UFCW International kicks off ‘Shop Smart’ customer campaign to protect workers


Washington – The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has launched a new #ShopSmart ad campaign, urging shoppers to wear masks and practice social distancing while inside grocery stores to help protect food and grocery workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

UFCW is America’s largest food and retail union, representing more than 900,000 grocery workers nationwide.

Ads are being broadcast on TV and social media asking customers to:

  1. Take a mask selfie and post it on social media with the tag #shopsmart #savelives.
  2. Text “ShopSmart” to 23396 to take the pledge and receive weekly insider tips on how you can make grocery shopping safer for everyone.
  3. Follow UFCW On Facebook at “Stand With Grocery Workers.”

The campaign is a plea to consumers in response to the growing number of food and grocery workers who are becoming exposed to the coronavirus and the direct threat the growing outbreak poses to our nation’s food supply.

UFCW INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT Marc Perrone, taking a mask selfie outside a Giant store in Fredericksburg, Va., said, “As a customer I want to protect the other customers and the workers.” Please take the pledge to #ShopSmart and text ShopSmart to 23396.

“The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest health and safety crisis that America’s grocery and food workers have ever faced,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said in a statement announcing the initiative. “Since the beginning of the outbreak, these workers have been on the front lines of this terrible pandemic. While tens of millions of Americans were told to work from home for their safety, grocery store and food workers have never had that option. More must be done to protect them and our food supply now.”

Based on reports from UFCW locals, the International Union estimates that 30 UFCW members have died from COVID-19, and nearly 3,000 UFCW food and grocery workers have been directly impacted by COVID-19 and have tested positive for COVID-19, missed work due to self-quarantine, are awaiting test results, have been hospitalized or are symptomatic.

“Grocery workers are deeply concerned,” Perrone said. “The fact is that this pandemic represents a clear and present danger to our nation’s food supply and all grocery store workers. The ‘Shop Smart’ campaign will help save lives by making clear that all members of the public can take key safety steps to help protect these workers and each other from the coronavirus.”

To highlight the growing concern of food and grocery workers, the UFCW also released results from a survey of more than 5,000 grocery and food workers, highlighting workers’ real fear and concern and the need to take a more dramatic action to protect them. What workers expressed was concerning:


  • 29 percent said customers treated them somewhat poorly or very poorly.


  • 85 percent said customers are not practicing social distancing.
  • 81 percent said customers are hoarding supplies or groceries.
  • 62 percent said customers are blaming employees for shortages.
  • 43 percent reported instances of customers shouting at employees.


When asked what grocery stores should do to improve customer safety and treatment of workers:

  • 72 percent supported a limit on the number of customers in stores.
  • 49 percent supported stores banning unruly customers.
  • 41 percent supported stores hiring more security.
  • 26 percent supported stores hiring more workers to meet demand.
  • 23 percent supported advertisements with customer safety tips.

For more information about UFCW’s #ShopSmart campaign, and to take the pledge, visit ufcw.org/coronavirus/customers.

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