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UFCW Essential Workers Celebrate Life-Saving Victory for Frontline Grocery, Meat Packing, Pharmacy Workers: Legislature Votes for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

Sacramento, CA – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council today applauded the California Legislature’s passage of SB 114, which provides up to two weeks of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave benefits, retroactive to January 1, 2022.  

“This is a tremendous victory for California’s workers, and UFCW members are glad our legislative champions acted urgently to pass COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave into law,” said Andrea Zinder, president, UFCW Western States Council and UFCW Local 324. “Today’s action brings workers one step closer to being able to stay home sick without the fear of losing two weeks of pay, or worse, their job. We saw countless workers backed into a corner because they did not have access to COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave after it expired. This is a burden off their shoulders.”

Workers across California have been speaking out for months on the continued need for COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and how essential it is to protect workers, their families, and communities. COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave will allow workers who get sick with COVID-19, those who need to take care of a sick family member, those who need to get tested or to stay home to take care of a child whose school has closed, access to 40 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. A worker, or a family member a worker is caring for, can test positive for COVID-19 and receive an additional 40 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. Workers who need to recover from getting a vaccine can take up to 24 hours of supplemental paid sick leave. 

“With this new legislation, my coworkers and I will no longer have to choose between our lives and our livelihoods,” said Rheannon Ramos, a grocery store worker at Stater Bros. in Southern California. “When signed by Gov. Newsom, we will have real relief from the worries of getting customers sick or not being able to put food on the table. I thank our elected leaders in Sacramento who truly listened to workers on the frontlines and agreed supplemental paid sick leave is an essential need for workers and families.” 

“When signed into law, UFCW members and all California’s workers who have been risking their lives and the lives of their family members whenever they clock in to work during the pandemic will be protected,” said Jacques Loveall, president, UFCW Local 8 Golden State. “We saw the number of workers infected rise exponentially during this latest surge, and providing supplemental paid sick leave to workers will prevent workers from coming into work sick to pay their bills while this surge continues and if another variant arises.”

“It’s devastating that my coworkers and I have been without access to paid sick leave for so long,” said Samantha Webster, a grocery store worker at Safeway in the Bay Area. “I’m glad we stood up and forced our elected leaders to listen to us. Having access to supplemental paid sick leave will now let me stay home if I need to and not have to worry about getting my customers and coworkers sick.”

“UFCW members and California’s working people stood up and spoke out to ensure the public could stay safe during the omicron surge,” said Joe Duffle, president, UFCW Local 1167. “Paid sick leave is an essential part of public health and we appreciate that the Legislature took swift action after listening to workers.”

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February 7, 2022

Contact: Jenna Thompson, 949.246.1620, [email protected]