UFCW 1518 calls on BC Government and Retail Employers to Protect Worker Health against COVID-19

Yesterday, UFCW 1518 sent urgent letters to BC Premier John Horgan, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, and Labour Minister Harry Bains and to the retail outlets where our members work. The letters call for mandatory mask policies in retail stores and for the re-introduction of other health and safety measures critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“Retail workers remain on the front lines of this pandemic and deserve action from their government and their employers to keep them, and the public, safe,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “We are asking the government and retailers to implement reasonable, effective measures like mandatory mask-wearing to help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”

Since the beginning of COVID-19, UFCW 1518 has asked retailers and the government to implement enhanced health and safety measures to protect workers and the public. These asks included limiting the number of people allowed in stores, installing crowd control measures to enable physical distancing, creating a paid sick leave program for all workers, and several other measures.

In addition to demanding mandatory mask-wearing policies in retail stores, UFCW 1518 has also asked for:

  • Paid sick days for any worker who does not currently qualify – no worker should have to choose between being paid or coming in to work sick and potentially spreading the virus.
  • Pandemic Pay – front line workers continue to provide the public with the supplies, medication, and support they need to get through COVID-19. As grocery store sales have risen since 2019, front line grocery workers should be compensated for the additional risk they are taking on.
  • Zero tolerance of abuse on workers – an absolutely ZERO tolerance policy of abuse of ANY kind against any employee.

The rise in COVID-19 cases in British Columbia over the past weeks shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over. UFCW 1518 will not stand for any weakening of health and safety protocols at the locations where our members work.

Click here to read a full copy of the letter that was sent to Premier Horgan.