During this crisis, protecting the health of you and your family is our top priority. Your union is insisting that your employers 1. suspend all services not related to public health and safety 2. protect pay and benefits during service shutdowns or reductions 3. provide adequate protections to all employees.
UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO is actively monitoring the situation. We are working closely with the AFL-CIO, UFCW international and government agency partners, and employers to develop recommendations and guidelines. Below are some of the agreements we’ve reached with your employers. As we come to more agreements, we will add them below.
Please check back frequently as this situation is rapidly developing.
FOR QUESTIONS REGARDING COVID-19 AND YOUR WORKPLACE
UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO is here for you.
UFCW Local 1994 Office: 301-977-2447
John Barry, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Local 1994 has reached an agreement with the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System on how to reward its onsite employees working during the...
Three Unions Representing Montgomery County Employees Reach COVID-19 Hazard Pay Agreement with Montgomery County Executive
The three unions representing County employees, the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1664; the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 35;...
After more than two weeks of often contentious negotiations, a lot of hard work and unwavering solidarity between our three county unions (IAFF, FOP...
On Monday evening, Governor Hogan issued a directive about sheltering-in-place. The directive has generated a number of questions among our members....
As a result of the declaration of emergency at the federal, state and local level in response to the containment of the spread of COVID-19 and the...
As the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus continue to change, we continue to push on a day-by-day basis for all of your employers to suspend...
Your union staff is working diligently to negotiate and help promulgate safety protocols and procedures for you, our members. We are working with...
About the Coronavirus Outbreak
“COVID-19,” a new coronavirus, has been identified as the cause of a cluster of severe pneumonia cases that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019.
Thousands of contacts are under observation and hundreds of cases have been confirmed in Wuhan. Additional cases have been identified in the United States and several other countries around the globe.
The virus is a coronavirus, which is a large family of viruses that can infect animals and/or humans. COVID-19 is similar to the viruses that cause SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
Symptoms include fever and/or symptoms of lower respiratory illness such as coughing or difficulty breathing.
With some viruses, the infectious period precedes symptoms and with other viruses it coincides with symptoms.
Human-to-human transmission is confirmed. However, whether the disease is transmitted via contact, droplet, or aerosol remains unknown. It is also unknown whether asymptomatic cases are infectious.
Employers Must Prepare to Keep Workers Safe
There is often debate about what actions to take and when they should be taken in situations where knowledge is lacking about a specific health threat. Employers often prioritize saving money over safe care and wait to act. Delay in action is unacceptable.
Please see the links below for the most up-to-date information on this rapidly evolving situation.
- World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Reports
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Situation Summary
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration COVID-19 Overview
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s Worldwide Situation Update
Ways to protect yourself and others from coronavirus:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent Corona virus infection, the best way to protect yourself from infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The following advice from the UN lists everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Frequently wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough.
- Stay at home if you are sick.
- Seek early medical help if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share your travel history with healthcare providers.
- Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or eggs to avoid cross-contamination.
Guidance and Resources
Government of Canada: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease
WHO discontinues hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir treatment arms for COVID-19
on July 13, 2020 at 7:49 pm
WHO today accepted the recommendation from the Solidarity Trial’s International Steering Committee to discontinue the trial’s hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir arms. The Solidarity Trial was established by WHO to find an effective COVID-19 treatment for hospitalized patients.The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the Solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the 1-2 July WHO Summit on COVID-19 research and innovation. These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect. For each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality. There were, however, some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on Discovery trial, a participant in the Solidarity trial. These will also be reported in the peer-reviewed publication. This decision applies only to the conduct of the Solidarity trial in hospitalized patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19. The interim Solidarity results are now being readied for peer-reviewed publication.
WHO: access to HIV medicines severely impacted by COVID-19 as AIDS response stalls
on July 13, 2020 at 7:17 pm
Seventy-three countries have warned that they are at risk of stock-outs of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new WHO survey conducted ahead of the International AIDS Society’s biannual conference. Twenty-four countries reported having either a critically low stock of ARVs or disruptions in the supply of these life-saving medicines. The survey follows a modelling exercise convened by WHO and UNAIDS in May which forecasted that a six-month disruption in access to ARVs could lead to a doubling in AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 alone. In 2019, an estimated 8.3 million people were benefiting from ARVs in the 24 countries now experiencing supply shortages. This represents about one third (33%) of all people taking HIV treatment globally. While there is no cure for HIV, ARVs can control the virus and prevent onward sexual transmission to other people.A failure of suppliers to deliver ARVs on time and a shut-down of land and air transport services, coupled with limited access to health services within countries as a result of the pandemic, were among the causes cited for the disruptions in the survey.The findings of this survey are deeply concerning,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Countries and their development partners must do all they can to ensure that people who need HIV treatment continue to access it. We cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease. Stalled progressAccording to data released today from UNAIDS and WHO, new HIV infections fell by 39% between 2000 and 2019. HIV-related deaths fell by 51% over the same time period, and some 15 million lives were saved through the use of antiretroviral therapy. However, progresstowards global targets is stalling. Over the last two years, the annual number of new HIV infections has plateaued at 1.7 million and there was only a modest reduction in HIV-related death, from 730 000 in 2018 to 690 000 in 2019. Despite steady advances in scaling up treatment coverage – with more than 25 million people in need of ARVs receiving them in 2019 – key 2020 global targets will be missed. HIV prevention and testing services are not reaching the groups that need them most. Improved targeting of proven prevention and testing services will be critical to reinvigorate the global response to HIV. WHO guidance and country actionCOVID-19 risks exacerbating the situation. WHO recently developed guidance for countries on how to safely maintain access to essential health services during the pandemic, including for all people living with or affected by HIV. The guidance encourages countries to limit disruptions in access to HIV treatment through “multi-month dispensing,” a policy whereby medicines are prescribed for longer periods of time – up to six months. To date, 129 countries have adopted this policy. Countries are also mitigating the impact of the disruptions by working to maintain flights and supply chains, engaging communities in the delivery of HIV medicines, and working with manufacturers to overcome logistics challenges.New opportunities to treat HIV in young childrenAt the IAS conference, WHO will highlight how global progress in reducing HIV-related deaths can be accelerated by stepping up support and services for populations disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, including young children. In 2019, there were an estimated 95 000 HIV-related deaths and 150 000 new infections among children. Only about half (53%) of children in need of antiretroviral therapy were receiving it. A lack of optimal medicines with suitable pediatric formulations has been a longstanding barrier to improving health outcomes for children living with HIV.Last month, WHO welcomed a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve a new 5mg formulation of dolutegravir (DTG) for infants and children older than 4 weeks and weighing more than 3 kg. This decision will ensure that all children have rapid access to an optimal drug that, to date, has only been available for adults, adolescents and older children. WHO is committed to fast-tracking the prequalification of DTG as a generic drug so that it can be used as soon as possible by countries to save lives. Through a collaboration of multiple partners, we are likely to see generic versions of dolutegravir for children by early 2021, allowing for a rapid reduction in the cost of this medicine,” said Dr Meg Doherty, Director of the Department of Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes at WHO. “This will give us another new tool to reach children living with HIV and keep them alive and healthy.”Tackling opportunistic infectionsMany HIV-related deaths result from infections that take advantage of an individual’s weakened immune system. These include bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis, viral infections like hepatitis and COVID-19, parasitic infections such as toxoplasmosis and fungal infections, including histoplasmosis.Today, WHO is releasing new guidelines for the diagnosis and management of histoplasmosis, among people living with HIV. Histoplasmosis is highly prevalent in the WHO Region of the Americas, where as many as 15 600 new cases and 4500 deaths are reported each year among people living with HIV. Many of these deaths could be prevented through timely diagnosis and treatment of the disease.In recent years, the development of highly sensitive diagnostic tests has allowed for a rapid and accurate confirmation of histoplasmosis and earlier initiation of treatment. However, innovative diagnostics and optimal treatments for this disease are not yet widely available in resource-limited settings.
As more go hungry and malnutrition persists, achieving Zero Hunger by 2030 in doubt, UN report warns
on July 13, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Rome – More people are going hungry, an annual study by the United Nations has found. Tens of millions have joined the ranks of the chronically undernourished over the past five years, and countries around the world continue to struggle with multiple forms of malnutrition.The latest edition of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, published today, estimates that almost 690 million people went hungry in 2019 – up by 10 million from 2018, and by nearly 60 million in five years. High costs and low affordability also mean billions cannot eat healthily or nutritiously. The hungry are most numerous in Asia, but expanding fastest in Africa. Across the planet, the report forecasts, the COVID-19 pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020. (Flare-ups of acute hunger in the pandemic context may see this number escalate further at times.)The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is the most authoritative global study tracking progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition. It is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).Writing in the foreword, the heads of the five agencies warn that “five years after the world committed to end hunger, food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition, we are still off track to achieve this objective by 2030".The hunger numbers explainedIn this edition, critical data updates for China and other populous countriesii have led to a substantial cut in estimates of the global number of hungry people, to the current 690 million. Nevertheless, there has been no change in the trend. Revising the entire hunger series back to the year 2000 yields the same conclusion: after steadily diminishing for decades, chronic hunger slowly began to rise in 2014 and continues to do so.Asia remains home to the greatest number of undernourished (381 million). Africa is second (250 million), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (48 million). The global prevalence of undernourishment – or overall percentage of hungry people – has changed little at 8.9 percent, but the absolute numbers have been rising since 2014. This means that over the last five years, hunger has grown in step with the global population.This, in turn, hides great regional disparities: in percentage terms, Africa is the hardest hit region and becoming more so, with 19.1 percent of its people undernourished. This is more than double the rate in Asia (8.3 percent) and in Latin America and the Caribbean (7.4 percent). On current trends, by 2030, Africa will be home to more than half of the world’s chronically hungry. The pandemic’s tollAs progress in fighting hunger stalls, the COVID-19 pandemic is intensifying the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems – understood as all the activities and processes affecting the production, distribution and consumption of food. While it is too soon to assess the full impact of the lockdowns and other containment measures, the report estimates that at a minimum, another 83 million people, and possibly as many as 132 million, may go hungry in 2020 as a result of the economic recession triggered by COVID-19.iii The setback throws into further doubt the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (Zero Hunger). Unhealthy diets, food insecurity and malnutritionOvercoming hunger and malnutrition in all its forms (including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight and obesity) is about more than securing enough food to survive: what people eat – and especially what children eat – must also be nutritious. Yet a key obstacle is the high cost of nutritious foods and the low affordability of healthy diets for vast numbers of families.The report presents evidence that a healthy diet costs far more than US$ 1.90/day, the international poverty threshold. It puts the price of even the least expensive healthy diet at five times the price of filling stomachs with starch only. Nutrient-rich dairy, fruits, vegetables and protein-rich foods (plant and animal-sourced) are the most expensive food groups globally.The latest estimates are that a staggering 3 billion people or more cannot afford a healthy diet. In sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia, this is the case for 57 percent of the population – though no region, including North America and Europe, is spared. Partly as a result, the race to end malnutrition appears compromised. According to the report, in 2019, between a quarter and a third of children under five (191 million) were stunted or wasted – too short or too thin. Another 38 million under-fives were overweight. Among adults, meanwhile, obesity has become a global pandemic in its own right. A call to actionThe report argues that once sustainability considerations are factored in, a global switch to healthy diets would help check the backslide into hunger while delivering enormous savings. It calculates that such a shift would allow the health costs associated with unhealthy diets, estimated to reach US$ 1.3 trillion a year in 2030, to be almost entirely offset; while the diet-related social cost of greenhouse gas emissions, estimated at US$ 1.7 trillion, could be cut by up to three-quarters.iv The report urges a transformation of food systems to reduce the cost of nutritious foods andincrease the affordability of healthy diets. While the specific solutions will differ from country to country, and even within them, the overall answers lie with interventions along the entire food supply chain, in the food environment, and in the political economy that shapes trade, public expenditure and investment policies. The study calls on governments to mainstream nutrition in their approaches to agriculture; work to cut cost-escalating factors in the production, storage,transport, distribution and marketing of food – including by reducing inefficiencies and food loss and waste; support local small-scale producers to grow and sell more nutritious foods, and secure their access to markets; prioritize children’s nutrition as the category in greatest need; foster behaviour change through education and communication; and embed nutrition in national social protection systems and investment strategies.The heads of the five UN agencies behind the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World declare their commitment to support this momentous shift, ensuring that it unfolds “in a sustainable way, for people and the planet.” Media contacts for interview requests (several languages are covered):FAO – Andre VORNIC, +39 345 870 6985, email@example.comIFAD – Antonia PARADELA, +34 605 398 109, firstname.lastname@example.orgUNICEF – Sabrina SIDHU, +1 917 476 1537, email@example.comWFP – Martin PENNER, +39 345 614 2074, firstname.lastname@example.orgWHO – Fadela CHAIB, +41 79 475 5556, email@example.com For FAO – Qu Dongyu, Director-General; for IFAD – Gilbert F. Houngbo, President; for UNICEF – Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director; for WFP – David Beasley, Executive Director; for WHO – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General.ii Updates to a key parameter, which measures inequality in food consumption within societies, have been made for 13 countries whose combined population approaches 2.5 billion people: Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Sudan and Thailand. The size of China’s population, in particular, has had the single largest impact on global numbers.iii This range corresponds to the most recent expectations of a 4.9 to 10 percent drop in global GDP.iv The report analyses the “hidden costs” of unhealthy diets and models options involving four alternativediets: flexitarian, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan. It also acknowledges that some poorer countries’ carbonemissions may initially need to rise to allow them to reach nutrition targets. (The opposite is true of richercountries.)
Considerations for Non-emergency Vehicle Transportation for Tribal Communities During COVID-19
on July 13, 2020 at 4:00 am
Considerations for Non-emergency Vehicle Transportation for Tribal Communities During COVID-19
on July 13, 2020 at 4:00 am