Three Spire employees also infected
By TIM ROWDEN
Several Schnucks and Dierbergs grocery store workers have tested positive for COVID-19, and numerous other employees are self-quarantined.
The confirmed infections are additional examples of why Missouri Gov. Mike Parson should designate grocery, pharmacy and food processing workers as temporary first responders – giving them access to testing, treatment and protective equipment at work – something the governor has steadfastly refused to do.
“Food workers, pharmacy workers and other workers are on the front line in this battle,” said David Cook, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655. “They are subjected daily to non-stop public interaction. The entire country is being told to lock down and reduce public interaction, and yet heroes from Local 655 and other grocery and pharmacy workers are being forced to deal with thousands of face-to-face interactions with people every day.”
SCHNUCKS, DIERBERGS STEP UP FOR EMPLOYEES
Schnucks and Dierbergs both have extensive protocols in place in the event of a positive case from any of their employees. These protocols include extensive sanitization per guidelines from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schnucks and Dierbergs have pay plans “to offer options to employees based on their specific COVID-19 situations.”
Both companies issued similar statements extending their thoughts and wishes for full and speedy recovery for their employees.
DEMAND GOVERNOR ACT
Cook and others have repeatedly called on Parson to take action similar to what has already been done in states like Minnesota and Vermont, where grocery workers are classified as emergency first responders.
But Parson, whose lackadaisical response to the COVID-19 pandemic and unwillingness to issue a statewide stay-at-home order until last Friday, April 3, has come under sharp criticism from health professionals and political leaders.
In the recent federal guidelines issued by the DHSS, grocery workers and food processing workers are classified as essential works. But our Governor Parson refuses to give those same workers in Missouri the same designation.
“Until you do the right thing for grocery workers, pharmacy workers and any other worker who is forced to deal with the public,” Cook said, “we will not stand down, and we will not be quiet.”
Three Spire employees who work in the St. Louis area also tested positive for COVID-19, the company said last week.
The employees have self-quarantined and their exposure was limited to fellow employees at the natural gas company, a Spire spokesperson said. No customers or vendors were exposed, the company said.
Spire’s Manchester facility was closed April 6 but reopened the next day after it was cleaned and disinfected.