Whole Foods workers planning strike on Tuesday

 

Whole Foods workers are set to strike on Tuesday to protest what they say is a lack of employee protections amid the spread of the coronavirus.

Workers at the national grocery chain will call out sick to demand guaranteed sick leave to employees who self-isolate, reinstatement of health care coverage for part-time workers, double hazard pay, a commitment to ensuring workplaces stay clean and the closure of any store where a worker tests positive.

The strike had originally been scheduled on May 1.

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"As this situation has progressed, our fundamental needs as workers have become more urgent," Whole Worker, a labor movement within the grocery chain, wrote in a statement.

"COVID-19 poses a very real threat to the safety of our workforce and our customers. We cannot wait for politicians, institutions, or our own management to step in to protect us."

Cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have been reported at Whole Foods locations in Chicago, New York City and Huntington Beach, Calif.

All of those locations have remained open.

In response to the pandemic, Whole Foods has boosted wages for U.S. and Canadian workers by $2 per hour. It also promised workers diagnosed with COVID-19 or quarantined two weeks of paid leave.

The Hill has reached out to the chain for comment on the planned strike.

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Tuesday's sickout at Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon, would be the latest in a wave of worker activism amid the pandemic.

Amazon workers in Staten Island walked out Monday after their warehouse was kept open despite at least one positive case of COVID-19. The company said that the building has been cleaned.

Instacart shoppers also stopped accepting deliveries Monday in protest of the grocery delivery service's worker protections.