September 29, 2016
On Sept. 19, Seattle’s City Council passed a historic Secure Scheduling Ordinance by a vote of 9-0. The new scheduling law will require all retail, grocery and food businesses in Seattle with 500 or more employees to provide their employees with their work schedules two weeks in advance and offer existing part-time employees more hours before hiring more workers. The law will also provide workers with a right to request desired shifts, compensation for last minute scheduling changes, and prohibit back-to-back closing and opening shifts. Members of UFCW Local 21 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.
UFCW Local 21 members testified at every city council hearing, lobbied their elected officials, made hundreds of phone calls, and participated in numerous actions. Seattle’s Secure Scheduling Ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2017.
“Now that we won secure scheduling, I’ll have basic economic security and good workplace scheduling practices,” said Christiano Steele, a UFCW Local 21 grocery worker. “It will allow me to not have to struggle to make ends meet and have a reasonable work-life balance”
September 14, 2016
On September 7, the St. Paul City Council passed the Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance by a vote of 7-0, joining Minneapolis and dozens of other cities nationwide that mandate earned sick leave. Members of UFCW Local 1189 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.
“The ability to earn and use sick time in the city of St. Paul is a huge step toward creating healthier workplaces and healthier lives,” said UFCW Local 1189 President Jennifer Christensen. “I am proud of the tireless work done by our state’s unions. Bennie Hesse, Local 1189 legislative and political director, was a leader in the crusade, working with Union Steward (and Executive Board Member) Dennis Reeves to provide important testimony to the city council on the need for paid sick and safe time for grocery workers.”
Members of UFCW Local 1189 served on a task force put together by the city council and mayor for a year and worked with a coalition of advocates and other labor groups to raise awareness about this issue. The Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017 for businesses in St. Paul with at least 24 employees. Smaller businesses will have to comply by Jan. 1, 2018.
August 9, 2016
Every year, we celebrate Labor Day to honor working people and all their contributions to our country and its middle class. The UFCW is made up of hard-working men and women who serve in our communities at retail and grocery stores, meatpacking and processing plants, and countless other facilities across multiple industries.
This year, the UFCW International is hosting its first ever Labor Day art contest, to celebrate working people with something made by working people!
UFCW members and their children are eligible to enter an original work of art to be in the running for a $500 Visa gift card AND have their artwork framed and displayed at the DC labor Fest in the fall! The winning piece will also be available for all UFCW locals and members at our online UFCW Store. Two runners up will receive $50 Visa gift cards, as well.
To enter, send us a high resolution photo image of your art at www.ufcw.org/contest. Your submission must have a Labor Day theme.
The deadline to submit is August 25th, and winners will be notified by August 29th.
This is your chance to showcase what you think Labor Day is all about while showing off your creative skills—we can’t wait to see what you can do!
August 2, 2016
Reposted from UFCW Local 400
Nation’s capital will join Seattle and San Francisco to become third major city to enact $15 minimum wage
On Tuesday, July 21, the District of Columbia City Council passed historic legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour in a major victory for the “Fight For $15” movement. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has pledged to sign the bill, which will make the nation’s capital the third major city to pass a $15 minimum wage, along with Seattle and San Francisco.
The $15 hourly wage could impact as many as 114,000 working people in the District, or around 14 percent of the city’s workforce, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute.
On July 1st, the city’s minimum wage will increase from $10.50/hour to $11.50/hour under previous legislation championed by Local 400 and others. The new bill will provide annual increases to the minimum wage beginning in 2017 until it reaches $15/hour in 2020. After that, it will be adjusted for inflation each year.
Yearly Minimum Wage Increases in Washington, D.C.
July 2016 – $11.50
July 2017 – $12.50
July 2018 – $13.25
July 2019 – $14.00
July 2020 – $15.00
Local 400 has been leading the Fight for $15 in the District of Columbia and other states where our members live and work. But while we praise the D.C. Council members and Mayor Bowser for enacting the $15 minimum wage, we’ve also called on them to take two other steps essential to improve the lives of D.C. workers:
Pass Just Hours legislation (also known as the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act) to guarantee stable hours and predictable scheduling for men and women working in chain restaurants and retail stores in the District.
Pass the Universal Paid Leave Act to help low-wage workers safeguard themselves and their families in the event they are without income for an extended period.
“While wage increases are a crucial and necessary step, wages alone are not enough to give every hardworking District resident a fair shot at a better life,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “We look forward to seeing the Council demonstrate this same leadership in passing Just Hours legislation, which will guarantee District workers won’t struggle with too few hours on too short notice, as well as Paid Family Leave, which will bring the U.S. up to speed with other developed nations by providing reasonable accommodations to workers who choose to start a family.
“It’s important that all workers earn the income that would allow them to support a family—and that their jobs provide the predictability and flexibility that allow them to actually raise a family,” Federici said. “That’s why paid leave and fair scheduling practices are so essential—because parents must be empowered to both provide for and be present for their children.”
Do you live or work in Washington, D.C.?
Call the city council at (202) 724-8000 and Mayor Muriel Bowser at (202) 727-2643 and urge them to pass the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act and the Universal Paid Leave Act.
For the latest information on each bill, visit dcjusthours.org and dcpaidfamilyleave.org.
July 19, 2016
(l to r) Local 1102 Rep. Mayra Valladares, Elsa Barrera, and Local 1102 Rep. Jeff Guardado.
The RWDSU/UFCW is part of the New York Union Child Care Coalition, a group of unions that developed and promoted the Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project to help provide affordable child care for working families in the state. By working with New York State Senators Jeff Klein and Diane Savino, the RWDSU/UFCW was instrumental in helping to establish the program.
And RWDSU/UFCW members are starting to benefit. Elsa Barrera is a Local 1102 member and a mother of three. On top of her dedication to raising her three children, Elsa also works full-time at Flying Foods – an airplane food service supplier – at JFK airport. Barrera has received a grant from the program, and will be able to send two of her children to a camp program for the summer at nearly no cost. This support will help Elsa make ends meet and help her children receive the care and security they deserve.
“Workers like Elsa are truly deserving of this kind of grant,” said RWDSU/UFCW Deputy Political Director Jessica Garcia. “This program will help many others provide for their families while ensuring their children get quality care.”
Other RWDSU/UFCW members at Macy’s and H&M have also seen their child care costs drastically reduced thanks to the program.
July 18, 2016
The following text appears in a full page ad in Monday’s New York Times:
It is during times of horrific tragedy that we are tested as a nation.
The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of those sworn to protect are the latest shocking examples of a justice system that is broken. A system in which the lives of too many African Americans are needlessly cut down, families are destroyed, and communities are torn apart.
The deaths of five brave Dallas police officers – Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa – who were simply protecting the rights of those speaking out against the deaths of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile, prove that hate will poison the soul and lead to evil acts.
For all the families that must now endure the indescribable loss of their loved ones, and for the communities that bear the scars of anger and division, these deaths must never be forgotten.
It is why we must confront the difficult truths that our policing system and our justice system are not color blind.
That the scourge of racism has not disappeared.
That inequality, joblessness, crime, and poverty affect not just tens of millions of Americans, but disproportionately victimize minorities.
That countless African Americans and other people of color are the victims to those few bad police officers that do not see a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, or a daughter, but merely a statistic.
It is also why we must embrace, as a nation, that the lives of black Americans do matter. Those of us who are not black should not take offense to these words, but honestly ask ourselves: What would we say if we witnessed, time and time again, the lives of our neighbors, friends, and loved ones stolen by those sworn to protect?
And while we must open our eyes and ears to the prejudice that exists, we cannot allow ourselves to believe that every police officer is prejudiced – for we know that is not true.
To bridge this divide, and to build the trust we need between all groups, we must talk openly about these issues, and our entire nation must listen.
In the spirit of the recent White House meetings and townhall that President Obama held to discuss these difficult issues, and the profound decision to simulcast this townhall on ESPN and ABC, we believe an incredible opportunity exists to build on this effort and hold a national summit on justice.
As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.
It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.
To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.
While no one event will stop every incidence of hate or injustice, we believe that by coming together, in such a public and historic fashion, we can send a powerful message to the American people that we stand united against all forms of hate and violence.
Most importantly, we can begin to learn from each other that how we act, what we voice in public, and how we judge each other, does truly matter.
While some may question the timing or the need for such a dramatic national event, we must realize this: If we do not begin to openly confront these issues, publicly and privately, we will forsake the future of this great nation.
As a nation, we are better than this, so let us now prove it.
July 15, 2016
In March, employees at eight Giant stores represented by Local 400 – six in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and two in Southern Maryland – were told their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based grocery store Delhaize. These proposed store sales threatened the better wages, benefits and grocery store experience that the Giant stores provide to the local community.
Which is why Local 400 members who work at Giant, their loyal customers and community leaders banded together to help make people see that selling these stores was a bad idea. Through a series of rallies, public meetings and marches, they sent a clear message that the local community didn’t want these grocery stores and the good jobs they provide to be sold away.
“I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area,” said Robyn Wheeler, a Local 400 member who has worked at Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years.
In addition to organizing public events that drew attention to the negative aspects of the proposal to sell the local grocery stores, Local 400 members also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits and competition.
Treesa Shipp, a Local 400 member who works at the Giant in Stafford said, “Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process and were able to stop our store from being sold. They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and work hard to make it successful every single day.”
July 8, 2016
Reposted from UFCW Local 400
Violent flooding has devastated thousands of households in West Virginia. Pitch in today to help a Local 400 family who has lost everything.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington Western River Flood Punt Team provides lifejackets to locals near Clendenin, West Virginia, June 24, 2016. The team is assisting the West Virginia State Emergency Operation Center by providing disaster and relief assistance in response to the widespread flooding. U.S. Coast Guard photo
Imagine losing your home, your car – even your loved ones – after a typical summer rain storm quickly turned into a devastating flood. Imagine clinging to your children for hours while you await rescue, watching helplessly as your family home floats away in violent flood waters.
This is the reality facing thousands of families in West Virginia.
At Local 400, at least 18 members and their families have been affected. Thirteen families have had their homes and vehicles completely destroyed, their hometowns nearly washed off the map. Others have lost vehicles, clothing and family heirlooms. Everyone has weeks of clean up yet to come.
Pitch in now to help a family who has lost everything. Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to a family in Local 400 who has had their home devastated by the flood.
This is a time to come together as a union family and support our brothers and sisters in need. Many communities will never be the same. At least 22 people have lost their lives as a result of the disaster. Even today, clean up and rescue efforts are still ongoing as subsequent tornadoes and thunderstorms continue to hamper first responders.
The impact of this devastation will be felt for years to come. But right now, you can help our fellow union members get back on their feet. Pitch in to help a Local 400 family today.
Your tax-deductible donation will be processed through the West Virginia AFL-CIO Disaster Relief Fund and given directly to a Local 400 family in need.
Together, we will get through this. We are a union family and we will be there for each other.
June 14, 2016
Story shared in front of 5,000 at White House United State of Women Summit
Ariana with actress and activist Kerry Washington
Washington, D.C. – Today, Ariana Davis, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) member from Local 21 in Seattle, Washington, shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Oprah at the White House United State of Women Summit.
“The power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents,” said Ariana Davis. “I am respected by workers and managers alike. I am a force in my community. And it’s because I don’t stand alone – I am in a movement with grocery workers and steelworkers and teachers. Together, we have a voice. Together, we can make change.”
The White House United State of Women Summit was put together to provide solutions to key gender equality issues. In 38% of households, women are the primary breadwinners. When women earn less than men for no reason, it negatively impacts families in every community. Working to solve gender equality questions will help hard-working people to live better lives.
- 8 million women in America belong to a union.
- A union contract offers a way to give women both equal pay and an equal say in their workplace.
- Union membership boosts wages for all workers—but women experience especially large advantages.
- The wage gap among union members is less than half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers, and female union members typically earn $230 more per week than women who are not represented by unions—a larger wage premium than men receive.
UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Learn more about the UFCW www.ufcw.org
June 1, 2016
This year, UFCW members and locals played an active role in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. The following photos are just a a fraction of the astounding donations of non-perishable food and time volunteered by UFCW folks in their communities. (Click to advance)