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August 2, 2016

District of Columbia Set to Enact $15 Minimum Wage

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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.”

Take Action

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

New York Child Care Grant Benefits RWDSU/UFCW Members

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(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

In NYT Ad, UFCW International Calls for Summit on Justice

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

Local 400 Members and Customers Come Together to Save Grocery Stores

13619871_1156147594406141_544955539235430165_nIn 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

Chip In To Help a Local 400 Family Devastated by Flooding

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.

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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.

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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

UFCW Member Explains Why Working Women Win With a Union

Story shared in front of 5,000 at White House United State of Women Summit 

 

Ariana with actress and activist Kerry Washington

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.

BACKGROUND:

  • 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.

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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

Stamp Out Hunger Recap

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)

Stamp Out Hunger

May 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton Meets with Retail Workers at UFCW Conference

In sit down with Sec. Clinton, retail workers talk about organizing and their fight for fair work practices 

(LAS VEGAS, NV) Today, Secretary Hillary Clinton met with hard-working retail workers from across the industry to discuss the  issues impacting them, their families, and co-workers.  During the meeting, the workers talked about their day-to-day challenges, including workplace intimidation, scheduling and unpredictable hours. The emotional visit with Clinton included workers from Albertson’s, Macy’s, El Super and Stater Bros.

The meeting with Flora Castaneda and Yolanda Pivaral, both El Super workers, was especially powerful as they highlighted the company’s ongoing intimidation and failure to recognize their right to negotiate a better life and a contract providing better wages and benefits. They have both worked to organize their stores and join the UFCW.

Sherry Hamilton, who works as a union representative at Macy’s, discussed that while UFCW  provides people with higher wages and protection, the non-union retail industry is still defined by unpredictable scheduling that makes it impossible to go to school, spend time with family, or have control over one’s life.

“I wanted Secretary Clinton to know how important joining a union was for me and my family. It’s the opportunity for a better life,” said Flora Castaneda, a UFCW member and worker at El Super. “I wanted her to know that companies like El Super need to do what is right and recognize our right to higher wages and benefits.”

PSS_5392“I’m a working mom and I’m going to school,” said Yolanda Pivaral, a UFCW member and worker at El Super. “Without a predictable work schedule, it’s tough to coordinate child care and manage my classes. Secretary Clinton gets it. Workers in my store want a union contract so we can have the chance to shape our schedules. To have more control over my life would help me do my job better, manage my class work, and build a good life for my son.”

“Buying a wedding dress or a child’s first pair of shoes, these are big events and we work hard to make them special memories for customers,” said Sherry Hamilton, a Macy’s union representative. “I don’t think people realize how much havoc bad scheduling can have upon a worker’s life. By making work schedules in the retail industry more stable and reliable, we would be able to enjoy precious moments in our personal lives as well.”

Clinton also addressed the UFCW conference, and was introduced by International President Marc Perrone.

“Our members endorsed Hillary because she is the only candidate who truly cares about the issues that matter to them. Regardless of what job a person does, Secretary Clinton is committed to making sure that people who work hard get the brighter future they have earned and deserve,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “It speaks to Hillary’s character and her compassion that she doesn’t talk at our members, she listens to them.”

 

 

BACKGROUND

In January 2016, after surveying its membership across the country, UFCW endorsed Sec. Clinton. This is the second time Sec. Clinton has personally spoken with retail workers who are part of the UFCW.

PSS_5358The retail sector is one of the fastest growing parts of the economy, but 40 million retail workers face challenges from erratic schedules, split shifts and part-time hours that make it difficult to live a stable life, manage a second job, or coordinate care for their families. These are common concerns throughout the industry and are a major reason why more and more retail workers are considering the benefits of joining a union. Earlier this year, UFCW announced it already had 100 organizing wins in 100 days, reflecting workers desire to work together to secure their lives and futures.

BIOS

Yolanda Pivaral is 23, works at El Super Store #13 located in Los Angeles, CA and has been a cashier there for 3.5 years. She is a single mother to a six year old boy. She and her son live in Los Angeles. Yolanda is also furthering her education and is studying Communications at the California State University, Los Angeles. Yolanda has currently been getting more involved in her union. She has become trained and is now helping to do workshops to help make fellow union members US Citizens, through the Union Citizen Action Network.

Flora Castaneda 44, has worked as cashier at El Super Store #17 located in Los Angeles, CA for 12 years as a cashier. She is a single mother of three children. She and her children live in Los Angeles. Flora is a member of the bargaining team. She and her fellow co-workers have been fighting for over two years for adequate paid sick days, better wages, better benefits, more affordable health care, a fair seniority system, and respect.

Sherry Hamilton is 50, and was a sales associate at Macy’s in the Bronx for 17 years. After joining Local 1-S while working at Macy’s, she later joined the Local 1-S team where she now serves other Macy’s employees for the union.

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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 at www.ufcw.org.

May 24, 2016

UFCW Stop & Shop Members Thank Customers for Support

Adapted from UFCW Local 1459

duplicate_resizedLast week, dozens of Stop & Shop union members, staff, and community members from New England UFCW locals went out to Stop & Shop stores as part of a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate the customers whose support helped win a strong union contract for over 35,000 Stop & Shop union members throughout New England and the over 1,500 members in western Massachusetts.

Stop & Shop union members worked without a contract for over two months.  During this period, thousands of customers signed petitions in support of a fair contract, made countless calls to the company asking them to offer a fair deal to hard working union members, and made their opinions known in the stores in favor of a good contract.

With their support, our bargaining committee was able to negotiate collectively for:
• 480 New Full-Time Jobs
• Fair & Predictable Scheduling so that we can spend time with our families and provide for our families
• Fair Pay and a path to $15 for all full-time employees
• Affordable Healthcare for our families

Matt Szulborski, Organizing Director of UFCW Local 1459 said, in gratitude to customers, “Working families coming together on the job and in the community helped win a better life for Stop & Shop union members.  Thank you for all your support and help.  I believe with a voice at work and communities coming together, all working people can gain a better life.”

May 19, 2016

Members of Congress Join UFCW to Stamp Out Hunger

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Last week, members of Congress from across the country, together with members of the UFCW, joined together to help launch the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

“Stamp Out Hunger,” the largest single-day food drive, invited Americans to leave food by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14 for collection by their neighborhood letter carriers for delivery to local food pantries.

This year, the UFCW, as a national title sponsor, invited Congressional offices and members from both sides of the aisle to participate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and their staff participated in helping us to promote this worthy cause.

UFCW Locals from all across the country also hosted their own events, making this year’s food drive one of the biggest and best that anyone had ever seen.

UFCW members see the effects of hunger in America every single day. Every time someone has to turn back and put something away in one of our checkout lines because they don’t have enough money, we feel for them. For millions of families, this year’s food drive was a small, but important, step towards fixing that problem.

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