UFCW calls for premium pay, more workplace protections on economic recovery panel

Hamilton, Ont. – August 28, 2020 – UFCW Locals 175 & 633 and the UFCW Canada National Office recently participated in the City of Hamilton’s Task Force on Economic Recovery during COVID-19, where activists pushed for better pay and more workplace protections for frontline workers in UFCW core sectors.

The task force was established to determine key decisions and actions that can be taken quickly to spearhead the COVID-19 recovery in the City of Hamilton and surrounding areas. As part of the task force’s outreach to community stakeholders, UFCW was invited to discuss the concerns of members in the manufacturing, health care, and agricultural sectors, and the challenges facing these workers as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

In presenting to the task force, UFCW Locals 175 & 633 called for enhanced workplace sanitation, proper physical distancing, contact tracing and screening protocols, additional personal protective equipment (PPE), new leave protocols for workers who test positive for the virus, and premium pay increases for workers on the front lines, among other measures. The Local Unions also spoke to the ongoing concerns that COVID-19 brings to the workplace, and the need for municipal governments to take the lead in enforcing mask by-laws.

In addition, UFCW Canada’s National Office discussed our union’s work representing migrant farm workers across the province of Ontario and urged the city to join UFCW in calling for federal and provincial reforms that would empower migrant agricultural workers on the job. The union’s recommendations included providing greater access to labour mobility, pathways to permanent residency, meaningful labour protections – including the right to join a union without reprisal – and changes to regulations governing worker accommodations.

The task force will now be taking the feedback it has received from the economic recovery panels and making recommendations to Hamilton’s mayor and city council on suggested next steps. Prior to presenting to the City of Hamilton, UFCW Canada participated in a similar task force for the City of Toronto. To learn more about the City of Hamilton’s Task Force on Economic Recovery, click here.

UFCW Canada is the country’s leading private sector union, representing more than 250,000 union members across Canada working in food retail and processing, transportation, health care, logistics, warehousing, agriculture, hospitality, manufacturing, and the security and professional sectors. UFCW members are your neighbours who work at your local grocery stores, hotels, car rental agencies, nursing homes, restaurants, food processing plants, and thousands of other locations across the country. To learn more about UFCW’s ground-breaking work, see our union’s latest Annual Report.