Workers from several different grocery stores in the Boston area protested outside a Whole Foods in the South End Tuesday to demand greater protections against the coronavirus from their employers.
Lisa Wilson, an employee at the Shaw's in Hyde Park, was at the protest today. She told Jim Bruade on WGBH News’ Greater Boston Tuesday that her employers aren’t even providing basic protective gear.
“We rallied out there to raise awareness that a lot of the majority of grocery workers were not receiving things like gloves, and masks, and proper PPE [personal protective equipment]; are not getting paid a livable hazard pay, considering that we are putting are very lives on the line; and we are not getting paid sick leave for employees that are sick or having to take care of family members that are sick,” she said.
As the majority of businesses throughout the country have shut down, grocery stores have remained open, with their employees put at risk. Market Basket reported Tuesday that an employee from their Salem store has died from the coronavirus and two other employees from the store have tested positive. And under a new state guidance released Tuesday, grocery stores in Massachusetts will now have to operate at 40% standard occupancy.
Limiting the number of costumers allowed in the store is the only safety measure the mangers at the Shaw’s in Hyde Park have taken, according to Wilson. She said she is “petrified” that by continuing to work their she will “definitely get the virus.”
“I don’t want to get sick, but not working is not an option,” she said. “I’m not just an employee to line your pockets, I’m a person.”