Food Industry Current Events

Arlington, VA – On November 5th, FMI – The Food Industry Association Chief Public Policy Officer and Senior Vice President, Government and Public Affairs Jennifer Hatcher issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for COVID-19 testing/vaccination.

“At a time when our economy is facing a constrained labor supply, supply chain disruptions and high consumer demand, we are very concerned with the impact on the food supply chain posed by the ETS, particularly for workers in no-contact or low-contact positions. As written, the ETS does not balance key issues like a lack of testing availability for employers and the likelihood of significant workforce attrition due to the mandate, particularly among truck drivers. FMI believes the ETS will exacerbate an already existing shortage of transport and supply chain capacity, further slowing delivery times and driving up costs for consumers, retailers and manufacturers — especially given the 30-day window to comply with the majority of the mandate’s requirements as we approach the busy holiday season.

“While we are encouraged that OSHA allows for enforcement discretion in the event of testing unavailability if employers can demonstrate good faith efforts to comply with the ETS, additional clarity is needed on what specifically the agency considers good faith. FMI is also disappointed that exemptions for low-contact- or no-contact workers that are vital to our food supply chain and are not a threat to public health were not allowed by the ETS (such as truckers and workers in food manufacturing, warehousing and distribution facilities with limited public interaction).

“The food industry takes the health and safety of our employees and the public seriously, as evidenced by the work our industry has done over the past 19 months to keep shelves stocked and keep folks safe, including investing $1 billion in vaccine incentives to encourage their employees to get vaccinated. FMI strongly supports policies that promote COVID-19 vaccination for the general population and in the workforce. Our pharmacy members are proud providers of COVID-19 vaccines in their communities, having administered millions of pharmacy sector vaccine doses since they became available earlier this year – representing more than 70% of all vaccines administered.”

As the food industry association, FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. FMI brings together a wide range of members across the value chain — from retailers that sell to consumers, to producers that supply food and other products, as well as the wide variety of companies providing critical services — to amplify the collective work of the industry. www.FMI.org

November 10, 2021 Update:

On behalf of the food industry FMI took action last night with regard to  OSHA’s long-anticipated Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19 vaccination and testing.

As you know, the ETS requires employers with 100 workers or more to implement either a mandatory company-wide vaccination policy, or it allows for some workers to be unvaccinated, provided they submit to weekly COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering when working near other employees or customers.  The ETS technically goes into effect immediately upon publication in the Federal Register; however, the order provides a 30-day compliance window for impacted businesses to meet most of the requirements (December 5).  Businesses will have 60 days to comply with the testing mandate before the agency begins enforcement (January 4).

Since the release of the rule, FMI has continued to receive feedback regarding tremendous challenges members were facing with regard to implementation as well as concerns regarding the compressed compliance timeframe.  These challenges are exacerbated by the current state of the supply chain and significant labor shortages our industry is experiencing.  FMI members have raised many concerns that implementation of the rule as written could result in even more significant labor shortages, suggesting many employees could choose to leave their place of employment rather than become fully vaccinated or submit to weekly testing.  Given these concerns, FMI hosted a special joint meeting earlier today of FMI’s Executive Committee and Board-level Public Affairs Committee to discuss next steps.  During the meeting, FMI members voted to proceed on a pragmatic, two-pronged approach to address the significant concerns with the ETS, notwithstanding the fact that the industry is strongly in favor of vaccinations and has been working tirelessly to help get Americans vaccinated.

Legal Action: FMI will join in litigation with other business trade associations impacted by broad supply chain disruptions to challenge parameters of the ETS released last week.  FMI filed a petition for review in the Fifth Circuit this evening challenging the ETS and requested a stay of the rule until litigation has concluded.

Advocacy: FMI will continue to pursue relief in the regulatory/advocacy space.  Specifically, we believe there is a unique opportunity to help inform FAQs, formal interpretations, and informal interpretations of the ETS through various advocacy efforts.  As an example, our outside counsel has noted that given the language around employees who do not report to a workplace where others are present and those who work outdoors, it will be important to further advocate for interpretations that will help our member companies retain potentially exempt employees such as truck drivers.  It will be similarly important to work the regulatory/advocacy path as quickly as possible, as this is the period during which the agency is actively considering and responding to industry regarding the practical application of the ETS.

We strongly believe these two approaches can be advanced simultaneously to ensure companies have adequate time to comply and to support application of the rule that is as workable as possible.

Background:  The Coalition of petitioners joining the litigation includes FMI; American Trucking Association; Mississippi Trucking Associations; Texas Trucking Association; Louisiana Motor Transport Association; National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors; National Federation of Independent Businesses; International Warehouse and Logistics Association; National Association of Convenience Stores; and National Retail Federation.  We believe these groups have like-minded concerns regarding the application and effects of the ETS on our businesses.  Additionally, although many of the challenges already filed are based on constitutional arguments, we would focus on two general ideas:

  1. There was no reason for OSHA to proceed with an emergency standard without opportunity for notice and comment; and
  2. OSHA does not have the statutory authority under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to promulgate a regulation of this magnitude.  Our outside counsel believes we have a strong story to tell given existing staffing challenges and the upcoming busy holiday season.

This evening, the group of petitioners noted above filed a petition for review, along with a motion for a stay in the Fifth Circuit.  This past weekend the Fifth Circuit granted an administrative stay in another case challenging the ETS, so it was critical that we file quickly in the event the court rules soon on a more permanent stay.  Given the number of legal challenges that have been filed already, we would expect this litigation to move quicky—with an expectation that the various cases will eventually make their way to the U.S. Supreme Court around Thanksgiving.

How We Will Approach this Litigation:  While there have already been a number of lawsuits filed challenging the ETS, our approach is intended to be significantly different from those cases, both in terms of the composition of the petitioners as well as the legal arguments we will make.  As noted, the coalition is made up of a group of business-minded groups who are all supportive of vaccinations but are concerned about the practical implications of a mandate of this size and scope.  We understand and believe that it will be imperative to manage our communications regarding the challenge to ensure our position is clearly understood and distinguishable from the various lawsuits that may be more politically motivated.  FMI will be working diligently to ensure our communications reflect this distinction since we are strongly in favor of vaccinations and have been working tirelessly to help get Americans vaccinated.


RIFDA Programs and Initiatives

2022 RIFDA Advertising & Communications Program

As many of you know, we have streamlined our communication process and marketing tools, moving to a more virtual/electronic platform. In the past we offered opportunities for members to support our communication and marketing efforts with some print advertising. This year we are updating that program to a more reflective of current opportunities for members to help offset some of our costs in these areas. As we have not been able to have all of our fundraising events this will offer an opportunity for members to support us. This is a twelve-month program that will run from November 2021 – October 2022. Please consider this opportunity to support the Association.
Here are some of the details:

Platinum Sponsor ($1,000):

  • 6” X 4” Sponsor Ad in Monthly Newsletter Six Times Per Year
  • Sponsor Logo Recognition as Platinum Sponsor in all Monthly Newsletter and Press Releases for One Year
  • Sponsor Logo Recognition as Platinum Sponsor on rifda.com for One Year

Gold Sponsor ($750):

  • 3” X 2” Sponsor Ad in Monthly Newsletter Four Times Per Year
  • Sponsor Logo Recognition as Gold Sponsor in all Monthly Newsletter and Press Releases for One Year
  • Sponsor Logo Recognition as Gold Sponsor on rifda.com for one year

Siver Sponsor ($500):

  • Sponsor Recognition as Silver Sponsor in all Monthly Newsletter and Press Releases for One Year
  • Sponsor Recognition as Platinum Sponsor on rifda.com for One Year

Learn more


We need your help

Please consider supporting RIFDA’s legislative efforts by supporting our PAC fund.

Last year due to COVID the association did not have a PAC event and we did not solicit contributions as we had sufficient funds on hand and our strategy was to be very conservative with donations as it became clear that due to COVID there would be traditional fundraisers where you had the ability to attend and lobby those present. We had decided to do the same this year until we received a letter from the RI Board of Elections, that noted a requirement (RI Gen. law 17-25) that we need to have 15 donations from individuals in an election cycle.

The association did, in the past 4 months, make three contributions for fundraisers for Senate Leadership, House Leadership and Rep. Bob Craven, Chair of House Judiciary, who has been an advocate and resource for our association for the past few years.

As a result of these donation from our PAC made this year and the need to be able to support those that have supported us next year in an election year, we are asking our members to please contribute to our fund so that we are in compliance with this regulation. We need to have at least 15 members make a donation of $50 in order to accomplish this.

By way of review these checks must be personal checks and not corporate checks. In the past we asked for $125 donations.  If you could get two donations of $50 from two different people, we would be able to achieve this goal.  It should also be noted the if a personal check is from a joint account each person on the account can submit a separate check from the same account as long as they have two different signatures.

Checks can be mailed to:

RIFDA PAC

40 Higginson Ave

Central Falls RI 02863

Thanks for your consideration and support of the RI Food Dealers.

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Thank you for visiting the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association website. The Association was established in 1909 and today it continues to foster the same mission. The Rhode Island Food Dealers Association is committed to serving the food industry through education, member services and by providing a unified voice for the industry before state and national government, thereby benefiting the industry with knowledge, strength and fellowship.

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COVID-19 UPDATES

Please check our Facebook Page for weekly COVID updates, click here. 

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The RI Food Dealers is a proud member of the the RI Business RI Alliance for Business Resilience!

The Rhode Island Alliance for Business Resilience (the Alliance) is a self-governed public-private partnership focused on improving the resilience of Rhode Island businesses and local communities.

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Click here to see the latest FDA recalls and safety alerts!

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Retail Member of the Month

Shore’s is a fourth-generation market that has been in operation for fifty years.

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Distributor/Supplier Member of the Month

Imperial is recognized as the leader in both distribution and merchandising of supermarket non-foods with over 625 associates who help you provide superior customer service and grow sales.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING 2021 EVENTS:

Trade Day 2021 has been canceled.

As a result our next scheduled event will be the 2022 Trade Day, which is scheduled for Thursday, April 21st of next year. Hopefully, we will see a safer environment and a reduction in COVID related obstacles.

Over the past two year’s the Association has only been able to hold two of its eight scheduled events.  This not only prevents us from interacting with each other, but it also has a financial impact on the association as these are budgeted fundraisers.  If you can consider donating to these events and contributing part of what you may have budgeted it would help offset some of the costs that we have already experienced from the cancellation of these events.

Thanks for your consideration.

Stay Safe

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PAST EVENTS

2020 Cliff Johnson-RIFDA Annual Golf Tournament 

Each year, RIFDA works very hard to upgrade and improve our annual tournament. The event format was well received by all; friendly registration, golfer welcome gift, the tournament golf award cash prizes, bigger and better door prize give-a-ways and a (50/50) raffle paying out $600!
Kirkbrae Country Club is a perfect location for an all day event: a boxed lunch was available on the terrace, shot gun start including 3-$1,000 & 1-$10,000 hole in-one cash opportunities, cocktails, dinner, golf awards, prize presentations, and the 50/50 raffle drawing.

Thanks to our members for their outstanding support of the 2020 Cliff Johnson-RIFDA Golf Tournament, it truly was a success!

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2019 Annual Meeting and Holiday Gala  

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The 2019 Rhode Island Food Dealers Association Annual Meeting & Holiday Gala was held this year at the Newport Marriott in Newport, Rhode Island on November 23, 2019. The evening was very well received and very well attended. This event brings RIFDA members together in a festive holiday environment.  The location was wonderful, the food was great, and the grand raffle and door prizes continue to get bigger and better each year.  The music by Bob Tomassone was also very entertaining throughout the cocktail reception and the dinner.  The event was a true success thanks to the Rhode Island Food Dealers Association’s members.  Their support throughout the year is what makes these events happen.

The evening was inspired by a rustic fall theme. The evening was energetic and the ambiance was full of cheer and smiles.  Fun and joy filled the cool November air.

The evening’s schedule started with a cocktail hour and entertainment at 5:30 PM, followed by the Annual Meeting at 7:00 PM. Steve Arthurs, President of RIFDA, gave an overview of the RIFDA’s activities and goals. At the end of the Annual Meeting, scholarship awards were distributed to the winning applicants. This year, RIFDA awarded four $1,000 scholarships to: Constantine Coclin (Coclin Associates), Amanda Lemos (Dave’s Marketplace), Cristofer Santilli (Dave’s Marketplace) and Joseph Sirr (Stop & Shop).

This excitement was followed by the installation of the appointed Officers and Board of Directors.  A surf and turf dinner was served at 7:30 PM. The Newport Marriott did an exceptional job with dinner. The room was full and the guests enjoyed a delectable dinner in an ambient setting.

Coming up next was the centerpiece drawing, door prize raffle, and then the grand prize raffle. The Grand Prize Raffle consisted of 5 packages full of marvelous prizes: a Weekend in Newport, a Weekend in Cape Cod, a Family Package, a Sports Package and a Golf Package…each package was valued around $1,000. There were 30 Door Prizes…and almost everyone won something! Many attendees turned the special occasion into a weekend getaway with hotel accommodations at a group rate.

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RI Business Leaders Day Presented by Senator Jack Reed and Hosted by RIFDA

September 18, 2019

Senate Hart Building, Constitution Avenue & 2nd Street, NE Washington, D.C., DC 20002

This event is presented by Senator Jack Reed. It is a substantive agenda from a roster of nationally-known speakers with knowledge of the federal policies and debates that support and affect Rhode Island Businesses.

The speakers discuss a broad range of subjects including the economy, commerce, the budget, housing, and national security, along with a host of other public policy issues. Top Cabinet officials, Senators, Congressmen and other government and media professionals offer their insights on these and other current affairs.  The event seeks to provide information on the important issues which impact the economies of both our State and Nation.

This day-long event also includes round trip airfare (or conference only option), ground transportation, catered food & beverage and a post conference reception all in the company of Senator Jack Reed and his staff.

This year the attendees heard from a variety of energetic and dynamic speakers, including: Professor Darrell M. West, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, Margaret Brennan (Moderator of “Face the Nation”), Jelena McWilliams (Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), Elaine Chao (Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation), U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Admiral Michael Mullen and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.

 

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2019 RIFDA Annual Convention

What more could you ask for? A picturesque setting at the Red Jacket Beach Resort in South Yarmouth, MA, a private beach,  great accommodations, The Bayberry Hills Golf Tournament, upbeat ambiance, welcome reception, excellent food, camaraderie, an open hospitality house, great laughs, Chairman’s Dinner with Exceptional Entertainment, beach front dinners, door prize give-a-ways and much more!

 

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2019 RIFDA Annual Trade Day

RIFDA hosted their Annual Trade Day on March 21st at Kirkbrae Country Club.  The RIFDA Trade Day featured the state’s Best Bagger Competition and new inductees into their Hall of Fame. The Best Bagger contest is an exciting event and determines the Rhode Island’s Best Bagger who is eligible to compete in the National Grocers Association’s “National Best Bagger Contest” held annually in San Diego.  This year’s event was coordinated and run with the efforts of Dave’s Marketplace and Shaw’s Supermarket.  The Best Bagger contest is always very competitive among the member participants especially this year with 18 contestants, as well as their co-workers who come to cheer them on. This year’s winner was Samantha Falkowski from the Dave’s Marketplace in Coventry.  She will represent Rhode Island in the national competition; Good Luck Samantha!

The evening featured an industry networking cocktail reception, followed by our annual RIFDA Industry Dinner. This year’s dinner program featured our guest speaker, Secretary of State, Nellie M. Gorbea.  The evening’s program concluded with the presentation of the 2019 RI Food Dealers Hall of Fame Inductees.  These included William Candon who was awarded the RIFDA Outstanding Service Award, Mesa Fresca who won the 2019 Spirit of RI Award, and Dino’s Park-n-Shop who was honored as the RI Food Dealers Member of the Year.  All three worthy recipients distinguished themselves by their outstanding performance, their overall success, and their outstanding contributions to the food industry in the state of RI.

The day’s events proved to be both informative and entertaining and the association was excited with the level of interest members displayed. This event serves the food industry of RI well and provides a unique opportunity to network, learn, and celebrate its members in an exciting format.

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