PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., March 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the largest unions representing essential workers in the Commonwealth is calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Health to change course and prioritize the tens of thousands of essential workers in Pennsylvania who help feed every Pennsylvania family for COVID-19 vaccinations. UFCW's 35,000 members across the state include 20,000+ grocery store and pharmacy workers, 2,000 workers in meatpacking and processing facilities, and thousands more in other food processing and packing plants across Pennsylvania.
Young noted that, while 90% of the Local's members are considered "essential workers" under state guidance. In addition, Young said that, according to a recent study in Philadelphia, essential workers have a 55% higher chance of contracting COVID-19 and that their family members have a 17 percent higher chance of contracting the virus than members of the general public.
"Now that it is crunch time, we cannot get the vaccines into their arms," Young added. "We process the food. We pack it. We stock the shelves and man the registers in grocery stores from southeast Pennsylvania to West Virginia and Ohio. There is no other Local in Pennsylvania whose members play this vital role in our food supply chain."
"Stalling vaccinations for these essential workers is a dangerous policy mistake and we are urging our members and all front-line essential workers to join us and call Governor Tom Wolf's administration and tell them to do the right thing."
Young noted that workers in meat-packing facilities in other states are being vaccinated. As the Department of Health moves to reprioritize other groups of workers in the 1B category, the essential workers of UFCW Local 1776 must be included.
"We need the state Department of Health to revisit these decisions – today," said Young.
Representing members in the grocery, retail, food manufacturing, health care industries throughout Pennsylvania, the Ohio Valley and Hudson Valley, UFCW Local 1776 is proud to be a voice for the 35,000 workers we serve.
SOURCE UFCW Local 1776 Keystone State