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December 14, 2016

UFCW Makes the Holidays Happen


Local 152 Santa celebration

The holiday season is here, and for many of us, this is a joyful time to reunite with our families and create long-lasting memories. However, during these months, we should also remember that spreading the holiday spirit is about giving back to our communities, too.

UFCW locals are active in their communities and there for those in need all year long–but especially during this time of year.

Santa (Warren Hartman) hears the Christmas wishes of a young boy at UFCW Local 653’s annual Breakfast with Santa.

Santa (Warren Hartman) hears the Christmas wishes of a young boy at UFCW Local 653’s annual Breakfast with Santa.

For starters, throughout the month of December, RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 will be collecting toys, coats, and food to distribute across their communities. The generous donations from members will be given to local organizations, including Project Hospitality on Staten Island, the John Theissen Children’s Foundation, and the INN in Hempstead. To see how you can contribute, click here.

UFCW Local 1500 hosted their annual Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, December 11. Each year, members and their families come to Local 1500’s local hall to have a free breakfast and get a free photo with Santa.

The UFCW Local 152 Women’s Network hosted a “Teddy Bear Drive” for ARC, a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating for the rights and full participation of all children and adults with intellectual and development disabilities. On December 9, the ARC hosted a dinner and a dance for their members to receive their teddy bears. UFCW staff, Home Depot employees, and other community members helped out with food and refreshments. Additionally, on December 20, in partnership with Village Shoprite of Somers Point, the local will also donate 120 15325283_1374777762534674_4570372820135550485_obaskets of food to Local 152 members chosen by their Shop Stewards and to other faith-based organizations.

: Santa’s helpers find holiday cheer with a young guest a UFCW Local 653’s annual Breakfast with Santa.

Santa’s helpers find holiday cheer with a young guest a UFCW Local 653’s annual Breakfast with Santa.

For the seventh year, more than 40 children and their parents gathered at the headquarters of UFCW Local 653 to ring in the holiday season, collect toys for charity and enjoy a breakfast with Santa. In addition, the breakfast kicked off Local 653’s annual toy drive to benefit Toys for Tots. More than 100 new toys were collected and new toys can be donated at Local 653’s office in Brooklyn Center through the holiday season.

Members of UFCW Local 293 and the JBS beef packing plant presented a check for $10,000 last week to six local programs that serve the Grand Island, Neb., area during the holidays and year-round. The recipients were the Hero Flight program; Central Nebraska Humane Society; Christmas Cheer; the Salvation Army; Head Start Child and Family Development; and Toys for Tots.

UFCW local 1189 holds an annual event in South St. Paul for members’ families offering food, fun, games and prizes, and free photos with Santa. Local 1189 brings Santa to their Duluth office for more photos with members and their children.  In Duluth, the local teams up with the United Way to provide free Santa photos for families who are needing a little extra hope for the holidays.

some of the generous donations to the Local 152 food drive last year

Some of the generous donations to the Local 152 food drive last year

Local 1059 turned their union hall into a Winter Wonderland.  They had 136 kids that came and sat on Santa’s lap.  To be eligible, members had to bring in a non-perishable food item to be donated to the local food bank. Local 1059 will also do a similar Santa experience this week in Jackson, Ohio, with an expected turnout of 30 to 40 kids.

UFCW Local 342 is hosting a toy drive as well, that will drop hold its first drop off on Thursday, Dec. 15. Local 342 members are welcome to join the volunteer team bringing Christmas gifts to 122 toddlers and preschoolers served by the Family Services League. Santa will be on hand to give out the toys and the school provides games and music for the children.

UFCW Local 371 is also participating in their own toy drive through their Women’s Network Toy Drive. The Local 371 Women’s Network collects toys and gifts for children and teenagers in need throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts. They not only donate to struggling union members, but to all children in need in their communities.

Local 23 at their "Stuff the Bus" event

Local 23 at their “Stuff the Bus” event

UFCW Local 23 members also pulled together to collect toys to assist union members in crisis, from both their own local and others, by providing Christmas toys for their kids. On Dec. 1, they delivered a large stash of gifts to a city bus to be distributed to those in need and had a great time doing it!

members of Local 1189

Members of Local 1189

UFCW Local 536 will be contributing to Christmas bags for the local elementary school in Peoria, Ill. They partner with the Labor Temple to put together 650 bags for

Local 1189 South St. Paul Union Hall and families taking photos with Santa.

Local 1189 South St. Paul Union Hall and families taking photos with Santa.

the children with apples, pencils, paper, other supplies and gifts.

Ed McCarthy, an over 50 year member of Local 371 dropping off toys

Ed McCarthy, an over 50 year member of Local 371, dropping off toys.

Local 1059 event

Local 1059 event




November 3, 2016

Local 648 Sponsors Prop 47 Clinic


On Oct. 22, UFCW Local 648, in partnership with Californians for Safety and Justice and the San Francisco Labor Council, hosted a Proposition 47 Live Scan, record change and job fair clinic in San Francisco to help people with prior nonviolent felonies to petition to get their records changed.

At the event, attorneys volunteered their time and met with each attendee, one on one. The San Francisco Labor Council, City College of San Francisco, Up Vote and the San Francisco Airport Office of Employment all had informational booths, as well. Union members that attended the Proposition 47 Live Scan event and attorney meetings said they were thankful for the opportunity to change their records and move forward with their lives.

In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, a measure that reduces certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. The savings from reduced incarceration costs are invested in drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services. Over one million Californians quality for Proposition 47, but only about 250,000 people have petitioned to have their records changed. Proposition 47 was due to sunset in November 2017, but Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2757 to extend the time to petition for another five years.

The UFCW has partnered with a number of local and national organizations in an effort to bring to light the issues that are plaguing our communities and transform the criminal justice system.

local-648-prop-47-event2UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department Robin Williams believes restorative rights are especially important for workers. “When you get out of jail, how do you take care of your family if you can’t get a job?” Williams said.

Together with our allies, the UFCW is dedicated to shifting the focus away from punishment and toward educational opportunities that help people change their lives and get back on track.

November 1, 2016

Local 1208 and United Way Partner to Provide Hurricane Matthew Relief to Members and Their Families


Last month, UFCW Local 1208 partnered with United Way of Robeson County to distribute much needed food to members across southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina who are still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. The event, which was held at the Family Dollar in Lumberton, provided assistance to over 150 workers and their families. Members of UFCW Local 204, along with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina and corporate partners like Kroger and Kellogg’s, also donated items to help Local 1208 members and their families.

Stephanie Franklin, a member of Local 1208 who has worked at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel for more than 11 years and lives in Lumberton, was one of the recipients.

“The whole area was affected by Hurricane Matthew,” Franklin said. “I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life, and this was one of the worst storms I’ve seen. My son is four years old, and we were stuck in our trailer for two days during the storm and we didn’t have enough food or water. Our trailer is up high, but the bathroom ceiling caved in a little bit and the water was still up to my waist.”

“The relief effort meant a lot and shows that Local 1208 is there for you. I appreciate everything they gave me and my son,” Franklin said. “We’re slowly getting back to normal.”

“Hurricane Matthew brought incredible hardship to our friends and neighbors, and it is times like these that we must come together to help those in need” said Ella Ellerbe, who has worked in packaging at Smithfield for ten years. “Our union family, working with our partners, are proud to help our local members and their families get the food assistance they need. We’re committed to doing all that we can to help our members recover from this storm because no hard-working family should ever have to struggle alone.”

UFCW Local 1208 worked with Smithfield Foods to ensure that everyone at the plant in Tar Heel received a full week’s pay when Hurricane Matthew struck, regardless of actual time on the job. Members of Local 1208 have contributed more than $10,000 to United Way of Robeson County to help their community recover from Hurricane Matthew.

October 7, 2016

UFCW Locals Join Forces on National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Last month, UFCW Locals 27, 227, 400, 655 and 888 partnered with Faces of Our Children and Howard University during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

The locals held actions to help raise awareness, support and funding for the fight against sickle cell disease, and also helped families who are coping with the disease with bills and food. Faces of Our Children is active in 12 states.

Together, our union family is working to create a better life in our communities.

For more information about Faces of Our Children, visit http://www.facesofourchildren.org.

September 14, 2016

Local 1189 Helps Pass Earned Sick Leave Ordinance in St. Paul


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.

July 19, 2016

New York Child Care Grant Benefits RWDSU/UFCW Members


(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 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.


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 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 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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