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    News and Updates

August 14, 2017

Local 152 Bradley Beach Workers Ratify New Contract

On August 3, 23 members of UFCW Local 152 who work for the borough of Bradley Beach in Monmouth County, N.J., ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin. The Bradley Beach workers are employed in the borough’s public works department, municipal court, police dispatch, and code enforcement. The borough of Bradley Beach approved the ratified agreement on August 8.

The three-year contract addresses a pressing issue in the public sector in New Jersey—health care contributions. Under Governor Chris Christie, Chapter 78 was passed into law, which called for an increase in public sector workers’ contributions toward their health care and pensions. Despite this hurdle, UFCW Local 152 successfully negotiated a reduction in members’ health care contributions to 20 percent by the third and last year of the agreement.

August 8, 2017

Local 365 Member Honored for Helping Local Farm Workers

On July 19, WPEA /UFCW Local 365 member Jason Holland was honored with the Mother Jones Award from the Washington State Labor Council for his efforts to help local farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Wash., organize and secure a strong union contract. Holland works as an organizer and researcher at WPEA/UFCW Local 365.

The farm workers, from Oaxaca, Mexico, realized that there was strength in numbers and formed the first new farm worker union in the country in over 20 years—Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ). Using his law degree from Vanderbilt University, Holland supported FUJ’s efforts by writing the contract the workers would bring to the negotiating table. He also marched and protested alongside FUJ in solidarity, receiving no compensation for his work – besides knowing he stepped up to help fellow hard-working men and women in need of a strong union family.

As he accepted the Mother Jones Award, Holland reflected on his work with FUJ and how the experience changed his life. “When you see injustice, don’t just stand there and let it happen,” he said. “Take action.”

You can see Holland accept the Mother Jones Award here.

August 7, 2017

MCAW Responds to Walmart’s Proposal to Create Manufacturing Jobs

On July 28, Making Change At Walmart (MCAW) Director Randy Parraz issued a statement in response to Walmart’s release of a “Policy Roadmap to Renew U.S. Manufacturing,” which proposes policy actions to address barriers to U.S. manufacturing growth with the goal of creating jobs.

The statement reads as follows:

“Walmart doesn’t care about creating supplier manufacturing jobs in America, it cares about getting the cheapest product made regardless of the cost.

“The release of a ‘policy roadmap’ is a pathetic publicity stunt. Sadly, Walmart pretends to propose more U.S. manufacturing jobs at a time when its pressure is destroying them, like in Milton, Pa., and also at a time when it is recruiting more overseas vendors in China and other countries.

“If Walmart wants to create more American manufacturing – the answer is simple: buy American.”

August 7, 2017

Local 365 Member Honored for Helping Local Farm Workers

Photo courtesy of The Stand

On July 19, WPEA /UFCW Local 365 member Jason Holland was honored with the Mother Jones Award from the Washington State Labor Council for his efforts to help local farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Wash., organize and secure a strong union contract. Holland works as an organizer and researcher at WPEA/UFCW Local 365.

The farm workers, from Oaxaca, Mexico, realized that there was strength in numbers and formed the first new farm worker union in the country in over 20 years—Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ). Using his law degree from Vanderbilt University, Holland supported FUJ’s efforts by writing the contract the workers would bring to the negotiating table. He also marched and protested alongside FUJ members in solidarity, receiving no compensation for his work – besides knowing he stepped up to help fellow hard-working men and women in need of a strong union family.

As he accepted the Mother Jones Award, Holland reflected on his work with members of FUJ and how the experience changed his life. “When you see injustice, don’t just stand there and let it happen,” he said. “Take action.”

You can see Holland accept the Mother Jones Award here.

August 7, 2017

Don’t Delay! Register Today for the UFCW’s Free College Benefit

Registration for the first fall semester of the UFCW’s Free College Benefit is open until August 18. This amazing benefit makes it possible for UFCW members and their families to earn an Associate Degree online through Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) with no out-of-pocket costs or need for loans. Classes at EGCC are scheduled to start on August 21.

The UFCW’s Free College Benefit is designed to help UFCW members and their families balance work and home life. You can attend school part-time or full-time – whichever fits your schedule. All you need to get started is a high school degree or GED, and there are no entrance exams to worry about. Available programs at EGCC include Business Management, Accounting, Paralegal, and Early Childhood Education.

This benefit is available exclusively to UFCW members, retired members, and family members, including children, spouses, grandchildren, domestic partners, and dependents. You can learn more information about this amazing benefit here.  

 

August 7, 2017

Local 152 Beef International Workers Ratify New Contract

On July 7, 87 members of UFCW Local 152 who work at Beef International, Inc. in Pennsauken, N.J., ratified a new contract.

The five-year contract includes a ratification bonus, yearly wage increases, and continued 100 percent employer paid health care over the life of the agreement.

June 26, 2017

Supreme Court Sides with Macy’s Workers

On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Macy’s challenge to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding cosmetics and fragrances workers at a Macy’s store in Saugus, Mass., who are members of UFCW Local 1445. The Supreme Court decision recognizes that the Macy’s departments are appropriate bargaining units under well-established legal standards, and is a victory for the UFCW and other labor unions who organize segments of workers at companies, rather than the entire company.

The Macy’s cosmetics and fragrances workers joined UFCW Local 1445 in 2014 after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a 3-1 ruling that the group of over 40 workers was large enough to unionize. The NLRB’s ruling was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. The Macy’s store in Saugus employs over 100 workers.

“We are thrilled with the decision by the Supreme Court, and it is about time the workers in Saugus prevailed,” said Local 1445 President Jeff Bollen. “Our intention is to bring them a contract and use this victory as a tool to organize more workers at Macy’s.”

June 15, 2017

UFCW Locals Stand with LGBTQ Workers During Pride Month

Many UFCW Locals across the US and Canada are marching this June as part of LGBT Pride Month. Working in partnership with UFCW OUTreach, UFCW Locals are committed to leveling the playing field in our contracts and our laws.

2017 UFCW Pride Photos

Why March?

On June 28, 1969, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community fought back against police brutality at a New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Known as the Stonewall riots, many consider this to be the beginning of the modern day LGBT rights movement.

In commemoration of the historic Stonewall riots, June is now commonly recognized as LGBT Pride Month. Keep an eye out throughout the month for UFCW locals who will be holding events to stand with hardworking men and women everywhere who deserve respect and equal protection both on and off the job, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

 

May 26, 2017

Civil Rights and Labor: Two Movements, One Goal

by Richard Womack Sr. ,James Settles Jr.,Robin Williams
Originally published on the AFL-CIO blog

One of our most celebrated labor leaders, A. Philip Randolph, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, knew the connection between the labor movement and the civil rights movement was key to a truly inclusive democracy. He stood for access at the ballot box as well as to economic security—ideally through a good job with decent benefits and a union. Today, we find ourselves back in a place where our civil, economic, political and social rights are under constant attack. The violence we see against black youth—the heart-wrenching killing of Trayvon Martin, the homicide of Jordan Davis–the passage of “right to work” laws in states like Michigan, Missouri and Iowa that have deeply racist and divisive roots, and the constant attack on immigrant communities by the current administration affirm we still have work to do.

As trade unionists, labor leaders, parents and civil rights activists, we have dedicated our time, talent and resources to advancing the agenda for people who are simply working for a better life. We believe there has never been a more critical point in our nation’s history when it is so crucial for us to reconnect deeply the movement for working people with the movement for civil and human rights. We cannot forget that the March on Washington was about freedom, economic equity and good jobs. The intersection of human rights, civil rights and workers’ rights has always been a part of our struggles for independent power both here and abroad. We must continue to uplift those movements in an intersectional way to ensure we are able to win justice at the workplace and the ballot box to make a difference for those we serve.

This summer, one of the oldest and largest civil and human rights organizations, the NAACP, will come to the city of Baltimore for its annual convention. The NAACP has stood as a coalition partner to the labor movement since 1909. There are many organizations we as a movement value and partner with through shared program and the NAACP remains one of those core allies, despite the shifts that happen in the world around us. We have great leadership within both the labor movement and the NAACP. We have seen how powerful it is when leaders like AFT’s Lorretta Johnson stand shoulder to shoulder with the Rev. William Barber, leader of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference. We know our journey together must continue as we fight to assure that “the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”

We must expand our vision by creating solidarity without borders so that working people will be treated with the respect we are due. Thus our history and our very purpose demand that we be in the forefront of the struggle to assure first-class citizenship to all people, of all colors, and all creeds without regard to sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Our struggles are one; our hopes are one; our dreams are one. The past is not dead, it’s not even past.

To participate in the 2017 NAACP Labor Luncheon in Baltimore, please click here: cvent.com/d/n5q3qx

James Settles Jr., also known as Jimmy, serves as a vice president and member of the Executive Board at the UAW. He is a national board member and Labor Committee vice-chair of the NAACP.

Robin Williams serves as the national vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). She is a national board member and Labor Committee vice-chair of the NAACP.

Richard Womack Sr. is the emeritus assistant to the AFL-CIO president and former director of the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department. He is a national board member and Labor Committee chair of the NAACP.

April 28, 2017

UFCW President Perrone makes case for higher workplace safety standards

Safety is a right, not a privilege

 

In recognition of Workers Memorial Day, a day of remembrance of those who have lost their lives on the job, UFCW International President Marc spoke out about the need for workplace safety for everyone, regardless of where they work:

While we may debate many issues in this country, and our partisan divisions may be greater than ever, we must all agree that being safe and healthy at work should be a right, not a privilege.

Whether you work in a nursing home, on a construction site, in a retail store or a food processing plant, no hard-working man or woman should have to worry about being killed or injured in the workplace.

Headed down the wrong path

Perrone went on to express concern about the path the country is headed down when it comes to workplace safety:

Last month, President Trump signed a bill that eliminated the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule, which required federal contractors to report and correct major safety and other labor violations. The Trump administration also plans to shrink federal funding for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which would only make certain occupations and workplaces even more dangerous.

In fact, OSHA is already delaying enforcement of the crystalline silica standard that applies to the construction industry, and reversed an OSHA rule that clarified an employer’s responsibility to maintain accurate records of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Even these specific changes will make it difficult for OSHA to compile injury and illness records that are critical to identifying what jobs are dangerous, and which employers are failing to keep their workers safe.

Bad for business

The piece also points out how unsafe workplaces are not only bad for the people who work in them, but they’re bad for the businesses themselves:

While some will suggest that these are unnecessary regulations and a fiscal burden to businesses, the truth is that eliminating workplace safety measures is not only bad for workers, it’s also bad for businesses.

Unsafe workplaces cost companies money.

Insurance claims increase with increasing worker injuries. Employee absenteeism rises in unsafe and unhealthy workplaces. In fact, workers took an average of eight days to recuperate from workplace illnesses and injuries in 2015. Unsafe workplaces result in higher worker turnover and low employee morale. And, in today’s social media driven world, the reputation and brand impact from an unsafe workplace or a needless injury or death are significant.

Workers Memorial Day is an international day of remembrance every April 28th that calls attention to preventable workplace deaths, diseases, and injuries around the globe.  You can read the full piece by UFCW International President Marc Perrone on The Hill.