US: Supermarkets fall short on protecting workers from COVID-19 impacts, despite calls from consumers

Author: Oxfam, Published on: 29 June 2020

"Exposed: How US supermarkets are failing their workers in a global pandemic", 24 June

... in America’s supermarkets, where workers are risking their lives every day in order to keep food on our tables with little protection and seeing little of the financial rewards from the billions their companies are earning.

Oxfam analyzed the formal policies of several major US supermarkets in the first months of the pandemic in five key areas: sick leave, provision of protective gear, hazard pay, engagement with trade unions, and gender and dependent care. All supermarkets stepped up their policies on sick leave, hazard pay, and protective measures, but these steps have largely been insufficient. Of the companies we examined, Walmart, Costco, and Whole Foods/Amazon are falling especially short on directly engaging with their workers, an essential component to ensuring their safety.

As parts of the country reopen while the pandemic continues, at least 100 supermarket workers have died from COVID-19 complications, and some companies are seeking to roll back key policies on hazard pay at a time when their essential workers need it most. Oxfam calls on supermarket companies to adopt a fundamentally new worker-focused corporate strategy...

[Oxfam also collected Oxfam delivered a list of over 52k signatures from consumers calling on the US supermarket sector to protect frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.]

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Related companies: Albertsons Costco Kroger Walmart Whole Foods Market (part of Amazon)