UFCW Local 1167 President Pleads with Supervisors to Stop Playing Politics with COVID-19

RIVERSIDE — Fed up with some Riverside County Supervisors playing politics while people are dying of COVID-19, Joe Duffle, president of UFCW Local 1167, in an impassioned plea asked them to stop. Duffle, wearing a face mask, made his plea during public comments at this week’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

Some Supervisors were wearing masks while others were not, including Supervisor Karen Spiegel, who had COVID-19.

“Members continue to get sick and our county supervisors, not all of them, continue to play into this hoax theory and question the science,” Duffle told Uken Report, explaining why he approached the board. “They are feeding into these anti-mask people, mostly Trump supporters. It wasn’t politically motivated for me. I have always said that I am not an activist, I am an advocate for working men and women.

“People (are) spreading hate and non-facts, meanwhile good people are dying. The numbers in our stores were trending down pretty good and then two weeks ago that began to move up quickly — 50 and 60% increases. This is alarming and our elected leaders continuing to play politics with this is reckless. They may not be doing it as much publicly and in the open but they are still doing it privately and pandering to these groups.”

The out-of-control virus, which has now claimed more than 250,000 lives in this country and more than 18,000 in California has affected Duffle personally — as it has so many.

“My wife has lost four family members,” Duffle said. “Thank God that’s all. The East Valley to the Mexican border, our poorest and most essential people, are being ravaged by this and elected (officials) are playing politics. I never thought I’d see days like this in America.”

Following is a transcript of what Duffle said to Supervisors:

“We’re certainly in the midst of a crisis, not just COVID, but in our country. There are a lot of things that divide us. Right before our county. We do it with courtesy, we do it with respect, and we do it for concern for everybody, not just our individual wants and needs.

“As I grew up, I was taught a few things as I’m sure a lot of you were. That hard work, honesty, truth, and care for your neighbor is what is expected and what should be expected. We shouldn’t be buying into sound bites. We shouldn’t be buying into propaganda. What we should be looking at is the facts, the science, and we should have dialogue. We should care to have dialogue and listen to each other with the intent to understand, not to respond. That’s what’s been happening this entire crisis. I will tell you, and I think we all know, COVID is no joke. It has touched my family. I represent 20,000 workers that work in San Bernardino, Riverside County. I’m a lifelong resident. My family has served this country and we have served it proudly.

This COVID virus has left families decimated. I get calls on a daily basis in my office, and they’re tragic. When we come up with a plan, we need to come up with a plan together. We need to protect these families, we need to protect these essential workers, and I would hope that, as we move forward and we get a vaccine, God help us all, I hope we get it soon, that our essential workers, our frontline workers, the people that are in our food supply chain are added to that list very quickly. You think you’ve got problems now, the members that I represent and the people that work in the retail food, grocery warehouse sector, drug sector are getting hit, 50 to 60% higher than they were a month ago. That’s no joke. Those are facts. I get to see it every day. It’s devastating. Who’s going to take care of those families? One death is one family’s tragedy. It is not OK. We can’t squabble anymore. Everybody in this room is an American, and it doesn’t matter if you’re white, it doesn’t matter if you’re brown, it doesn’t matter if you’re fat, it doesn’t matter if you’re skinny. …

“Please, please. God bless you. Thank you.”














Image Sources

  • Joe Duffle: Supervisors meeting video