February 19, 2014
Members of UFCW Local 555 spent February 12 at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem lobbying their legislators on issues important to working families. The legislative priorities discussed included paid sick leave, combatting wage theft, easing penalties for grocery clerks who unknowingly or inadvertently sell alcohol to a minor for the first time, and requiring disclosure of chemicals in children’s products.
UFCW members had a visible presence throughout the Capitol and found their lobbying experience extremely rewarding. “I am here today so that they can see me and I can speak from my heart about the issues instead of it being just a black and white piece of paper with a checkbox,” said Natalie Someda, who works at QFC in Portland. “Having the gold in the building today makes me feel proud that we are strong and that we are willing to work and sacrifice for union members and non-union workers.”
Ricardo Morales, a meat cutter at Safeway in The Dalles, agreed. “We’re all effected by the anti-worker laws that are trying to make it into Oregon. We won’t be bullied. We won’t go down without a fight.”
Several members talked about the impact lobbying can have. “If we have our representatives standing behind us, we will have a better life for us and our families,” said Barb Bilinowich, who works at Safeway in Springfield.
Heidi Stock, a pharmacy tech at Fred Meyer in Oak Grove, added, “Being here allows us to take things to the next level.”
The UFCW delegation was not lost on Senate President Peter Courtney. “The physical presence stands out and the gold really pops,” he observed. Members said they looked forward to an even bigger and better lobby day next year.