Supermarket Workers' Union Laments Exclusion From New Connecticut Vaccine

Feb 23, 2021

Unions for Connecticut’s grocery workers said they’re disappointed to be left out of Governor Ned Lamont’s changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan.

Lamont said the move to a mostly age-based system will make the rollout less complicated.

Ron Petronella is with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ local 371 in Westport. The union represents about 5,000 grocery store workers in Connecticut.

“Our members continue to work and put themselves at risk. And it’s upsetting to us that the stores are busier now than ever, and the infection can spread more easily there, I think, than in the classroom,” Petronella said.

The governor had said essential workers and those with underlying health conditions would be included in the next phase of the rollout. Teachers will be eligible for vaccinations in March.

“We understand everybody wants to get back to class, and we want them to get back to class too. But we would have loved to have been vaccinated along with them,” Petronella said.

The union said more than 30,000 grocery workers across the U.S. have been exposed to COVID-19 or infected with the virus, including hundreds of workers in Connecticut.

Lamont’s announcement came on a day designated by the National Food Industry Association as "Supermarket Employee Appreciation Day."