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Ann Arbor group rallies for grocery store, postal workers

MLive Ann Arbor logo MLive Ann Arbor 5/1/2020 By Steve Marowski, mlive.com
a car parked on the side of a building: Demonstrators drive past the Whole Foods on Washtenaw Ave as part of a series of May Day protests in support of essential workers on Friday, May 1, 2020. Workers from multiple stores including Whole Foods, Target and Amazon planned a nationwide strike for the day. © Jenna Kieser | jkieser@mlive.com/Jenna Kieser/mlive.com/TNS Demonstrators drive past the Whole Foods on Washtenaw Ave as part of a series of May Day protests in support of essential workers on Friday, May 1, 2020. Workers from multiple stores including Whole Foods, Target and Amazon planned a nationwide strike for the day.

ANN ARBOR, MI — An activist group called “A2 After Bernie” held a caravan rally and demonstrations Friday to support grocery store and U.S. Postal Service workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

Organizers said the effort coincided with actions being taken in communities across the country in solidarity with workers from Whole Foods and Target who are organizing for safer working conditions, hazard pay, sick leave and health care.

“In other words, for working conditions commensurate with the risks they take every day,” said event organizer Linda Wan. “We feel like a disproportionate share went to huge corporations, and we feel that much more needs to be done on behalf of people in terms of health care, in terms of wages, in terms of protection for ordinary people.”

A car caravan was held at the Whole Foods store on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor and at the USPS office on Liberty Street. Ralliers drove a loop around the parking lot and honked their horns before continuing to the Target on Ann Arbor Saline Road, the post office on Stadium Boulevard and the post office on Liberty.

Wan said the gatherings were designed to be small to respect social distancing guidelines. May 1 is International Workers’ Day, and Wan said the group feels there needs to be more done for grocery store and postal workers

“This is just something that landed on top of us and it’s nobody’s fault, and so we need to be taking care of each other,” Wan said.

Wan said there are plans for similar events on the first of every month “for as long as necessary.”

Whole Foods has said all store workers in the U.S. and Canada are receiving an additional $2 per hour on top of their regular hourly rate, as well as double their regular hourly pay for overtime.

Target’s announced last month that front-line workers will receive an extra $2 per hour until May 30.

“The Company will also continue to extend access to free, safe and reliable back-up care for team members, and a 30-day paid leave for team members who are 65 or older, pregnant or who have underlying medical conditions as defined by the CDC, through the end of May,” Target announced April 23.

USPS has updated its policies to allow liberal use of leave and to give employees the ability to stay home whenever they feel sick or need to provide dependent care. Non-career employees will also be given 80 hours of paid leave.

All three employees have said they are reinforcing social distancing rules, updating sanitation measures and requiring employees and patrons wear masks.

COVID-19 PREVENTION TIPS

In addition to washing hands regularly and not touching your face, officials recommend practicing social distancing, assuming anyone may be carrying the virus.

Health officials say you should be staying at least 6 feet away from others and working from home, if possible.

Carry hand sanitizer with you, and use disinfecting wipes or disinfecting spray cleaners on frequently-touched surfaces in your home (door handles, faucets, countertops) and when you go into places like stores.

Read more Michigan coronavirus coverage here

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Wednesday, April 29: Latest developments on coronavirus in Michigan

Michigan sees 100 more coronavirus deaths, 1,100 new confirmed cases

U.P.’s painful dilemma: Almost no coronavirus now, but at what cost?

Protesters of Michigan’s coronavirus response removed from House gallery

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