FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Treating their essential workers as disposable, and forcing them to choose between a paycheck and a pandemic, Ralphs and Food 4 Less ignored the most basic safety precautions, leading to over one hundred employees at their Compton, California warehouse contracting COVID-19 according to a group of workers. The workers and their loved ones claim that Ralphs not only failed to provide adequate safety measures, such as masks, gloves and sanitizer, but affirmatively misrepresented employees’ risks of exposure after their coworkers fell ill. They allege that management routinely failed to ensure that workers were quarantined, that employees were notified when exposed to sick colleagues, and continually failed to implement basic safety measures. As a result, these workers alleged that COVID-19 spread like wildfire throughout the warehouse, endangering workers’ families and the community at large.
According to Henry Ephriam, “when I got sick, I gave the company a list of approximately 20 names of employees who I had been in close proximity to while at work. Management didn’t even speak with most of them to let them know about the risks, and unfortunately about 10 of them turned out to be positive too.” “I wound up in the hospital, transmitted it to my fiancé, and was terrified that I would pass it along to my infant daughter too,” said Ephriam. “It didn’t have to be this way.”
Alisia Ramirez got her positive test result while at work, and after she was told by the company that she was cleared to return. “My daughter has asthma,” said Ramirez, “and I was so worried that she would catch it too.” According to Ramirez, “the company seemed to have sanitizer wipes for the office people, but not enough for us down in the warehouse.”