News and Updates
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
October 10, 2017
On Sept. 29, 90 workers at Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Delmar, Delaware, voted to join UFCW Local 27 by an overwhelming margin. The unit consists of all full-time and part-time Certified Nursing Assistants, as well as dietary, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance and PRN employees.
The workers were concerned about not receiving any raises over the last several years, unfair treatment by management, not having a voice on the job, understaffing, and questionable PTO calculations. Even though the company hired union busters and tried to intimidate some workers using fear tactics, the workers stood strong and formed a powerful organizing committee.
Three Certified Nursing Assistants at Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center expressed how grateful they were to have union representation.
“It feels awesome to have Local 27 be our representatives. We all feel like it will make a positive difference here at work. We’re now ready for the next step, which is to get a contract that we’re happy with,” said Tierra Griffith.
“It was a great learning experience for us. Thank God that we stood together in unity so that our voices will now be heard,” said Quayshetta Hopkins.
“All the work that we put in to form a union here at work was worth it; now, it’s time to get a great contract that we can be proud of,” said Latroya Robinson.
“The workers’ organizing committee worked hand-in-hand with Local 27’s organizing team, and they educated and inoculated their coworkers,” said Nelson Hill, UFCW Local 27 vice president and director of organizing. “I could not be happier with their efforts and the results of the election. We look forward to successful negotiations, which will translate to a brighter future for the workers there.”
“I’d like to thank and congratulate Nelson Hill and UFCW Local 27’s entire organizing team for all of their hard work in obtaining this great victory for the health care professionals working at Delmar Nursing and Rehab,” said UFCW Local 27 President Jason Chorpenning. “These hard- working men and women have dedicated their lives to caring for those in need, and now for the first time can enjoy the benefits and stability of a union contract. It’s sad to see so many people in this day and age going three to five years without wage increases, as well as having to endure the lack of dignity and constant disrespect from management. I am proud to welcome them into our union family and look forward to working hard to provide them with the best possible union contract we can get them. We will be negotiating to increase pay, improve their working conditions, provide job protection, and guarantee a future for all of these hard-working folks and their families.”
October 10, 2017
The workers were concerned about yearly pay increases, job security, the management team in the department, and wanted due process in the workplace. They were also in favor of UFCW Local 7’s employment and income security agreement, which ensures wages and benefits for one year from the time of job elimination, and has helped those affected by reorganizations and job eliminations find new positions.
October 10, 2017
On Oct. 4, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) ended its “2017 Trump & Walmart Make America Worse” tour at the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville. Tour organizers visited 30 college campuses from September 5 to October 4 to expose the shared values and agenda of Trump and Walmart, which promote the privatization of our public education system and profit from a low-wage economy. The campaign reached 1.6 million college students through digital ads at targeted campuses along the tour, and signed up over 2,500 students to join the campaign to stop the Trump and Walmart agenda.
A large part of the tour utilized social media, digital ads, student video interviews, and text messaging to effectively engage college students about the Trump and Walmart agenda and sign students up to the MCAW campaign. Tour organizers also asked students via an online survey if they think Trump and Walmart make America better or worse. Out of the 1,573 people who responded, 94 percent said worse, five percent said better, and only one percent didn’t answer.
“This tour gave us the opportunity to connect with students and leaders who will be key partners in promoting a culture that values where you shop and who you support,” said MCAW Director Randy Parraz.
October 10, 2017
UFCW Local 653 recently launched a successful Hustle pilot program with a few of its stewards to explore another way to increase member-to-member communication. Hustle is the one-on-one text messaging platform available to locals through the UFCW International.
UFCW Local 653 wrote a simple script to ask people to attend one of five regional meetings throughout the first week of October. It was preloaded into the app, along with a list of members. As a pilot program, each steward had a list of 100 members, and additional contacts ready if they had the ability to text more.
The script went as follows:
“Hi Coworker, this is Name, steward with our Union Local 653. We’re negotiating our contract ✊🏽 next year & having big meetings next week for us to work on winning together. www.meetingflier.link Will you join me Oct. 2nd 3rd or 4th?”
As each message was sent, Coworker and Name were automatically replaced by the names of all the members receiving the message and the name of the steward sending the messages. Even better, each member was able to respond individually and the steward was able to engage in a personalized, one-on-one text conversation.
Also included in the message was a Fist Emoji (Union Power!) to catch people’s attention and a link to an online flier so people could click for more information.
In total, five UFCW Local 653 stewards sent messages to 925 coworkers in only a few hours. Over 150 members responded to the messages, which is a very high response rate. The Hustle effort complemented the one-on-one conversations stewards were having with members to encourage high turnout to the regional meetings.
Paul Swanson, one of the UFCW Local 653 stewards who participated, said, “The preloaded messages with basic answers were pretty easy to use. I reached 100 members in less than 15 minutes. Fifteen to 20 members responded to me with additional questions that I was pleased to answer.”
Alex Kunau, another UFCW Local 653 steward, noted, “Hustle was very easy. It was simple, straightforward and I could zip through the contacts fast. It took me less than an hour to get through 200 contacts.”
“Ninety-nine percent of the people were happy to be contacted by a fellow union member,” he added.
UFCW Local 653 has plans to train all stewards in their local to use the Hustle app in 2018.