Pandemic Pay Now: President Haggerty sends letter to employers of frontline workers

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January 15, 2021

On January 13, 2021, President Haggerty sent the following letter to employers across the province and country that employ members of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 on the frontlines of this pandemic.

The letter:

January 13, 2021

Yesterday, the Ontario government announced that on Thursday, January 14, 2021, the province will enter another State of Emergency. The number of people with COVID-19 has been rising for some time now. More than 5,050 people have died in Ontario.

People say these are unprecedented times. And they are. But unprecedented times call for unprecedented leadership and sacrifice.

Tomorrow, stay at home orders take effect. Anyone who can work from home has been ordered to. But your employees can’t work from home. Your employees are on the frontlines making sacrifices day after day.

They are the ones keeping this province and this country moving forward. They are the ones providing essential services to the public. They are the reason your profits have soared over the last year.

They deserve pandemic pay now. They deserve pandemic pay for the long haul. And for those who want a vaccine, they deserve your help in getting it sooner rather than later.

Your hardworking employees and the public they provide goods and services to are waiting for you to step up and do better.

Because, if not now, when? What’s the magic number of people who have to die before your moral responsibility to your employees outweighs your need for profit?

Your employees are struggling. They’re struggling from exhaustion and worry. They’re struggling to balance caring for children and other loved ones with working to earn a pay cheque. They’re struggling to decide between staying home when they don’t feel well and going to work ill because they can’t afford not to. They’re struggling because they – like many people across the province and country – have lost loved ones during this pandemic and can’t afford to take unpaid time off to grieve.

You say you’re proud of your employees. Show it. You are a leader in your industry. Lead.

Your employees and the public are waiting for you to be better than this.

What are you waiting for?

On behalf of the members,

Shawn Haggerty
UFCW Canada, Local 175