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Sherman A1

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Gender: Male
Current location: U.S.
Member since: Sat May 13, 2006, 07:37 AM
Number of posts: 28,149

Journal Archives

David A. Cook: During a crisis, food workers should be considered first responders

We’ve all seen the pictures on social media, or the nightly news. Missourians are flooding into their local grocery stores to stockpile cleaning supplies, food and, of course, toilet paper. They pile into these stores because they are worried. They pile in because they want to protect their families, and because they want to feel safe.

Throughout it all — working longer hours than ever before — there are grocery store workers. They scan every item, load supplies into bags or cars. They fetch carts and baskets. They stock shelves faster than ever before. Then they wake up, and they do it all over again.

We’ve learned a lot in the last few weeks about the illness caused by coronavirus that has infected more than 70,000 Americans as of this writing and killed more than 1,000. One of the things we’ve learned is that it’s highly contagious.

Now imagine your job is to touch every single item in every single customer’s cart in a grocery store. Imagine if your job was to scan and bag their orders, standing a few feet from them, for six, eight, 10 or 12 hours per day.

https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/david-a-cook-during-a-crisis-food-workers-should-be/article_e39dd8c9-e18c-503b-aec3-43fc23b61dd9.html

What grocery store workers need: A union leader on how to help employees stressed by the coronavirus

Chilling stories have appeared putting a grim spotlight on the increasing danger faced by grocery store workers in Italy, which, up until now, has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus health crisis. The stories have detailed the tragic death of 49-year old Mariagrazia Casanova in the city of Brescia, but also the sometimes lax and haphazard implementation of social distancing and worker protection for supermarket workers throughout the country, and the increasing number of sick workers.

For these workers, there is a spreading and palpable sense of fear, vulnerability and helplessness as they perform their crucial jobs every day.

So much about the situation in Italy has foreshadowed what we are experiencing in the U.S., and now, we are seeing signs of a similar crisis at our own supermarkets.

As of this writing, supermarket workers in Denver, Oregon and Washington State have tested positive for COVID-19. Here in New York City, two Trader Joe’s supermarkets have suddenly faced temporary closures after workers at the Soho and Union Square stores became confirmed cases of the disease. The closures at these stores, which have seen huge increases in customer traffic since the onset of the crisis, highlight the dangers grocery store workers — performing their jobs in close quarters with other workers and customers — are facing, typically for low pay and benefits.

https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-when-grocery-store-workers-need-20200327-hqdecczitramnic5ilmx6vyvlu-story.html?

The New First Responders: Talking to the Grocery-Store Workers You See Every Day

Last week, photographer Sinna Nasseri was at Grace’s Marketplace, an upscale local market on New York’s Upper East Side. Behind the counter, 62-year-old Vilma Valdivieso exchanged her rubber gloves for a fresh pair, as she did between each customer, to avoid the possibility of cross-contamination. But the next woman who reached the front of the line immediately asked, “Are your hands clean?”

“I could see she was nearly in tears,” says Nasseri, who spent time in several grocery stores and food vendors in Manhattan and Brooklyn. After Valdivieso’s reassurances, the customer immediately calmed down, appeased; still, the exchange hung in the air. That’s just how the city feels these days. “You can tell people don’t mean to be like that—they’re just scared,” she said.

The grocery workers Nasseri spoke with know their roles have changed dramatically, with the current public health crisis turning them into a lifeline for families—and possibly the only other person a customer might talk to all day, or all week. Their jobs have grown to include absorbing and defraying the city’s tension; smiling, politely assisting. “Yesterday I had a situation,” Westside Market’s Gabriela Maldonado, 30, told Nasseri. “An elderly woman refused to go into the store, she did not want to go. So I had to come out, take her order, pick the stuff out, pack it, and bring it right outside to her, because she refused to go in. And I understand.”

Now among the city’s most crucial personnel, grocery workers are nevertheless exposed to new dangers. Thanks to the global pandemic of COVID-19, which is tightening its grip on New York, we’re being encouraged to keep our distance from each other, even family and friends. In Governor Andrew Cuomo’s PAUSE order of March 22, gatherings of any size were banned. So-called nonessential workers were directed to stay at home unless absolutely necessary—leaving workers from the health care, manufacturing, infrastructure sectors to continue with their daily grind. Grocery stores, along with pharmacies, farmer’s markets, hardware stores, and a few other exceptions, are considered essential retail.

https://www.vogue.com/article/grocery-store-workers-new-york-city-coronavirus?

Local businesses, community step up to support grocery workers

UFCW Local 655 workers at Schnucks and Dierbergs – some of whom have been working 14-hour days to keep up with the demand placed on grocers due to COVID 19 – received a much welcome treat last week thanks to a couple local businesses and the community.

SCHNUCKS
In St. Peters, staff at the Harvester Schnucks, 48 Plaza Ninety-Four Drive, were surprised with 10 pizzas on March 18 from Papa Johns on Jungermann Road after a customer, with ties to the community organization Bowling with Santa, called in the order. Papa Johns matched the donation and sent another 10 pizzas to a nearby business.

“Bowling with Santa is paying it forward,” the organization posted on Facebook. “We partnered up with Papa John’s on Jungermann and hired a Grub Hub driver to pick up and deliver the pizzas. Thank you to all retail workers. (You) never know what store will be next.”

Schnucks replied on Facebook, “Thank you to an anonymous customer who sent a driver to deliver 10 pizzas from Papa Johns to our associates. Kudos to our customers and Papa John’s! Neighbors helping neighbors! Such a nice gesture from both parties! Nice to know that people do care about what we are going through!”

https://labortribune.com/local-businesses-community-step-up-to-support-grocery-workers/

Email message from Schnucks Markets, St. Louis updating response to Covid-19

In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen unprecedented demand in our stores as customer concerns grew about COVID-19, and you have seen us make adjustments as a result – from altered store hours, to a special shopping hour for seniors and those most at risk, to deploying teammates from our corporate office to serve customers in our stores. There is a lot of uncertainty but I want to assure our loyal customers of this: Schnucks will be here for you and your families.

We continue to work with suppliers to get products on our shelves as quickly as possible, and we continue to hire new teammates to help us serve our customers. (If you know someone looking for temporary employment, we’re still hiring!) Thank you for the compassion and gratitude you have shown our teammates.

I’ve spoken to many of our teammates over the past few weeks and I’m so proud of the dedication and commitment they have demonstrated to our customers. Our teammates have always been the key to our success and how they have responded in recent weeks reinforces why, for years, we continue to be known as “The Friendliest Stores in Town.” Schnucks teammates have stood united as one team of merchants through these especially difficult weeks, and I’ve never been more proud to be a Schnucks teammate than I am today.

Many of our customers have gone out of their way to say thank you to Schnucks teammates - over the past few weeks especially. I want our customers to know just how much your appreciation means to us, and I also want you to know that we are committed to taking care of the Schnucks teammates who are taking care of you during these difficult times.

We are providing a special teammate bonus, in gratitude for how hard teammates have been working to address our customers’ needs under challenging conditions. All qualified teammates will receive a bonus - including store teammates who are full-time hourly ($500 bonus) and store teammates who are part-time hourly ($250 bonus). We have also shared with teammates that we have pay procedures in place should they contract COVID-19 or if they are subject to a mandatory quarantine.

In addition to continuing to reinforce the CDC’s recommendations for reducing the spread of viruses like COVID-19, (which includes frequent hand washing and repeated cleaning of high touch areas within our stores), we are also taking other measures to protect teammates and customers. This includes in-store signage that explains the importance of social distancing and suggested spacing as well as frequent overhead announcements sharing that same reminder.

This week you will also begin to see plexiglass protectors at our checklanes, pharmacy counters, and service counters. This extra layer of protection allows us to practice social distancing in areas of the store where it may have normally been more difficult. While the CDC continues to recommend that people who are not sick not wear facemasks, we heard from some of our teammates who still had a desire to do so, therefore, we are allowing teammates who provide their own facemask to wear them. If you see a teammate wearing a facemask, know that they are not ill and that teammates who are sick will not be at work.

We’re working with several restaurants in our communities to purchase in-store catering several days a week at no cost to our teammates. We want to be sure that our teammates can refuel and re-energize, and being able to have a provided meal gives them one less thing to worry about during these times where there is already so much uncertainty. This also allows us to support many of our fantastic local restaurants while they are experiencing extreme uncertainty in their businesses - a solution that unites our communities during these trying times.

Indeed we are in uncharted territory, and as we all work to overcome the consequences resulting from this pandemic, I am emboldened by the fact that we’re all in this together and the human spirit will prevail.

While we believe we serve in a noble profession and recognize the important service we provide to the community, there have been few times in our history where local grocers have been seen as critical to people and communities as we are in this very moment. The hard work and dedication of our teammates to our customers has not gone unnoticed and we join together in thanking them for continuing to Nourish People’s Lives in these demanding times.

Todd's signature

Todd Schnuck
Chairman & CEO

St. Louis County Non-Essential Business Violations Reporting Link

To report non-essential (as described in the recent stay at home executive order)businesses that are operating in violation of the St. Louis County Executive Order.

https://www.stlouisco.com/Your-Government/County-Executive/COVID-19/COVID-19-Reporting-Executive-Order-Violations

Now if our Dumbass Governor could do the same for the entire state.

UFCW 655, grocery chains negotiate sweeping employee benefit changes in wake of coronavirus

Missouri’s largest private-sector union and the grocery chains employing their partners are making significant changes to their Health & Welfare benefits to provide additional protections to workers adversely impacted by the growing coronavirus outbreak Local 655 President David Cook announced Monday.

United Food and Commercial Workers represents about 9,500 partners in the eastern half of the state. The overwhelming majority of these workers are employed at grocery stores like Schnucks, Dierbergs, and Straubs.

After extensive conversations with employers about their mutual desire to protect their hard-working employees during these uncertain times, the following changes have been made by the UFCW Local 655 Health & Welfare Fund:

All copays for coronavirus tests will be waived.
Increase in short-term disability benefits for partners that become ill with COVID-19.
All partners who become ill with COVID-19 will maintain 90% of their current pay.
Union dues and fees will be waived for all new employees for 45 days to allow employers to hire extra workers .
New telemedicine benefits for all partners with zero out-of-pocket costs.

https://labortribune.com/ufcw-655-grocery-chains-negotiate-sweeping-employee-benefit-changes-in-wake-of-coronavirus/

St. Louis City, County Issue 'Stay-At-Home' Mandate; State Orders 'Social Distancing'


St. Louis and St. Louis County residents will be under mandatory stay-at-home restrictions beginning Monday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson said the state would take a different approach, announcing new social distancing measures to limit interactions in Missouri.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and Mayor Lyda Krewson announced the stay-at-home order on Saturday. The new restrictions, which require people to remain in their homes whenever possible, are part of an ongoing effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The order will remain in effect for 30 days.

“It was an extremely difficult decision that we did not take lightly,” Krewson said during a Saturday press conference, calling the order an “unprecedented response.”

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-city-county-issue-stay-home-mandate-state-orders-social-distancing

Now, if only the "charming" elected government of the State would do the same.......

St. Louis City, County Issue 'Stay-At-Home' Mandate; State Orders 'Social Distancing'

St. Louis and St. Louis County residents will be under mandatory stay-at-home restrictions beginning Monday.

Meanwhile, Gov. Mike Parson said the state would take a different approach, announcing new social distancing measures to limit interactions in Missouri.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and Mayor Lyda Krewson announced the stay-at-home order on Saturday. The new restrictions, which require people to remain in their homes whenever possible, are part of an ongoing effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The order will remain in effect for 30 days.

“It was an extremely difficult decision that we did not take lightly,” Krewson said during a Saturday press conference, calling the order an “unprecedented response.”

https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-city-county-issue-stay-home-mandate-state-orders-social-distancing

Now, if only the "charming" elected government of the State would do the same.......

Pieces: The St. Louis Board Game Bar & Cafe

I find this to be a very impressive and inspiring decision upon the part of this small restaurant. It is a time for community and our better angels to surface.

From their Facebook page.......

"We spent the day preparing food care packages for our employees. 🥬🍅🧅🍞While our refrigerators are now almost empty, we will continue to order food and supplies for our employees on a weekly basis so they don’t have to worry about grocery bills. For all those who have purchased gift cards, we are dividing up 100% of those funds to Staff as well as a company contribution, which will be applied to their upcoming payroll checks. WE CAN’T THANK YOU ENOUGH for all the comments, DMs, emails, Yelp and Google reviews, and gift card purchases y’all are blessing us with now.

Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. Keep lit, fam."

In order to avoid any potential conflict with any posting rules known or unknown I have deleted the links. They can however be found on Facebook or the web for anyone so inclined to help.
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