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November 15, 2017

More Rocky Mountain High Workers Join Local 7

Rocky Mountain High cannabis workers in Durango, Montrose, and Carbondale, Colorado, voted to join UFCW Local 7 by an overwhelming margin on Nov. 6. These locations include two of the company’s grow facilities. The 25 workers wanted a voice in the workplace and the same benefits as their 32 colleagues at four Rocky Mountain High cannabis dispensaries in Denver, who joined UFCW Local 7 in September.

The Rocky Mountain High workers joined UFCW Local 7 because they were concerned about pay increases, health benefits, and a safer workplace. The workers also wanted to reduce high turnover and have a path to a career. Many of the workers also expressed an interest in the UFCW’s Free College Benefit.

November 6, 2017

UFCW Supports “Better Deal” Proposal on Bargaining Rights

On Nov. 1, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement in support of the Senate Democrats’ “Better Deal” proposal regarding the bargaining rights of workers.

The “Better Deal” proposal on collective bargaining seeks to create a mandatory mediation and arbitration process to ensure corporations and newly formed unions reach a first contract. The proposal strengthens penalties on predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights, and combats misclassification of workers as supervisors and independent contractors. The proposal also strengthens the right of workers to strike for basic workplace improvements, including higher wages and better working conditions, bans state laws that undermine worker freedoms to join together and negotiate, and provides millions of public employees with the freedom to join a union and collectively bargain with their employers.

The proposal also seeks to streamline the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) procedures to secure worker freedoms and effectively prevent violations, protect the integrity of union elections against coercive captive audience meetings, and use federal purchasing power and policy to help expand opportunities to negotiate.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“We must build an economy that works for all – not just those at the top. By strengthening the collective voice and negotiating rights of workers, the better deal proposal on collective bargaining begins to do just that.

“Our hope is that every member of Congress will support these more modern workplace policies because this is about more than unions, this is about helping their constituents and all hard-working men and women who have earned the right to a better life.”

October 30, 2017

UFCW Speaks Out Against Agricultural Guestworker Act

On Oct. 26, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement regarding the Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 4092), which puts American jobs and the safety of our food at risk. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 17-16 on October 25.

This bill will allow 450,000 visa holders to work in agriculture and meat processing jobs, and encourage irresponsible employers to displace American workers. Rather than require that new H-2C workers be paid at similar rates so that they cannot be used to displace workers and drive down wages, the bill simply requires that employers attempt to recruit workers at $10.88 per hour. If U.S. workers don’t apply at that wage rate, the employer would be authorized to bring in hundreds, or even thousands, of guestworkers at the $10.88 figure—a fraction of what meat and poultry workers in America currently earn.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“The Agricultural Guestworker Act is a direct threat to American jobs, wages, and food safety.

“It will flood the meat processing sector with hundreds of thousands of untrained visa holders, effectively destroying middle class jobs that are currently held by hard-working American families who play a critical role in the safety of our food.

“This bill will also make it easier for guestworkers to be exploited and encourages them to take on work that is demonstrably unsafe without years of training.

“Any member of the House who cares about protecting good American jobs and wages will do the right thing and oppose the Agricultural Guestworker Act.”

October 2, 2017

Local 770 helps members apply for DACA renewals

On Sept. 23, UFCW Local 770, in partnership with the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, and Central American Resource Center, held a workshop to assist members with the application process for the two-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals.

The workshop, which was held at the Ricardo F. Icaza Workers Center in Huntington Park, California, is part of UFCW Local 770’s effort to provide financial assistance so that qualified union members can renew their DACA applications before the October 5, 2017 deadline.

“I feel very happy and very appreciative for this opportunity,” said Silvia, a young DACA recipient and daughter of a UFCW Local 770 member, who attended the workshop. “It relieves me of a lot of stress because the renewal was pretty expensive.”

“They helped us with the immigration fee and completing the application process. They pretty much helped with everything,” she added.

Once renewing her work permit through DACA, Silvia plans to attend medical school. “I’m very excited about being able to renew my status, to continue working and try to go back to school,” she said.

According to President Trump’s announcement made on Sept. 5, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications from people who don’t already have DACA. People who already have DACA, and whose work permits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, will be able to apply for a two-year renewal if their application is received by October 5, 2017.

Additional information about UFCW Local 770’s DACA program is available here.

October 2, 2017

Local 770 Helps Members Apply for DACA Renewals

On Sept. 23, UFCW Local 770, in partnership with the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, and Central American Resource Center, held a workshop to assist members with the the two-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal application process. The workshop, which was held at the Ricardo F. Icaza Workers Center in Huntington Park, California, is part of UFCW Local 770’s effort to provide financial assistance so that qualified union members can renew their DACA applications before the October 5, 2017 deadline.

“I feel very happy and very appreciative for this opportunity,” said Silvia, a young DACA recipient and daughter of a UFCW Local 770 member, who attended the workshop. “It relieves me of a lot of stress because the renewal was pretty expensive.”

“They helped us with the immigration fee and completing the application process. They pretty much helped with everything,” she added.

After renewing her work permit through DACA, Silvia plans to attend medical school. “I’m very excited about being able to renew my status, to continue working and try to go back to school,” she said.

According to President Trump’s announcement on Sept. 5, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications from people who don’t already have DACA. People who already have DACA, and whose work permits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, will be able to apply for a two-year renewal if their application is received by October 5, 2017.

Additional information about UFCW Local 770’s DACA program is available here.

September 11, 2017

UFCW Women’s Network Holds Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

On September 7, 15 members of the UFCW Women’s Network from 11 different states visited with members of Congress to discuss issues that impact hard-working families. One member flew in from as far as California, and Valencia, a member from Florida, made the trip despite the chaos created by Hurricane Irma.

Women make up nearly half of the workforce, and many families need two incomes to make ends meet. With the responsibilities of taking care of kids or helping sick family members, having all the support women can get is critical to helping them and their families build the better lives they’ve earned and deserve.

The Women’s Network discussed the FAMILY Act, The Schedules That Work Act, and the importance of affordable health care with members of Congress.

The FAMILY Act would provide paid family leave to all Americans, and will make sure that hard-working people are able to take care of themselves and their loved ones no matter where they live, what job they have, or who they work for.

The Schedules That Work Act provides retail, food service, and cleaning workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they’re sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

It’s essential for women to have affordable health care options. High health care costs are an especially large burden for low-income women who regularly need health services, but who struggle to pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Making sure that all women have access to quality, affordable care will strengthen millions of American families.

Having women’s voices at the table is critical to building a better workforce that works for all.

Valencia, from UFCW Local 1625 in Florida, explained the power of showing up to speak face-to-face with members of Congress. “I’m a mother of three, and I understand that twelve weeks of unpaid leave is unreasonable for a single-income household,” she said. “That’s why I’m here to talk to my Congress member. It’s important to speak out about these issues and for them to hear directly from us.”

 

September 8, 2017

UFCW Women’s Network Holds Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

On September 7, fifteen members of the UFCW Women’s Network from 11 different states visited with members of Congress to discuss issues that impact hard-working families. One member flew in from as far as California, and Valencia, a member from Florida, made the trip despite all the chaos of Hurricane Irma.

Women make up nearly half of the workforce, and many families need two incomes to make ends meet. With the responsibilities of taking care of kids or helping sick family members, having all the support women can get is critical to helping them and their families build the better lives they’ve earned and deserve.

The Women’s Network discussed the FAMILY Act, The Schedules That Work Act, and the importance of affordable health care with members of Congress.

The FAMILY Act would provide paid family leave to all Americans and will make sure that hard-working people are able to take care of themselves and their loved ones no matter where they live, what job they have, or who they work for.

The Schedule That Work Act provides retail, food service and cleaning workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they’re sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

It’s essential for women to have affordable health care options. High health care costs are an especially large burden for lower-income women who regularly need health services, but who struggle to pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Making sure that all women have access to quality, affordable care will strengthen millions of American families.

Having women’s voices at the table is critical to building a better workforce that works for all.

Valencia, from Local 1625 in Florida, explained the power of showing up to speak face-to-face with members of Congress. “I’m a mother of three, and I understand that twelve weeks of unpaid leave is unreasonable for a single-income household. That’s why I’m here to talk to my Congressmember. It’s important to speak out about these issues and for them to hear directly from us.”

September 5, 2017

UFCW Condemns White House Decision to End DACA

On Sept. 5, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement regarding the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

The statement reads as follows:

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is cold-hearted, cruel, and a betrayal of what America stands for.

“Hundreds of thousands of young, hard-working men and women who love America will now be needlessly punished for childhood circumstances. These young people have grown up in this country, passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school, and have worked hard to build a better America. They have earned and deserve fair treatment, but instead their lives are being thrown into chaos with this announcement.

“President Trump’s decision will not make America great again; rather, it will tear families apart, damage communities, and further fuel a terrible divide that is already hurting the nation we all love.

“On behalf of the 1.3 million members of our union family, we urge all Members of Congress to immediately do what is right and protect these Dreamers.”

On Sept. 6, the UFCW distributed a memo to UFCW Locals regarding the status of DACA.

The memo reads as follows:

TO: ALL UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS LOCAL UNIONS

As many of you know, on September 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a phased ending to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The following outlines important details and information for our locals to discuss with affected members.

What will end immediately?

No new DACA applications will be accepted as of September 5, 2017.

No new applications for employment authorization will be accepted after September 5, 2017.

There will be no approval of advance parole, which allows temporary leave from the U.S. and lawful reentry into U.S., for DACA recipients as of September 5, 2017.

What about DACA will continue to be processed?

Initial DACA applications and employment authorization requests that are already filed as of September 5, 2017 will be processed.

Applications for renewal of DACA and work authorization for current beneficiaries whose status expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 will be processed if they are received by DHS within the next 30 days by October 5, 2017. If granted, the recipient will remain in status for the validity period which typically has been two years.

Applications for DACA renewal and work authorization filed after October 5, 2017 shall be rejected.

What is the status of current DACA recipients?

Current DACA recipients and Employment Authorization Document holders will continue in the DACA status with work authorization for the duration of the two-year validity periods.

DACA recipients with currently approved advance parole will be allowed to temporarily leave for the validity period granted. However, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) still retains discretion to deny reentry at the border.

What is the current status of enforcement when DACA expires?

DACA information provided to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process DACA applications will not be proactively shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or CBP.

For more information, contact the UFCW Legal Department at (202) 466-1593 or rbowser@ufcw.org.

 

June 15, 2017

UFCW Locals Stand with LGBTQ Workers During Pride Month

Many UFCW Locals across the US and Canada are marching this June as part of LGBT Pride Month. Working in partnership with UFCW OUTreach, UFCW Locals are committed to leveling the playing field in our contracts and our laws.

2017 UFCW Pride Photos

Why March?

On June 28, 1969, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community fought back against police brutality at a New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Known as the Stonewall riots, many consider this to be the beginning of the modern day LGBT rights movement.

In commemoration of the historic Stonewall riots, June is now commonly recognized as LGBT Pride Month. Keep an eye out throughout the month for UFCW locals who will be holding events to stand with hardworking men and women everywhere who deserve respect and equal protection both on and off the job, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

 

May 26, 2017

Civil Rights and Labor: Two Movements, One Goal

by Richard Womack Sr. ,James Settles Jr.,Robin Williams
Originally published on the AFL-CIO blog

One of our most celebrated labor leaders, A. Philip Randolph, an organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, knew the connection between the labor movement and the civil rights movement was key to a truly inclusive democracy. He stood for access at the ballot box as well as to economic security—ideally through a good job with decent benefits and a union. Today, we find ourselves back in a place where our civil, economic, political and social rights are under constant attack. The violence we see against black youth—the heart-wrenching killing of Trayvon Martin, the homicide of Jordan Davis–the passage of “right to work” laws in states like Michigan, Missouri and Iowa that have deeply racist and divisive roots, and the constant attack on immigrant communities by the current administration affirm we still have work to do.

As trade unionists, labor leaders, parents and civil rights activists, we have dedicated our time, talent and resources to advancing the agenda for people who are simply working for a better life. We believe there has never been a more critical point in our nation’s history when it is so crucial for us to reconnect deeply the movement for working people with the movement for civil and human rights. We cannot forget that the March on Washington was about freedom, economic equity and good jobs. The intersection of human rights, civil rights and workers’ rights has always been a part of our struggles for independent power both here and abroad. We must continue to uplift those movements in an intersectional way to ensure we are able to win justice at the workplace and the ballot box to make a difference for those we serve.

This summer, one of the oldest and largest civil and human rights organizations, the NAACP, will come to the city of Baltimore for its annual convention. The NAACP has stood as a coalition partner to the labor movement since 1909. There are many organizations we as a movement value and partner with through shared program and the NAACP remains one of those core allies, despite the shifts that happen in the world around us. We have great leadership within both the labor movement and the NAACP. We have seen how powerful it is when leaders like AFT’s Lorretta Johnson stand shoulder to shoulder with the Rev. William Barber, leader of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference. We know our journey together must continue as we fight to assure that “the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”

We must expand our vision by creating solidarity without borders so that working people will be treated with the respect we are due. Thus our history and our very purpose demand that we be in the forefront of the struggle to assure first-class citizenship to all people, of all colors, and all creeds without regard to sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Our struggles are one; our hopes are one; our dreams are one. The past is not dead, it’s not even past.

To participate in the 2017 NAACP Labor Luncheon in Baltimore, please click here: cvent.com/d/n5q3qx

James Settles Jr., also known as Jimmy, serves as a vice president and member of the Executive Board at the UAW. He is a national board member and Labor Committee vice-chair of the NAACP.

Robin Williams serves as the national vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). She is a national board member and Labor Committee vice-chair of the NAACP.

Richard Womack Sr. is the emeritus assistant to the AFL-CIO president and former director of the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department. He is a national board member and Labor Committee chair of the NAACP.