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September 19, 2017

MCAW Hosts Event at University of Notre Dame to Highlight Trump-Walmart Agenda

On Sept. 18, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) hosted a day of campus outreach at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind., as part of the “2017 Trump and Walmart Make America Worse” tour. The Notre Dame event was organized in partnership with Students for Worker Justice, Notre Dame College Democrats, and Human Rights Notre Dame, and featured educational activities and ways students can stand up for a better America against the Trump and Walmart agenda.

MCAW’s “2017 Trump and Walmart Make America Worse” tour includes stops at over 25 college campuses throughout September to expose the shared agenda of Trump and Walmart, which promotes the privatization of our public education, profits from a low-wage, debt economy, and divides our country.

August 22, 2017

UFCW Makes Case for Amazon’s Growth to Face More Scrutiny

Photo by Simone Brunozzi titled “Amazon” via Creative Commons.

On August 21, UFCW International President Marc Perrone wrote an op-ed for The Hill that details how Amazon’s growing monopoly over the retail sector has negative impacts for American workers.

EXCERPTS FROM THE OP-ED:

All of us, no matter what political leanings we have, will be impacted by Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation. This isn’t hyperbole.

In 2016, 43 percent of all online sales went through Amazon; the online retailer also accounted for more than half of all online sales growth last year.

Amazon controls a huge swath of the steadily growing online marketplace and it gives them a distinct advantage over regional and national competitors – which results in job cuts. Public filings show that Amazon played a large role in eliminating more than 50,000 jobs from Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy. And in March, MarketWatch estimated that Amazon’s dominant growth could remove as many as 1.5 million retail jobs within five years.

All of this begs the question, if Amazon forces millions of service and retail sector jobs to be lost, if they squeeze suppliers to the bone, if they devastate commercial construction because much fewer retail spaces are built, and if they make it impossible for grocery or retail workers to earn a better life because they can no longer find work, where do elected leaders think “good American jobs” are going to come from?

You can read the full op-ed here.

August 22, 2017

CVS Workers in Southern California Ratify New Contract

After months of negotiations, over 5,000 members of UFCW Locals 5, 135, 324, 648, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442 who work at over 350 CVS stores in Southern California ratified a new contract last week.

The four-year contract includes wage increases and better access to more affordable health care in the newly organized stores. The new agreement also includes improved scheduling practices, more protections during layoffs, and a process for part-time employees to become full-time based on seniority.

 

August 21, 2017

MCAW Calls on Walmart to Stop Using Justice Program Found Unlawful by California Court

On August 18, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) Director Randy Parraz issued a statement in response to a California court ruling that a shoplifter diversion program used by Walmart constitutes “false imprisonment and extortion.” The program used by Walmart and other California retailers is provided by Corrective Education Company (CEC).

The statement reads as follows:

“While we are glad that real justice has been served to California shoppers who have been victimized by Walmart’s use of Corrective Education Company’s program, the problem remains that the ruling does not stop Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., from using the offensive CEC program in other states.

“The fact that Walmart allowed a private company like CEC to embed itself inside its storesfalsely imprison; fingerprint, and document suspected shoplifters in a backroom; and then extort them for money, is beyond disgraceful.

“Walmart shoppers nationwide deserve assurance that they will not be victimized by a program that subjects them to false imprisonment and extortion if they are suspected of shoplifting. This isn’t the Wild West anymore, and its time Walmart immediately stops using the offensive CEC or similar programs in all its stores nationwide.”

In California, Walmart has put more people through CEC’s program than any other retailer in the state. According to documents filed in the case, Walmart enrolled 3,597 people in the program—a third of all CEC participants in California—as of April 2017. The court found that California retailers using the CEC program, like Walmart, were “acting in concert and are jointly liable for the extortionate conduct.”

MCAW has been closely following and speaking out against Walmart’s Restorative Justice program, which utilizes pre-charge companies like CEC in 1,500 Walmart locations nationwide. MCAW has also been working with state legislators to further investigate and take legislative action against this controversial practice.

August 14, 2017

Local 1776 Expands Member Health Services at Cargill Plant

On August 8, UFCW Local 1776 and Cargill announced the opening of a near-site health center for Cargill workers in Hazleton, Pa.

The over 700 Cargill workers at the Hazleton plant are members of UFCW Local 1776 and produce beef products for sale at supermarkets. The center, which will be managed by Marathon Health, will provide convenient access to high quality care and preventative screenings for UFCW Local 1776 members and their families.

“With partnerships like these, Cargill, Marathon Health and Local 1776 are leading the way for meaningful change in the lives of workers,” said UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV. “We are proud to have negotiated this benefit for members who work at Cargill, and look forward to using this program as a model for our members who work in other facilities, as well.”

August 7, 2017

Local 152 Beef International Workers Ratify New Contract

On July 7, 87 members of UFCW Local 152 who work at Beef International, Inc. in Pennsauken, N.J., ratified a new contract.

The five-year contract includes a ratification bonus, yearly wage increases, and continued 100 percent employer paid health care over the life of the agreement.

June 26, 2017

Supreme Court Sides with Macy’s Workers

On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Macy’s challenge to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding cosmetics and fragrances workers at a Macy’s store in Saugus, Mass., who are members of UFCW Local 1445. The Supreme Court decision recognizes that the Macy’s departments are appropriate bargaining units under well-established legal standards, and is a victory for the UFCW and other labor unions who organize segments of workers at companies, rather than the entire company.

The Macy’s cosmetics and fragrances workers joined UFCW Local 1445 in 2014 after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a 3-1 ruling that the group of over 40 workers was large enough to unionize. The NLRB’s ruling was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. The Macy’s store in Saugus employs over 100 workers.

“We are thrilled with the decision by the Supreme Court, and it is about time the workers in Saugus prevailed,” said Local 1445 President Jeff Bollen. “Our intention is to bring them a contract and use this victory as a tool to organize more workers at Macy’s.”

April 18, 2017

MCAW Sheds Light on How Walmart Costs Taxpayers

This month, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) launched a campaign to highlight the “hidden tax” every taxpayer has been paying for years to Walmart. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the retail giant receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the federal government.

An op-ed titled “The Walmart Tax Every American Taxpayer Pays” by UFCW Local 1529 President Lonnie Sheppard was published in USA Today on April 8, and highlights many of the key facts that Walmart refuses to acknowledge, like the high cost and hidden tax that every American taxpayer pays every single day.

Among the key facts:

  • Walmart, a company that generates almost $500 billion in revenue every year with annual profits averaging $15.5 billion over the last five years, is also one of the nation’s largest welfare recipients.
  • According to a 2014 report by Americans for Tax Fairness, Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the federal government.
  • Even though Walmart claims that it spent $500 million on hourly associate bonuses and recently boosted employee wages, it still has thousands of employees who rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing.
  • A single Walmart Super Center is estimated to cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.74 million per year in public assistance money.
  • Logically, if Walmart increased employee wages, and/or provided better benefits, much of this $6.2 billion dollar burden would be lifted off the taxpayers.

MCAW also ran digital ads targeting shoppers and workers inside stores across the U.S., and MCAW organizers have been exposing the Walmart tax to shoppers and workers across the country. Thank you to all UFCW local and regional staff that worked on this project.

 

April 17, 2017

Local 655 Holten Meat Workers Ratify New Contract

On April 11, members of UFCW Local 655 who work at Holten Meat in Sauget, Ill., ratified an industry-leading new contract by an overwhelming margin. The new three-year contract resolves many of the work-life issues that forced Holten Meat employees to make the difficult decision to go on strike on March 18.

“Today is victory for our hard-working members who love their jobs, but love their families more. This union contract will not only make Holten Meat a better place to work in Sauget, it will make Holten Meat a better company,” said UFCW Local 655 President David Cook. “Make no mistake, we want Holten Meat to succeed, and that is why this contract is so important—it recognizes that no company succeeds in the absence of its hard-working employees and members.  Best of all, UFCW members at Holten Meat now have a better contract that lets them not only support their families, but advance their careers at work.”

The new contract lets experienced members have more control over their lives and move to the shifts they need to spend more quality time with their families. The contract also allows members to advance their careers, and establishes a new labor and management committee at Holten Meat that will regularly meet to solve problems in the workplace cooperatively.

“We stood together and spoke out because we believe that our lives matter. None of us should have to choose between spending time with our family and doing our job—we should be able to do both,” said Trinetta Kitchen, a seven-year veteran of the production line at Holten Meat. “This contract will not only help ensure we can earn a better life, it recognizes our hard work and will make Holten Meat a better and more successful company.”

April 10, 2017

Local 400 Member Wins National Nursing Award

Isolina “Izzy” Pistolessi, a member of UFCW Local 400 who works as a nurse at Kaiser Permanente’s Falls Church Care Center in Falls Church, Va., has been chosen to be the recipient of Kaiser Permanente’s National Extraordinary Nurse Award.

Pistolessi has worked at the Falls Church Care Center for 18 years, and is the second nurse from Kaiser Permanente’s Mid-Atlantic Region to receive this recognition. She will be flown to California in May to accept her award.

At the Falls Church Care Center, Pistolessi is a mentor to other nurses, conducts outreach to the community, promotes public health, educates and cares for patients, and serves as a UFCW Local 400 shop steward. Off the job, she is a volunteer and leader with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, a member of the Fairfax Country Medical Reserve Corps, and a union activist who recently participated in UFCW Local 400’s Lobby Day.

“I’m very fortunate to work for Kaiser Permanente and do the work that I love to do—caring for patients and nurturing other nurses so they become better,” Pistolessi said. “And I’m proud to serve my coworkers as a shop steward. To receive this honor is a complete surprise—but it’s also wonderful.”