking away with working conditions we need help with.
To Kroger and customers….we are human too.”

Kayla, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

” I went on a two-week quarantine. When I came back masks were optional. By the next week, we were told it’s mandatory, but management either doesn’t wear one, or wears them only over their mouth, or even on their chin, making the point of it pointless.
I work at the gas station, in Oregon, and I’ve asked management multiple times to put up signage up around the kiosk to remind customers to socially distance, as we don’t have a window to interact with customers, we have to prop our door open.
Almost every day I have customers leaning in so close that if I didn’t have sleeves on I would be able to feel their breath. It is very frustrating how little management seems to care about the employees, and how little precautions they are taking. No one inside the store is making sure people are staying far enough apart.”

Deborah, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“When Washington Governor Jay Inslee shut down the state I no longer had childcare, meaning I had to drastically cut my hours. I’m only available to work 4-hour closing shifts during the week and weekends.
It’s unacceptable to cut hazard pay before the quarantine is lifted. I rely on that small amount of extra money since I’m working fewer hours.
The higher-ups of the company have been sending emails that management has posted for all to read, “record sales” etc. You said it yourself, sales are good so please continue to give us this hopefully once in a lifetime bonus.”

Robert, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I do no think it is fair to end hazard pay before our governor ends the stay at home order. I also don’t think 2 dollars is enough. I get we[‘re lucky to] make a wage, but we are putting our lives at risk every day so other people can stay home. In my mind, Fred Meyers is using this hazard pay and the fact we don’t qualify for unemployment to hold us hostage.”

Janice, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I feel that hazard pay should continue. The store is overcrowded, they’re not following the CDC guidelines for social distancing, nothing is being sanitized hourly, and not all customers are not wearing masks. I feel as long as the governor has us in a state of emergency we should continue to receive hazard pay.”

Sara, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“I have had multiple grandchildren as customers shopping for their elderly families! I had a young responsible adult shopping for her elderly neighbors. She went shopping for three at once! So amazing!”
-Sara Jones, UFCW Local 555 member at Safeway
#GroceryWorkers #Covid19Heroes #UFCW555

Edwin, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“…To see everyone at the store pull together and just try and help these shoppers in our community get the essential items they need is just amazing. Some customers are a little bit harder to deal with during times like this, but most are very appreciative and kind knowing that we are working more hours than usual to give them the best customer service possible.”

Tena, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“So far my customers have been pretty good to me. They are scared for sure. But they have given me many “Thank you”, “God bless you”, and “Please stay safe,” comments.
I did have this one customer though….. she came to my line, I was just about finished with the sanitizer and my belt was still wet. She came rushing up I politely said, “Please wait a minute to let this dry. It needs to dry to work.” She got all angry and started yelling. I just said, “I’m sorry, but this is for your safety as well as mine and the others around you.”
Of course, there were a lot of customers behind her. Afterward, they all gave me kudos, thanking me and telling me how thankful they were that I took the time to even do it.”

Christina, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“My name is Christina. I joined the Kroger family in September of 2019. I came to Fred Myers looking for a part-time job (as I already have a full-time job) to pay off some debt and because I missed working retail.
I thought bagging groceries no big deal. However to my surprise, it’s not JUST bagging groceries! I AM on the front line, I AM the last person they will interact with before they leave!
I have the opportunity and power to make their experience in our store a GREAT ONE!
Even if didn’t have we had what they needed, or if the line may have been a little longer then they wanted by the time they reach me, my attitude (positive of course), my smile, and a short but meaningful conversation can really make the biggest difference in their lasting impression before they leave our store.”

Matt, UFCW Local 555 member at Safeway

“The aftermath from the surge of customers buying tons of supplies has been hard on some coworkers, [who are] exhausted & still trying to recover.”

Megan, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“This is an extremely complicated time to be a grocery store worker. On one hand, I feel grateful to be able to help others in the midst of a global pandemic and have the opportunity as a Clicklist associate to shop for older or immunocompromised folks who may otherwise be putting themselves in danger by coming into our store. On the other, I constantly fear for my health, the health of my roommates who I inherently put at risk through my work, and the health of the customers I come into contact with.”

LaTia, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“I wake up sobbing in the middle of every night because when I sleep, the horrors of what I’ve seen the previous day replays in my dreams. Every night there they are… Mothers begging me with tears in their eyes to break rules so they can feed their children, elderly couples searching empty aisles for the few items on their lists yet leaving with juice and some canned beans, and my being sprayed with disinfectant spray against my will when my customer said “Sorry, I’m just paranoid.”

Humanity is not dead… not if we hold onto it… not if we fight to show love to the hearts that have grown cold with fear and anxiety.”

Rhonda, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Our customers are telling us they appreciate us more than ever.
It’s at a point where we don’t know what is next. However, the support from our grateful patrons is gratifying.
“Please stay safe,” says many of them, as well as “Thank you for being here for us.”

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Casey, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“My coworker actually got physically assaulted by a customer. The customer took an item off the top of her picking trolley, and she went over to the customer to see if she could get the item back. The customer ripped her name tag off of her apron and threw it on the ground. After security got a hold of the customer, they refused to give the name tag back. I’m afraid to go into work.”

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Heather, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“My Anxiety has tripled.
My family is scared that I’m going to get them sick.
I’m scared I’ll get deathly ill; get my family deathly ill. I’m risking not only my life but the lives of my family.
I feel that people don’t even care.”

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-Lisa, UFCW Local 555 member at Safeway

“I want to thank two of my co-workers at Eastside Safeway in Bend, OR.
Jeanette S. for disinfecting after every customer and every hour trying to maintain social distancing, and for providing excellent customer service in the floral department. I’d like to thank Jeanette for getting the load out and filling FTD orders while working alone.
I’d also like to thank checker Lily B. who goes above and beyond, getting hundreds of customers through the checkout line. She always has a smile on her face, compassion, and caring for every single person she comes in contact with. Lily also highly detail-oriented, disinfecting as much as she possibly can.
This is the busiest Safeway, we have thousands of customers each day. It is a nonstop situation with all check stands open. These two ladies are heroes, being there for our community! Thank you so much ladies!!!”

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Tamber, UFCW Local 555 member at Rosaurs Supermarket

“We all have to eat and need supplies to live. My life is no more important than anyone else working, and I want to help.”

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David, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“We are given no PPE, I am forced to buy my own to clean store equipment so I can stay healthy. I have family members with underlying medical conditions. We’re in fear of my bringing it home from the massive crowds of customers. There is no social distancing in a grocery store.”

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Sabrina, UFCW Local 555 Member at Fred Meyer

“Fred Meyer vs. Grocery Bagger: a case of corporate greed in the time of Covid-19

Last Friday, at your local Fred Meyer, I touched a thousand cans of soup, shoved my arms into hundreds of questionably clean reusable bags, and watched in increasing horror, how the endless barrage of customers slowly deteriorated the social distancing and cleanliness boundaries of myself and my fellow co-workers who are trying our best to navigate these chaotic waters aboard a sinking ship.

Every day, the decision to work at Fred Meyer is a health risk to ourselves, our customers, our families and our roommates. Compelled by the horrors of unemployment, we continue to show up. Some of us live with immunocompromised grandparents. Some of us are immunocompromised ourselves. We are all exposed to and will contract coronavirus (if we haven’t already) unless Fred Meyer (Kroger) wakes up from the stupor of capitalistic motivation and evolves toward the mutualistic demands of today.

At the end of my shift, I asked my managers about hazard pay. “You are all getting a bonus!” they said. I smiled wearily, asked for hazard pay again, thanked them for their time, and walked back down the hallway. They stood there in silence, exchanging glances. I am trying to fight for what is right. We are entitled to common sense health precautions. We are entitled to a safe workplace. We are entitled to our lives.

Learn what Local 555 is doing during the pandemic
We demand that you prioritize our health over your profits.

Jesse, UFCW Local 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Being able to help those in need during current events has been challenging and rewarding, ranging from my job at Fred Meyer getting any essentials for those who need it, to my side-job delivering those same necessities to those who can’t make it out of the house due to illness or compromised immune systems.

Me and my team at the Tualatin Fred Meyer, including every other retail store across the world, are working tirelessly on and off the clock to make sure we’re doing the right thing, and taking care of each other.

We will make it out of this a better community, a better nation, and a better world.”

 

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Jason, UFCW 555 Member at Safeway

“You know what? We are all in this together. The community as a whole, we’re on the front lines and we are all in this together.”

 

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Sam, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Now we have so many scared members of the community using us as their lifeline; it really adds seriousness and makes you want to go the extra mile to help.
Even getting someone extra eggs and milk feels like a big moment.”

 

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Amy, UFCW 555 member at Albertsons

“I try to keep [customers] who are nervous calm. I let them know that we are making sure that we are keeping things clean and sanitized. I tell them heartwarming stories and jokes as I’m checking their orders to try to brighten their day… I let them see me clean and sanitize my check stand and my hands before I touch their belongings.
I get so many compliments on my happy attitude and the positive words that I speak to them. I want them to know that we appreciate their business and them.
I also tell my co-workers that I love them and thank them for being there and that they are appreciated. I just want to brighten up everyone’s day the best I can.
I love my job even in these crazy times, I will come in early or stay late just to make sure everyone has the help that they need. I love the fact that we are opening up for the elderly 2 times a week, that way we all can get the things that we need.
I also say prayers for everyone that they may stay healthy and strong.”

 

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Debbie, UFCW 555 member

“I’m afraid I’m going to bring the virus home to my Mom. She’s 75, has lung disease, heart disease, diabetes & Alzheimer’s.
I come in my utility room, undress, put my clothes into the washing machine, spray my purse, knee pads & lunch bag with disinfectant & take a shower before I greet her.
I’m afraid I’m going to bring the virus home!”

 

COVID-19 prevention tips from the CDC

Nate, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“Our load on Friday 13th was 31 pallets, where 10-12 is a big night for our store. I offered to stay and work a double to help out night crew. That day, I worked from 3:45 PM to 8:30 AM the next morning.
The load was the largest our store director had seen in his career, and I believe it. By morning we worked the entire thing, not an easy feat. They then had to do the same thing the next night.
Our grocery workers are working their guts out to ensure everyone has what they need. We all do what we can to ensure our shelves are well-stocked, I can only imagine how it must be for the warehouses having to fill these orders.”

 

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Chelsey, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Am I tired? Yes.
Am I frustrated? Yes.
But I don’t stay at home, because of the customers. For every mean, rude customer there are 5 more amazing ones thanking me for being there. They’re thanking me for working so hard and putting myself at risk so they can provide for their families.
I realize now how important my job really is. I’m not just a worker in a grocery store; I’m helping provide for an entire community, and that feels amazing.”

 

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Chelsey Owenby. Text "I don't stay at home because of the customers". The Grocery Line is the Front Line.

Kasey, UFCW 555 member at Fred Meyer

“Coworkers have been very supportive to our customers to meet their daily needs. Customers are continuing to show gratitude and thankfulness to us workers for working and making sure they get what they need. It’s what we as a community do. We help feed the human spirit even in a time of crisis. Fred Meyer workers will always be here for you to have a smile on our face ready to help you with any concerns you have over the fear of COVID-19 and to make sure we have what you need as fast as possible.”

 

UFCW 555 COVID-19 information
Kasey Kramer. Text: "We help feed the human spirit even in a time of crisis" The Grocery Line is the Front Line

Philip, UFCW 555 member at Safeway

“I have been working 6 days a week, 10-13 hours a day to make sure my city has fresh meat available. I will not stop. We must keep fresh food available to the citizens. Stay safe, stay home, stay healthy. We can beat this.”

 

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Philip Nevins, text "We must keep fresh food available to the citizens". The grocery line is the front line.