Stop & Shop grants workers pay raise and paid sick leave amid pandemic

Stop & Shop grants workers pay raise and paid sick leave amid pandemic
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Stop & Shop granted 70,000 employees a 10 percent pay raise and two weeks of paid sick leave Thursday after the supermarket workers' union raised concerns over the perilous conditions members are facing during the coronavirus outbreak.

"This essential pay and benefit increase will not only protect these hard-working men and women, it will help protect the food supply throughout our communities,”  United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) President Marc Perrone said in a statement. 

The news comes as grocery stores across the country have been overloaded with customers who seek to stock up on groceries for fear that they will run out of resources during the pandemic. 

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State and local governments in the U.S. and abroad have enforced shutdowns to avoid the spread of the virus. However, grocery store employees are almost always now considered “essential infrastructure,” meaning they must still show up to work to provide essential services to the public. 

UFCW, a union that represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail and other industries, applauded Stop & Shop, stating that employees' roles as essential workers increases their chances of exposure to the virus. As  compensation, the union argues, they should receive more pay. 

“As we know, grocery workers like Stop & Shop employees have been on the front lines of this crisis, serving the needs of millions of families in the northeast. Protecting them is absolutely essential to our communities and food supply now more than ever,” he added. “Every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – in the Northeast and across America must follow the example that Stop & Shop has set and follow their lead.”

As of Saturday evening, over 25,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed and over 300 deaths have been reported, according to data compiled from Johns Hopkins University.