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A Message from United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel

Dec 14, 2020

Dear Produce Industry Members,

As someone remarked this weekend, the first COVID-19 vaccines being administered today remind us of June 6, 1944. The Allied D-Day invasion was indeed the “beginning of the end” of World War II. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel, although we need to remember that the war raged on for a year with great sacrifices along the way.

As the world now turns our attention to vaccinations, I want to share the strong push United Fresh and others in the food industry have been making since June for our essential food workers to be prioritized in that process. From farm fields, to processing plants, to grocery stores as well, our workers have been on the front line feeding America and the world for these past nine months. While many of us have stayed home and worked remotely, they have been out front serving us every day.

Once health care workers and those most in need receive a vaccine, the food industry is pushing for our essential workers to come next.

Our food and agriculture coalition has lobbied the Trump Administration and is now also working with President-Elect Biden’s team. We’ve made our case to the Centers for Disease Control which is developing national recommendations, and also reached out to all 50 governors and the National Governors Association.

In this holiday season, I can think of nothing more gratifying, or more important, than seeing the men and women who bring us food be protected as soon as possible.

Since the states will actually be making decisions on prioritization, I urge all of you to encourage your governors to prioritize these critical food workers.

And if anyone on your team has doubts about getting the vaccine, I encourage all of you to step up and demonstrate your own commitment. Our coalition is recommending that plant managers, crew leaders, and management teams all take our visible place in line as soon as our place comes up in the queue.

If today is our new D-Day, let’s celebrate this milestone and work together to bring this pandemic to an end as fast as humanly possible!

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