“We demand more.” You will see this on petitions circulating in retail stores. For months, you were told you were essential, vital workers. But as plexiglass went up and mask mandates went info effect, paying workers hazard/hero/essential worker pay no longer became as profitable a PR move for the employers, and the pay stopped. The risk to you and your families did not.
You were told you are essential, but then treated like you are disposable by your employer. What this pandemic has shown is that you ARE essential to your community. When everything was closed, grocery stores were still open, and staffed by grocery workers who took on not just an increased risk to themselves but for the people they care about as well. For a while, the retail giants recognized that paying you additional pay was a good PR move. They put up billboards and ran expensive TV & online ads thanking you for serving your community. You were the hero of the day.
But once it became clear that we were in this for the long haul, those ads stopped and those billboards came down. You went from “heroes” back to “associates.” But the truth is, we are far from getting back to normal. In fact, COVID could very well become endemic, similar to the flu.
While we did push to extend hazard pay, and were successful for a while, it was temporary. Frankly, we are not interested in temporary pay increases. We need better and permanent compensation for the work that we do for the communities of Oregon and SW Washington.
“We demand more.” We are heading into our first round of Unity negotiations in June for Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Rosauers. Reps are in the stores and working with shop stewards to gather signature on a petition to the corporate bosses. This is a small start to what will be a big campaign. A campaign about getting you better compensation for the work you do and the risks you are forced to take on. We need permanent increases for everyone, especially given major employers profits during the pandemic. We Demand More.