Dear Seward Co-op Community,
Seward Community Co-op staff, and employees at grocery stores nationwide, are in urgent need of the COVID-19 vaccine. They interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals every day as the deadly COVID-19 pandemic continues. Essential food workers continue to put themselves and their households at risk working in retail grocery stores and meatpacking plants. Our employees’ union, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), represents 1.3 million frontline essential workers nationwide. Locally, UFCW local 663 members have shown up throughout the pandemic to ensure Minnesota households have access to food and supplies they need. Seward Co-op urges Minnesota’s elected leaders and health department decision makers to expedite vaccine access for essential food workers.
Last spring our state declared that grocery store employees and other food workers are essential in the face of this pandemic. We are grateful that our state has begun administering vaccines to many Minnesotans. We also understand that it is challenging to determine the priority order of vaccinations when there are limited quantities of the vaccines available. We support an effort by UFCW to prioritize food workers to receive the vaccine soon.
Experts advise us to continue minimizing time spent in grocery stores because of new coronavirus variants. The New York Times found last week that only 13 states have started specifically vaccinating essential food workers – and Minnesota is not one of them. As the danger from COVID-19 continues, grocery workers are among the most at risk of daily exposure to the virus. We believe that MN Gov. Tim Walz and health department officials have an opportunity to prioritize these essential workers in our state.