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    News and Updates

February 5, 2018

UFCW Applauds Decision to Reject Push to End Poultry Line Speed Limits

On Jan. 30, UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to deny the National Chicken Council’s (NCC) petition to eliminate line speed limits at poultry plants.

Thousands of UFCW members who work in poultry plants sent comments to the USDA about the dangers of this petition. The UFCW also sent letters in October and December of 2017 to the USDA that highlighted how risky the NCC petition to eliminate line speeds would be for both workers and consumers.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“This decision is a victory for hard-working poultry workers who hold one of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America, and the consumers who depend upon them to provide chicken that is safe to eat. However, we remain concerned that poultry companies can request line speed waivers for individual plants.

“In addition to putting poultry workers at greater risk of injury, eliminating line speeds puts consumers at risk by making it more difficult for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination.

“It was unbelievable to see major poultry industry groups ignore these well-known risks and lobby the USDA to eliminate line speeds.”


January 30, 2018

Local 1546 Helps Make the Super Bowl Happen

Did you know the leather for every single NFL football, including the ones that will be used in Sunday’s Super Bowl, is crafted in Chicago by members of UFCW Local 1546 at the Horween Leather Company? The hard-working men and women of Horween have been making the leather for every official National Football League ball since the early 1940s. Almost every leather football you see — Wilson, Spalding, Nike, Rawlings, Adidas — began its journey to the field in the hands of a UFCW Local 1546 member.

The company takes pride in the talented workers whose skills are evident in the quality of the final product. Despite the leather’s sheen, which can give the appearance of being slippery, the proprietary “tanned in tack” finish actually means the ball gets stickier after being buffed a few times, making it easier to grip. A 1,000-ton press with special German-made embossing plates gives the leather its distinctive pebbling.

Horween Leather Company was founded in 1905 in Chicago and for five generations has been producing a wide range of top quality leathers ever since. During World War II, it was Horween who supplied Chromexcel for shoes worn by the Marine Corps. Chromexcel is a labor-intensive leather that undergoes at least 89 separate processes, taking 28 working days and utilizing all five floors of the facility. The formula has had very few changes since it was developed, with a few minor necessary exceptions like swapping out whale oil for a more modern-day equivalent.

Horween is also one of the world’s last remaining producers of shell cordovan, a durable equine leather. Shell cordovan is unique for its durability and tendency to form attractive rolls in the leather as it ages rather than creasing. Allen Edmonds, a 92-year-old shoemaker based in Wisconsin, uses this leather in its Park Avenue Cordovan Oxfords, which Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wore for their inaugurations. The leather in a properly maintained pair of shell cordovan shoes can last 20 years to a lifetime.


January 29, 2018

Local 400 and Allies Call on Virginia Legislators to Expand Medicaid, Increase Minimum Wage

On Jan. 24, UFCW Local 400 and allies called on Virginia legislators to expand Medicaid and increase the state’s minimum wage to $15. Participants at the rally also called on state legislators to provide access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants working in Virginia.

The rally, which took place in Richmond, was organized by Take Action Virginia, an alliance of organizations that includes UFCW Local 400, as well as 32BJ SEIU, SEIU Virginia 512, CASA in Action, LiUNA! Mid-Atlantic, NAKASEC Action Fund, UNITE HERE Local 23, and UNITE HERE Local 25. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Senators Scott Surovell and Rosalyn Dance, and Delegates Jennifer Boysko and Marcus Simon also attended the rally.

“The federal minimum wage has been frozen for nearly 10 years,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici. “We have a president who has never had to work a day in his life – but somehow thinks $7.25 an hour is too high – and a Republican-controlled Congress that is only interested in giving tax breaks to the wealthiest few. It’s up Virginia lawmakers to do the right thing and boost the wage floor for hard-working men and women, like so many other states and local municipalities have done.”


January 29, 2018

Local 1000 Hosts Oklahoma Political Conference

UFCW Local 1000, alongside the Legislative and Political Action Department, hosted a political conference in Oklahoma City on Jan. 24. This is the first time UFCW Local 1000 sponsored such a event in Oklahoma.

Almost a dozen elected members of the Oklahoma Legislature met with Local 1000 members and staff to discuss the issues affecting the working men and women of the UFCW across Oklahoma, including country of origin labeling, paid sick days, cannabis, and health care. The state representatives and senators in attendance included two newly elected members of the legislature, Rep. Jacob Rosencrans and Sen. Alison Ikley-Freeman, who were elected in special elections where UFCW support was key.

January 29, 2018

Presbyterian Home for Central New York Workers Join Local One

Presbyterian Home for Central New York workers are proud to be a part of our growing UFCW health care family.

On Jan. 19, workers at Presbyterian Home for Central New York in New Hartford, New York, voted in favor of joining UFCW Local One’s Professional and Health Care Division.  The unit consists of licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, as well as housekeepers, secretaries, and service, maintenance, and dietary workers.

“We are delighted to welcome our newest members from the Presbyterian Home,” said UFCW Local One President Frank DeRiso.  “This organizing committee had to endure an onslaught of anti-union efforts, unfair labor practice charges, illegal captive audience meetings, benefit promises and more. It’s nice to see that they stuck together and worked so hard for this.”

January 22, 2018

Local 1149 and JBS Donate to Local Schools in Iowa

UFCW Local 1149 Vice President and Walking Steward Mike Graves (left) and JBS Human Resources Director Stacey Santillan (right) present a check to Fisher Elementary School Principal Mark Lee.

UFCW Local 1149 and JBS USA gave back to the Marshalltown, Iowa, community by providing $1,000 donations to six local elementary schools on Jan. 3. This is the second year that UFCW Local 1149 and JBS USA have donated to elementary schools in the Marshalltown Community School District.

The donations, which come from a multicultural fund created by the UFCW and JBS USA, will be used to fund technology, literacy curriculum, playground equipment and other items for local elementary school children.

Mike Graves, UFCW Local 1149 vice president and walking steward at JBS, and Stacey Santillan, director of Human Resources at JBS USA, delivered the checks to all six elementary school principals.

“It’s something we wanted to do for the community,” Graves said.

“We’re proud that our good union jobs allow us to partner with JBS to help kids in our community,” said UFCW Local 1149 President Roger Kail.

January 22, 2018

UFCW Plays Major Role at AFL-CIO MLK Conference

Representative Al Green (center) poses with Robin Williams (left) and Marc Perrone (right).

The UFCW’s Civil Rights and Community Action Department (CRCA), along with UFCW Locals 455 and 540, played a significant role in shaping the agenda of the AFL-CIO’s 2018 MLK Conference, which took place on Jan. 12 to 15 in Houston.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone, Vice President and CRCA Director Robin Williams, CRCA Field Programs Coordinator Karina Lopez and CRCA Field Campaign Coordinator and Trainer Angel Gonzalez attended the conference, which revolved around the theme of “Reclaiming the Dream: Strategize, Organize, Mobilize.” Williams spoke at the conference and Lopez and Gonzalez helped to lead workshops around the issues of immigration reform, equity and inclusion, as well as right to work and the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court Janus v. AFSCME case. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas 18th District), Al Green (D-Texas 9th District), Gene Green (D-Texas 29th District) and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner also attended.

“We’ve seen people rise up in new ways against corporate greed, poverty wages, racial injustice, illegal travel bans, bathroom bills and attacks on our free press,” Williams said. “These uprisings are happening all over the nation. They relate to our lives both at work and in our communities. But is all of this enough to reclaim the dream that Dr. King and countless others fought and died for? We must strategize, organize and mobilize. It is then and only then that we can say we have done our part to reclaim the dream.”

International Vice President and Director of Region 5 Milton Jones, International Vice President and President of UFCW Local 455 William Hopkins, and members and representatives from UFCW Locals 455 and 540 also attended the conference. The conference featured a day of service in honor of Dr. King’s birthday, and UFCW Local 455 coordinated with local Kroger stores to provide the over 800 conference participants with lunch boxes, which were delivered by members UFCW Locals 455 and 540 to the various volunteer sites, including the Hudson Food Bank, Buckner Family Hope Center and Bethel Church.


January 22, 2018

UFCW Responds to USDA Decision to Eliminate Line Speed Limits at Pork Plants

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement on Jan. 19 in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to eliminate line speed limits at pork plants. This latest announcement follows the recent regulatory effort to remove line speed limits for the poultry industry.

The UFCW represents hard-working men and women in pork plants that have already had their line speed limits eliminated as part of a trial program, as well as people who are in plants that run profitably with line speed limits in place. According to a 2013 report from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, the existing trial program did not result in better food safety.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“This desire to increase line speeds is being driven entirely by corporate greed and defies common sense.

“Jobs inside pork plants are some of the most dangerous and difficult in America. We’re only putting workers at greater risk of injury and consumers at greater risk of consuming unsafe meat by asking everyone who labors inside one to work faster.

“For the sake of keeping millions of hard-working families safe, this decision deserves immediate reconsideration.”


January 22, 2018

Wild Oats Market Co-op Workers in Massachusetts Ratify First Contract

Meghan Rusk works in the deli department at Wild Oats Market Co-op.

On Jan. 5, 40 workers at Wild Oats Market Co-op in Williamstown, Massachusetts, ratified their first contract with UFCW Local 1459.

The three-year contract includes vacation accrual for all workers, new health and safety protections, annual wage increases, and a labor management committee to increase transparency and strengthen the voices of the workers.

“We came together to improve conditions for all workers at Wild Oats Market,” said Karen Kane, a Wild Oats Market Co-op worker and negotiating team member. “This contract provides a solid foundation to give workers a voice and a better life working at our community-owned grocery store.”

January 16, 2018

UFCW Calls for a Better America on MLK Day

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement that called on our leaders to honor Dr. King’s legacy by building a better nation for all Americans.

The statement reads as follows:

“This is a particularly important time to reflect on Dr. King’s pursuit of inclusivity and allow it to inspire our enthusiasm for the same ideals. He showed that change for the better and compassion for others starts with all of us. When we stand up for our values and become actively involved in positive action, we can build a better nation and a better life for the many, not just the few.”

“It would be a fitting tribute to Dr. King and his legacy in 2018 if our country and those who lead us could begin moving beyond divisions, and towards an America that is defined by justice, dignity, and respect.”