DENVER (CBS4) – From Costco to King Soopers, packed carts and empty aisles quickly became a way of life last spring. While customers scrambled for sanitizer, grocery workers were risking their lives. Last month, Gov. Jared Polis announced these frontline workers will be moved to the front of the COVID vaccine line.
Grocery store workers are part of the nearly 958,000 Coloradans who became eligible for the vaccine Friday.READ MORE: Boulder Storm Chasers Pay $2.4 Million To Resolve Allegations Of Fraud Related To Federal Grants
Throughout the pandemic, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 called on grocers to take better care of their workers, from hazard pay to additional safeguards.
“We are so happy that our grocery workers are in phase 1B3. All of our grocery workers are very thankful that they are going to have access to the vaccine,” said Kim Cordova, President of UFCW Local 7.
Since the pandemic started, UFCW says 1,060 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Four workers in this union have died from the virus.READ MORE: A Look At Saint Francis Warren Residences, One Of Denver's Taxpayer-Funded Spots To Help People Transition Off The Streets
“They have worked through this entire pandemic. With a little enforcement on the mask mandate, without control of the work environment. The vaccine is definitely welcomed at this point and appreciated,” said Cordova.
Over the last year, CBS4 has spoken to several grocery workers who felt their employers weren’t making their health a priority.
James Bourzy, a cashier at King Soopers in Denver, is grateful to have access to the vaccine. Two of the employees at his store near 9th and Corona died from COVID-19.MORE NEWS: National Voting Rights Leaders Converge On Denver for First-Of-Its-Kind Event To Combat Voter Suppression
“It usually takes years to get a vaccine, but they’ve worked really hard to get the vaccine out there and it’s finally getting distributed and people are getting protected,” said Bourzy. “It’s nice to feel like you’re being appreciated. It’s a good thing.”