News and Updates
Legislation and Politics
January 29, 2018
UFCW Local 1000, alongside the Legislative and Political Action Department, hosted a political conference in Oklahoma City on Jan. 24. This is the first time UFCW Local 1000 sponsored such a event in Oklahoma.
Almost a dozen elected members of the Oklahoma Legislature met with Local 1000 members and staff to discuss the issues affecting the working men and women of the UFCW across Oklahoma, including country of origin labeling, paid sick days, cannabis, and health care. The state representatives and senators in attendance included two newly elected members of the legislature, Rep. Jacob Rosencrans and Sen. Alison Ikley-Freeman, who were elected in special elections where UFCW support was key.
January 22, 2018
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement on Jan. 19 in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to eliminate line speed limits at pork plants. This latest announcement follows the recent regulatory effort to remove line speed limits for the poultry industry.
The UFCW represents hard-working men and women in pork plants that have already had their line speed limits eliminated as part of a trial program, as well as people who are in plants that run profitably with line speed limits in place. According to a 2013 report from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, the existing trial program did not result in better food safety.
Perrone’s statement reads as follows:
“This desire to increase line speeds is being driven entirely by corporate greed and defies common sense.
“Jobs inside pork plants are some of the most dangerous and difficult in America. We’re only putting workers at greater risk of injury and consumers at greater risk of consuming unsafe meat by asking everyone who labors inside one to work faster.
“For the sake of keeping millions of hard-working families safe, this decision deserves immediate reconsideration.”
January 9, 2018
On Jan. 8, Working Families United protested the termination of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans currently working and living in America. The UFCW is one of five unions that form the Working Families United immigration campaign, which also includes UNITE HERE, IUPAT, Iron Workers, and Bricklayers. All five unions represent tens of thousands of TPS union workers in hospitality, construction, meat processing and trades.
“Hundreds of thousands of hard-working families who pay taxes and contribute to our communities will now be forced to upend their lives and settle into a dangerous country they no longer know,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “From working in meatpacking and food processing plants to retail shops to other sectors, people with TPS hold key roles in our economy that make America stronger and safer.”
Maria Elena Durazo, general vice president of UNITE HERE, echoed that sentiment. “Today Trump’s DHS is taking nearly 200,000 law-abiding American immigrants and turning them from legal workers into targets for deportation,” Durazo said.
Looking forward, Working Families United member unions are pledging to keep the fight to save TPS up at the congressional level, including with a nearly one million dollar advocacy budget.
“We urge Congress to do what is right and immediately pass a long-term legislative solution that gives every TPS family the stability and security they’ve earned and deserve,” said Kenneth E. Rigmaiden, general president of IUPAT. “As a union family, we are committed to helping people who work hard build better lives – especially when they’ve been forced to flee their home countries due to unimaginable violence. We will amplify those voices and stand steadfast, shoulder to shoulder, until a just solution is reached.”
January 8, 2018
On Jan. 4, UFCW Locals 17A, 75, 880, 1059, along with the ICWUC and RWDSU, released the following statements after endorsing Steve Dettelbach for Ohio Attorney General. Collectively, these local unions represent over 80,000 hard-working Ohioans.
“Steve Dettelbach has continually proven that he is completely committed to putting what’s best for everyday Ohioans above all else,” said Randy Quickel, president of UFCW Local 1059.
“Now, more than ever, we need and deserve leaders like Steve who will stand with and up for hard-working men and women when it matters most,” said Carl Ivka, president of UFCW Local 880.
“Simply put, Steve Dettelbach will be an Attorney General who protects good jobs and better wages across Ohio. We endorse him with enthusiasm and look forward to helping him win this race,” said Kevin Garvey, president of UFCW Local 75.
“Steve Dettelbach isn’t afraid to push back against predatory corporations and secure real progress for hard-working people. We look forward to him standing up for everyday Ohioans as our next Attorney General,” said Sonja Campell, president of UFCW Local 17A.
“Steve Dettelbach knows how to work with the community and law enforcement to help make our communities safer for all,” said ICWUC President Frank Cyphers.
“The time has come for Ohio to have an Attorney General who puts people before politics. Steve has spent his career fighting for justice for working people, no matter who they work for. Steve is not afraid to stand up to business owners who hurt working people – no matter what. We will fight for him to win this election because we know he will fight for us as Attorney General,” said RWDSU Regional Director Rick Marshall.
December 11, 2017
Last week, members from several local unions across the country, including UFCW Locals 99, 431, 876, 1189, 1776 and RWDSU, came to Washington, D.C., to deliver a message to our elected officials: Save Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and keep hard-working families together. This message was highlighted by the delivery of over 60,000 signed petitions to members of Congress.
UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther Lopez rallied members on the Hill. with a clear message.“Hard-working people who have lived here for decades and played by the rules should be offered a path to legalization and citizenship,” she said.
TPS families have fled natural disasters, violence, instability, and ethnic, religious, and ideological persecution. They have also raised children here, regularly undergo DHS background checks, paying renewal fees on top of taxes, and are truly making America a better nation even as they work hard to build a better life for their families.
Ending TPS for tens of thousands of hard-working families is a personal issue to our union family – that’s why we recently joined with UNITE HERE, IUPAT, Bricklayers, AFL-CIO and the Ironworkers to form a group called Working Families United to raise our united, collective voice on behalf of TPS holders. We support Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.)’s bill (SECURE ACT), and another introduced by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), H.R. 4253 (115). Together, we’re keeping the pressure on key congressional targets to support these measures.
December 4, 2017
UFCW International President Marc Perrone called on lawmakers to protect U.S. jobs, as well as the safety of our food supply, by opposing Agricultural Guestworker Act (AGA) of 2017 (H.R. 4092) in an op-ed for The Washington Examiner on Dec. 4.
The following are excerpts from the op-ed:
The AGA is a direct threat to America’s hard-working families, the incomes they depend on, and the food we all eat. This is not hyperbole. If the AGA becomes law, it will allow 450,000 foreign visa holders to work in agricultural and meat processing jobs that are currently held by hard-working American men and women. The impacts of this bill, particularly upon the hundreds of thousands of people employed by the meat and poultry industry, would be devastating.
This bad bill does more than just hurt American jobs and workers – it also puts our food supply at risk. While we may not see food processing workers do their jobs, the truth is that they are highly trained professionals who perform dangerous and highly skilled work. These professionals serve as a much needed layer of protection for consumers when it comes to food safety because they know to quickly spot meat that is low quality or diseased.
Like any high skilled and vital profession, current salaries reflect the quality and importance of this workforce, with wages as high as $23 per hour. By allowing untrained workers or guestworkers to hold these important jobs for as little as $10.88 per hour, the AGA will effectively drive down wages and destroy hundreds of thousands of good jobs in the process.
At a time when we need to strengthen American jobs and make our food safer, the AGA would also allow guestworkers to stay for up to three years. That isn’t a guestworker – that’s a long-term employee and further shows how this bill is designed to both exploit foreign workers and replace American workers at the same time.
Click here to read the full op-ed.
November 6, 2017
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
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
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
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.”