News and Updates
Packing and Processing
May 13, 2016
Oxfam reports unionized poultry workers have better workplace protection; non-unionized poultry workers in Pampers
– Yesterday’s Washington Post Wonk Blog post “I had to wear Pampers’: The cruel reality the people who bring you cheap chicken allegedly endure,” highlighted inhuman working conditions within the poultry industry, as documented by a new Oxfam report.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), represents thousands of workers in the poultry industry. UFCWreleased the following statement today in response to the story and subsequent news coverage:
“The indignity with which poultry workers are being treated in America has to stop. Workers need to know they have a right to organize and that organized workers have more opportunities to protect themselves from this type of abuse.
“The headline is salacious, but the heart of the matter is that unionized workers can speak freely about dangerous working conditions without fear of retaliation. This leads to a healthier and more productive work environment and a safer product for consumers.”
From the Oxfam Report No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry (page 3):
In the course of hundreds of interviews, only a handful of workers reported that their bathroom needs are respected. These exceptions are primarily in plants that have unions, which offer important protections, inform workers of their rights, and ensure they have a voice on the job. Unionized workers report that they feel comfortable leaving or stopping the line when their requests are denied for too long. Roughly a third of the poultry workforce is unionized, leaving most workers without these crucial protections.
The 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 11, 2016
On May 5, the hard-working men and women at a ConAgra plant in Indianapolis voted to join the UFCW union family and become part of UFCW Local 700.
Nearly 300 workers make Marie Callendar’s pies at the plant, which was formerly owned by another company and purchased by ConAgra about three years ago. Organizers handbilled the plant and learned about the issues most important to this diverse group of workers, including better pay, fair treatment, and respect on the job. UFCW Local 700 represents about 300 workers making Reddi-Wip and margarine at a ConAgra plant less than three miles away from the newly organized facility. At the union plant, workers earn higher wages, have better benefits, and have job security through their union contract.
“We can now join our sister plant with the right to negotiate for a brighter future,” said Kenny Green, a lead organizing committee member. “By forming our union, we’re standing up for better wages and benefits, and most importantly, a voice on the job.”
May 4, 2016
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The workers at the Viscofan plant in Danville, Illinois, deserve safe jobs, they say in a newly launched petition to The Viscofan Group Chairman Jose Domingo de Ampuero y Osma. The workers, who are members of UFCW Local 686, and their families shouldn’t have to worry whether their loved ones will come home in one piece when they return from work each day.
After a successful year, Viscofan has seen positive growth, which is centered on the work done by these members and others in North America. But as company sales and profits increase, the workers say they are being hurt by the plant. The Danville plant had 18 violations of U.S. health and safety law in the last seven years, yet Viscofan has refused union proposals to improve the safety of their workplace.
These Local 686 members are now asking supporters to sign their petition that says the company’s success shouldn’t come at the expense of the health and safety of its workers. The Viscofan plant is an integral part of the Danville community and its workers count on the good, safe, family-supporting jobs it provides. They are asking the company to send its negotiators back to the table with an edict to make the plant safer, the community stronger, and share in the success. Click here to sign the petition.
February 12, 2016
Need a last minute gift for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day? To support your union family, pick up any of the tasty treats that union members make, and shop at union label retail and grocery stores. Below are just a few of the things made by UFCW and other union members that might help you celebrate that special someone!
- Ghirardelli Chocolate
- Hershey’s Hugs and Kisses
- Russell Stover
- See’s Candies
- Eden Roc
- J. Roget
- Jacques Bonet
- Jacques Reynard
- Le Domaine
- Hugo Boss
- Old Spice
- Pierre Cardin
And with your Union Plus discount, you can pick up flowers and chocolates at a great discounted price! Click here for more info.
December 9, 2015
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” align=”center” size=”2″ quote=” I am not afraid. I know we can work together to change our workplace and make it better for everyone.”” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
This past Saturday, UFCW Local 1189, the UFCW Occupational Safety and Health Department and the Greater Minnesota Workers’ Center hosted a workers’ rights training session for unorganized poultry workers in St. Cloud, Minn. The training was focused on giving unorganized workers tools to stand up for a safe workplaces and helping them build common ground with workers of different cultural backgrounds. More than 70 workers from a variety of plants came out for the training, which was simultaneously conducted in English, Spanish and Somali.
“I am really glad I came to this training with the Somali people,” said one Spanish-speaking worker during the comment portion of the training. “I tried to get my friends to come with me but they were too afraid. I am not afraid. I know we can work together to change our workplace and make it better for everyone.”
July 8, 2015
[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#084e93″ text=”#ffffff” align=”center” size=”2″ quote=”It was great to see everybody working together in the setting to make our plant safer. During our walk-through, it was good to have a new set of eyes to help spot hazards that might have otherwise been overlooked.” cite=”Darin Rehnelt, representative for UFCW Local 1161″ parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
The UFCW has initiated a new health and safety program for workers in UFCW JBS plants. The program is a new joint effort with JBS to establish a uniform safety program for workers and management throughout the chain. This is the first time JBS and the UFCW have come together to create a program that is specific to keeping workers safe.
The first part of the program focuses on training union reps, workers, staff, and JBS management to learn about identifying the underlying causes of workplace injuries, illness, and fatalities. The second part trains participants on how to correct, control, and prevent those workplace hazards. The ultimate goal is to develop a sustainable system where people in the plant know how to prevent hazards, how to identify them, and how to follow the correct procedures to efficiently correct hazards.
The health and safety program came about when UFCW staff initiated a meeting with JBS corporate safety staff out of concern for the safety and well-being of workers. During the meeting, both sides agreed that there was room for improvement in the health and safety protocols at the plants. A year later, UFCW and JBS finalized a plan to work jointly to address safety issues and develop the new health and safety program.
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”30%” align=”left” size=”2″ quote=”The joint training has been a very positive experience for all parties involved.” cite=”Marvin Spidle, corporate safety manager from the Federal Business Unit at JBS.” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
“The joint training has been a very positive experience for all parties involved. It has provided some different ways of looking at the hazards in the workplace that most people overlook. I am excited to continue with this training in our facilities and providing our employees a safer environment to work in,” said Marvin Spidle, corporate safety manager from the Federal Business Unit at JBS.
The program began in January, and JBS workers at UFCW Locals 540, 1161, 293, and 435 have already gone through the first phase of the training. During the first phase of the program, workers and staff learned how to identify workplace hazards in their plant. Following the classroom training, participants then walked together through their plant to apply their new knowledge and identify any hazards that they learned about in the training. Some common safety hazards that workers are trained to spot include unguarded shafts and belts, slippery floors, narrow aisles, and unlabeled exposed pipes and electrical wires.
“It was great to see everybody working together in the setting to make our plant safer. During our walk-through, it was good to have a new set of eyes to help spot hazards that might have otherwise been overlooked,” said Darin Rehnelt, a representative for UFCW Local 1161.
The trainings last about six hours and are conducted in English and Spanish. Following the JBS plant trainings, the plan is to take the health and safety program to workers in the poultry industry, including those who work in JBS’s Pilgrim’s Pride plants.
If you are interested in having a health and safety training in your local plant contact Kurt Brandt at email@example.com.
June 19, 2015
When you buy union, you’re supporting the men and women who work hard every day to make and sell these quality goods. You’re also supporting good union jobs, that enable working parents to support their families with good pay and benefits. Unions are also on the forefront of legislative pushes for policies that benefit working families, like parental leave. Together, union families are working to make jobs work for all families.
Knob Creek Whiskey
Old Spice products
Pierre Cardin Cologne
Red Wing Shoes
The Union Boot Pro Boots
May 18, 2015
This week, as Memorial Day approaches, we are honoring the memory of those who have fallen defending our country and its freedom. By spotlighting UFCW members who have served in our country’s military or who give their time to help those who have, we hope to continue the legacy of the heroes who have passed on.
Below is the story of Local 227 member Jeff Pleasant:
Jeff Pleasant always looked up to his uncle who was a marine. So, when he turned 16 he signed the papers to join and went to boot camp at 17 years old. Looking back on his 12 years of service to our country, Jeff explains, “The marines taught me to look after one another. Even though we always strived for success, it was important to reach back and pull someone else along too.”
After the marines Jeff had various law enforcement jobs where he had a union, but he never really got involved. Jeff became a member of UFCW 227 in 2006 when he went to work for JBS in Louisville, KY.
One day, frustrated with a co-worker, Jeff brought his complaint to the Chief Union Steward Kevin Diale. Jeff remembers Kevin explaining to him that as union members we look out for each other and if we have a problem we resolve it together. Jeff remembers, “That was the day I made the connection. The values that I learned in the marines were the same values of the labor movement. We’re always looking out for each other.”
After being a member for 4 years, Jeff decided he wanted to become a Steward because of his shared values with our union. He served as a Steward for 3 years before being elected by his fellow union member to become Assistant Chief Steward. A year later he was elected Chief Steward.
During his time as a Steward, Jeff got involved in his local union’s political program and signed hundreds of members up for the Active Ballot Club. He also traveled across the state of Kentucky supporting Wal-mart workers in their courageous fight to stand up for their rights. No matter what Jeff was doing he was always looking out for not just union members, but everyone around him in general.
Around 18 months ago, Jeff became a Union Representative for UFCW 227. Now, he uses the values the marines taught him to make our union strong, “For our union to be stronger we have to band together.”
May 13, 2015
UFCW Alleges Company Fired Workers for Union Activity in Unfair Labor Practice Charges
Heavener, OK: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1000 is formally filing Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that two UFCW organizing committee members were illegally fired last week by OK Foods in Heavener, OK.
Local 1000 President Ricky Burris said, “Joshua Deases and Jason Muller were fired illegally last week. These two have been leaders in the organizing campaign at OK Foods to help maintenance workers get a voice at work. Both of them testified on behalf of the union in front of an NLRB Hearing Officer last year and served as official observers in the May 1st, 2014 election. The NLRB set the May 1st election aside because of repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act and now OK Foods is again violating the Act by firing these workers. I strongly condemn these terminations.”
Maintenance worker Jason Muller said, “I’m not discouraged. The more they harass pro-union workers, the harder we will fight. OK Foods won’t intimidate us. OK Foods is persecuting Josh Deases and myself because of our union activities. This company, and specifically the CEO Trent Goins, should be ashamed.”
UFCW Local 1000 represents 11,000 workers across Oklahoma and North Texas including people who work at grocery stores and food production facilities. UFCW Local 1000 is an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 250,000 poultry production workers across the United States and Canada.
March 31, 2015
With the help of the AFL-CIO and Union Plus, we’ve compiled a UFCW-made shopping list and some UFCW-made recipes so that you can enjoy whichever Spring holidays you celebrate–whether it be Easter, Passover, or just celebrating the nice weather, while supporting your union brothers and sisters at the same time!
If you’re looking for some sweet treats from the Easter bunny, all of the following candies are made by members of the UFCW family:
- Cadbury Eggs
- Jelly Bellies
- Laffy Taffy
- Necco Wafers
- Mike and Ikes
- Thin Mints
- Tootsie Rolls
For Passover, the following UFCW-made items are just what you need:
- Empire Kosher
Wine and Grape Juice
- Arbor Mist (UFCW)
- C.K. Mondavi (UFW, UFCW)
- Turning Leaf (UFCW)
- Minute Maid Grape Juice (UFCW)
- Welch’s Grape Juice (UFCW)
See more union-made wine and beverages here.
And for the chefs in the family, the following recipes are sure to make any family gathering a special one:
Apricot Glazed Ham via Farmland Foods
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 (about 5 pounds) Farmland® Boneless Smoked Ham – Old Fashioned Pit Ham
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 1 cup apricot nectar
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Heat oven to 325°F. Place ham and apricot nectar in roasting pan.
- In small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Spread preserves mixture over surface of ham. Loosely cover and bake for 1 1/4 hours or until internal temperature reaches 140°F., basting ham with pan juices every 20 minutes.
- Slice ham and place on serving platter. Spoon pan juices over ham.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Rosemary via AllRecipes.com
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons prepared Dijon-style mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 pounds whole leg of lamb
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- In a small bowl, combine the honey, mustard, rosemary, ground black pepper, lemon zest and garlic. Mix well and apply to the lamb. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Place lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and roast for 55 to 60 more minutes for medium rare. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Let the roast rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Make it union: Chiapetti Lamb and Fischer Meats Lamb are union-made by UFCW members.
Scalloped Potatoes via CookingChanneltv.com
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups smooth goat cheese
- 1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, finely sliced
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter, cubed
- Salt and pepper
- In a bowl, mix together the goat cheese with the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the chives. Keep aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the potatoes into 1/8-inch thick slices by using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. Rinse and keep in cold water.
- In a large skillet, saute the onions with garlic for about 10 minutes in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Drain and pat dry the potatoes. In an ovenproof dish, nicely layer the potato slices. Cover with some caramelized onions, and 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture. Repeat the layers and finish with the goat cheese mixture. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Pour the rest of the cream mixture over the potatoes and the butter. Cook in the oven for 1 hour until golden brown.
Make it union: Country Fresh, Blue Bonnet, and Horizon dairy products (butter and heavy cream) are union-made by UFCW members.
Bacon Cheddar Deviled Eggs via AllRecipes.com
- 12 eggs
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 4 slices bacon
- 2 tablespoons finely shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- Place eggs in a saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, and cool. To cool more quickly, rinse eggs under cold running water.
- Meanwhile, place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Alternatively, wrap bacon in paper towels and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute per slice. Crumble and set aside.
- Peel the hard-cooked eggs, and cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash egg yolks with mayonnaise, crumbled bacon and cheese. Stir in mustard. Fill egg white halves with the yolk mixture and refrigerate until serving.
Make it union: Alta Dena, Horizon Organic, and President’s Choice eggs are union-made by UFCW members.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 ounces sour cream
- 6 ounces homemade mini marshmallows, approximately 3 cups
- 1 cup clementine orange segments, approximately 6 clementines
- 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- 1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup drained maraschino cherries
- Place the cream and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip until stiff peaks are formed.
- Add the sour cream and whisk to combine. Add the marshmallows, orange, pineapple, coconut, pecans and cherries and stir to combine. Transfer to a glass serving bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.
Make it union: Domino Sugar, as well as Country Fresh, Blue Bonnet, and Horizon dairy products (heavy cream and sour cream), are union-made by UFCW members.