News and Updates
May 20, 2019
Members of UFCW Local 1625 who work at Florida Beef in Zolfo Springs, Fla., recently ratified a first contract that improves wages and benefits. The successful negotiations of their first contract comes less than a year after the workers joined UFCW Local 1625 in July 2018.
The three-year contract provides the 58 slaughterhouse workers with guaranteed raises starting with ratification, eligibility to participate in the company’s health insurance plan, as well as six paid holidays and paid vacation. In addition, the company has agreed to make contributions to the 401(k) retirement plans for employees. The company will also provide work boots, gloves and knives at no cost to workers. This is the first slaughterhouse organized by UFCW Local 1625 and the first time these workers have had wage and benefit improvements.
May 20, 2019
On May 17, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act of 2019 (H.R. 5), which strengthens protections for workers and families across the country and helps to end discrimination that has impacted so many communities.
UFCW OUTreach chair Michele Kessler praised the action by Congress to pass the bipartisan bill, which was endorsed by the UFCW OUTreach board on March 19.
“Today’s passage of the Equality Act by the House is a powerful step toward a future where millions of LGBTQ Americans and their families no longer have to worry about facing discrimination at work or in their communities,” Kessler said. “Too many Americans live in states with outdated laws that leave our LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and family vulnerable to discrimination.”
Despite major advances in equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBTQ nondiscrimination protection laws. The Equality Act of 2019 would ensure full federal nondiscrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws.
“Everyone deserves equal access to the employment, housing, and education they need to provide for their families and build a better life,” Kessler added. “We are proud to stand with Americans across the country in support of the Equality Act and urge the Senate to do the right thing and pass this bill immediately.”
May 20, 2019
UFCW International President Marc Perrone urged Congress to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act ahead of the House Education and Labor Committee hearing on May 8. This legislation expands protections for workers to exercise their right to join a union and bargain for better wages and working conditions. These protections include:
• Increasing transparency by requiring employers to post a notice in the workplace of workers’ rights and responsibilities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
• Authorizing civil monetary penalties to deter violations of the NLRA.
• Improving remedies for workers who are retaliated against for exercising their right to join a union or engage in protected activities—including swift temporary reinstatement, liquidated damages, and the ability to bring cases directly to federal court.
• Expanding coverage of who is deemed an employee under the NLRA to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.
• Facilitating dispute resolutions by requiring mediation and arbitration procedures to help unions and employers conclude a first agreement.
• Strengthening the right of workers to strike for basic workplace improvements.
• Ensuring that the National Labor Relations Board’s orders are enforced in a timely manner.
• Protecting the right of workers, whether in a union or not, to engage in collective actions, such as employment-related class action litigation.
Perrone’s statement reads as follows:
“As corporations and billionaires continue to thrive, stagnant wages and anti-worker policies around the country are leaving millions of American workers behind.
“We need to rebuild the middle class and reverse decades of income inequality and that starts with unions. For generations, unions have helped hard-working Americans stand together for higher wages, affordable health care, and a secure retirement. The time is now for Congress to pass the PRO Act to protect the rights of workers to join a union and negotiate for the better life they have earned and deserve.”
May 13, 2019
Our union has a proud history of keeping members safe and healthy at work. As we build on this legacy, the International’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office is working with locals that represent members in the health care sector to further strengthen workplace safety.
Health care workers make incredible sacrifices every day to provide care for those in need and are more likely than other workers to face violence in the workplace. As more workers in the health care sector join our union family, protecting these hard-working women and men at work is a key priority.
Robyn Robbins, the director of the OSH Office, recently met with UFCW Local 1625 members who work at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland, Fla., to help strengthen their workplace safety policies and procedures.
After meeting with workers and listening to their concerns, Robbins made recommendations to build on existing protections and find additional ways to keep our members safe. She recommended creating a joint labor-management workplace safety committee that includes workers and representatives from the local. She also suggested that the center review all its training policies and procedures to strengthen workplace safety and evaluate them for effectiveness.
UFCW Local 1625 President Ed Chambers put these recommendations into action and achieved positive results, including better training and education, improved reporting procedures, and improved communication by the hospital to the public about the importance of creating a safe work environment for caregivers, hospital staff, and the patients and families they serve.
“The reaction from our health care membership has been incredible since we took the lead in workplace safety,” said Chambers. “I’d like to thank the OSH Office for their help and direction. We knew the issues, and Robyn helped us design a remedy and our membership took the ball and ran with it. Now, we have posters throughout the hospital emphasizing the importance of a safe workplace with the UFCW logo on it.”
In addition to helping locals improve or create workplace violence prevention policies and programs, the OSH Office is also supporting the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309), which was introduced by Representative Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) to protect workers from violence on the job. This legislation would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a clear standard for workplace safety and violence prevention, requiring employers in the health care and social service sectors to develop and implement a plan to protect their employees and keep them safe. For more information, contact Robyn Robbins at firstname.lastname@example.org or Fernando Tapia at email@example.com.
May 13, 2019
Members of UFCW Local 367 who work at Macy’s Full-Line and Furniture Gallery in Tacoma, Wash., ratified a new contract on May 1 that raises wages. The contract was ratified by an overwhelming margin (99 percent) and over 80 percent of the Macy’s workers turned out to vote.
The two-year contract was unanimously recommended for ratification by the bargaining committee, which played a crucial role in mobilizing their coworkers. In addition to wage increases, the new agreement provides significant improvements for a majority of the Macy’s associates. Part-time and flex-time members will also have a shorter time period to earn their wage increases by transitioning from an hourly-based progression to a yearly progression, among many other gains. This contract is part of the UFCW’s united coast-to-coast effort to ensure every member receives the good pay and benefits they have earned and are able to build a better life for themselves and their families.
“I have been a part of the bargaining committee for the last four contracts and, for the first time, I felt like I was part of a winning team,” said Terri Warren-Cavillo, who served on the bargaining committee. “Everyone involved was there for the good of the cause and everyone had a voice and used it. If I had to do it all again, it would be with these same people at my side.”
May 13, 2019
UFCW Local 1428 members recently lobbied California lawmakers in the state capitol in support of legislation that protects good jobs and helps workers. Our members urged legislators to support a wide range of bills, including:
• AB 1066 – Protects unemployment insurance for striking and locked-out workers;
• AB 1459 – Creates certification programs for grocery workers for jobs of the future;
• AB 1360 – Ensures that food delivery drivers are properly trained in food handling requirements that meet grocery store regulations to protect consumers; and
• SB 581 – Strengthens transparency in the cannabis licensing process.
California lawmakers who met with Local 1428 members and staff include State Senators Connie M. Leyva, Maria Elena Durazo and Bobby Archuleta, as well as Assembly Members James C. Ramos, Cottie Petri-Norris, Eloise Reyes, Blanca Rubio, Wendy Carrillo, Ian Calderon, Chris Holden, Miguel Santiago and Freddie Rodriguez.
“Our members help to get lawmakers elected, so when they travel to the state capitol to lobby for work-friendly legislation, those lawmakers take notice and listen since they usually just see corporate lobbyists,” said UFCW Local 1428 President Mark Ramos. “Our members are powerful advocates and messengers for good legislation.”
May 13, 2019
On May 11, UFCW locals turned out in full force to collect non-perishable food made by union members for local food banks as part of the 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. This is the fourth year that the UFCW has partnered with the National Association of Letter Carriers to sponsor this campaign, which is the largest single-day food drive in the country.
In the last 25 years with support from UFCW and other organizations, the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected 1.5 billion pounds of food that was donated to local food banks and other organizations, helping to feed the more than 46 million Americans who struggle with hunger.
Here are a few images, including a video, from this year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive:
May 6, 2019
Across New England, 31,000 UFCW members at Stop & Shop grocery stores won a powerful victory by successfully approving strong new contracts following a historic 11-day walkout to protest cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.
Members of UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island ratified the new contracts by an overwhelming margin in votes held April 24 through May 1. The new agreements preserve health care and retirement benefits, provide wage increases, and maintain time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.
Negotiations with Stop & Shop received national attention for being one of the most important work stoppages in the grocery industry in recent memory and a powerful win to protect good jobs.
UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445 and 1459 worked together throughout negotiations with the company and issued the following joint statement: “We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop.”
“It’s exciting to be back to normal, but it’s also exciting to know how much our community cares about good jobs,” said Nicole, a UFCW member who works at Stop & Shop. “We’re all a lot stronger now.”
May 6, 2019
On May 2, more than 20,000 members of UFCW Local 7 who work at King Soopers, City Market, Safeway and Albertsons in Colorado and Wyoming ratified new contracts that strengthen pay and protect health care benefits.
The three-year contracts include better wages, including pay raises retroactive to the end of the previous contract; good health care benefits, including better dental benefits; and pension protections for 12,000 retirees and those still working. The contracts also include significant language gains, including safety and protections pertaining to automation and the advancement of technology; credit for military service as work experience; more time off to ensure the safety of victims of domestic abuse or stalking; and easier access to first-day sick leave so food workers can stay healthy on the job. Safeway meat warehouse workers also won significant wage increases, double time on all holidays and the elimination of the entire two-tier system.
“These hard-working women and men stood together for better lives and a better place to work,” said UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova. “Together, our new contracts will provide pay raises for every worker, good health care and retirement benefits, and a safer workplace. Making each store a better place to work also makes it a better place to shop. Strong customer service is what made these companies successful and we are pleased these contracts invest in the workers who proudly serve our communities every day.”
May 6, 2019
UFCW Local 1000 members recently hosted eight endorsed Dallas candidates for city council and mayor at local Kroger stores for tours and one-on-one discussions with workers ahead of the city’s May 4 election.
Each candidate spent an hour walking through a store and talking with UFCW Local 1000 members one-on-one about the issues affecting their lives. Candidates learned about the issues our members care about, as well as how critical our union is in representing those members at the workplace and why it’s so important to have a union grocery store in their communities. The events were a way to make sure that local elected officials heard directly from the workers they hope to represent.
Anthony Elmo, political and communications director for UFCW Local 1000, asked that any candidate seeking the union’s endorsement take the time to visit an area worksite so they could hear directly from their membership.
“Elected officials should campaign for votes where hard-working families bring home the bacon,” Elmo said. “They need to meet us on the shop floor and understand our issues.”
Chad West, who won the open seat in Dallas City Council District 1, left the visit with a deeper understanding of our union and the workers we represent.
“It was great getting to talk with people in my district who live and work in this community. The majority of the people in my district are working people and it’s good to know that they have a union like UFCW Local 1000 looking out for their best interests and engaging them in the political process,” West said. “I look forward to working with Local 1000 and representing your membership as a member of the Dallas City Council for years to come.”
One of the most important issues was the paid sick leave ordinance that the Dallas City Council passed by a 10 to 4 vote on April 24, which requires employers to credit their employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. Members at every stop let the candidates know how they felt about this important issue in advance of the election, and UFCW Local 1000 member Candice Oglesby, who works full-time as a florist at Kroger in Oak Cliff, was interviewed by ABC News 8 about the ordinance.
Local 1000 members played an integral role in pushing for the Dallas ordinance over the last year, working with coalition partners from local unions and community groups. The ordinance is likely to face legal challenges, as well as an attempt by the state legislature to nullify the law, but the hard-fought victory was a huge win for working people in Dallas.
“Paid sick time in Dallas is an amazing victory for grocery workers. Our members will directly benefit from this policy as the new floor for future contract negotiations,” said Elmo.