Missouri’s largest union is calling on the governor to classify all grocery and pharmacy employees statewide as emergency first responders. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655, which represents about 9,500 workers in 46 eastern Missouri counties, says the move would give the workers guarantees like priority testing for the coronavirus.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson speaks to the Capitol Press Corps after being sworn-in on June 1, 2018 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

During a Capitol press briefing today, Gov. Mike Parson says he opposes the request.

“Not to take anything away from somebody in the grocery store, in a convenience store, or farmers across this state, but the reality is first responders are classified for a reason. They have to answer the calls,” says Parson.

The union says grocery clerks and pharmacy technicians are putting their health on the line, to ensure the public has food supplies during the crisis – a sentiment shared by Representative Martha Stevens, D-Columbia.

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