Hi there —

Following an egregious lack of action to prioritize essential workers for the COVID-19 vaccine, and reports of shocking racial and economic disparities in vaccine distribution thus far, retail associates and leaders with United for Respect have banded together to advocate for change.

In case you missed it: workers from Walmart, Amazon and Petco joined together in a press call last week to announce bold new positions on essential worker vaccination and virus safety as part of their ‘Five to Survive’ pandemic platform. United for Respect members are asking elected officials to grant priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine for all public facing retail and e-commerce warehouse workers and to expedite mass vaccination for essential retail workers immediately. UFR is also calling on retail employers to provide a $500 bonus for vaccination, and in light of dangerous new variants of the coronavirus, to act now to increase safety measures in the workplace, including issuing free n95 masks to all essential workers.

***If you are interested in speaking with a worker about the vaccine platform and what they’re experiencing in this new phase of the pandemic, please reach out to [email protected]***

“We keep having more and more cases at my store,” said Arkansas Walmart worker and United for Respect member Mendy Hughes. “If they want to stop us from getting [COVID-19] they should give us an incentive to get the shot.”

United for Respect worker-leaders emphasized the urgent need for vaccinating essential workers as a matter of public health, an issue all the more critical as new COVID-19 variants are spreading throughout states across the country.

“We are the ones who are interacting with the public every day, we are at risk for getting the virus and spreading it, and this needs to be fixed now,” said North Carolina Walmart worker Drew Board.

During this pandemic, essential workers have consistently stepped up to protect themselves, their colleagues and their communities in the face of their employers’ failures to do the same. Workers have created their own systems for tracking positive cases in their workplaces. They have sacrificed their time and risked retribution in calling attention to the lethal lack of safety standards in warehouses, retail stores, and other highly trafficked locations. It is time for Walmart, Amazon, Petco and other retail giants – who have made extraordinary profits on the backs of worker labor during this pandemic – to listen.

“We’ve done more than our share.” said Allegra Brown, who delivers groceries for Amazon Fresh and is based in New Jersey. “Those of us who have survived deserve better than this chaos and cutting in line. We need the vaccine now.

United for Respect’s updated “Five to Survive” platform is challenging the retail industry to give essential workers what they deserve as they continue to risk their lives daily for poverty wages and meaningless lip service from their employers. If you are interested in hearing more about “Five to Survive,” or speaking to one of the workers involved, please feel free to get in touch.