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    News and Updates

December 4, 2017

UFCW Calls on Lawmakers to Oppose the AGA and Protect American Jobs

UFCW International President Marc Perrone called on lawmakers to protect U.S. jobs, as well as the safety of our food supply, by opposing Agricultural Guestworker Act (AGA) of 2017 (H.R. 4092) in an op-ed for The Washington Examiner on Dec. 4.

The following are excerpts from the op-ed:

The AGA is a direct threat to America’s hard-working families, the incomes they depend on, and the food we all eat. This is not hyperbole. If the AGA becomes law, it will allow 450,000 foreign visa holders to work in agricultural and meat processing jobs that are currently held by hard-working American men and women. The impacts of this bill, particularly upon the hundreds of thousands of people employed by the meat and poultry industry, would be devastating.

This bad bill does more than just hurt American jobs and workers – it also puts our food supply at risk. While we may not see food processing workers do their jobs, the truth is that they are highly trained professionals who perform dangerous and highly skilled work. These professionals serve as a much needed layer of protection for consumers when it comes to food safety because they know to quickly spot meat that is low quality or diseased.

Like any high skilled and vital profession, current salaries reflect the quality and importance of this workforce, with wages as high as $23 per hour. By allowing untrained workers or guestworkers to hold these important jobs for as little as $10.88 per hour, the AGA will effectively drive down wages and destroy hundreds of thousands of good jobs in the process.

At a time when we need to strengthen American jobs and make our food safer, the AGA would also allow guestworkers to stay for up to three years. That isn’t a guestworker – that’s a long-term employee and further shows how this bill is designed to both exploit foreign workers and replace American workers at the same time.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

December 4, 2017

MCAW Launches Ad Campaign to Highlight Walmart’s “War on the Holidays”

Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) released a 30-second TV commercial on Nov. 22 as part of its multi-pronged holiday campaign denouncing Walmart’s “war on the holidays.” The ad ran during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on local NBC affiliate markets in Sacramento, Phoenix, Madison, and Cincinnati.

The ad is part of MCAW’s six-week holiday initiative to highlight the retail giant’s “war on the holidays,” which included grassroots actions and social media efforts in Indianapolis, CaliforniaArizonaTexasIllinoisDelawareand New York during the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Coordinated actions will continue this week at Walmart locations in at least 10 cities across the U.S. to highlight Walmart’s failure to do what every responsible employer does – pay its workers holiday pay.

Up until last year, Walmart workers who worked on a holiday received their regular hourly wage plus additional pay, equal to the average daily wage in the 12 weeks leading up to the holiday. In 2016, Walmart changed its policy and eliminated holiday pay for all workers.

The script of TV ad titled This Thanksgiving, Be Thankful That You Don’t Work For Walmart” reads as follows:

These are all real Walmart workers

Afraid to speak out publicly or show their faces.

They’re faced with a choice of working with no holiday pay on Thanksgiving

Instead of spending time with their daughter,

Or to see her grandfather,

Or to be with her four-year-old.

Hard-working Walmart workers

With no holiday pay,

And no chance for a better life.

So, this Thanksgiving, give thanks for one thing,

That you don’t work at Walmart.

 

You can view the ad here.

 

December 4, 2017

UFCW Locals Give Back to Their Communities

From hosting “giving trees” to organizing food drives, UFCW locals are kicking into high gear to help make the holidays a little brighter for those in need in communities across the country.

In the northeast, UFCW Local 1500 is organizing a Toy Drive for the John Theissen Children’s Foundation. Since 1992, the foundation has collected over 920,000 new toys and donated them to sick and underprivileged children in hospitals and child care facilities.

UFCW Local 152’s annual Teddy Bear Drive collects stuffed animals for Santa to give away at the holiday dinner dance for ARC of Burlington County, which provides a variety of disability services that include adult day care and in home supportive services.

In November, RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 delivered 200 turkeys donated by its members to several food pantries and charitable organizations throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County as part of the union’s annual “Turkey Drive.”

RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 members weren’t the only ones out making sure everyone could have a nice holiday feast. On the other side of the country, UFCW Local 1428 members in California held a turkey giveaway over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Are you a UFCW member with a story of how union members in your area are giving back this holiday season? If so, please drop us a line at submissions@ufcw.org or send us your story on our Facebook page and let us know how you are making a difference in your community.

December 4, 2017

New “How To” Video Features Local 1000 Kroger Florist

Michelle Garrett, a member of UFCW Local 1000 who works as a florist at a Kroger store in Texas, is back to show you how to create a topiary for the holidays in the UFCW’s new “how to” video.

This video is part of a series of “how to” tips from UFCW members who are experts in their fields. In addition to Michelle’s tips about how to create a beautiful topiary, the series features expert advice from a UFCW butcher, produce clerk, prep cook, cake decorator and makeup artist.

You can watch Michelle create a holiday topiary here. You can also subscribe to UFCW’s “how to” videos here.

November 15, 2017

More Rocky Mountain High Workers Join Local 7

Rocky Mountain High cannabis workers in Durango, Montrose, and Carbondale, Colorado, voted to join UFCW Local 7 by an overwhelming margin on Nov. 6. These locations include two of the company’s grow facilities. The 25 workers wanted a voice in the workplace and the same benefits as their 32 colleagues at four Rocky Mountain High cannabis dispensaries in Denver, who joined UFCW Local 7 in September.

The Rocky Mountain High workers joined UFCW Local 7 because they were concerned about pay increases, health benefits, and a safer workplace. The workers also wanted to reduce high turnover and have a path to a career. Many of the workers also expressed an interest in the UFCW’s Free College Benefit.

November 13, 2017

New “How To” Video Features Local 1000 Kroger Florist

Michelle Garrett, a member of UFCW Local 1000 who works as a florist at a Kroger store in Texas, is back to show you how to create a fall centerpiece in the UFCW’s new “how to” video.

This video is part of a series of “how to” tips from UFCW members who are experts in their fields. In addition to Michelle’s tips about how to create a beautiful centerpiece for the holidays, the series features expert advice from a UFCW butcher, produce clerk, prep cook, cake decorator and makeup artist.

You can watch Michelle create a fall centerpiece here. You can also subscribe to UFCW’s “how to” videos here.

November 13, 2017

UFCW OSH Office Conducts “Train the Trainer” Program

The UFCW Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office recently convened a health and safety “train the trainer” program in Chicago for union representatives, staff, and stewards from 12 UFCW local unions.

The UFCW “train the trainer” programs on safety and health have taken place across the country since December 2011. This program provides participants with the necessary technical and leadership skills to actively participate in injury and illness prevention efforts in their workplaces, and conduct brief trainings at their locals or worksites.

UFCW Locals 7, 9, 23, 75, 227, 540, 555, 881, 1208, 1473, 1546 and 1776 participated in the training in Chicago, which was held in Spanish and English, and Region 6 Director Tish Ramirez opened the program. Of the 20 trainers that participated in the program, 10 were seasoned trainers from past “train the trainer” sessions, and 10 were new to the program.

“The most important thing I have learned over the years from these trainings is how important it is to speak up about safety and health in the workplace,” said Rodney Ryks, a member of UFCW Local 9 and a seasoned trainer.

“Through this program, lives are saved, injuries and illnesses prevented, and our union becomes stronger,” said Robyn Robbins, director of the UFCW OSH Office.

November 13, 2017

Local 400 Kroger Workers Ratify New Contract

On Nov. 6, approximately 4,200 members of UFCW Local 400, who work at 39 Kroger stores in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky, voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract. The contract, which takes effect immediately and extends through August 29, 2020, provides increased pay and maintains healthcare and retirement benefits.

Contract negotiations between UFCW Local 400 and Kroger began in early September, and a team of five Kroger employees led negotiations on behalf of the union. At a time when many retailers are cutting healthcare and retirement benefits, the unionized workforce successfully preserved their benefits while also winning wage increases. The workers attribute their success to weeks of public demonstrations held during the negotiation process.

“I think we made it clear to the company that we were willing to fight to protect our benefits,” said Tami Faulknier, a 34-year Kroger employee who served on the union negotiating team.

“Our customers were overwhelmingly supportive and I think that helped a lot,” said Allen Nuckels, a Kroger grocery clerk from Oak Hill, West Virginia. “I lost count of how many times someone saw us at a rally and stopped to ask me, ‘Are you guys on strike? Because I won’t cross a picket line!’”

“These days, it is extremely rare to ratify a contract without losing a single benefit,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “I cannot overstate how much the support of Kroger customers and the rest of the community made a difference in these negotiations. Together, we were able to preserve healthcare and retirement benefits that thousands of hard-working men and women rely on.”

 

 

November 6, 2017

UFCW Draws Attention to Pay Disparities on Latina Equal Pay Day

On Nov. 2, the UFCW helped to draw attention to pay disparities for Latinas on Latina Equal Pay Day.

Although Latinas make substantial contributions to the U.S. economy, they have the largest wage gap, typically earning only 54 cents for every dollar earned by White, non-Hispanic men. Latinas must work more than 22 months to earn what White men earn in 12 months. This disparity in pay hurts not only Latinas, but also has a significant impact on the families and communities they support.

To help raise awareness about this wage gap, the UFCW joined the Twitter storm on Nov. 2. Our tweets reached over 50,000 people, and were retweeted hundreds of times. UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther López also wrote about how we can work together to make a better life for Latinas working in the U.S. in an op-ed in Bustle, which was published on Latina Equal Pay Day.

“There exists a sure-fire way for Latina women to earn the better wages they deserve: joining a union in their industry. Latina women who have joined a union earn more than their non-union counterparts — $242 more per week, in fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” López wrote.

You can read the entire op-ed here.

 

November 6, 2017

Region 1 Holds Training Session for Organizers

Region 1 held its second NLRB Organizer Training Session for new and experienced organizers in Providence, Rhode Island, on Oct. 24 to 26. Region staff and organizers from UFCW Locals 328, 371, 888, 919, 1445 and 1459 participated in the training, which was hosted in the offices of UFCW Local 328.

The Region 1 organizers learned about the NLRB process, the rights protected by the NLRB, and how to combat anti-union company campaigns. Organizers also learned about messaging and how to create strong campaign literature. This is the second training for organizers held in Region 1 this year, the first of which was held on Long Island in January. These trainings are part of an ongoing effort to provide more professional development for local organizing staff.