News and Updates
November 1, 2016
Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) kicked off the “Trump’s Values Are Walmart’s Values” National Week of Action on Oct. 22 with a rally in Cincinnati, and events in Washington, D.C, Anaheim, St. Paul, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and New York City, to call on Walmart to stop selling Trump products. The rallies were held in partnership with UFCW Locals 75, 99, 324, 400, 540, 653, 1000, 1189 and 1546, as well as Walmart-Free NYC. Additionally, MCAW sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon asking the world’s largest retailer to break its silence on Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
“Walmart refused to denounce Donald Trump in the weeks leading up to the Republican convention, and since then, he’s only gotten worse,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “First there was the inexcusable and vile Access Hollywood tape, and now there is a growing list of women accusing Trump of sexual assault. Walmart cannot stay silent any longer. They need to send a message to their customers and employees that it does not support this candidate, and it does not support his behavior. Walmart should stop selling products that promote Trump online and in stores.”
November 1, 2016
On Oct. 22, UFCW Local 648, in partnership with Californians for Safety and Justice and the San Francisco Labor Council, hosted a Proposition 47 Live Scan, record change and job fair clinic in San Francisco to help people with prior nonviolent felonies to petition to get their records changed.
At the event, attorneys volunteered their time and met with each attendee, one on one. The San Francisco Labor Council, City College of San Francisco, Up Vote and the San Francisco Airport Office of Employment all had informational booths, as well. Union members that attended the Proposition 47 Live Scan event and attorney meetings said they were thankful for the opportunity to change their records and move forward with their lives.
In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, a measure that reduces certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. The savings from reduced incarceration costs are invested in drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services. Over one million Californians quality for Proposition 47, but only about 250,000 people have petitioned to have their records changed. Proposition 47 was due to sunset in November 2017, but Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2757 to extend the time to petition for another five years.
The UFCW has partnered with a number of local and national organizations in an effort to bring to light the issues that are plaguing our communities and transform the criminal justice system.
UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department Robin Williams believes restorative rights are especially important for workers. “When you get out of jail, how do you take care of your family if you can’t get a job?” Williams said.
Together with our allies, the UFCW is dedicated to shifting the focus away from punishment and toward educational opportunities that help people change their lives and get back on track.
November 1, 2016
As part of our election year push to get out the vote, the UFCW International hosted a tele-town hall on Oct. 27 with members in key battleground states that featured Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of Hillary Clinton’s top national surrogates.
The purpose of this event was to discuss the issues that matter most to UFCW members and show people that the stakes of this election are too high for anyone to stay home and not vote. Members asked Senator Booker questions about healthcare, retirement security, education, paid leave and equal pay. His answers reinforced the fact that Hillary Clinton has real plans in place to address the real challenges of hard-working men and women.
One of the biggest themes to come out of this event was that a lot more needs to be done for families who are struggling and young people trying to get a start. We’re all tired of an election season that has been filled with toxicity and divisiveness and are hoping the next president will be more focused on solutions. In just one week, people all across America will have the chance to cast their ballot. The UFCW is proud to have members in every battleground state canvassing, making phone calls and having worksite discussions so that our votes are counted and our voices heard on Election Day and beyond.
To listen to a recording of the event, visit www.ufcwaction.org/2016townhall.
October 14, 2016
Last week, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) responded to Walmart’s announcement that it is closing three stores in three different cities (Lamesa, Texas; Brownfield, Texas; and Columbia, Mo.) with very little notice.
“This callous move by Walmart will leave hundreds of workers without jobs and hundreds of families without paychecks,” said Jess Levin, communications director of MCAW. “Walmart has said that people are the most important part of their business. However, this recent news proves that, for Walmart, nothing is more important than profits: not workers, not customers, not anyone. These closings, much like the 269 store closings earlier this year, will not only impact Walmart workers, they will affect these entire communities. ”
In early 2016, Walmart announced that it was closing 154 U.S. stores, which, according to The Washington Post, disproportionately affected lower-income, rural areas.
October 13, 2016
There’s still time to register in many states, but deadlines are approaching quickly. Anyone who wants to register to vote should visit VOTE.ORG or HELLO.VOTE as soon as possible. It only takes one minute to register to vote and you can do it from your phone.
Our vote is our voice – let’s use it. By voting, we can raise up the issues that matter the most and secure the better America all of us have earned and deserve.
Register today by visiting VOTE.ORG or HELLO.VOTE on your mobile phone.
September 30, 2016
On Sept. 21, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) responded to Walmart’s announcement that it paid over $200 million in quarterly bonuses to over 900,000 of its hourly employees who work in stores that met the retail giant’s goals of cleanliness, faster checkout and better service. The average bonus per Walmart employee was around $200.
“Walmart is happy to boast when they decide to give workers a very small share of one of the world’s largest company’s earnings, but when it comes down to facts, Walmart continues to mislead,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW.
“What Walmart doesn’t tell you is that in order to get this bonus, workers must complete amonths-long training program that is often implemented with ‘buggy and outdated technology.’ In fact, in order to also receive the $10 an hour minimum wage that Walmart promotes, completion of this tedious program is required. We hear from Walmart workers every day that have been making less than $10 an hour for months. These workers will also be excluded from the quarterly bonus, and we believe they deserve better.”
September 29, 2016
On Sept. 19, Seattle’s City Council passed a historic Secure Scheduling Ordinance by a vote of 9-0. The new scheduling law will require all retail, grocery and food businesses in Seattle with 500 or more employees to provide their employees with their work schedules two weeks in advance and offer existing part-time employees more hours before hiring more workers. The law will also provide workers with a right to request desired shifts, compensation for last minute scheduling changes, and prohibit back-to-back closing and opening shifts. Members of UFCW Local 21 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.
UFCW Local 21 members testified at every city council hearing, lobbied their elected officials, made hundreds of phone calls, and participated in numerous actions. Seattle’s Secure Scheduling Ordinance will take effect on July 1, 2017.
“Now that we won secure scheduling, I’ll have basic economic security and good workplace scheduling practices,” said Christiano Steele, a UFCW Local 21 grocery worker. “It will allow me to not have to struggle to make ends meet and have a reasonable work-life balance”
September 28, 2016
Sixteen Aramark workers at Beaver Area School District Food Services in Beaver, Pa., voted overwhelmingly to join UFCW Local 23 on Sept. 15. Aramark is a global food service, facilities, and uniform services provider.
These new members stood up to Aramark’s anti-union campaign, including captive audience meetings and literature that used intimidating language, and formed their union. Issues of concern to the workers included the need for respect on the job, fair wages, seniority rights, proper staffing, and retirement benefits.
“Workers are winning,” said UFCW Local 23 Organizer Julie Curry.
“These workers know that if they work together, they can make their jobs great jobs,” said UFCW Local 23 Director of Organizing Richard Granger. “We’re glad they’ve joined the Local 23 family and we’ll be working with them as they make the change they want to see.”
September 22, 2016
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In September, two years after medical marijuana was passed into law in New York, workers at Vireo Health ratified their first RWDSU contract. The Vireo Health workers are members of RWDSU Local 338, and this union contract is the first in the history of New York state’s new medical cannabis industry.
The new three-year contract covers workers at Vireo Health’s cultivation and manufacturing facility in Fulton County and at all four of its dispensaries located in Albany, Johnson City (Binghamton), Queens and White Plains. The contract will provide workers with paid time off for holidays, sick days, and vacation, as well as bereavement leave. Workers will receive retirement benefits through an annuity fund that the company is paying for. Full-time workers will also be receiving medical coverage for themselves and their families under the contract. The agreement also includes “profitability milestones” for workers that will kick in as the patient base increases and the company becomes more successful.
“As someone starting a new family, it’s great to have the security and stability of a union contract,” said Vireo Cultivator Matt Denten. “I’m proud to be working in the medical cannabis industry and know that my work is helping patients live meaningful lives. My coworkers and I all agreed that we wanted to be represented by Local 338 to make sure that we were protected as workers and had good benefits and wages.”
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#ffffff” text=”#808080″ width=”30%” align=”left” size=”1″ quote=”This agreement provides these dedicated workers peace of mind that will allow them to focus on what matters most: helping those who are suffering and creating quality medicine.” cite=”- RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
“The strong union contract approved by the workers at Vireo will ensure that they have secure, middle class jobs so that they can provide for themselves and their families,” said RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso. “This agreement provides these dedicated workers peace of mind that will allow them to focus on what matters most: helping those who are suffering and creating quality medicine.”
RWDSU Local 338 was at the forefront of the medical marijuana movement in New York state, working with legislators to craft legislation that would help patients and protect workers in the new industry. A bill legalizing the production and sale of marijuana for medical purposes was signed into law in New York in 2014, and in part due to the efforts of Local 338, the medical marijuana companies were required to have labor peace agreements where they wouldn’t interfere with workers’ efforts to join a union.
September 14, 2016
On September 7, the St. Paul City Council passed the Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance by a vote of 7-0, joining Minneapolis and dozens of other cities nationwide that mandate earned sick leave. Members of UFCW Local 1189 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.
“The ability to earn and use sick time in the city of St. Paul is a huge step toward creating healthier workplaces and healthier lives,” said UFCW Local 1189 President Jennifer Christensen. “I am proud of the tireless work done by our state’s unions. Bennie Hesse, Local 1189 legislative and political director, was a leader in the crusade, working with Union Steward (and Executive Board Member) Dennis Reeves to provide important testimony to the city council on the need for paid sick and safe time for grocery workers.”
Members of UFCW Local 1189 served on a task force put together by the city council and mayor for a year and worked with a coalition of advocates and other labor groups to raise awareness about this issue. The Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017 for businesses in St. Paul with at least 24 employees. Smaller businesses will have to comply by Jan. 1, 2018.