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    News and Updates


April 1, 2019

Bipartisan Bill in Congress Protects Workers and Families From Discrimination

On March 19, the UFCW OUTreach board voted to formally endorse the Equality Act, a new bipartisan bill that would strengthen protections for workers and families across the country and help to end discrimination that has impacted so many communities.

Every American deserves the freedom and opportunity to earn a living and build a better life for themselves and their family without facing discrimination. In a majority of states, LGBTQ Americans are still not fully protected from discrimination. While many states have strengthened protections for workers and families who are at risk, the current patchwork of laws leave many vulnerable to discrimination.

This bill would ensure that all Americans enjoy the full protection of the law and are not discriminated against when it comes to employment, housing and other public accommodations. In addition to bipartisan support in Congress, the bill has also been endorsed by a broad coalition of more than 160 leading American companies across the country.

“While our UFCW union contracts protect our LGBTQ members on the job, the lack of non-discrimination laws across our country leave them exposed to discrimination once they walk out of their workplace,” said UFCW OUTreach Chair Michele Kessler, who is the Northcentral Division Director and Secretary-Treasurer at UFCW Local 1776KS. “It’s time to get this law finally passed and we urge our UFCW family to help by contacting their members of Congress to support the Equality Act.”

You can get more information about UFCW OUTreach here.

March 25, 2019

Local 663 Helps Members Make Their Voices Heard in State Capitol

Veronica Orellana of Worthington, Minn., speaks at the state capitol in St. Paul on Feb. 21.(Photo by Dave Orrick / Pioneer Press)

Every member’s voice deserves to be heard, especially on issues that impact their jobs and their families. UFCW Local 663 is helping its members speak out in support of a new bill that strengthens economic opportunities for communities across Minnesota. The bill is H.F. 1500, the License Access and Public Safety Act, which will open up a road of opportunity not only for our members, but for all workers in the state of Minnesota.

On Feb. 21, UFCW Local 663 and Freedom to Drive MN coalition partners joined Minnesota House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler at the state capitol in St. Paul, Minn., in support of this bill, which would expand eligibility for obtaining a driver’s license or Minnesota identification card to include all members of the workforce.

Veronica Orellana, a student from Worthington, Minn., and the daughter of UFCW Local 663 member José Orellana, shared what this bill would mean for her family.

“My mother and father work hard to provide for our family,” Orellana said. “They work to build us a better life together. As the next generation, I see that every day. Every Minnesotan deserves the chance to live, grow and go wherever we want to without fear. That’s why I’m supporting this bill.”

“Our union drives Minnesota forward when we invest in people,” said UFCW Local 663 President Matt Utecht. “Access to driver’s licenses is the right thing to do. Expanding access to driver’s licenses for all people of age, regardless of status, supports our UFCW union families—in Worthington, Madelia, Butterfield, Luverne, Twin Cities and all the way to Pequot Lakes. But it’s not just about our UFCW 663 union family. It’s bigger than that. Union membership isn’t just about fighting for our union families, it’s about fighting for better lives for all working families. And that’s why we support driver’s licenses for all.”

UFCW Local 663 is one of the leaders of the Freedom to Drive MN coalition, which includes nonprofit organizations, other unions, community advocates, faith-based organizations, workers’ rights advocates and local businesses.

March 18, 2019

Locals Lobby to Protect Workers’ Rights

UFCW locals are holding lobby days at their state legislatures to protect the rights of our members and all workers in their respective states.

UFCW Locals 75 and 227 are taking a stand against an anti-worker insurance bill, which is moving in both chambers of the Kentucky State Legislature (HB 317 and SB 171). This legislation would cut the amount of a worker’s weekly unemployment insurance benefits by 25 percent every five weeks. This legislation would also cut the number of weeks that a worker could receive these benefits from 26 to 20 weeks, which would have an adverse effect on Kentuckians who live in economically distressed communities and need more time to find a suitable new job. In February, both locals also lobbied together in support of another piece of legislation to protect workers in the state–the Kentucky Pregnant Workers Act (SB 18), which would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, including more frequent or longer breaks, time off to recover from childbirth or a temporary transfer to less strenuous duties.

“Providing common sense accommodations for pregnant workers is just that, common sense,” said UFCW Local 75 President Kevin Garvey. “I applaud the members of the Kentucky Legislature for taking an important step towards ensuring babies are born healthy and avoiding unnecessary medical complications for Kentucky’s working mothers.”

UFCW Local 227 also joined together with UFCW Local 700 in a day of action at the Indiana State Legislature last month in support of similar legislation–the Pregnant Workers’ Bill of Rights. This legislation has been introduced in both chambers (HB 1073 and SB 590) and would prohibit an employer from discriminating against a pregnant job applicant or employee. This legislation would also require an employer to provide reasonable employment accommodations for a pregnant employee, including giving them breaks from sitting or standing for long hours and helping them avoid chemicals, radiation, or other hazardous substances.

“Pregnancy accommodation is good for workers and good for business; family-friendly workplaces see increased productivity, loyalty, and retention of employees,” said UFCW Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning. “Twenty-three states have already passed laws to provide a clear and consistent standard for employers.”

“Most accommodations are free or low cost but are invaluable for the hard-working women and their families who will benefit,” said UFCW Local 227 President Bob Blair. “The personal stories and passion for this issue is what will move the legislation.”


March 18, 2019

UFCW Calls on Congress to Solve Multiemployer Pension Crisis

On March 7, UFCW International President Marc Perrone called on Congress to pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act (H.R. 397). Without action by Congress now, this crisis will be much more expensive to fix in the future. Perrone’s statement was issued the same day as the House Education and Labor Committee hearing on the solvency of multiemployer pensions.

The UFCW has been a strong national advocate for pension reform and supports the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act because it is a common sense way to shore up multiemployer plans while protecting the earned pensions of retirees and active workers.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“America’s promise has always been that anyone who works hard can build a better life for themselves and their family. When the retirement savings of millions of Americans is in jeopardy after they’ve worked hard their entire lives, that promise is being broken.

“Keeping that promise starts with protecting the pensions of today’s workers and retirees and making the strong investments needed to ensure the retirement security of generations to come.

“The time is now for Congress to pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act to protect these pensions before the crisis becomes even more costly and widespread. The retirement security for millions of workers and their families is on the line. We can’t wait any longer.”

January 22, 2019

Perrone: Shutdown Threatens America’s Retail Workers and Nation’s Economy

UFCW International President Marc Perrone called attention to the government shutdown’s impact on America’s 16 million retail workers and the broader economy in a statement issued on Jan. 18.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers continue to be locked out of their job or forced to work without pay. But this wasteful shutdown is also threatening the 16 million American workers who help power our country’s $2.6 trillion retail sector and the broader economy.

“When Republicans shut down the government in 2013, retail sales from furloughed workers dropped seven percent and the economy lost $2 billion in productivity. About one in 10 Americans are employed in the retail industry and the longer the current shutdown continues, the harder hit these workers and our economy will be.

“It’s high time for President Trump and Congress to stop playing politics with our economy and American workers and finally end this reckless government shutdown.”

January 4, 2019

Perrone: “Bipartisan Farm Bill Is a Victory for Hard-Working Families”

On Dec. 12, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement in support of the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 2018 Farm Bill conference report.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Today’s passage of the bipartisan farm bill is a victory for hard-working families. Earlier versions were deeply partisan and proposed substantial cuts to SNAP, a vital program that not only helps millions in need put food on the table every day but creates sustainable jobs in food processing plants, distribution centers, and grocery stores across the country.

“Thanks to the leadership of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, Congress has rightly rejected the cuts that would have threatened our economy and good jobs across America.

“As the voice of workers who help put food on America’s tables, we are proud to be a partner in this legislation that puts people first by protecting access to food for families in need and making the strong investments in our workers and communities that we deserve.”

October 23, 2018

OUTreach Offers Creating Change Conference Scholarships

UFCW OUTreach is offering five scholarships for members to attend next year’s Creating Change Conference in Detroit. The conference, which will take place on Jan. 23 to 27, 2019, is organized by the national LGBTQ Task Force. It is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ+ social justice movement, and scholarship recipients will learn from a broad range of social justice issues and develop skills to bring back to their workplaces and local unions.  Past session topics have included labor, gender equality, community organizing, criminal justice, immigration and more.

UFCW OUTreach Executive Board members have served as a key voice for working class and labor issues at this conference over the past few years. In a time where the labor movement and everything we have fought for is under attack, UFCW OUTreach’s dedication to organizing social and economic justice for all workers and ensuring full equality for LGBTQ+ workers at work and in their union reflects our union’s commitment to building a resilient working class that is not divided by hate.

The submission deadline for the five scholarships is Wednesday, Nov. 7. You can get more information about UFCW OUTreach scholarships to this important conference here.

June 25, 2018

UFCW Condemns ICE Raids in Ohio

The UFCW denounced last week’s ICE raids at Fresh Mark plants in the Ohio towns of Canton, Massillon and Salem, and called on the Trump Administration and Congress to work together and fix our broken immigration system.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Tearing hard-working men and women apart from their children, families, and communities is wrong. The people who do these incredibly difficult jobs have the right to due process, and to be treated with respect and fairness. Today’s actions will only drive this nation further apart, while also spreading unmistakable pain among neighbors, friends, coworkers, and loved ones.

“Our top priority is to provide whatever assistance and counsel we can to any of our impacted members and their families. The broken policies that led to these and other workplace raids must be addressed immediately. They are creating a climate of fear where workers across this country are too afraid to stand up for their rights, report wage theft, dangerous work conditions, and other workplace issues.

“We urge President Trump and members of Congress to work together to fix our broken immigration system, and to keep the demands of due process and family unity at the forefront. As a nation of immigrants, we must and can do better than this.”

June 25, 2018

UFCW Responds to Partisan Farm Bill

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement on June 21 regarding the U.S. House of Representatives passing H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“This exact bill failed last month for good reason.

“It puts hundreds of thousands of good jobs at risk of being eliminated and makes it more difficult for hard-working people to feed their families.

“The House needs to take a cue from the Senate and immediately come together to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill.”

June 18, 2018

UFCW Applauds Bipartisan Farm Bill

UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement on June 14 regarding the Farm Bill (Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) passing the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of 20 to 1.

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“We applaud the Senate Agriculture Committee for working across the aisle and coming together to pass a Farm Bill.

“The Farm Bill is good policy that creates good jobs and is counted on by hard-working families throughout the country. Using it for leverage or as a pawn in a partisan political game is dangerous and wrong.

“We urge the U.S. House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and begin immediate work on a Farm Bill that can be passed with bipartisan support.”