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    News and Updates

October 2, 2017

Local 770 helps members apply for DACA renewals

On Sept. 23, UFCW Local 770, in partnership with the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, and Central American Resource Center, held a workshop to assist members with the application process for the two-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals.

The workshop, which was held at the Ricardo F. Icaza Workers Center in Huntington Park, California, is part of UFCW Local 770’s effort to provide financial assistance so that qualified union members can renew their DACA applications before the October 5, 2017 deadline.

“I feel very happy and very appreciative for this opportunity,” said Silvia, a young DACA recipient and daughter of a UFCW Local 770 member, who attended the workshop. “It relieves me of a lot of stress because the renewal was pretty expensive.”

“They helped us with the immigration fee and completing the application process. They pretty much helped with everything,” she added.

Once renewing her work permit through DACA, Silvia plans to attend medical school. “I’m very excited about being able to renew my status, to continue working and try to go back to school,” she said.

According to President Trump’s announcement made on Sept. 5, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications from people who don’t already have DACA. People who already have DACA, and whose work permits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, will be able to apply for a two-year renewal if their application is received by October 5, 2017.

Additional information about UFCW Local 770’s DACA program is available here.

September 8, 2017

UFCW Women’s Network Holds Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

On September 7, fifteen members of the UFCW Women’s Network from 11 different states visited with members of Congress to discuss issues that impact hard-working families. One member flew in from as far as California, and Valencia, a member from Florida, made the trip despite all the chaos of Hurricane Irma.

Women make up nearly half of the workforce, and many families need two incomes to make ends meet. With the responsibilities of taking care of kids or helping sick family members, having all the support women can get is critical to helping them and their families build the better lives they’ve earned and deserve.

The Women’s Network discussed the FAMILY Act, The Schedules That Work Act, and the importance of affordable health care with members of Congress.

The FAMILY Act would provide paid family leave to all Americans and will make sure that hard-working people are able to take care of themselves and their loved ones no matter where they live, what job they have, or who they work for.

The Schedule That Work Act provides retail, food service and cleaning workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they’re sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

It’s essential for women to have affordable health care options. High health care costs are an especially large burden for lower-income women who regularly need health services, but who struggle to pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Making sure that all women have access to quality, affordable care will strengthen millions of American families.

Having women’s voices at the table is critical to building a better workforce that works for all.

Valencia, from Local 1625 in Florida, explained the power of showing up to speak face-to-face with members of Congress. “I’m a mother of three, and I understand that twelve weeks of unpaid leave is unreasonable for a single-income household. That’s why I’m here to talk to my Congressmember. It’s important to speak out about these issues and for them to hear directly from us.”

August 8, 2017

Local 365 Member Honored for Helping Local Farm Workers

On July 19, WPEA /UFCW Local 365 member Jason Holland was honored with the Mother Jones Award from the Washington State Labor Council for his efforts to help local farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Wash., organize and secure a strong union contract. Holland works as an organizer and researcher at WPEA/UFCW Local 365.

The farm workers, from Oaxaca, Mexico, realized that there was strength in numbers and formed the first new farm worker union in the country in over 20 years—Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ). Using his law degree from Vanderbilt University, Holland supported FUJ’s efforts by writing the contract the workers would bring to the negotiating table. He also marched and protested alongside FUJ in solidarity, receiving no compensation for his work – besides knowing he stepped up to help fellow hard-working men and women in need of a strong union family.

As he accepted the Mother Jones Award, Holland reflected on his work with FUJ and how the experience changed his life. “When you see injustice, don’t just stand there and let it happen,” he said. “Take action.”

You can see Holland accept the Mother Jones Award here.

June 26, 2017

Supreme Court Sides with Macy’s Workers

On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Macy’s challenge to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding cosmetics and fragrances workers at a Macy’s store in Saugus, Mass., who are members of UFCW Local 1445. The Supreme Court decision recognizes that the Macy’s departments are appropriate bargaining units under well-established legal standards, and is a victory for the UFCW and other labor unions who organize segments of workers at companies, rather than the entire company.

The Macy’s cosmetics and fragrances workers joined UFCW Local 1445 in 2014 after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a 3-1 ruling that the group of over 40 workers was large enough to unionize. The NLRB’s ruling was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. The Macy’s store in Saugus employs over 100 workers.

“We are thrilled with the decision by the Supreme Court, and it is about time the workers in Saugus prevailed,” said Local 1445 President Jeff Bollen. “Our intention is to bring them a contract and use this victory as a tool to organize more workers at Macy’s.”

June 15, 2017

UFCW Locals Stand with LGBTQ Workers During Pride Month

Many UFCW Locals across the US and Canada are marching this June as part of LGBT Pride Month. Working in partnership with UFCW OUTreach, UFCW Locals are committed to leveling the playing field in our contracts and our laws.

2017 UFCW Pride Photos

Why March?

On June 28, 1969, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community fought back against police brutality at a New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Known as the Stonewall riots, many consider this to be the beginning of the modern day LGBT rights movement.

In commemoration of the historic Stonewall riots, June is now commonly recognized as LGBT Pride Month. Keep an eye out throughout the month for UFCW locals who will be holding events to stand with hardworking men and women everywhere who deserve respect and equal protection both on and off the job, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

 

May 26, 2017

Civil Rights and Labor: Two Movements, One Goal

by Richard Womack Sr. ,James Settles Jr.,Robin Williams
Originally published on the AFL-CIO blog

One of our most celebrated labor leaders, A. Philip Randolph, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, knew the connection between the labor movement and the civil rights movement was key to a truly inclusive democracy. He stood for access at the ballot box as well as to economic security—ideally through a good job with decent benefits and a union. Today, we find ourselves back in a place where our civil, economic, political and social rights are under constant attack. The violence we see against black youth—the heart-wrenching killing of Trayvon Martin, the homicide of Jordan Davis–the passage of “right to work” laws in states like Michigan, Missouri and Iowa that have deeply racist and divisive roots, and the constant attack on immigrant communities by the current administration affirm we still have work to do.

As trade unionists, labor leaders, parents and civil rights activists, we have dedicated our time, talent and resources to advancing the agenda for people who are simply working for a better life. We believe there has never been a more critical point in our nation’s history when it is so crucial for us to reconnect deeply the movement for working people with the movement for civil and human rights. We cannot forget that the March on Washington was about freedom, economic equity and good jobs. The intersection of human rights, civil rights and workers’ rights has always been a part of our struggles for independent power both here and abroad. We must continue to uplift those movements in an intersectional way to ensure we are able to win justice at the workplace and the ballot box to make a difference for those we serve.

This summer, one of the oldest and largest civil and human rights organizations, the NAACP, will come to the city of Baltimore for its annual convention. The NAACP has stood as a coalition partner to the labor movement since 1909. There are many organizations we as a movement value and partner with through shared program and the NAACP remains one of those core allies, despite the shifts that happen in the world around us. We have great leadership within both the labor movement and the NAACP. We have seen how powerful it is when leaders like AFT’s Lorretta Johnson stand shoulder to shoulder with the Rev. William Barber, leader of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference. We know our journey together must continue as we fight to assure that “the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”

We must expand our vision by creating solidarity without borders so that working people will be treated with the respect we are due. Thus our history and our very purpose demand that we be in the forefront of the struggle to assure first-class citizenship to all people, of all colors, and all creeds without regard to sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Our struggles are one; our hopes are one; our dreams are one. The past is not dead, it’s not even past.

To participate in the 2017 NAACP Labor Luncheon in Baltimore, please click here: cvent.com/d/n5q3qx

James Settles Jr., also known as Jimmy, serves as a vice president and member of the Executive Board at the UAW. He is a national board member and Labor Committee vice-chair of the NAACP.

Robin Williams serves as the national vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). She is a national board member and Labor Committee vice-chair of the NAACP.

Richard Womack Sr. is the emeritus assistant to the AFL-CIO president and former director of the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department. He is a national board member and Labor Committee chair of the NAACP.

April 28, 2017

UFCW President Perrone makes case for higher workplace safety standards

Safety is a right, not a privilege

 

In recognition of Workers Memorial Day, a day of remembrance of those who have lost their lives on the job, UFCW International President Marc spoke out about the need for workplace safety for everyone, regardless of where they work:

While we may debate many issues in this country, and our partisan divisions may be greater than ever, we must all agree that being safe and healthy at work should be a right, not a privilege.

Whether you work in a nursing home, on a construction site, in a retail store or a food processing plant, no hard-working man or woman should have to worry about being killed or injured in the workplace.

Headed down the wrong path

Perrone went on to express concern about the path the country is headed down when it comes to workplace safety:

Last month, President Trump signed a bill that eliminated the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, which required federal contractors to report and correct major safety and other labor violations. The Trump administration also plans to shrink federal funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which would only make certain occupations and workplaces even more dangerous.

In fact, OSHA is already delaying enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry, and reversed an OSHA rule that clarified an employer’s responsibility to maintain accurate records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Even these specific changes will make it difficult for OSHA to compile injury and illness records that are critical to identifying what jobs are dangerous, and which employers are failing to keep their workers safe.

Bad for business

The piece also points out how unsafe workplaces are not only bad for the people who work in them, but they’re bad for the businesses themselves:

While some will suggest that these are unnecessary regulations and a fiscal burden to businesses, the truth is that eliminating workplace safety measures is not only bad for workers, it’s also bad for businesses.

Unsafe workplaces cost companies money.

Insurance claims increase with increasing worker injuries. Employee absenteeism rises in unsafe and unhealthy workplaces. In fact, workers took an average of eight days to recuperate from workplace illnesses and injuries in 2015. Unsafe workplaces result in higher worker turnover and low employee morale. And, in today’s social media driven world, the reputation and brand impact from an unsafe workplace or a needless injury or death are significant.

Workers Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance every April 28th that calls attention to preventable workplace deaths, diseases, and injuries around the globe.  You can read the full piece by UFCW International President Marc Perrone on The Hill. 

April 18, 2017

MCAW Sheds Light on How Walmart Costs Taxpayers

This month, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) launched a campaign to highlight the “hidden tax” every taxpayer has been paying for years to Walmart. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the retail giant receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the federal government.

An op-ed titled “The Walmart Tax Every American Taxpayer Pays” by UFCW Local 1529 President Lonnie Sheppard was published in USA Today on April 8, and highlights many of the key facts that Walmart refuses to acknowledge, like the high cost and hidden tax that every American taxpayer pays every single day.

Among the key facts:

  • Walmart, a company that generates almost $500 billion in revenue every year with annual profits averaging $15.5 billion over the last five years, is also one of the nation’s largest welfare recipients.
  • According to a 2014 report by Americans for Tax Fairness, Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the federal government.
  • Even though Walmart claims that it spent $500 million on hourly associate bonuses and recently boosted employee wages, it still has thousands of employees who rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing.
  • A single Walmart Super Center is estimated to cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.74 million per year in public assistance money.
  • Logically, if Walmart increased employee wages, and/or provided better benefits, much of this $6.2 billion dollar burden would be lifted off the taxpayers.

MCAW also ran digital ads targeting shoppers and workers inside stores across the U.S., and MCAW organizers have been exposing the Walmart tax to shoppers and workers across the country. Thank you to all UFCW local and regional staff that worked on this project.

 

April 17, 2017

Local 655 Holten Meat Workers Ratify New Contract

On April 11, members of UFCW Local 655 who work at Holten Meat in Sauget, Ill., ratified an industry-leading new contract by an overwhelming margin. The new three-year contract resolves many of the work-life issues that forced Holten Meat employees to make the difficult decision to go on strike on March 18.

“Today is victory for our hard-working members who love their jobs, but love their families more. This union contract will not only make Holten Meat a better place to work in Sauget, it will make Holten Meat a better company,” said UFCW Local 655 President David Cook. “Make no mistake, we want Holten Meat to succeed, and that is why this contract is so important—it recognizes that no company succeeds in the absence of its hard-working employees and members.  Best of all, UFCW members at Holten Meat now have a better contract that lets them not only support their families, but advance their careers at work.”

The new contract lets experienced members have more control over their lives and move to the shifts they need to spend more quality time with their families. The contract also allows members to advance their careers, and establishes a new labor and management committee at Holten Meat that will regularly meet to solve problems in the workplace cooperatively.

“We stood together and spoke out because we believe that our lives matter. None of us should have to choose between spending time with our family and doing our job—we should be able to do both,” said Trinetta Kitchen, a seven-year veteran of the production line at Holten Meat. “This contract will not only help ensure we can earn a better life, it recognizes our hard work and will make Holten Meat a better and more successful company.”

April 17, 2017

RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 Gateway Shuttle Bus Drivers Ratify First Union Contract

RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 members who work as drivers for the Gateway shuttle bus in Newark, N.J., ratified their first union contract earlier this month. The shuttle bus drivers joined RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 last year to improve their pay and treatment, and the new contract provides raises, added vacation time, and more overtime opportunities.

“The Gateway Company has grown and become very profitable over the years, and workers deserved the improvements they are getting with their first contract,” said RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 President Charles N. Hall, Jr.

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