News and Updates
July 15, 2016
In March, employees at eight Giant stores represented by Local 400 – six in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and two in Southern Maryland – were told their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based grocery store Delhaize. These proposed store sales threatened the better wages, benefits and grocery store experience that the Giant stores provide to the local community.
Which is why Local 400 members who work at Giant, their loyal customers and community leaders banded together to help make people see that selling these stores was a bad idea. Through a series of rallies, public meetings and marches, they sent a clear message that the local community didn’t want these grocery stores and the good jobs they provide to be sold away.
“I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area,” said Robyn Wheeler, a Local 400 member who has worked at Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years.
In addition to organizing public events that drew attention to the negative aspects of the proposal to sell the local grocery stores, Local 400 members also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits and competition.
Treesa Shipp, a Local 400 member who works at the Giant in Stafford said, “Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process and were able to stop our store from being sold. They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and work hard to make it successful every single day.”
July 5, 2016
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.
May 24, 2016
Last week, dozens of Stop & Shop union members, staff, and community members from New England UFCW locals went out to Stop & Shop stores as part of a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate the customers whose support helped win a strong union contract for over 35,000 Stop & Shop union members throughout New England and the over 1,500 members in western Massachusetts.
Stop & Shop union members worked without a contract for over two months. During this period, thousands of customers signed petitions in support of a fair contract, made countless calls to the company asking them to offer a fair deal to hard working union members, and made their opinions known in the stores in favor of a good contract.
With their support, our bargaining committee was able to negotiate collectively for:
• 480 New Full-Time Jobs
• Fair & Predictable Scheduling so that we can spend time with our families and provide for our families
• Fair Pay and a path to $15 for all full-time employees
• Affordable Healthcare for our families
Matt Szulborski, Organizing Director of UFCW Local 1459 said, in gratitude to customers, “Working families coming together on the job and in the community helped win a better life for Stop & Shop union members. Thank you for all your support and help. I believe with a voice at work and communities coming together, all working people can gain a better life.”
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 6, 2016
UFCW announces 100 organizing wins in roughly 100 days in 2016.
Washington, D.C. –Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest private sector labor union, announced its 100th organizing campaign win of 2016. UFCW’s 100 wins in 100 days reflects the frustration felt by hard-working people across this country. The economic pressure felt by working Americans is higher than ever and more and more of them are looking to unions for relief.
“A national conversation about wealth inequality is occurring in packing houses and on the floors of retail stores all over the country,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “UFCW has 100 examples of how these conversations are moving workers to form a union and take action. Workers are realizing that partnering with an established union can help secure the wages and benefits that put them on a path to a better life.”
Wealth inequality has become a dominant issue in this year’s Presidential primaries. In both parties, large crowds of voters assembled for candidates campaigning on a message of economic populism. Concurrently, UFCW field organizers saw that same enthusiasm cross over into their campaigns. Increased attention to wages and inequality has motivated people to become UFCW members.
- Workers in 26 out of 50 states have already joined UFCW this year.
- Over 50 percent of UFCW locals have had successful organizing drives
- 55 percent of adults under 30 hold a favorable view of unions (Pew).
- In 10 years, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global work force,
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 13, 2015
The following letter from International President Marc Perrone appeared in the Washington Post.
Edward Alden’s May 7 op-ed, “Why unions need a new trade strategy,” did not detail the devastating impact that unfair trade deals have on hard-working men and women. Mr. Alden was correct that workers need more than talk. They deserve good wages and benefits, fair and reliable schedules, respect on the job and a secure retirement — none of which would come from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
The bluster Mr. Alden mentioned has been coming from supporters of trade. For 40 years, U.S. trade policies have devastated families and led to lost jobs, stagnant wages and rising levels of income inequality. Mr. Alden seemed to ignore this brutal reality in favor of tweaks to a trade model that is flawed at its core.
The truth is that no elected official truly interested in making the economy better and fairer can support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This trade deal is bad for our workers, families and shared future.
The Washington and Wall Street establishments say this deal will be different. It will not be. So the labor movement, workers and all those who want a fairer and more just America should not be fooled into supporting it.
Marc Perrone, Washington
March 19, 2015
Perrone: President Obama Should Veto NLRB Legislation & Election Rule Should Be Implemented Without Delay
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after the House voted to block the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rule to streamline union elections.
“The NLRB rule to streamline the union election process is long overdue and should be implemented without delay. Today the House voted to allow irresponsible employers to use frivolous litigation and other technicalities to draw out union elections so they can intimidate, harass, and in some cases fire pro-union employees before an actual vote occurs. Make no mistake, this legislation will hurt working and middle class workers, and will deny hard-working men and women the opportunity for good wages, decent benefits, and a better life for themselves and their family.”
“We urge President Obama to carry out his veto threat and for the NLRB to move forward with this important rule that will help improve the lives of countless workers and their families.”
- If the streamlined election rule had been in place, working men and women would have had a fairer, more modern process to exercise their rights in the workplace.
- For example, just last week, workers at Vantage Foods in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania fell narrowly short of the votes needed for union recognition.
- During the 45 days that elapsed between the petition being filed and the election, Vantage officials engaged in a comprehensive intimidation campaign against the workers seeking to join together, including holding mandatory captive-audience meetings and firing union supporters.
- A streamlined election rule would make it easier for workers to exercise their rights, and more difficult for irresponsible employers who are determined to take those rights away.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.
February 12, 2015
Today Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro reintroduced the Healthy Families Act, federal legislation that would allow workers to earn up to seven paid sick days.
Twenty jurisdictions nationwide—three states and 17 cities—have adopted paid sick laws. That’s a four-fold increase since the Healthy Families Act was last introduced in March 2013.
However, despite this substantial progress, nearly 43 million workers still don’t have access to paid sick days and more than one-third of U.S. states have never passed a single law recognizing the dual demands of work and family.
The UFCW strongly supports passage of the Healthy Families Act.
February 11, 2015
Click here to watch a video of UFCW Local 1564 members speaking out against right to work in New Mexico.
February 2, 2015
Rasmussen Reports released a national survey showing that only 35% of likely U.S. voters believe “right to work” laws are good for a state’s economy. That’s a ten point decrease from a similar study conducted in December 2012.
UFCW members have been lobbying elected officials for years on the disastrous effects of these unfair and unnecessary laws. There is still more work to be done as “right to work” battles are underway in Wisconsin, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, New Hampshire, Colorado, Kentucky, Montana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
“Right to work” laws are being pushed by corporate special interests who want to lower wages so that corporations can have even more profits and power.
In the coming weeks, UFCW members will be in state capitals across the nation to ensure that legislators take notice of this survey and oppose “right to work.”