March 19, 2015

UFCW Launches Groundbreaking Immigration Program in Omaha

DAPAOMAHA, NE—Hundreds of UFCW members and staff from across the United States came together over the last two days in Omaha, Nebraska, at a groundbreaking training session with meatpacking and food processing workers in preparation for President Obama’s executive action on immigration, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).

UFCW International President Marc Perrone called the UFCW’s work on immigration “the most important thing we will do over the next decade.” “Our union movement will be stronger if we truly empower our immigrant members with programs like this,” he said.

The program is unlike anything in the labor movement and is the brainchild of UFCW Executive Vice President and Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department Esther López. “We are uniquely positioned to transform the lives of our members and their families with this work,” she said. “We need to lean in. Tens of thousands of families are counting on us and by working together, we will build a stronger UFCW in the process.”

Participants took part in four standing room only modules focused on ensuring UFCW members are first in line when the application process for DAPA officially opens.

The UFCW’s DAPA program, credited as a model nationally, includes three phases:

  • The first, which includes this week’s workshops, is outreach and education. UFCW members and staff will leave Omaha with a better understanding of DAPA and take that knowledge back to their home areas.
  • The second phase, which will take place at the local union level in the coming weeks and months, is assisting members in determining eligibility and the gathering and review of key documents.
  • The final phase is helping eligible members prepare and submit their application.

“The labor movement and the immigration movement are connected,” said Ellen Vera of UFCW Local 75 in Ohio. “When we stand together, we can achieve anything. It is important we take up this work so we can continue to better our communities.”

Participants received detailed immigration guides to bring back to their locals. This coincided with the launch of the UFCW’s DAPA online toolkit—


The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit, or join our online community at and