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November 24, 2016

President Perrone Calls for Unity in Thanksgiving Op-Ed

UFCW International President Marc Perrone spoke out on behalf of America’s workers in an op-ed featured in The Hill on Thanksgiving. The following is an except. To read the whole piece, please go to The Hill:

Through hard work and dedication, our 1.3 million members help millions of Americans celebrate the special moments in their lives. Our members are also able to earn a better life for their families with the help of valuable contracts that honor their hard work and dedication. By being part of a union family and standing together, our members earn better wages, benefits and schedules.

Their training and devotion offer real value to employers and the customers they serve. And when they work on holidays, like Thanksgiving, it is not under threat or duress, but with the realization that such sacrifice deserves something extra, like holiday pay.

Sadly, there are those in the political world and corporate America who may see the right to earn a better life, or to spend time with family even on one of our most sacred holidays, as a threat to their businesses. Truth be told, such thinking is a symptom of what is so fundamentally wrong and unfair in America’s economy.

Over the last 16 years, as inequality has grown and wages have stagnated, the wealthiest few have become wealthier. At a time when America needs good jobs, it is nonunion companies like Walmart that buy more Chinese goods than any other company in this nation. They even try to fool our elected leaders into thinking they care about creating American jobs.

The fact is that millions of hard-working Americans, especially those in retail, endure low wages, schedules that make it impossible to go to school or take care of a family, and the risk that one sickness or injury will send them to financial ruin because of their lack of health benefits.

America’s workers and families deserve better.

October 13, 2016

It’s Not Too Late to Register to Vote in Most States

regWith so much at stake in this election, not voting is simply not an option. Which is why our UFCW union family is helping to ensure everyone who wants to vote on November 8th will be able to.

There’s still time to register in many states, but deadlines are approaching quickly. Anyone who wants to register to vote should visit VOTE.ORG or HELLO.VOTE as soon as possible. It only takes one minute to register to vote and you can do it from your phone.

Our vote is our voice – let’s use it. By voting, we can raise up the issues that matter the most and secure the better America all of us have earned and deserve.

Register today by visiting VOTE.ORG or HELLO.VOTE on your mobile phone.

September 29, 2016

Local 21 Helps Pass Scheduling Law in Seattle

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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

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

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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

Enter the 1st Annual UFCW Labor Day Art Contest!

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!labordaycontest

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 14, 2016

UFCW Local 1996 Helps Strike Down Anti-Labor Law

geo2A 2013 Georgia law that negatively impacted workers all across the Peach State was tossed out by a Judge this week for contradicting federal labor laws.

Specifically, the legislation allowed union members to cancel their membership at any time, rather than waiting the usual one-year period. This means that corporations were made to be more powerful as they would be able to easily intimidate workers into leaving their union early. By overturning this law, it will be easier for hard-working families in Georgia to negotiate for better working conditions and wages. Ultimately, more people and communities will now be able to enjoy the financial stability and higher standard of living that comes with being a part of a union.

UFCW Local 1996, which helped to lead the lawsuit, celebrated the good news. “They spent precious legislative time and money in 2013 going after the working families that make our state great,” said UFCW Local 1996 President Steve Lomax of the leaders who pushed for the legislation. “Tens of thousands of taxpayer-funded dollars for a long legal fight gained nothing for Georgia citizens.”

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.

July 5, 2016

MCAW Calls on Walmart to Withdraw Support of the 2016 Republican National Convention

Walmart Protest at Trump Tower

On June 23, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), along with The Black Institute, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and ColorOfChange.org, sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that calls on the retail giant to withdraw its sponsorship of the 2016 Republican National Convention due to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s history of racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran, and Islamophobic remarks. A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.

“Walmart cannot afford to stay silent when it comes to Donald Trump,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “Throughout his presidential campaign, he has managed to offend men and women of all races and religions and across the political spectrum with his racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran and Islamophobic statements. These are Walmart customers and Walmart employees. Walmart needs to send a message that it will not support bigotry, and join the growing list of companies who are refusing to sponsor this year’s Republican National Convention.”

MCAW has launched an online petition where supporters can sign on to the letter. To date, over 10,000 supporters have signed the petition.