Regional grocery workers union hoping to push members up COVID vaccine list

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Despite being asked to continue working on the front lines during the pandemic, grocery store workers are not on the priority list for vaccinations.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union is trying to convince lawmakers and the Oregon Health Authority to allow grocery store employees to get vaccinated sooner rather than later.

Union President Dan Clay says he’s in touch with state officials every day, but so far, the response has been what he calls “unsatisfactory.

“Everybody always talks about ‘let’s follow the science; let’s do what the scientists say.’ Well, the scientists say essential employees should be higher up the list than they are,” he told Central Oregon Daily News.

Only 13 states are allowing grocery workers to sign up for vaccines, according to the UFCW, which nationally represents 1.3 million U.S. grocery, meatpacking and other front-line workers.

UFCW Local 555 represents about 29,000 members in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Clay said most are considered “essential” by the governor’s definition and are at risk of coming into contact with COVID every day.

 

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