grocery store workers

New Push to Reclassify Grocery Store Employees as Emergency Workers

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Stop & Shop and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) are calling for grocery store employees to be classified as emergency workers.

Stop & Shop has locations throughout the New England area including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Many employees are still working to restock shelves, bag groceries, and help customers coming in and out of their doors.

Currently, & and Shop and UFCW are working to provide employees with benefits and protections including additional paid sick leave, emergency pay raises, and provide additional personal protective equipment.

The union said reclassifying employees would mean access to more testing and emergency childcare for workers. The call for action must be taken by state and federal leaders.

Sheryl Scaleese said she believes grocery store workers should be considered essential employees.

"They're heroes who get up every day and are surrounded by all sorts of people," said Scaleese. "I think it's unfair that they are working to make sure we have food and they have to interact with people who don't always wear their masks."

Elm City Market in New Haven is also calling for additional benefits for their employees.

"We believe grocery store employees, like all professionals that are working long hours under extremely difficult, stressful and often hazardous conditions should certainly be considered essential," said Alexa Aportria, store manager for Elm City Market.

Meanwhile, both Gov. Ned Lamont and Sen. Richard Blumenthal mentioned that they both are working to provide additional benefits.

"We are making grocery store employees a priority in terms of masks, subsidized daycare, and in terms of testing," said Lamont. "They are first responders who are on the frontlines so I take that to heart every day."

Blumenthal told NBC Connecticut that he is working to create a bill that would help grocery store employees.

"The grocery employees ought to be included in the heroes fund that I have proposed," said Blumenthal. "Everybody who has to come to work ought to get $13 an hour premium pay from the heroes fund."

In his daily news conference, Lamont mentioned what the state has done thus far to help grocery store employees.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure everyone working at grocery stores are treated like first responders," said Governor Lamont. "We have opened up subsided daycare for those workers in the last week in an effort to remind workers we treasure their services."

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