Whole Food Workers Prepare for Strike Due to Virus Exposure Concerns – NBC Los Angeles

on Mar31
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As demand surges during the COVID-19 pandemic, some front line grocery and deliver workers increasingly concerned over their own health and safety are holding strikes and walkouts.

Workers at Whole Foods are joining in with a nationwide sick out Tuesday.

“I’m going to probably contract this — and it’s going to probably be at work,” a Whole Foods worker, wearing a homemade mask, spoke anonymously.

He said he doesn’t feel Whole Foods had done enough to protect him.

Workers say they want reinstated healthcare for part time and seasonal workers, along with hazard pay in the form of double pay and immediate shutdown of any store where an employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

“There’s been this laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing…and I don’t think there’s enough being done to safeguard the workers that are out there providing,” the anonymous employee said.

Instacart workers, who shop and deliver groceries, went on strike Monday, also demanding more protection.

Instacart workers and grocery workers, including Whole Foods workers, are considered essential employees.

Brittany Conard, another worker, says she feels Whole Foods is doing its best to protect its essential workers. 

“We have plenty of gloves and hand sanitizers, that’s just the minimal,” Conard said. “But we also have a security guard at the front door with me making sure that people are staying within six feet of me, letting them know we need to start a line.”

A Whole Foods spokesperson provided the following statement to NBCLA:

“As we address unprecedented demand and fulfill a critical need in our communities, Whole Foods Market is committed to prioritizing our Team Members’ wellbeing, while recognizing their extraordinary dedication. We have taken extensive measures to keep people safe, and in addition to social distancing, enhanced deep cleaning and crowd control measures, we continue rolling out new safety protocols in our stores to protect our Team Members who are on the front lines serving our customers. Team Members in our stores and facilities also have access to up to two weeks of paid time off if they test positive for COVID or are quarantined, an additional $2 per hour on top of hourly base pay, and increased overtime pay. Whole Foods Market’s longstanding open door policy encourages direct dialogue between Team Members and leadership, feedback which continues to shape the decisions we are making every day.”

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