I’d like to spend some time over the next few weeks talking with you about the important issues facing our Local Union as we get closer to the November election. This week I’m going to highlight five issues: hazard pay, funding for nursing and long-term care homes, pharmacy technician certification, adult-use recreational cannabis and public-sector OSHA protection.
Hazard Pay: Workers in food processing, nursing homes, grocery stores, pharmacies, and in the public sector, among other areas, have stepped up throughout the pandemic at great risk of exposure to the coronavirus. We fought hard to secure hazard pay for members, and we are supporting the federal and state legislation that would reenact hazard pay for frontline workers as this pandemic continues.
Stable Nursing Home Funding: Working with PA Governor Tom Wolf and Berks County Lawmakers, UFCW Local 1776 was able to secure millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursement funds and Intergovernmental Transfer Funds to go towards County Nursing homes, which saved over 300 of our members jobs at Berks Heim nursing home in Berks County.
Pharmacy Technician Certification: UFCW Local 1776 is actively working to get House Bill 770 passed which would establish a state certification system for pharmacy techs. We represent hundreds of techs who would benefit from this legislation by having state standards for this certification. We believe it would improve starting rates and give our techs more flexibility in advancing their careers.
Adult-Use Recreational Cannabis: The legalization of Adult-use recreational cannabis will create new jobs and help Pennsylvania to generate million of dollars in new tax revenues to close our state budget deficit and help fund core programs, such as public education. UFCW is the leader in organizing worksites in the medical marijuana industry and we look forward to building on this success in this new industry.
Public Sector OSHA: UFCW Local 1776 represents thousands of workers in the public sector that deserve OSHA style protections from their government employer. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act applies to private-sector employers and their employees only. For public-sector employees to be protected, states must enact their own OSHA-approved state plans.
What are your top issues for this election? Remember, we are not only voting for president, but for congress and the state house and state senate. We need elected leaders at all levels of government who support our issues.