March 19, 2020
On the Front Lines: Canada’s food retail workers

As communities across the country continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, UFCW Canada members are on the front lines working to help Canadians get the food, supplies, and sanitation products they need to stay healthy and safe.

This is especially true of the tens of thousands of UFCW members working in the food retail sector, at grocery stores like Loblaws, Metro, Safeway, Save-On-Foods, Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, IGA, and Food Basics, among others.

“While governments, public health officials, and citizens do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, UFCW Canada’s food retail members are working hard to keep the shelves stocked at grocery stores throughout the country – helping Canadians stock up and stay safe during this time of crisis,” says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada.

“With over half the UFCW membership working in the food retail sector, UFCW Canada members are truly on the front lines of this unique battle, and our union is proudly rising to the challenge to keep Canada going.”

“UFCW members are happy to be a part of the solution to keeping Canadians healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, we ask members of the public to please exercise patience and courteousness as grocery workers strive to serve you,” the UFCW leader adds. “And when you’re stocking up at your local grocery store, consider taking a moment to thank a grocery worker for all that they do.”

To learn more about UFCW Canada’s presence in the food retail sector, see our union’s latest Annual Report.

As the voice of food workers in Canada, as well as workers in the hospitality, health care, security, industrial, and office and professional sectors, UFCW is calling on our federal, provincial, and municipal governments to help workers protect each other and the communities they serve, while also helping to contain the spread of COVID-19. Specifically, UFCW Canada is calling for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to better reflect the needs of workers during this pandemic, and the provision of sick days for all workers.

“No worker should have to choose between work and their health, which is why our union is calling on all levels of government to protect workers against financial loss due to loss of hours, to provide sick days to all workers in Canada, and to ensure that every Canadian can access medical attention if they feel sick or believe they have been exposed to COVID-19,” says Meinema.

To read more about the legislative actions that UFCW is recommending to help workers cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.