UFCW 1518 Calls on Provincial Government to Prioritize Vaccines for Grocery Workers Under 18

Today, UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak sent a letter to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry asking them to prioritize COVID-19 vaccines for grocery workers under the age of 18.

“These workers have bravely continued to work in public throughout this pandemic,” said Novak. “They deserve to feel safer at work and to do their part to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”

Grocery workers in Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and Vancouver Island Health were all recently given priority access to COVID-19 vaccines. These workers and their union had been calling on the government for early access given the high risk of exposure for people who work with the public.

You can read a copy of the letter that was sent to the BC government here.

UFCW 1518 members have been helping to flatten the curve in their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. UFCW 1518 will continue to advocate for these workers to be given every protection against COVID-19.

UFCW 1518 Disappointed in BC Government’s Minimal Paid Sick Leave Announcement

UFCW 1518 is disappointed in the minimal paid sick day provisions announced today by the government of British Columbia.

Premier John Horgan and Labour Minister Harry Bains announced that employers will now be required to cover three paid sick days at full pay.

The paid sick days program is temporary and applies to full-time and part-time workers, but not to contract or gig workers. The government has committed to creating a permanent paid sick leave program beginning in January 2022 but has not stated how many days it will apply for and what percent of wages it will cover.

“While this program will provide an immediate benefit for some workers who don’t currently have paid sick days, it doesn’t go far enough,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “After 15 months of the pandemic, the federal and provincial governments are doing the bare minimum, especially for those who are working on the front lines.”

UFCW 1518, labour activists, medical professionals, and front-line workers have been calling for a universal paid sick leave plan for months. Research shows that paid sick leave can reduce COVID-19 cases up to 50 percent.

The federal government created the Canada Sickness Recovery Benefit (CSRB) in August 2020 to provide some paid sick leave options for all workers. However, workers have reported multiple problems with the program including insufficient coverage and delays in benefit payouts.

Recently, a poultry production facility in Surrey, BC shut down for 10 days due to a COVID-19 outbreak. Over 70 percent of the workers at that facility had been vaccinated against COVID-19, showing the devastating impact when workers are forced to choose between a paycheque and their health.

UFCW 1518 will continue to call on the provincial and federal governments to create permanent paid sick days and a paid sick leave plan that gives all workers adequate time off to recover from illness and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Grocery Workers in Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, and Vancouver Island Health to Receive Priority Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

Amazing news: grocery workers in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions 18 years of age and older are now eligible for early COVID-19 vaccination.

UPDATE: grocery workers in the Vancouver Island Health region 18 years of age and older are now eligible for early vaccination.

Grocery workers in these health regions, which span the Lower Mainland to Hope and parts of the central coast, will receive special information from their employers and their union about how they can register.

UFCW 1518 has been fighting for early vaccination for front-line workers since COVID-19 vaccines first became available. Many workers in industrial food settings and home care have already received their first doses of the vaccine. Now, workers in grocery and retail in the affected health regions will have one more layer of protection against COVID-19.

If you are a grocery worker in Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, or Vancouver Island Health scroll down to learn how to get your vaccine:

Vancouver Coastal Health

STEP 1: Register

  • To register, go to: https://www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/s/?variant=frontline
  • On the registration page, enter your personal and contact information. You will need to enter a special access code. If you are a UFCW 1518 member working in a grocery store, we have sent the access code to your email, or you can get it from your employer.
  • Upon successful registration, you will receive a confirmation number followed by a text or email within 24 hours with a unique link for booking your vaccination.

STEP 2: Book

  • Use the link provided in your text or e-mail to visit the online booking page.
  • In the online booking process, select from a list of all the priority clinics available.
  • Book your appointment.

STEP 3: Attend your Appointment

  • Please bring with you:
    • your driver’s license (or other government-issued photo ID)
    • Personal Health Number/BC Services Card, if you have one
    • Employee ID, paystub, or a letter from your employer

Fraser Health

STEP 1: Book

  • Go to the booking site at: https://priority-fraser-health-vaccinations.myhealthinfo.ca Note: the above link is not supported in Internet Explorer
  • Enter your personal and contact information. You will need to enter a special access code. If you are a UFCW 1518 member working in a grocery store, we have sent the access code to your email, or you can get it from your employer. The access code needs to be entered twice and is case sensitive.
  • Choose the group you belong to (Other Priority Population)
  • In the fillable box identify: Grocery Store/Warehouse

STEP 2: Register

Vancouver Island Health

STEP 1: Register

  • To register, go to: https://www.getvaccinated.gov.bc.ca/s/?variant=frontline
  • Follow the registration instructions. You will need to enter a special access code. If you are a UFCW 1518 member working in a grocery store, we have sent the access code to your email, or you can get it from your employer.
  • Upon successful registration, you will receive a confirmation number followed by a text or email with a unique link for booking your vaccination.

STEP 2: Book

  • Use the link provided in your text or e-mail to visit the online booking page.
  • In the online booking process, select from a list of all the priority clinics available.
  • Book your appointment.

STEP 3: Attend your Appointment

  • Please bring with you:
    • your driver’s license (or other government-issued photo ID)
    • Personal Health Number/BC Services Card, if you have one
    • Employee ID, badge, or paystub

UFCW 1518 strongly recommends that all front-line workers get vaccinated against COVID-19. All COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and will help to protect you and your co-workers. Front-line workers are able to take three (3) paid hours off to attend their vaccine appointment.

If you are a UFCW 1518 member who works in a grocery setting in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and have not received an email with your access code, please email us at reception@ufcw1518.com with your name and employer information and we will send you your code.