News and Updates
October 30, 2017
This video is part of a series of “how to” tips from UFCW members who are experts in their fields. In addition to Jasmin’s makeup tips, the series features expert advice from a UFCW butcher, florist, produce clerk, prep cook, and cake decorator.
October 30, 2017
On Oct. 26, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement regarding the Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 4092), which puts American jobs and the safety of our food at risk. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 17-16 on October 25.
This bill will allow 450,000 visa holders to work in agriculture and meat processing jobs, and encourage irresponsible employers to displace American workers. Rather than require that new H-2C workers be paid at similar rates so that they cannot be used to displace workers and drive down wages, the bill simply requires that employers attempt to recruit workers at $10.88 per hour. If U.S. workers don’t apply at that wage rate, the employer would be authorized to bring in hundreds, or even thousands, of guestworkers at the $10.88 figure—a fraction of what meat and poultry workers in America currently earn.
Perrone’s statement reads as follows:
“The Agricultural Guestworker Act is a direct threat to American jobs, wages, and food safety.
“It will flood the meat processing sector with hundreds of thousands of untrained visa holders, effectively destroying middle class jobs that are currently held by hard-working American families who play a critical role in the safety of our food.
“This bill will also make it easier for guestworkers to be exploited and encourages them to take on work that is demonstrably unsafe without years of training.
“Any member of the House who cares about protecting good American jobs and wages will do the right thing and oppose the Agricultural Guestworker Act.”
October 30, 2017
Workers at Bob’s Discount Furniture and Century 21 in New York joined UFCW Local 888 on Oct. 17.
The 33 workers at Bob’s Discount Furniture store in Brooklyn wanted to be part of UFCW Local 888 for a voice in the workplace. The workers, who sell furniture, join their over 200 brothers and sisters at six other Bob’s Discount Furniture stores in New York and New Jersey who are also members of UFCW Local 888.
“The election at Bob’s Brooklyn proved, once again, that when workers unite, they can achieve their goals despite strong employer opposition,” said UFCW Local 888 President Max Bruny. “This was our second attempt at organizing this location and kudos to our organizing team for not giving up. The key to our success has been our ability to leverage the power of our organized members at the other six locations in New York. Our Bob’s Discount Furniture members are getting involved because they understand that increased union membership directly translates into increased bargaining power.”
The 148 workers at the Century 21 store in Yonkers were also concerned about having a voice in the workplace, and wanted the same security and benefits as their over 2,000 organized brothers and sisters in New York City and New Jersey.
October 23, 2017
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. You can help us fight unfair and unequal wages by supporting hard-working Latinas on Thursday, Nov. 2.
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.
Please get involved and help us draw attention to this economic disparity by joining the Twitter storm (#LatinaEqualPay and #Trabajadoras) on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 2-3 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional information about Latina Equal Pay Day is available here.
October 23, 2017
On Oct. 23, the UFCW joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in a lawsuit against President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security in response to the Trump administration’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The joint legal action makes clear that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA disregarded the due process rights of the DACA registrants, and failed to engage in the required analysis or rulemaking procedures required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, both of which are laws put into place to safeguard the public against this very type of impulsiveness by leaders in powerful positions.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement about joining the lawsuit:
“While we support the effort to find a bipartisan solution to protect the rights of DACA recipients, ending DACA without regard to due process or proper rulemaking is not only a betrayal of the 800,000 individuals who have always and only called the United States their home, it needlessly jeopardizes the rights and procedures that protect every American citizen.
“No matter one’s politics or the administration, every person in this country deserves due process. Moreover, our government can’t function without adhering to certain rules and procedures. Ignoring them jeopardizes the rights and freedoms of us all.
“With respect to DACA recipients, these young men and women love this country, and it is their home. They work side by side with us, live in our communities, and are dedicated members of our union family and countless others. They, like all of us, want nothing more than to build a better life for themselves and their families.
“The legal action we have taken with the NAACP and AFT is critical to protecting and ensuring the rights and freedoms of DACA recipients, and every person who calls this nation their home.”
October 23, 2017
After months of negotiations, around 7,300 Food 4 Less workers in Southern California, who are members of UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442, ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin on Oct. 17. The workers are employed at about 100 Food 4 Less stores throughout Southern California.
The new three-year contract protects our union-sponsored health and welfare and pension plans. The agreement also increases wages, and makes sure our members stay ahead of the minimum wage as it goes up either nationally, statewide, within the county, or locally.
“After six long months of bargaining, the seven locals coordinated together to bargain a great contract for our union family in Southern California,” said Bryan Wynn, director of Region 8. “They stood strong to fight back concessions and to protect the members at Food 4 Less, and I congratulate all of the local union presidents for their leadership and their staff. I’m proud of our members for standing up against our largest employer to make our union family stronger.”
October 23, 2017
Recently, 800 workers at Seaboard Triumph Foods in Sioux City, Iowa, voted to join UFCW Local 222. Seaboard Triumph Foods is a new, state of the art pork slaughter and processing plant, which opened this September. In the near future, the company will add a second shift, which will increase the size of the unit to over 2,000 workers.
Because the UFCW represents other Seaboard plants in Oklahoma and Missouri and has established good labor-management relations, we were able to work out an election agreement with the company, which included card check recognition. Staff from Region 6 and our FPPM Division were able to sign up a majority of the workforce in two and a half days.
“Packing house workers deserve decent wages, benefits, and safe working conditions provided by union representation and a union contract,” said UFCW Local 222 President Dan Risner. “We welcome Seaboard Triumph Foods workers into our UFCW Local 222 family!”
“I would like to recognize UFCW Local 2 President Martin Rosas for his assistance in helping us organize this plant,” said Tish Ramirez, director of Region 6. “Because of his working relationship with the company, we were able to reach an agreement that led to a voice at work for working men and women at Seaboard Triumph. The efforts of Local 222, Region 6 and the FPPM Division collectively continue to grow and build a stronger UFCW.”
October 16, 2017
On Oct. 3, Wisconsin Physicians Service (WPS) workers in Madison, Wisconsin, who are members of UFCW Local 1473, ratified a new contract after 13 months of negotiations. The WPS workers administer health care claims to veterans, active duty military, seniors, and customers in the private sector.
The 31-month agreement, which expires on May 31, 2020, provides wage increases based on tenure and increased productivity, while continuing affordable benefits programs that are necessary for the security of members and their families.
“Solidarity of the union membership has prevailed in delivering this contract,” said UFCW Local 1473 President and International Vice President John Eiden. “Our members remain committed to providing the highest quality service to our veterans, active duty military, seniors, and private health customers. Union members are proud to continue to provide this respectful, quality service, including to the many who deserve it most—those who have earned it through their service to our country.”
October 16, 2017
The three-year contract ensures that no one falls below a 7.5 percent increase in wages through the duration of the agreement. The contract also includes a more robust Labor Management Committee, a pilot project to find solutions to the daily overtime many of the workers face, and new membership language that will build a stronger union.
October 16, 2017
On Oct. 11, UFCW International President Marc Perrone sent a letter to the Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture explaining why a recent petition by the National Chicken Council to eliminate line speeds at poultry plants poses a dangerous risk to American families.
“This petition, submitted to you in early September, would allow select poultry plants to run their lines with no speed limits, endangering both workers and consumers. Even more troubling is that this petition essentially requests that USDA create this new “no speed limit” rule behind closed doors with no opportunity for notice and comment by the public as the regulatory process requires,” Perrone wrote.
President Perrone’s entire letter can be read below.
Dear Madam Acting Deputy Undersecretary Rottenberg:
With the health and safety of over 250,000 thousand hard-working poultry workers in mind, 70,000 of whom are members of our union family, we write to urge you to reject a petition submitted by the National Chicken Council (NCC) to run food processing lines with no speed limits.
This petition, submitted to you in early September, would allow select poultry plants to run their lines with no speed limits, endangering both workers and consumers. Even more troubling is that this petition essentially requests that USDA create this new “no speed limit” rule behind closed doors with no opportunity for notice and comment by the public as the regulatory process requires.
As you must know, poultry workers hold some of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America. The implications of this rule change are striking, for example:
- Industry statistics show poultry workers are at twice the risk of being injured on the job compared to other workers and suffer illnesses at a rate that is seven times as high.
- A 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office showed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.
- Increased line speeds will also make it harder for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination that could make consumers sick.
Given the facts noted above, the petition from the NCC clearly poses a dangerous risk to American families.
When the USDA chose not to raise line speed limits for poultry plants in 2014, there was large public interest in the open and transparent process (which we participated in) that ensured all perspectives on this proposed modification were heard – including those of the NCC. A wide array of people and interests, from workers on poultry lines to experts across the country, agreed then as they do now that faster line speeds will make this industry dramatically less safe, both for workers and consumers.
For the sake of keeping hard-working families safe – whether they’re preparing, buying, or eating chicken – the USDA must reject this petition.
Anthony “Marc” Perrone