Unilever recently implemented COVID-19 health screenings of all employees entering its Lipton facility in Suffolk, Virginia. The screenings meant additional unpaid time spent at work waiting in line for the screening.

But after the union filed a grievance to object to the lack of pay during screenings, Lipton has now agreed to add five minutes of paid time for each employee who reports to work while screening is required. The additional pay will also be applied retroactively to the start of the screening program, 2:00 p.m. on March 18, 2020.

This is a small example of the big difference a union can make. Without a union, there is no guarantee that an employer would pay workers for time spent in screenings. For example, in 2014, the Supreme Court sided with Amazon and issued a decision stating that the company did not have to pay employees for time spent in mandatory security screenings, even though many workers spent nearly 30 minutes to get through the screenings. But thanks to our union, Lipton workers can be assured that all time spent at work will be compensated.

If you are a member with a COVID-19 concern in your workplace, please report it to us. Help us keep track of the problems you are facing so we can better work with employers to address them. Please report your concerns on our website here.

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Please know that your UFCW Local 400 family is here for you during these difficult and challenging times. You are not alone. We are one union family, and we are in this together.