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    News and Updates

March 18, 2019

Locals Lobby to Protect Workers’ Rights

UFCW locals are holding lobby days at their state legislatures to protect the rights of our members and all workers in their respective states.

UFCW Locals 75 and 227 are taking a stand against an anti-worker insurance bill, which is moving in both chambers of the Kentucky State Legislature (HB 317 and SB 171). This legislation would cut the amount of a worker’s weekly unemployment insurance benefits by 25 percent every five weeks. This legislation would also cut the number of weeks that a worker could receive these benefits from 26 to 20 weeks, which would have an adverse effect on Kentuckians who live in economically distressed communities and need more time to find a suitable new job. In February, both locals also lobbied together in support of another piece of legislation to protect workers in the state–the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act (SB 18), which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, including more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth or a temporary transfer to less strenuous duties.

“Providing common sense accommodations for pregnant workers is just that, common sense,” said UFCW Local 75 President Kevin Garvey. “I applaud the members of the Kentucky Legislature for taking an important step towards ensuring babies are born healthy and avoiding unnecessary medical complications for Kentucky’s working mothers.”

UFCW Local 227 also joined together with UFCW Local 700 in a day of action at the Indiana State Legislature last month in support of similar legislation–the Pregnant Workers’ Bill of Rights. This legislation has been introduced in both chambers (HB 1073 and SB 590) and would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a pregnant job applicant or employee. This legislation would also require an employer to provide reasonable employment accommodations for a pregnant employee, including giving them breaks from sitting or standing for long hours and helping them avoid chemicals, radiation, or other hazardous substances.

“Pregnancy accommodation is good for workers and good for business; family-friendly workplaces see increased productivity, loyalty, and retention of employees,” said UFCW Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning. “Twenty-three states have already passed laws to provide a clear and consistent standard for employers.”

“Most accommodations are free or low cost but are invaluable for the hard-working women and their families who will benefit,” said UFCW Local 227 President Bob Blair. “The personal stories and passion for this issue is what will move the legislation.”


March 18, 2019

Darling Ingredients Workers Stand Together for a Better Life

Members of UFCW Local 7 who work at Darling Ingredients in Denver ratified a new contract on Feb. 1 that increases wages and secures pensions. The workers at Darling Ingredients process beef, poultry and pork by-products into sustainable food, feed and fuel ingredients, which are used by pharmaceutical, food, pet food, feed, fuel, bio-energy and fertilizer industries around the world.

The new three-year agreement covers workers in the inedible and edible divisions and includes wage increases for each year of the agreement, which will amount to an increase of $1.50 per hour during the third year of the contract. The new agreement also increases the employer contribution to the pension plan, and adds five days of paid funeral leave. Workers in the edible division will also receive earlier eligibility for health care coverage.

March 18, 2019

UFCW Calls on Congress to Solve Multiemployer Pension Crisis

On March 7, UFCW International President Marc Perrone called on Congress to pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397). Without action by Congress now, this crisis will be much more expensive to fix in the future. Perrone’s statement was issued the same day as the House Education and Labor Committee hearing on the solvency of multiemployer pensions.

The UFCW has been a strong national advocate for pension reform and supports the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act because it is a common sense way to shore up multiemployer plans while protecting the earned pensions of retirees and active workers.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“America’s promise has always been that anyone who works hard can build a better life for themselves and their family. When the retirement savings of millions of Americans is in jeopardy after they’ve worked hard their entire lives, that promise is being broken.

“Keeping that promise starts with protecting the pensions of today’s workers and retirees and making the strong investments needed to ensure the retirement security of generations to come.

“The time is now for Congress to pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act to protect these pensions before the crisis becomes even more costly and widespread. The retirement security for millions of workers and their families is on the line. We can’t wait any longer.”

March 11, 2019

Macy’s Workers Stand Together for a Better Life

On Feb. 28, members of UFCW Local 1445 staged a rally at the Macy’s store in Downtown Crossing in Boston to show support for Macy’s members in Massachusetts and Rhode Island who are trying to secure a better contract with the company. Members of UFCW Local 400 and the RWDSU, as well as a large and enthusiastic group of friends, supporters, customers and allies, also attended the rally. Together, they called on Macy’s to provide these hard-working women and men with the wages and benefits they have earned and deserve. The rally also highlighted the hard work and commitment our Macy’s members in Boston, Braintree, Natick, Peabody and Saugus, Massachusetts, and Warwick, Rhode Island, have invested in this company.

This rally is part of a coordinated effort by UFCW Locals 5, 21, 367, 400 and 1445 and RWDSU Locals 1-S and 3 to build bargaining power for 10,000 members of our union family who work at Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s leading up to negotiations with the company in 2019 and during the next two years. During the Macy’s rally in Boston, locals that represent Macy’s workers in other parts of the country handbilled the union Macy’s stores in their areas or posted supportive messages on social media in a show of solidarity.

UFCW Locals 5, 367 and 1445 are engaged in bargaining with Macy’s this year. RWDSU Local 1-S will negotiate a new contract with Macy’s in 2020, and RWDSU Local 3 and UFCW Locals 21 and 400 will negotiate new contracts in 2021.

March 11, 2019

UFCW Responds to Whole Foods Cutting Worker Hours

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement on March 6 in response to news that Whole Foods cut workers’ hours after its parent company, Amazon, enacted a wage increase for employees.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“The reports of Amazon’s Whole Foods cutting worker hours is the worst case of bait and switch I’ve ever seen. Just months ago, they told the American people and their workers that they were raising their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. But now it appears that this was all a public relations stunt as they are now cutting worker hours – which is a cruel pay cut, plain and simple.

“More than ever, it is clear Jeff Bezos’s retail vision is focused on driving up profits at any cost by cutting hours and replacing good jobs and skilled hard-working employees with automation. It is time for the American people to wake up to the fact that Amazon’s vision, left unchecked, will cost us millions of good retail jobs. The men and women of Whole Foods have earned the right to a better life, and they deserve so much better than the treatment they are receiving from Amazon.”

March 5, 2019

UFCW Responds to Amazon’s Plan to Open New Grocery Chain

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement on March 1 in response to news that Amazon will be launching a new grocery chain.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Make no mistake, Amazon’s new and ruthless supermarket strategy is its latest salvo bent on destroying good American jobs to enrich one billionaire – Jeff Bezos.

“Amazon isn’t about providing better food or customer service, and it certainly is not about fair competition. Launching this grocery chain is an aggressive expansion of Amazon’s market power as it seeks to fundamentally change our country’s food retail and service economy while eliminating as many retail workers as possible.

“It is time that Republicans and Democrats realize that Amazon’s predatory business model is wrong for this nation and will needlessly destroy millions of jobs in every state in this country. Our leaders need to stop fawning over Jeff Bezos’ wealth and wake up to the serious threat Amazon’s business model poses to consumers, the economy, and our society.”

March 4, 2019

A Better Contract for Dietz and Watson Workers

UFCW Local 152 members at Dietz and Watson in Philadelphia ratified a new contract on Feb. 10 that increases wages and preserves health care benefits. UFCW Local 152 represents about 460 workers at Dietz and Watson who make premium meats and artisan cheeses, including Italian specialties like sopressata and salami.

The three-year agreement, which was approved by an overwhelming margin, includes yearly, across the board wage increases for the life of the contract, and preserves affordable health care. The agreement also includes longevity increases, additional earned time off, and other benefits.

February 19, 2019

Arett Sales Workers Stand Together for a Better Life

Members of UFCW Local 919 who work at Arett Sales in Bristol, Connecticut, recently ratified a first union contract that raises wages and improves working conditions. The 41 workers, who work in the warehouse distribution division of Arett Sales, joined UFCW Local 919 last May because they were concerned about harsh treatment by management, unsafe working conditions, poor wages and forced overtime. Arett Sales Corporation is a distributor of lawn, garden, home and holiday supplies.

The three-and-a-half-year agreement includes new scheduling language that allows employees the benefit of knowing day-to-day when they can go home, guaranteed raises twice a year during every year of the agreement, a ratification bonus, and strong seniority language to finally end favoritism.

February 19, 2019

UFCW Responds to Amazon Canceling NYC Location

On Feb. 14, UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement in response to Amazon’s decision to withdraw its plan to establish a new campus in New York City.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Amazon showed its true colors today and every American should be outraged. Jeff Bezos had the opportunity to listen to the voices of working families and support the good-paying jobs New Yorkers deserve.

“But now we can see this is all about blind greed and Jeff Bezos’ belief that everyday taxpayers should foot the bill for their new headquarters even as the company actively works to eliminate millions of American retail jobs.

“No company that refuses to invest in hard-working men and women should be allowed to stuff their pockets with taxpayer-funded subsidies. Make no mistake, this fight has only begun.”

February 11, 2019

Local 75 Helps Pass Good Food Purchasing Policy

UFCW Local 75 played an instrumental role in supporting the Cincinnati School Board’s passage of the Good Food Purchasing Program on Jan. 28. The program will leverage millions of public procurement dollars back into Cincinnati’s regional economy, while encouraging school food suppliers to provide healthier food that is ethically produced, locally sourced and environmentally friendly. The policy also protects workers’ rights to organize a union free from intimidation and helps ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their products.

UFCW Local 75 was part of a community-based coalition that included other unions, faith groups, and environmental and animal welfare organizations, which advocated for the program for over two years.  UFCW Local 75 also obtained the endorsement of the Good Food Purchasing Program from the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, and then secured pledges of support from school board candidates.

“We commend the Cincinnati Board of Education for passing the Good Food Purchasing Policy, which includes fair labor standards,” said UFCW Local 75 President Kevin Garvey. “The board took a strong step towards providing strong incentives for food companies receiving taxpayer dollars to pay their workers a living wage, provide strong protections against workplace hazards, and otherwise move towards adopting more sustainable food production practices in a manner that bolsters Cincinnati’s local economy.”

“This is a win for hard-working people, students, farmer-owned cooperatives and those companies that pay livable wages and provide dignity and respect on the job,” added Garvey.

“Many of the 1,000 or so people that work in surrounding plants have children attending Cincinnati public schools,” said Paige Stephens, who is a union representative at UFCW Local 75. “If more of the food contractors are incentivized to agree to labor peace agreements and collective bargaining, this will lower poverty rates and our students will experience more stability at home.”