Each his letter shared on social media Friday and his terminiation letter from the corporate have since gone viral on social media.

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“Final week, greater than a dozen scientists known as on the Biden administration to set better air standards for workplaces,” Bonnema wrote in his letter. “It’s turning into increasingly clear that aerosol particles—seemingly extra so than surfaces and even droplets—are a big supply of COVID transmission.” His letter cited a number of information shops and experiences to assist his requests to raised shield workers. “We put our lives on the road each day by displaying as much as work,” he continued. “Please, present up for us by adopting these insurance policies.”  

His letter additionally talked about that he had beforehand spoken to administration that whereas filters are steadily being switched out, the shop’s use of MERV-7 filters don’t decontaminate aerosols successfully. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a MERV-13 filter or increased is advisable to filter potential COVID-19 aerosols. Moreover, Bonnema requested the shop undertake a “three strikes” coverage for patrons who repeatedly refuse to abide by the shop’s masks coverage.

“I used to be just lately shouted and sworn at by a buyer who wouldn’t put on a masks above his nostril, regardless of Mates already asking him to take action,” Bonnema wrote. “He was allowed to complete his purchasing and take a look at.”

In keeping with the Gothamist, this isn’t an remoted incident. Different former Dealer Joe’s workers have spoken up about circumstances in shops together with one who informed the outlet {that a} colleague was almost fired for insisting masks be worn “earlier than there was a masks mandate.” Moreover, workers of the grocery chain additionally informed the Gothamist that they have been in a “state of terror.”

In response to the backlash and calls to boycott Trader Joe’s on social media, Kenya Good friend-Daniel, a spokesperson for Dealer Joe’s, not solely denied Bonnema’s claims however informed BuzzFeed News that the corporate “by no means, and would by no means, terminate a crew member’s employment for elevating security issues.”

“Throughout his quick tenure with Dealer Joe’s, this crew member’s strategies have been listened to, and appropriately addressed. Retailer management terminated this Crew Member’s employment due to the disrespect he confirmed towards our prospects,” Good friend-Daniel mentioned.

However these claims contradict Bonnema’s most up-to-date worker assessment, which he posted. In keeping with the August employee review, Dealer Joe’s gave him excessive marks throughout the board, together with noting that he was type to prospects. As a response to his wrongful termination Bonnema has employed an legal professional to take his case to the Nationwide Labor Relations Board.

“Mr. Bonnema’s spotless employment report with the corporate is just additional proof that the corporate’s determination to terminate him from his employment was an illegal try and threaten, restrain and coerce Mr. Bonnema and his coworkers from partaking in protected concerted exercise,” he mentioned. “Mr. Bonnema has a federally-protected proper to advocate for the office security of his colleagues. Terminating him for doing so is reprehensible.”

In keeping with The Washington Post, Bonnema’s letter didn’t go unnoticed by specialists whom he referenced. A lot of them wrote a letter to the Biden administration urging that steps be taken to fight airborne transmission in workplaces.

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“We wrote this letter to guard folks like Ben,” tweeted Kimberly Prather, a professor on the College of California at San Diego and one in every of 13 specialists who wrote to the White Home. “His letter is a superb science-based request. Now we have been purchasing there for 20 yrs. We’ll cease till Dealer Joe’s takes this critically.”

Because the begin of the pandemic, many shops have left retail and grocery employees with out safety from the coronavirus and those that refuse to comply with security precautions in place to cease the unfold. Viral videos shared on social media have depicted quite a few incidents by which retailer workers have been topic to violence. These important employees deserve safety from not solely the virus however those that fail to acknowledge it.

“Because the hazard from COVID continues, grocery employees are among the many most in danger to every day publicity to the virus,” Marc Perrone, president of the United Meals and Industrial Staff Union, informed Newsweek. Perrone added that firms should “get up to this risk” and prioritize masks mandates whereas additionally making certain employees obtain paid day off so as to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “We can’t afford to attend for the following outbreak or for extra lives to be needlessly misplaced,” Perrone mentioned.