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    News and Updates

October 23, 2018

OUTreach Offers Creating Change Conference Scholarships

UFCW OUTreach is offering five scholarships for members to attend next year’s Creating Change Conference in Detroit. The conference, which will take place on Jan. 23 to 27, 2019, is organized by the national LGBTQ Task Force. It is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ+ social justice movement, and scholarship recipients will learn from a broad range of social justice issues and develop skills to bring back to their workplaces and local unions.  Past session topics have included labor, gender equality, community organizing, criminal justice, immigration and more.

UFCW OUTreach Executive Board members have served as a key voice for working class and labor issues at this conference over the past few years. In a time where the labor movement and everything we have fought for is under attack, UFCW OUTreach’s dedication to organizing social and economic justice for all workers and ensuring full equality for LGBTQ+ workers at work and in their union reflects our union’s commitment to building a resilient working class that is not divided by hate.

The submission deadline for the five scholarships is Wednesday, Nov. 7. You can get more information about UFCW OUTreach scholarships to this important conference here.

October 15, 2018

UFCW Local 1245 Member Embraces Hispanic Heritage Month by Getting Involved

Esau Valencia has been a UFCW Local 1245 shop steward at Kings Supermarket for 20 years. Over that time, he’s become increasingly involved in efforts to get out the vote, and this year is no exception. He’s one of the many shining examples of hardworking UFCW members honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by getting involved in their communities.

Over the last few weeks, Esau has been helping fellow members get registered to vote at his store and has volunteered his time going door to door as well. He says that “Although Hispanics are generally more politically involved in other countries, we as a people are active in the U.S., but more can still be done. It takes all of us to make change – to receive the better wages and respect we’ve earned.”

Esau believes it’s his duty, and hopes others in his community do too, to take part in the GOTV effort because as someone who is bilingual, he has the ability to reach and communicate with many people. He thinks it’s especially important for young Latinos to know about and be engaged in these “critical moments,” and recently registered a young member who will be voting for the first time this November.

“Although Hispanics are generally more politically involved in other countries, we as a people are active in the U.S., but more can still be done. It takes all of us to make change – to receive the better wages and respect we’ve earned.”

For Esau, immigration and family separation are two of the most important issues that are affecting his community this year. Additionally, health care reform and keeping Obamacare intact are top priorities. Being a union member has enabled him to take action when it comes to fighting for what matters to hard-working people:

“It’s helped me a lot,” he said. “I’ve been employed at a place where there were no stewards, but now, in my UFCW workplace, I’m able to be more engaged—I’ve been to UFCW Conventions and shared my message. It’s important for us as minorities to get involved.”

October 10, 2018

Local 400 Builds on Kroger Contract Victory in Richmond

UFCW Local 400 is using the recent ratification of the Kroger contract, which raises wages for approximately 3,700 Kroger employees in 22 stores in the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas in Virginia, as a platform to increase membership in union and nonunion Kroger stores in the area.

Over the past few months, a team of UFCW Local 400 members who work at Kroger, Safeway and Giant stores in Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., have had member-to-member conversations with over 8,000 nonunion Kroger employees at the 22 stores about the value that comes with joining our union family. This team is now highlighting the new contract wins, including wage increases, protected health care and retirement benefits, bonuses for the most experienced associates and premium pay for select positions in the stores. To date, the sign-up campaign has generated over 900 new members and a few of the 22 stores have increased membership to over 60 percent.

UFCW Local 400 has also added a union wage calculator and online authorization card to the BetterKroger.org website as part of their campaign to reach Kroger workers in seven nonunion stores in Virginia. Under the new Kroger contract, every associate at a nonunion store in Virginia – no matter how much they make now – would make more money if they were unionized. With the union wage calculator, Kroger workers can punch in their current pay rate, classification, and worksite and calculate how much their wages would increase if they joined UFCW Local 400. To further assist Kroger workers who want to join our union, the online authorization card allows workers to sign up for union representation easily and confidentially. Once a majority of workers at a Kroger store sign cards online or on paper, the store will unionize under the current contract.

“In addition to all of the other benefits of a union contract, now Kroger associates in Virginia can learn how much more money they would make by joining our union family,” said UFCW Local 400 Communications Director Jonathan Williams. “It truly pays to belong.”

June 25, 2018

Fort Bliss Barbers in Texas Stand Together for a Better Life

On May 24, approximately 37 barbers from the Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas, voted unanimously to join UFCW Local 540. The barbers, most of whom are women, were concerned about seniority and scheduling issues and wanted a voice in the workplace. The new members of UFCW Local 540 are pleased to be a part of our union family and look forward to negotiating a strong, first contract.

June 25, 2018

A Better Contract for Food Workers in New Jersey

UFCW Local 152 members who work at Case’s Pork Roll in Trenton, New Jersey, ratified a new contract that includes better pay and benefits by an overwhelming margin on June 5.

The four-year contract includes wage increases for every year of the agreement, a continuation of no health care benefit cost-sharing by members, and pension contributions by the company to maintain the current benefit level.

Case’s Pork Roll is a family-owned business best known for their flavorful pork roll found in Local 152 union stores, including ShopRite’s private label brands.

June 25, 2018

UFCW Members Take Over D.C. for Poor People’s Campaign

Over 500 UFCW members representing 20 locals from across the country poured into Washington, D.C., for the Poor People’s Campaign “Global Day of Solidarity” rally on June 23 to demand economic and social justice for the nation’s poor. Over the past few weeks, UFCW members rallied at their state capitols as part of the campaign’s “40 Days of Moral Action.”

“The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival,” was founded by Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis, the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, and hundreds of local and national grassroots groups. This campaign builds on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, who organized actions in 1968 to demand economic and human rights for poor Americans of all backgrounds.

UFCW International Marc Perrone spoke at the “Global Day of Solidarity” rally, and introduced activist Cortne Lee Roché, who works as a food service employee at Earth Fare in North Carolina.

“The UFCW union family believes, as the Poor People’s Campaign does, as all of you do, that America can and must work better for all hard-working families,” Perrone said. “And I mean all hard-working families. Right now, broken policies are tearing parents apart from their children at the border and in places like Ohio and Tennessee too…. Make no mistake – the only way for us to stop this and other pains is to stand up, speak out, and stand together.”

“I work at Earth Fare, where together with my coworkers, we are organizing together to build a more inclusive and empowering environment inside our stores,” said Roché. “Faced with the reality of being a trans woman in a transphobic world, I chose to organize with the UFCW union to bring a better life to my family at work as we stand against corporate greed and immorality. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Everyone’s got a struggle, but no one should struggle alone. It doesn’t matter where you come from. All that matters is that you are here with us now. Nothing can stop us when we stand as one.”

Here are a few images from the Poor People’s Campaign “Global Day of Solidarity” rally in Washington, D.C.:

June 25, 2018

UFCW Condemns ICE Raids in Ohio

The UFCW denounced last week’s ICE raids at Fresh Mark plants in the Ohio towns of Canton, Massillon and Salem, and called on the Trump Administration and Congress to work together and fix our broken immigration system.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Tearing hard-working men and women apart from their children, families, and communities is wrong. The people who do these incredibly difficult jobs have the right to due process, and to be treated with respect and fairness. Today’s actions will only drive this nation further apart, while also spreading unmistakable pain among neighbors, friends, coworkers, and loved ones.

“Our top priority is to provide whatever assistance and counsel we can to any of our impacted members and their families. The broken policies that led to these and other workplace raids must be addressed immediately. They are creating a climate of fear where workers across this country are too afraid to stand up for their rights, report wage theft, dangerous work conditions, and other workplace issues.

“We urge President Trump and members of Congress to work together to fix our broken immigration system, and to keep the demands of due process and family unity at the forefront. As a nation of immigrants, we must and can do better than this.”

June 25, 2018

UFCW Responds to Partisan Farm Bill

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement on June 21 regarding the U.S. House of Representatives passing H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“This exact bill failed last month for good reason.

“It puts hundreds of thousands of good jobs at risk of being eliminated and makes it more difficult for hard-working people to feed their families.

“The House needs to take a cue from the Senate and immediately come together to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill.”

June 18, 2018

One Year Later, Whole Foods Workers Deserve Better

Photo by Mike Mozart via Creative Commons.

Whole Foods has changed for the worse since Amazon purchased the grocery chain for $13.7 billion last June, said UFCW International President Marc Perrone in a statement issued on June 15.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Slowly but surely, Amazon is making Whole Foods a much worse place to work and shop.

“This is unsurprising. Amazon’s retail vision replaces good jobs and talented employees with automation.

“Political leaders must realize now, before it’s too late, that the massive job loss this business model leads to could cripple our entire economy.

“The dedicated men and women who work at Whole Foods have earned and deserve better than the treatment they are receiving from Amazon.”

June 18, 2018

UFCW Applauds Bipartisan Farm Bill

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement on June 14 regarding the Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) passing the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of 20 to 1.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for working across the aisle and coming together to pass a Farm Bill.

“The Farm Bill is good policy that creates good jobs and is counted on by hard-working families throughout the country. Using it for leverage or as a pawn in a partisan political game is dangerous and wrong.

“We urge the U.S. House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and begin immediate work on a Farm Bill that can be passed with bipartisan support.”