“They failed us”. A Look Inside The Warehouse With Nearly 60 Cases Of COVID-19

209 TimesCalifornia, Modesto, San Joaquin County, Stanislaus County, Stockton, Tracy, Turlock 35 Comments

TRACY- After we broke the story last week that as many as 50 people at the Safeway Distribution warehouse in Tracy were infected with coronavirus, today Governor Newsom confirmed one fact there have been 51 confirmed cases. Now our sources report 6 additional cases today including a union business agent.

Screening line where temperatures are taken before entering.

After it was made public that employees were being infected including one who died, Safeway announced measures they were taken. Those measures have not calmed the nerves of workers who tell us they are working 16 hour days six days a week. “What once took four hours to do, now takes 16”, a worker told us as a result of so many workers being out sick or with symptoms.

In a photo of inside the facility during a start up meeting, a confidential source tells us that there should normally be 80 employees present for the shift. Workers from other warehouse companies had to be brought in and assistant managers from the grocery stores as well we are told.

“Here’s what they do with the machines of the people who get infected”, another source says. “They failed us. I’m a worker at the Safeway distribution center and this company has failed us”. Sources also tell us that employees were showing up to work with symptoms still working for fear of losing out on pay.

The company has taken measures including removing chairs so employees can not sit next to each other, but employees fear their best interests are still not at the forefront.

What adds to the conundrum is the strict enforcement of the labor bargaining agreement between Safeway and the teamsters local 439 that represents them, including sick leave. As a result of the more than 50 confirmed cases at a center that employees 1,800 people, Governor Newsom announced an executive order today giving food supply workers two weeks paid leave of infected. The employees union Teamsters 439 has yet to make any public statement now despite the cluster of infections or death or one of their long time members or one of their own business agents reportedly also now being infected.

The following is a Facebook post from one of the infected workers.

As of today these are the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the 209. Of the 646 cases, the number of cases at the Safeway Distribution center that supplies food and supplies to the grocery stores throughout northern California accounts for 9%.

Comments 35

  1. Not only that but, to what i hear people from there told my dad they were not allowed to take a day off if they felt unsafe, at one point they were working his ass off for 2 weeks straight 10 hour shift + with no safety gear to protect them. If theybreally cared about there employee like they said why not provide safety and practice social distancing .. i understand there essential workers yet they still had them working like slave slaves practically and they reacted to late until on of there team mates died…
    Also heard that someone made a comment about it and they responded back with has anyone died yet tho .. well someone did what are you guys going to do …. my fathers been working for 22 + years there and thats how they care for there employees !

    1. Nothing has prevented any worker from bringing in their own protection like wipes, sanitizer, etc. Safeway is not the one who decided drivers would work 16 hour days 6 days a week, it was the government agency that enacted hours of service regulations. That agency waived those. Paper work has also been sent to workers homes saying they would get 2 weeks paid leave if sick due to Covid 19. No one is mentioning the “shop”safeway set up at the distribution center so employees could buy essential items and not have to go to thw store after work or during off time. A lot of workers in different industries are having to work more than normal. Safeway is not special. People can be sick and not have covid 19 as well. Everyone does the best they can. Our whole nation has a shortage on PPE, not just Safeway. Safeway has brought in other companies to het additional help with drivers, and warehouse workers.

      1. A “Shop” for Safeway employees “buy” basic PPE they need to do their job safely? Are you real? You sound more like a Safeway manager/supervisor to come up with such stupid excuse on Safeway failure to protect their employees.

      2. You are ignorant of too many things to list. I have no doubt you work for Safeway but let me assure you of this- you won’t long if Safeway’s Public Relations Department easily finds you through your IP address on your public comment. FYI genius – “Annymous” is actually spelled “Anonymous” and you are only as anonymous in name.

        Lastly – shame on you. These workers (even if you’re one of them) were exposed because the management at the distribution center and at Safeway corporate level were ignorant and irresponsible.

      3. It’s the (obligation and responsibility) “not a choice” of all employers to protect their employees from any and all health and safety issues. That includes, but not limited to: providing sanitizers, wipes, enforcing social distancing, etc… Along with putting safeguards and controls in place that ensure a healthy and safe work environment for all it’s employees.

      4. This is a joke. It’s not only truck drivers that are working all these hours. The workers in the Wherehouse are working 16 hr shifts but no mention of them. And now our week union allows Safeway to source out the work to third party companies instead of doing what’s right and hiring more union workers to fill the holes of all the lost man power. Yeah way to go local 439

    2. Long time worker at the facility. Some management has stated to me that the higher ups teach them to enforce as many rules as they possibly can to inflict stress and tension. They hand out letters and harrasse employees to either get them to quit or work harder. They have a system in place that allows them to adjust standards as they see fit, always denying that they don’t. We as warehouseman know this to be true. We’ve been doing for a very long time. We knew people were sick in the warehouse and for fear of retaliation? We stayed working.

      1. Your management at Safeway sounds like they go to the same school of management as Kaiser Permanente. Work sick, quit, or die. I retired at my first opportunity with physical disabilities acquired (autoimmune disease that you cannot directly relate to the stress and sick building I worked in 19 of my painful 30 years) Big employers need new models of management. Positivity, not harrassment and emotional distress.

  2. I too work at Safeway distribution center produce department. I agree the company failed us. I also tested positive for covid19. They did too little too late. The temperature checks at the gate didn’t start until there was at least 10 infected I was one of them. The time clock floors were taped up 6ft apart about a month into social distancing. We spend about 2 minutes of our shift there. Chairs were removed in the break room after there was the 1st case. We were separated into different break times. We spend 13 hours selecting on the floor with other workers all around us. This is where social distancing should matter. The sanitizer bottles were put after the 1st case as well. The ones by the time clocks have been there for a couple weeks but those were the only ones in the entire produce department and it’s only 2 or t3 of them. They don’t release names so nobody knows who came in contact with the infected person. Employees find out by word of mouth. I had 4 co workers that I interact with regularly call me that they were positive that I needed to get tested. Kaiser also didn’t make it easy for me. I went back and forth with my Dr. for 4 days and then she decided to test me by then it was too late my wife was also having the same symptoms. My wife now has it too. A lot more could have been done by the company. They could have ppe for their employees and temperature checks weeks ago before the outbreak.

    1. Wow! I agree that safeway isnt doing enough. They say they are but it’s pretty much all bs as far as I can tell. I’m really sorry that you’re having to go through this. I was supposed to return to work this coming monday, but now I’m not sure if I want to. I agree about kaiser also.

    2. Hi Oscar,
      So sorry to hear about yourself and your wife! I’m a produce mgr. in Anderson. They didn’t tell us anything either. We couldn’t figure out why our loads weren’t coming. ( By the way, thanks for all you guys do down there! )The truck drivers were afraid to speak up as well. Virus can live on cardboard up to 24 hrs I believe, so with all those people sick at the warehouse, now what could have been contained with the proper measures is a potential mass outbreak!! Starting Sunday they will be taking our temperature at the door. Like they say, to little, to late!
      I hope you guys get well soon!!

  3. Is it safeways responsibility for you to have a mask? No.. is it safeways responsibility for you to clean your work surfaces tow motors etc? No.. why dont u whiny bitches and snitches do this yourself because YOU wanna keep yourself safe. Nothing stopping you from bringing hand sanitizer to work, or whipeing things off. Lets take alittle personal responsibility here and stop blaming everyone. If you dont like the work situation you are more than welcome to leave. There is also a big different in being infected and being exposed. There may be 50 people who were exposed but not that many infected. Plus who says you got infected at work and not one of your family members, or on one of your essential trips to the park or when your not staying at home like you should. LETS GROW UP AND NOT BE WHINEY.

    1. How you dare yo call snitches and whinnyes to those hard working employees who also are risking their lives in this pandemia?
      You are technically a MFA.
      Are you mad because the isdue was exposed and you will lose your management/supervisory position?
      Or are you just a MFA who is just sitting his ass at home behind your mom’s skirt and praying not being infected?
      Respect those hard workers that deserved yo have the right PPE yo do your job safely, do the good you get into your mouth is safe yo eat also.

    2. Wow , and your a UNION WORKER 439! This alone tells you how the unions protects there employees!! Your proud of saying protect yourself people! When Safeway has these front line workers working 16 hours a Day let’s add in half of them commute so let’s round it up to 18 hours a day ! There’s 24 hours in a day ! They sleep what 3 hours lucky if 4 with to turn around and be right back at work ! So they have all the time in the world to go out and buy all the Necessities needed to keep themselves Safe at work BECAUSE ITS NOT SAFEWAYS JOB TO DO IT!!! You guys can’t even give as little as that to your hard working front line employees and you want to call them whiners ! You guys barely started checking temps and practicing social distancing AFTER the fact you lost a life of a hard working dedicated Man over your lack of safety’s for them there !! You MR. UNION worker sound like a joke for saying this !! These guys could have been cared for more ! All these guys infected with this virus and taking it home to there families is clearly spread from the warehouse and not no stupid “walk to the park “ excuse you put out there!! You ain’t fooling nobody on the outside looking in ! The picture was s clear and it’s being Acknowledged people are speaking up and that’s what passes you off trying to protect your stupid under paid position !!!

    3. Wow you are rude and obnoxious! How dare you talk to your fellow employees this way! Oh your with the union. That makes sent. My husband worked over 4000 hours last year and no union would help him get time off. Not the same plant but same union. They work you like slaves and unions were formed to represent the employees and make sure the job is safe! So if all the employees are off because of virus you have no work and no one to represent so no job for you!

    4. Sorry bud but YOU ARE WRONG!!! IT IS SAFEWAYS REPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE EVERY EMPLOYEE US PROVIDED TGE PROPER PPE!! It is also THEIR responsibility to make sure there are safety protcols, and that they are being followed! Not one single person should have to bring gloves, sanitizer nor masks! I am shopper of Safeway, not and employee and Safeway should be ashamed of themselves, PERIOD!! You should also be ashamed of yourself for b er ing heartless towards your fellow employees!

  4. It’s sad that a million dollar company gives no fucks about their employees. I work for Safeway Distribution and “Safeway” isn’t making changes & just keep bringing more new people in to cover for our union guys. We just keep getting exposed over and over again. They’re paying those temperature tents $20 an hour but it took us months of begging just to get some Safeway brand wipes?!? F*** them. At this point I’m not going in until they do a complete shut down to sanitize EVERYTHING. It sucks because I do love our dysfunctional work family, the job is easy enough.. BUT SERIOUSLY If you’re going to try and discipline me for protecting myself.. then they can kiss my a**. My life is not work risking for this job.

  5. Y’all can quit if you arent happy with Safeway. Take some personal responsibility and bring your own PPE to work. Common sense people.

  6. I work at the produce department at distribution center and I must say that they need to shut down at least Produce, clean it top to bottom, extend paid sick leave due to corona whether you have it or were exposed to it for three more weeks, STOP HIRING. It’s so irritating that they’re not taking this shit seriously at all.. this job is not worth to risk my life like that! I wish they tried to fire me over this bs. Our health comes first and families.

  7. To everyone saying people should bring their own PPE, are you serious? It is the company’s JOB to keep their workers safe and provide safety equipment. Now, both workers and the company are responsible for making rational decisions to keep the majority safe. But based on what I’ve been told about safety procedures the company has only recently taken action and a little too late.

  8. I was told slaveway i mean safeway was diluting their hand sanitizers with water. It’s only going to get worse there. They dont take anything serious a year or so ago when the air quality was at its worst (due to chico fires) they still required us to report to work despite Tracy being one of the worst air quality areas and they limited masks being handed out. This place is a joke and the warehouse is dirty as hell. I remember leaving work and when id blow my nose from being off i would blow out black snot. They alter minutes in your time and they care very little about their employees. They switch rules up and find reasons to fire people. If you have FMLA there you are a target to get fired. There’s mice, rats, cats and racoons at the warehouse. The only good thing there is the health insurance they offer.

  9. I work in Produce at a store in the North Bay. I am so sorry for you all and your families. Thank you for all you do. We at the store level are terrified as well. We should all be tested and if positive quarantined. All those boxes you handled we handled as well. We still have chairs and tables in our breakrooms but no chairs and tables for customers. I feel they care way more about the customers safety than ours but if we are infected then….

  10. I just posted this on original article posted yesterday.:
    My dad works for the Safeway Distribution Center in Tracy. He just updated me and mentioned that his department went from having 25 warehouse selectors to 6 because of how many employees were displaying symptoms and had to be sent home. This is cause for strike. These employees were working within close proximity of each other now that more folks were being hired to keep up with demand, increasing risk of contracting and transmitting. And now this dept is down to 6 selectors. What they need are safe working conditions, legit filtered masks, face shields, gloves, etc. Because ultimately, what gets on our food, will get to us. Take care of those that take care of us.

    Also YES INDEED ABSOLUTELY WITHOUT-A-DOUBT Safeway should 100% be providing ALL THE ESSENTIAL TOOLS to prevent the spread of this disease WHILE YOU ARE AT WORK. This isn’t about being “whiny”, its about life or death, the spread of a virus among your family and community without your knowledge because your arent important enough to be given masks when the news first broke and the nation basically shut down. Don’t be a ride or die for a large corporation that doesn’t give two shits about you. You think they want to give you those benefits out of the kindness of their heart? NO, they do it because they HAVE TO. Now use that shit to your advantage, because you don’t have to be at work if you are concerned.

  11. Reading this I must say Safeway probably doesn’t have a Sanitation Specialist serving any of the distribution centers. This person would inspect and report what procedures are taken to insure disease control. This is a job that is done by a person trained to know what problems, virus or other contamination can enter the food chain. It should be an absolute requirement by the FDA for every producer connected with the industry.
    My son graduated with a degree in this area and he has been involved with product safety including the E-Choli problems with spinach. He has seen some very disgusting practices!
    Because of the denial of the industry to address this contamination problem, there is not much going on to curtail all this.

  12. I want to know, why no one has called OSHA, the Dept of Health, the CDC or some health officials to address the unsatisfactory work conditions you are talking about. Heck, why didnt someone call the Governor or your Congress person? Really, if you want to complain fine
    I dont work there thank God. But, safety is safety. If they are not providing you protection take the responsibility and do it yourself. If CaIOSHA hasnt heard about this already, it’s not too late to say something. Heck, I do it for you, give me the info.

  13. Grocery sales are up over 25% for these multi-billion dollar grocery companies. PROFIT PROFIT PROFIT! is all the CEO and upper admin sees. How much does it cost to provide masks honestly? Or implement better rotation hours for workers or have better cleaning options at the warehouse. To the idiots who are saying stop whining, how about u tell the families who are mourning for their father, husband, son, or brother and say suck it up atop whining he didn’t have to work and he could have protected himself! Tell them that their employer profited A LOT amd didn’t give a shit!

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