Ohio unions demand access to vaccine for food service workers

Union reps send letter to Gov. DeWine
Updated: Mar. 11, 2021 at 8:03 AM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Many food service workers want to know when they’ll be able to get the vaccine. Several unions across Ohio are demanding Governor DeWine make them a priority.

Sonja Campbell is the president of Local 17A, a union in Canton representing many factory workers.

“We have to put food on the table, we feed millions and millions of people and so it’s important that we’re healthy,” said Campbell.

Campbell says there are more than 80,000 workers in the food processing, grocery stores, pharmacies and food distribution industry in Ohio.

She says some employees at Kraft-Heinz have been able to sign up to get the vaccine in the last few weeks, but several others haven’t and they don’t know when they’ll be eligible.

Several unions sent a letter to Governor DeWine this week, demanding food service workers be given priority.

Many of them fear an outbreak with new COVID-19 strains. Campbell says these workers were considered essential at the start of the pandemic.

“The grocery stores, the truck drivers, and all of the meat factories we were still out there. We were essential then, we were important then, we had to be there then, now we’re not important? I got a problem with that,” Campbell added.

The CDC has said states should prioritize grocery, meatpacking, food processing and pharmacy workers.

Campbell says they also want to know when they will be eligible.

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