Grocery store workers dealt with ‘worst of the worst’ even before the Boulder shooting.

The shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., that left 10 individuals useless got here after a 12 months wherein the pandemic made supermarkets a harmful place for workers, who risked falling unwell with the coronavirus and infrequently needed to confront combative prospects who refused to put on masks.

“They’ve experienced the worst of the worst,” stated Kim Cordova, who represents greater than 25,000 grocery and different workers in Colorado and Wyoming — together with these at the King Sooper store that was attacked — as the president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7.

At least 853 grocery store workers in Colorado have had the virus throughout the pandemic, based on outbreak data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The state doesn’t checklist any infections at the store that was the website of the taking pictures, however Ms. Cordova stated that every one grocery store workers had risked their security once they got here to work and have been confronted by hostile buyers.

“They’ve seen horrible behavior by customers — spitting on them, slapping them, refusing to wear masks — but they were the first to be heroes,” Ms. Cordova stated.

The union, U.F.C.W., which additionally represents meatpacking workers and different workers, stated in a press release that at the very least 4 of its members in Colorado had died of Covid-19 since the pandemic started, and that at the very least 155 grocery workers throughout the nation have died.

Ms. Cordova stated her union had pushed for extra safety in grocery shops as prospects grew extra aggressive. And whereas she cautioned that it was not but clear what the motive of the gunman was, she stated grocery store workers have more and more come underneath risk on the job since the pandemic started.

“We have seen this behavior become more aggressive and violent,” she stated, “and this has really traumatized these employees.”

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