News and Updates
March 15, 2016
Workers at South Coast Safe Access in Santa Ana, California, recently ratified their first contract and joined UFCW Local 324. These 20 workers are the first Orange County cannabis workers to form a union, and are helping set higher standards for the California cannabis industry.
“South Coast Safe Access is a model for what can be achieved when a business owner has a sincere desire to do right by his employees and the community where he does business,” said UFCW Local 324 President Greg Conger.
The workers announced their decision at a press conference attended by Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana). “It’s time for public policy that will allow safe access for medical marijuana patients while protecting our neighborhoods,” said Sanchez. “Let’s protect workers and consumers in an industry that will continue to grow and become a larger part of California’s economy and prosperity.”
“If anybody working in a cannabis dispensary anywhere in the state believes he or she will get a fraction of that without a union, they have to be smoking something a lot stronger than pot,” said Conger, describing the newly union members as a “natural fit” for Local 324’s strong history of improving lives for both retail and healthcare workers.
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.
February 5, 2016
UFCW members provide the leather to make every NFL game ball ever used
CHICAGO – Super Bowl Sunday is an American tradition and the American ideals of hard work, excellent performance and durability under the toughest conditions are exemplified on and off the field. Those same qualities are exemplified by the craftsmanship of the ball used on the field. Manufactured entirely in the United States, these balls are tough to the core and made to precise specifications, starting with the Horween leather crafted by dedicated UFCW 1546 members at the historic Horween Leather Company, Chicago’s last remaining tannery.
The 150 workers at Horween have been UFCW members since the 1960s, marking half a century of good-paying jobs in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The plant itself was founded in 1905 and has been producing top-quality football leather there for the last 60 years.
“I’ll be watching the Super Bowl knowing that we helped craft every football,” said Earl Ferguson, a machine operator and chief steward at the tannery. “Whether it’s Denver or Carolina, my union brothers at the National Football League Players Association will take the field knowing they’ve reached the pinnacle of their career. For us, we can take pride in that when that foot hits the leather that I made, it’s a sign that our union family is best at what we do.”
In addition to making the leather for every NFL football and NBA basketball, workers at Horween make some of the most sought-after leathers for shoes and clothing the world over, including genuine shell cordovan. The expertise and skill required to build this reputation can only happen with the highly-trained workers that value the stability provided by their union contract.
“I’ve been proud to be a union member at Horween for 26 years,” said Ferguson. “We’re a family here. We take care of each other. The union, that’s just another part of that. Having the UFCW at my back means I have good wages and benefits to care for my loved ones. It means I feel a sense of ownership of my own job, which is important because I take pride in what I do.”
For more photos of the long-time tannery employees, check out Horween’s company blog.
We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.
January 29, 2016
Quest Diagnostics workers in San Diego voted to join UFCW Local 135. The workers join a growing movement of phlebotomist and lab technicians who have come together from the Northwest to the Southwest to raise standards in the health care industry. Workers wanted to join a union in order improve their jobs and workplace. Better wages, respect on the job, stable schedules, and vacation and sick days are some of the top priorities for workers. Negotiations for their first contract begins next month.
Quest Diagnostics is a leading diagnostics services provider in oncology and genetics. Quest Diagnostics annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and has 45,000 employees. Given the company’s prominence, workers hope that through the growing power of their combined voice, Quest Diagnostics workers will be able to influence and improve standards for workers throughout the industry.
Phlebotomist and lab technicians across the Northwest and Southwest began voting to join the UFCW after a chance encounter with their unionized counterparts in Washington state. With the encouragement and support of their coworkers, these workers are coming together and finding their voice.
Visit LabWorkersUnited.com to learn more.
December 21, 2015
Sometimes the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference. It’s not easy to be personable, upbeat, and polite every day and all the time doing any job, but that’s what’s expected out of cashiers to give great customer service. However, Kristen Clark, a UFCW Local 75 member, who works as cashier at an Ohio Meijer grocery store went the extra mile with customer Kimberly Grandinette and her 3 year-old son Paul proving that a small act of kindness can have a great effect on more than just those who shared the moment.
Last Sunday, while checking out her items, Kimberly conversed with Kristen about her family’s recent hardships that had begun to have effect on 3 year-old Paul. The two continued to chat while Kristen rung up the rest of Kimberly’s items until Paul asked if he could join Kristen in ringing up the rest of his mother’s groceries. Kristen then picked up Paul and held him while he helped scan the rest of his mother’s items.
Kimberly Grandinette detailed the story in a Facebook post about how much that act of kindness meant to her and her son Paul. “She made him feel like a million bucks. He skipped out of the store with a smile on his face,” the mom wrote. “Thank you, Kristen, for making my son’s day (and my day!) a bit brighter.” Since that Sunday, Grandinette’s Facebook post has touched the lives of so many others and gathered more than 144K likes, 10K shares, and 3.6K comments on Mejier’s Facebook Page.
Kristen’s own parents saw the post of their daughter and shared their elation with and thanks to everyone who shared their daughter’s story. “That’s my wonderful daughter, I’m so thankful for her taking the time to make his day because that’s how she is and I’m thankful for you to notice. Happy holidays to you and your family,” wrote her mom, Diane. Her father, Carl, added “That’s my daughter. I’m am so proud of her. #prouddaddy.”
Although Kristen admits that she was initially surprised by how much attention the story received, she said that way she interacted with Kimberly was ordinary in her day’s work. “I try to engage with my customers,” she said. “I like to get to know people. Even if it is just for three minutes” as they’re checking out.
Since then, Kristen has received recognition as an “incredible” Meijer employee from her store spokesperson, Christina Fecher. “This is another reminder that compassion and kindness go a long way, because kindness is contagious. (Pass it on!)”
December 17, 2015
- Workers at the Latino grocery chain strike in response to current violations of their rights under U.S. labor law.
- Grocery employees are joined by human rights legend Dolores Huerta at an El Super Store in Los Angeles.
- Today’s action comes one day after 19 members of Congress called on the Obama administration to uphold international labor standards at El Super.
Los Angeles, December 16—With signs held high and chants ringing across store parking lots, El Super workers at seven locations in Southern California went on strike over recent unfair labor practices (ULPs). The strikers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), are protesting violations of their rights and U.S. labor law requiring the company to bargain in good faith. They were joined by labor and human rights legend Dolores Huerta at a rally in front of the grocer’s location on E. Gage Ave. in Los Angeles.
“The fight El Super workers are engaged in is the same fight that the farm workers have historically fought for: the right to belong to a union, the right to bargain in good faith, and the right to industry labor standards, which means wages that can sustain their families. I stand with El Super workers and their campaign to win respect in the workplace and dignity for their families,” said Huerta, longtime champion for labor rights and co-founder of the United Farm Workers union.
Yesterday’s strike, was launched to protest recent ULPs at the chain. El Super’s conduct is the subject of charges filed with the National Labor Relations Board within the past week, including surface bargaining, repudiation of terms El Super unilaterally implemented nearly a year and half ago as part of it’s “last, best, and final” contract offer, and unreasonable delay in providing information crucial to effective negotiations.
El Super union members have been working without a contract since September 2013. In the face of court action and an NLRB trial, the company returned to union negotiations in August of this year, after over a year and half absence. They came back, however, to engage in bad faith bargaining in violation of federal law.
Flora Castaneda, an El Super cashier on strike to get the company to meet its legal obligations, said, “Reaching a union contract with the company is much more than a legal document to me, my family and my coworkers. It is my hope that if the company bargains in good faith we can sign an agreement that would ultimately allow me a holiday season where I’m able to make dinner for my family and buy some little presents for my kids. I think if the Company bargains in good faith we can reach an agreement that will enable us to able to go to the doctor when we are sick, save for our children to go to college, and have enough money at the end of the month to afford food and rent. It means we will have protection from the company’s retaliation against union supporters.”
“El Super’s disregard of workers’ rights and of labor law is shameful,” said UFCW Local 770 President Ricardo Icaza. “We will continue to stand together against this company’s lawless stonewalling of the bargaining process, and be with the workers until El Super comes to the table to negotiate in good faith for a contract where workers have the wages, benefits, guaranteed hours and respect that they have earned.”
In addition to the recent charges filed with the NLRB that prompted this strike, the NLRB recently issued a complaint against the company for additional unfair labor practices.
The UFCW and allies have also filed simultaneous complaints under the NAFTA labor agreement and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines to stop El Super and its parent company Grupo Chedraui’s attack on workers’ rights in the United States and Mexico. On Monday, 19 members of Congress representing districts with El Super store locations called on the Obama administration to expedite investigations into the complaints’ allegations.
Sign Letter to El Super CEO: www.BoycottElSuper.org
December 9, 2015
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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.”
November 25, 2015
Yesterday, the UFCW and Making Change at Walmart officially released a series of holiday actions against Walmart, beginning with a call to action during the week leading up to Black Friday called the “Give Back Friday” initiative.
Give Back Friday is all about helping the hundreds of thousands of hard-working Walmart employees who are paid so poorly that they must rely on assistance from food banks and use food stamps. During this entire Black Friday week, Making Change at Walmart, our progressive partners, and countless other organizations will be hosting food drives in cities across the country the week leading up to Black Friday with a goal to feed 100,000 Walmart workers and families though the holidays.
Locals Unions are asked to share and sign the pledge to donate to a food drive or a food bank in their area. By working together, we can help Walmart workers and their families.
Help us feed 100,000 Walmart workers and families and make sure to post about it using the hashtag #GiveBackFriday and #feedhungryworkers.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of over 100,000 families because no one in America, especially the men and women who work for one of the richest companies in the world, should have go to hungry this Thanksgiving and through the holidays.
November 24, 2015
It’s not easy to be the first person to arrive at our Union’s General Membership Meeting. It’s even more difficult to arrive eager, excited and alert after riding a bike through the rain for a few miles. But rain or any negativity has never stopped Peter Hoffman, and won’t stop him from riding to any meeting, regardless how hard the commute may be. Peter Hoffman is one of the most dedicated, positive union members in UFCW Local 1500.
“I started out with Local 1500 in 1998,” Hoffman explained, “Ever since then, I’ve been dedicated to the union, seeing how much they care and how much they help workers.” Peter currently works in the Front End at Stop & Shop 516, where he is always talking up the importance of going to union meetings, sticking together and being positive to his coworkers. “My favorite thing about being in a union is being involved with others, and having a place to explain and talk about work issues,” Hoffman explained, “There’s never a right or wrong answer at union meetings, you can say what’s on your mind.”
Peter lives with resounding positivity and pushes solidarity amongst all of his coworkers. “If everyone can stick together we can do amazing things. When people think differently about the union than I do, I tell them why I like the union so much, I’ve been around for a while, I know and have seen people get in trouble, and the union is the only one there to help you,” Hoffman said. He also enjoys raising funds and awareness for various charities like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer or the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
Peter genuinely enjoys helping customers at work, and talking to them about his union. “The best thing I’ve learned in life is to never say never, and don’t give up your belief in yourself. That’s the most important thing in life,” Hoffman said.
November 23, 2015
Last Monday, workers at Wedge Community Co-op in Minneapolis voted to form a union with UFCW Local 1189, making it the first co-op grocery in the Twin Cities area, home to many co-ops, to unionize.
The Wedge employees began their union drive last December, because they wanted to unionize in order to make their jobs sustainable and mirror the values at their workplace, which promotes a sustainable food system. The co-op’s management had already complied with a neutrality agreement they’d signed with unionized warehouse workers. “It was really a worker-driven thing,” Local 1189 Organizing Director Abraham Wangnoo said of the recent victory. “You could just see the excitement in a lot of the people who’d been part of this whole thing.” He added that the workers wanted to be able to “maintain a voice on the job and a sense of control and leadership in the operation of the co-op.”
Once the results of the election are certified by the National Labor Relations Board, the the 136 grocery workers will be part of the UFCW union family
A union drive at the Wedge Table, a cafe and market in the area that is also owned by the Wedge, is still ongoing.