Topics: News, Press

UFCW Essential Workers Applaud Announcement to Provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Sacramento, CA – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council today released the following statements after Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature’s announcement on providing two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave benefits to California’s workers:

“UFCW members have been risking their lives and the lives of their family members whenever they clock in to work during the pandemic without the protection of paid sick leave during this new surge of illness from the omicron variant,” said Andrea Zinder, president, UFCW Western States Council and UFCW Local 324. “The announcement today ensures workers can stay home without the fear of losing two weeks of pay, or worse, their job. Paid sick leave is an essential part of public health and we urge Governor Newsom and our legislative champions to act immediately to sign a bill into law ensuring workers can access this basic benefit working people need to stay safe and healthy.”

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave previously expired in September 2021 and most California workers have only had access to the state mandated three paid sick days since then — not enough time to recover or quarantine if they become infected with COVID-19. Two weeks of COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave ensures workers can take the time off they need to recover, take care of a sick family member, provide childcare if schools close, get vaccinated, or recover from vaccine side effects without risking their job or pay.

“With this announcement, my coworkers and I no longer have to choose between our lives and our livelihoods,” said Rheannon Ramos, a grocery store worker at Stater Bros. in Southern California. “The past two years have been filled with new stress after new stress and today’s announcement means a real relief from shouldering these worries. I thank our elected leaders in Sacramento who listened to workers on the frontlines and agreed supplemental paid sick leave is a critical safety net for workers and families as well as a sound public health strategy.”

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January 25, 2022

Contact: Jenna Thompson, (949) 246-1620, [email protected]