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Grocery store workers petition political leaders for safer working conditions during pandemic

Posted at 10:38 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 19:18:00-04

TUCSON, Ariz — The United Food and Commercial Workers Union says it has 24,000 members across Arizona.

"Our members work at the major grocery stores in Tucson."

On Monday, in their latest pitch to politicians and candidates, Union President, James McLaughlin, spoke with U.S. Senate candidate, Mark Kelly, telling him point blank: they need help to feel safe at work.

"The priorities for us have always been: we need access to personal protective equipment. We need masks, we need hand sanitizer, we need gloves."

Grocery stores were deemed essential early on in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Anywhere we're coming into contact with other people, we need that to protect our workers, our members."

That, McLaughlin said, is a concern grocery store workers can't leave on the job.

"What am I bringing home to my family and just the exposure to the general public?"

McLaughlin said the union has reached out to politicians around the state, even asking for more security at stores.

"Customers are becoming very frustrated and they're beginning to take it out on our members, on our cashiers, our clerks and meat cutters in the stores."

He said shoppers can help make their job safer by wearing a mask and taking other steps on your grocery run.

"We would ask the customers, consider bring just one person to shop for the household or, if possible, one person to shop for two or three households."