• What's New?

COVID-19 UPDATES
for Local 881 Members

This page will be updated regularly with new information for Local 881 UFCW members regarding the Coronavirus pandemic and response. If you have any questions, please contact your Union Representative!

The guidance here related to COVID-19 is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Read full disclaimer here.

May 23, 2020

PRESS RELEASE: ILLINOIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY PASSES HISTORIC PROTECTIONS FOR ESSENTIAL RETAIL WORKERS

Local 881 was successful in getting the Illinois General Assembly to pass first of its kind protections for essential retail workers who are attacked on the job during the COVID-19 public health pandemic.

“Without companies stepping up to provide necessary crowd control or security officers to enforce store and government mandates before a customer enters, this new law will help hold individuals accountable for assaulting retail workers who are just trying to do their job and keep everyone safe.”
— Local 881 President Steve Powell

Read the Full Press Release Here

May 22, 2020

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HEROIC WORK AND HUGE RISKS CONTINUE FOR GROCERY WORKERS

In order for stores to become safer places in the midst of the Corona virus, we all have to do our part. Customers, companies, and lawmakers all have important roles to play in keeping essential workers on the front lines safe.

Read President Steve Powell's Latest Letter to the Editor.

May 20, 2020

NBC 5’S PHIL ROGERS INVESTIGATES CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK AND INTERVIEWS LOCAL 881 PRESIDENT STEVE POWELL

“I think the biggest problem we're facing in different localities is the general public has to use a little more common sense and realize that grocery workers really are on the front lines,” Powell said. “We need more cooperation from the general public — period.”

The union says it has been especially surprised to see large family groups coming into stores, when a single shopper per family would make more sense during the current pandemic.

“This virus is everywhere, it's invisible, it doesn't stop at the grocery store, it doesn't stop at the hardware stores that are still open,” Powell said. “That's why they have to wear the masks and have to follow social distancing.”

Read the story here: https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/should-you-be-told-where-coronavirus-outbreaks-are-happening/2275449/

May 16, 2020

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WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR BETTER WAGES REGARDLESS OF WHEN THE HERO/APPRECIATION PAY STOPS.

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“While many corporations and prominent figures have jumped on the ‘let’s recognize our essential workers’ bandwagon, Local 881 has made recognizing your value as workers our mission. Our entire organization has always been focused on getting you the respect you deserve. Crisis or no crisis, your Union has always valued the work you do and has fought for you to be protected and respected on the job.”

— Read President Powell's latest letter to the membership.

May 15, 2020

AFTER ENDING HERO PAY, MARIANO’S/KROGER DECIDES TO PROVIDE THANK YOU PAY TO LOCAL 881 MEMBERS.

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Marianos and Kroger has responded to Local 881s request for additional Covid-19 support for our members, in the form of Thank You Pay for qualified members ($400 full-time or $200 part-time). This will be paid out in two installments: $200 FT or $100 PT on May 28th and June 18th. Associates must be active on or before May 23 to be eligible for Thank You Pay. Member will be paid based on their current classification of full- or part-time. Please contact your Union Representative (847-294-5064) if you have any questions.

May 15, 2020

THANK YOU, JEWEL-OSCO FOR EXTENDING APPRECIATION PAY THROUGH THE END OF MAY!

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Jewel-Osco responded to Local 881's request to extend their appreciation pay provisions for our members through May 30th, 2020. Local 881 will continue to fight and advocate for our members to receive the front-line pay and protections they deserve.

May 14, 2020

IF THE HEROIC WORK MUST CONTINUE, SO SHOULD THE COVID-19 PREMIUM PAY!

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Since the pandemic began, Local 881 has been fighting for our members to be designated as First Responders and be recognized as the essential workers they are in the midst of this crisis. Lawmakers, celebrities, and the media have gone a step further and have called our members HEROES. We couldn’t agree more. Now, companies have the ability to act heroically by doing what is right for the hardworking members of Local 881 by extending Covid-19 Pay.

Read President Powell's letters to Jewel-Osco and Mariano's.

May 1, 2020

PROTECTION FOR UFCW MEMBERS WHO WORK IN MEATPACKING, POULTRY AND FOOD PROCESSING PLANTS THROUGHOUT ILLINOIS

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Meatpacking, poultry and food processing workers have been working tirelessly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect our country's food supply. Local 881 was proud to join with other UFCW locals across the country in brining attention to local officials about the need to increase protections for these workers, including: enforce physical distancing, provide N-95 masks, provide testing, provide paid time off for quarantine, and protect workers from possible retaliation.

Read President Powell's letter to Governor Pritzker here.

“While talking with UFCW leadership and its members today, I assured them I would fight to protect their health and safety as they risk their lives, working shoulder to shoulder, on meat processing lines in Illinois and across the country.”— Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL)

Read Senator full statement here.

May 1, 2020

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655 WELFARE FUND OFFERS TELEHEALTH SERVICES

Please note this is for Local 881 members covered by the UFCW Local 655 Health and Welfare Fund only.

The Participating Employers and Unions from the UFCW Local 655 Welfare Fund are proud to offer a new Telehealth service program. Telehealth is a convenient service that helps you to reach a medical provider by app, phone or online 24/7/365. In the midst of the current COVID-19 crisis, utilizing telehealth services is a tool to address health concerns without having to wait in an emergency room or urgent care center for diagnosis and treatment.

For more information here.

April 24, 2020

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HAZARD PAY EXTENSION REQUESTS

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced he will extend the state's stay-at-home order through May 30 as the state continues to see an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. As such, Local 881 has begun to demand employers to extend hazard/appreciation pay and bonuses to mirror the Governor's extension.

Read the letters to employers here.

April 22, 2020

LOCAL 881 WELCOMES MAYOR LIGHTFOOT AT MARIANO'S IN BRONZEVILLE

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We were pleased to invite the Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot, to visit with Local 881 members at Mariano's in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. Mayor Lightfoot toured the store with Local 881 President Steve Powell and spoke with members and customers alike. She got to see firsthand the efforts being taken in grocery stores to keep the public and the workers safe during the pandemic.

Local 881 has been proud to advocate on behalf of our members during the Covid crisis. We have spent countless hours on the phone, sending letters, and pushing government officials, like Mayor Lightfoot to act on behalf of essential workers, like our members, who are on the front lines serving the public.

“To the thousands of Local 881 UFCW members keeping our grocery stores humming in this crisis, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do!” — Mayor Lori Lightfoot

April 14, 2020

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CHILDCARE HELP FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS DURING THE COVID PANDEMIC

During the declared COVID-19 crisis, as part of the Federal CARES Act, the Illinois Department of Human Services is able to offer child care assistance as a support to essential workers that do not have the option to work remotely.

This includes Local 881 members!

Prioritized Essential Workers include Local 881 members that work in grocery, retail, pharmacy, health care, cannabis, or food production. If you require childcare services, you can apply (For the application, visit: bit.ly/2UVWsCt) to get access to significant childcare subsidies by contacting one of the designated facilities for “essential” personnel. This applies even if you're already enrolled in a subsidized program.

To find emergency child care in your area or to determine if your current childcare provider is participating in this program:

Call (888) 228-1146 or visit the COVID-19 Emergency Provider Search Website: emergencycare.inccrra.org

To qualify, each parent/guardian in the home must be an essential worker unable to work remotely. You will be asked to complete an application form and will need to submit employment documentation, like a pay stub.

Questions? Call 888-228-1146 and a program expert will walk you through it and help you apply.

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April 10, 2020

JOINT LETTER WITH JEWEL-OSCO TO GOVERNOR PRITZKER

Now, more than ever, it's important that we unite. Just as we protect first responders and healthcare professionals, we must also protect Jewel-Osco associates because their service to our communities is essential during this time.

Read the entire letter from President Powell and President Withers here.

April 8, 2020

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IF YOUR COMPANY HAS RESPONDED TO THE COVID PANDEMIC, IT'S BECAUSE YOUR UNION HAS BEEN PUSHING THEM TO DO SO!

Local 881 has been having ongoing conversations with lawmakers and employers regarding protections for our members on the on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Many of the requests we made weeks ago are finally starting to be implemented, commonsense things like limiting people in the stores! We have been talking about this idea since early March!

If the companies have acted or responded to the Covid pandemic in anyway, it's because your Union has been pushing them to do so. With the ever-evolving challenges of this virus and the extension of the shelter-at-home directive, the fight is not over. We will continue to advocate, pressure, and push for the companies to do the right thing and protect their essential frontline workers.” — Read President Powell's entire letter to here.

April 5, 2020

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RETAIL WORKER PROTECTION WISHLIST!

Local has been having ongoing conversations with the office of the Governor. President Powell was invited to provide a list of recommendations for protecting retail, grocery, and pharmacy workers on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our membership is uniquely exposed to this dangerous virus, because their essential work, serving the public, puts them directly in harm's way... Although the companies have been incredibly cooperative, they have been slow to execute consistent and effective measures to protect our members and the public. With a strong directive from your office, we believe meaningful change could take place in the stores, to benefit and protect everyone.Read President Powell's entire letter to here.

April 4, 2020

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THANK YOU, JEWEL-OSCO FOR EXTENDING HAZARD PAY!

Jewel-Osco responded to Local 881's request to extend their hazard pay provisions for our members through April 18th, 2020, and will re-evaluate again. As the crisis evolves and the shelter-at-home directive extends, Local 881 will continue to fight and advocate for our members to receive the front-line pay and protections they deserve.

April 3, 2020

COVID CARE ACT Flyer

EMERGENCY COVID-19 BENEFITS AVAILABLE FOR LOCAL 881 MEMBERS

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, approved by Congress on March 27, 2020, includes a number of economic supports that will immediately help America's workers. Including:

  • Emergency Childcare Funding
  • Tax Filing Extension
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Extra Unemployment

Additional information can be found by visiting the AFL-CIO's State Resources website at: https://aflcio.org/covid-19/state-resources

Questions? Contact Local 881 UFCW Legislative and Political Director Zach Koutsky at 847-294-5064, x550.

April 1, 2020

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THANK YOU, MARIANO'S AND KROGER FOR EXTENDING HAZARD PAY!

Mariano's and Kroger has responded to Local 881's request to extend their hazard pay provisions for our members. As the crisis evolves and the shelter-at-home directive extends, Local 881 will continue to fight and advocate for our members to receive the front-line pay and protections they deserve.

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March 31, 2020

YOU DESERVE MORE HAZARD PAY!

We have asked all employers to extend their Hazard/Appreciation Pay to, at a minimum, match the timeline of Governor Pritzker's shelter-at-home directive.

See the letter that went out here.

March 30, 2020

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THANK YOU, JEWEL-OSCO FOR BANNING THE BAGS DURING THE COVID-19 CRISIS

Jewel-Osco has responded to Local 881's request to eliminate unnecessary health risks to our members by temporarily banning the use of reusable shopping bags.

March 30, 2020

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RESOURCES FOR CHICAGO ESSENTIAL WORKERS

Childcare Help

Sittercity will provide three free months of the Sittercity Premium service and will connect those on the frontlines of fighting this crisis with volunteers to help care for their families during this time. A new, dedicated website – sittercity.com/chicagoresponds – will make it easier for workers deemed an essential part of the infrastructure helping Chicago stay safe, to find reliable childcare that will allow them to continue their crucial work.

Read the Mayor's childcare announcement here.

Transportation Relief

While the City continues to encourage all who can to stay home during this time, first-responders, healthcare workers and others need to have access to reliable transportation to get to and from work, while residents must maintain access to essential services. These transportation relief measures ranging from passenger credits to discounted usage fees will be in place through the duration of the Order, anticipated to last through April 7.

Read the Mayor's transportation announcement here.

March 27, 2020

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MORE MUST BE DONE TO PROTECT OUR MEMBERS ON THE FRONTLINES OF THIS CRISIS!

Although many employers have agreed to hazard pay increases or bonuses and most are installing plexiglass shields and implementing social distancing strategies in the stores, this is still not enough! Local 881 members need

  • First Responder Status
  • Limits on the number of people in the store
  • Temporary ban on reusable bags, to prevent transmission

Read today's letters to Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot from President Powell.

Read the Ban the Bags Press Release.

March 23, 2020

letter to the editor

GROCERY WORKERS ARE THE UNSUNG HEROES OF THE COVID19 PANDEMIC AND SHOULD BE DESIGNATED AS FIRST RESPONDERS

Read President Steve Powell's Letter to the Editor.

March 21, 2020

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JEWEL-OSCO AGREES TO COVID-19 PAY

Jewel-Osco is the first of Local 881-represented employers to agree to compensate our members for the tremendous work they’ve been doing under unbelievably stressful working conditions. We are hopeful that more employers will do the right thing and take similar actions to help the workers on the front lines of this crisis.

See full statement here.

March 20, 2020

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THANK YOU TO U.S. SENATOR TAMMY DUCKWORTH FOR RECOGNIZING THE VITAL ROLE LOCAL 881 MEMBERS ARE PLAYING DURING THIS UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS!

"UFCW employees are working on the front lines of this pandemic to make sure that Illinoisans are able to access the food, prescriptions and care they need," Duckworth said. "They deserve our thanks and our support, and I'll keep working to make sure we do everything we can to keep them safe from COVID-19 as they continue working during this crisis."

https://www.duckworth.senate.gov/news/press-releases/_-duckworth-discusses-her-efforts-to-protect-workers-during-covid-19-outbreak-with-ufcw-local-881-president--

March 20, 2020

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YOU DESERVE HAZARD PAY!

Your companies are relying on you to keep their doors open during this unbelievable situation. We have asked all of the employers staffed by Local 881 members to do the right thing and provide Hazard Pay for the workers on the front lines of this public health crisis!

See the letter that went out here.

March 19, 2020

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WHAT IS THE UNION FIGHTING FOR?

We are getting this question a lot! And rightfully so!!! While you have been in the stores fighting for our communities, we have been petitioning your employers and government to do the right thing, to address the special COVID-19 circumstances we are in. This includes: hazard protections, policies, leave, scheduling, discipline, and other benefits.

Every day we are adding to this list!

March 19, 2020

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Jewel and CVS have agreed to several temporary policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Please click on your company to read through the current way they are handling some of the concerns you have.

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More information will be coming from other Local 881-represented companies. When agreements are finalized, we will post them.

March 18, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ILLINOIS’ LARGEST RETAIL UNION CALLS FOR GROCERY, RETAIL, AND PHARMACY WORKERS TO BE DESIGNATED AS FIRST RESPONDERS

Des Plaines, IL - As Illinois and the nation enters the first week of unprecedented shutdowns of government and private business, the hardworking members of Local 881 United Food and Commercial Workers remain on the front lines of the societal and economic crisis that COVID-19 presents.

Staffing hundreds of grocery stores and pharmacies across Illinois and Northwest Indiana, Local 881 UFCW members are providing a vital link to millions of families who need to access food, prescriptions, and household products that allow them to stay home safely and help flatten the curve. Local 881 UFCW members are putting in thousands of hours at risk to their own health, to ensure stores remain stocked and sanitized, and will remain on the leading edge of the state’s response to this health crisis.

Please see the entire press release here.

March 18, 2020

LETTER TO OUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES IN THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

"I am writing to ask you to stand up for our hardworking families most at risk during the coronavirus outbreak. Our UFCW members in grocery stores, retail establishments, and food processing plants are on the front lines, working around the clock to keep these businesses open and ensure that families in our communities have the essential food and supplies they need. Keeping our communities healthy and safe is our first priority, but our members need strong worker protections to continue doing these vital jobs."

Please see the entire letter here.

March 18, 2020

LETTER TO MAYOR LIGHTFOOT

"During this crisis, I know there will be a concerted push by business interests towards removing, delaying, or weakening pro-worker laws like paid sick days, a fair workweek, and a living wage that Chicago has enacted in recent years. I strongly urge you to resist those overtures and remain focused, as you have in your tenure, on the needs of working families in this trying time."

Please see the entire letter here.

March 17, 2020

LETTER TO GOVERNOR PRITZKER

"It has been a great comfort to know that in the highest office of our state, we have a Governor who is well informed and very concerned about the issues of working people, including our members… Each day the challenges we face as a community become more complex. In light of the recent announcements and guidance, I respectfully ask for you to strongly consider the following requests in consideration of the members of Local 881…"

Please see the entire letter here.

March 13, 2020

MEETING CANCELLATIONS FOR MARCH APRIL

With available information about the COVID-19 disease and its rapid, unprecedented transmission rates, Local 881 has made the decision to CANCEL all member events and meetings for March and April. Please see the list of cancelled events.

Especially now, in the midst of the quickly evolving response guidelines, ALL future meetings are SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Please check the Local 881 calendar for the most up-to-date information.

March 13, 2020

LETTER TO LOCAL 881 MEMBERS INCLUDING OUR INITIAL RESPONSE PLAN

President Powell sent the entire membership a letter in response to the pandemic.

“In just a short time after the World Health Organization declared this event an official ’pandemic’, we have already seen the stores we represent flooded with customers preparing for possible quarantine situations. We are very aware that you are quite literally on the front lines of this situation. We have been extremely proud of your remarkable response to a very serious public health crisis.

At this time there are more questions than answers available on the new and uncharted workplace issues that this event has created. Unfortunately, there is no pandemic language in our contracts or a clear path for how these situations will be handled.”

Please see the entire letter here.

Content Disclaimer
The guidance here related to COVID-19 is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is intended to share with Local 881 UFCW members publicly available guidance and information provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), other organizations, state and local, and federal authorities. Adherence to any recommendations included in the shared guidance and information does not ensure that any person following the recommendations will not become infected with COVID-19. Nor does Local 881 warrant the accuracy or completeness of the shared guidance and information and assumes no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons arising out of or related to any use of the shared guidance and information. As always, any decision related to the medical diagnosis and treatment for COVID-19 must be made by the individual and their medical provider.