Supervisor Works to Keep Grocery Essential Workers Safe

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas distributed 10,000 free masks to grocery workers and customers at an Albertsons in the Crenshaw District, which along with neighboring Leimert Park and Baldwin Hills has seen 1,200 cases of COVID-19. The giveaway followed a recent ruling by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to fine other local grocery store chains for failing to take adequate precautions to protect their workers and customers from the coronavirus pandemic.

“Grocery workers risk their lives every day to make sure we us have food on the table,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “We owe it to them to make sure they have what they need to be safe against COVID-19. These 10,000 free masks will not only protect essential workers but also their families, their customers, and their communities – our communities. It also means low-income residents don’t have to worry about spending money for personal protective equipment, we’ve got them covered.”

UFCW Local 770 representative Ludmila Blanco said, “Grocery store workers continue to be on the frontlines of this long-lasting pandemic. We are grateful for Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ leadership to ensure that our workers – particularly within communities of color which have been disproportionately impacted by this virus – receive the protection they need to continue working and protecting their families.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas partnered with Mujeres de la Tierra, a nonprofit that works on community development and environmental stewardship in South and East LA, to show people how to safely dispose of used masks without littering, and to distribute masks to surrounding communities. Mujeres de la Tierra Founder and President Irma Muñoz, said, “Mujeres de la Tierra is honored to join Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas to provide local residents and families with free masks to protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus.”

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has been working with Operation USA, Servicon and Moldex to distribute 150,000 masks, and with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office to distribute another 50,000 masks, throughout Los Angeles County’s Second District. He has handed out the masks to firefighters, hospital staff, homeless services providers, public defenders, food distribution nonprofits, church leaders, grocery store workers and others.