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May 24, 2016

UFCW Stop & Shop Members Thank Customers for Support

Adapted from UFCW Local 1459

duplicate_resizedLast 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 19, 2016

Members of Congress Join UFCW to Stamp Out Hunger

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Last week, members of Congress from across the country, together with members of the UFCW, joined together to help launch the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

“Stamp Out Hunger,” the largest single-day food drive, invited Americans to leave food by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14 for collection by their neighborhood letter carriers for delivery to local food pantries.

This year, the UFCW, as a national title sponsor, invited Congressional offices and members from both sides of the aisle to participate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and their staff participated in helping us to promote this worthy cause.

UFCW Locals from all across the country also hosted their own events, making this year’s food drive one of the biggest and best that anyone had ever seen.

UFCW members see the effects of hunger in America every single day. Every time someone has to turn back and put something away in one of our checkout lines because they don’t have enough money, we feel for them. For millions of families, this year’s food drive was a small, but important, step towards fixing that problem.

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May 13, 2016

“Exceptions are primarily in plants that have unions…” 

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.”

BACKGROUND

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.

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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

MORE WORKERS ORGANIZING IN THE FACE OF WEALTH INEQUALITY

UFCW announces 100 organizing wins in roughly 100 days in 2016.

JBS-Workers-Join-Local-1167-300x219Washington, 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,

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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 4, 2016

Viscofan Workers Launch Petition; Call for Safe Jobs

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The workers at the Viscofan plant in Danville, Illinois, deserve safe jobs, they say in a newly launched petition to The Viscofan Group Chairman Jose Domingo de Ampuero y Osma. The workers, who are members of UFCW Local 686, and their families shouldn’t have to worry whether their loved ones will come home in one piece when they return from work each day.

After a successful year, Viscofan has seen positive growth, which is centered on the work done by these members and others in North America. But as company sales and profits increase, the workers say they are being hurt by the plant. The Danville plant had 18 violations of U.S. health and safety law in the last seven years, yet Viscofan has refused union proposals to improve the safety of their workplace.

These Local 686 members are now asking supporters to sign their petition that says the company’s success shouldn’t come at the expense of the health and safety of its workers. The Viscofan plant is an integral part of the Danville community and its workers count on the good, safe, family-supporting jobs it provides. They are asking the company to send its negotiators back to the table with an edict to make the plant safer, the community stronger, and share in the success. Click here to sign the petition.

 

April 27, 2016

What Work Does to a Person

Union President Statement for Workers Memorial Day

ufcw-300x143Washington, D.C. – Today Marc Perrone, International President of the UFCW released the following statement in advance of Workers Memorial Day – April 28th.

“Work can do amazing things for a person,” said UFCW President Marc Perrone. “But, we also know what work can do to a person physically. Each day millions of Americans do back-breaking jobs risking their health and lives to provide for their families and futures. U.S. workers are injured every day lifting heavy boxes, doing repetitive motions, not to mention by accidents and equipment malfunctions.

“Workers Memorial Day reminds us of those we’ve lost and who have physically sacrificed themselves at their jobs. As technology and industries change, UFCW will always push for safety standards that match the modern workplace.”

More than 4,800 workers in the U.S. were killed on the job in 2014, according to the AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report. Additionally, nearly three million workers suffered from injuries and illnesses at work.

Being killed on the job isn’t the only concern. Over the course of a career, it is common for retail, meat packing and food processing workers to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and sore joints. They gladly take on these risks so that they can provide for their families.

April 28th is Workers Memorial Day. On this day, the UFCW will join millions of Americans across the U.S., and around the world, to honor everyone who has lost their lives on the job, or suffered terrible injuries, sicknesses or diseases in their places of work.

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org.

UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing are 1.3 million professionals and their families in retail, food processing, grocery, meat packing and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states.

December 9, 2015

UFCW Hosts Workers’ Rights Training Session for Poultry Workers

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L1189 Rights Training

Some of the participants in the training pose with their completion certificates.

This past Saturday, UFCW Local 1189, the UFCW Occupational Safety and Health Department and the Greater Minnesota Workers’ Center hosted a workers’ rights training session for unorganized poultry workers in St. Cloud, Minn. The training was focused on giving unorganized workers tools to stand up for a safe workplaces and helping them build common ground with workers of different cultural backgrounds. More than 70 workers from a variety of plants came out for the training, which was simultaneously conducted in English, Spanish and Somali.

“I am really glad I came to this training with the Somali people,” said one Spanish-speaking worker during the comment portion of the training. “I tried to get my friends to come with me but they were too afraid. I am not afraid. I know we can work together to change our workplace and make it better for everyone.”

August 13, 2015

UFCW Local 23 Helps Pass Paid Sick Leave Law in Pittsburgh

L23 Pitt Paid Sick Leave PassesLast week, Pittsburgh passed a law that guarantees paid sick days for every worker in the city.

The victory was made possible by UFCW Local 23 members who spent weeks canvassing and building community support for the law.

Thanks to their hard work, more than 50,000 Pittsburgh workers will be eligible to earn paid time off so that they have the opportunity to stay home and get better when they become ill. L23 Pitt Paid Sick Leave Canvass

UFCW Local 23 is building on the momentum from this victory and pushing for a statewide paid sick leave law so that all workers in Pennsylvania can enjoy the same benefit.

July 8, 2015

UFCW and JBS Partner Together for Joint Safety Trainings

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JBSTraining 3The UFCW has initiated a new health and safety program for workers in UFCW JBS plants. The program is a new joint effort with JBS to establish a uniform safety program for workers and management throughout the chain. This is the first time JBS and the UFCW have come together to create a program that is specific to keeping workers safe.

The first part of the program focuses on training union reps, workers, staff, and JBS management to learn about identifying the underlying causes of workplace injuries, illness, and fatalities. The second part trains participants on how to correct, control, and prevent those workplace hazards. The ultimate goal is to develop a sustainable system where people in the plant know how to prevent hazards, how to identify them, and how to follow the correct procedures to efficiently correct hazards.

The health and safety program came about when UFCW staff initiated a meeting with JBS corporate safety staff out of concern for the safety and well-being of workers. During the meeting, both sides agreed that there was room for improvement in the health and safety protocols at the plants. A year later, UFCW and JBS finalized a plan to work jointly to address safety issues and develop the new health and safety program.JBS Training 1

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“The joint training has been a very positive experience for all parties involved. It has provided some different ways of looking at the hazards in the workplace that most people overlook. I am excited to continue with this training in our facilities and providing our employees a safer environment to work in,” said Marvin Spidle, corporate safety manager from the Federal Business Unit at JBS.

The program began in January, and JBS workers at UFCW Locals 540, 1161, 293, and 435 have already gone through the first phase of the training. During the first phase of the program, workers and staff learned how to identify workplace hazards in their plant. Following the classroom training, participants then walked together through their plant to apply their new knowledge and identify any hazards that they learned about in the training. Some common safety hazards that workers are trained to spot include unguarded shafts and belts, slippery floors, narrow aisles, and unlabeled exposed pipes and electrical wires.

JBS Training 2“It was great to see everybody working together in the setting to make our plant safer. During our walk-through, it was good to have a new set of eyes to help spot hazards that might have otherwise been overlooked,” said Darin Rehnelt, a representative for UFCW Local 1161.

The trainings last about six hours and are conducted in English and Spanish. Following the JBS plant trainings, the plan is to take the health and safety program to workers in the poultry industry, including those who work in JBS’s Pilgrim’s Pride plants.

If you are interested in having a health and safety training in your local plant contact Kurt Brandt at kbrandt@ufcw.org.

 

 

 

 

June 26, 2015

UFCW Statement on Obergefell v. Hodges

Supreme Court Rainbow Pillar_FINALWASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.

“Today, marriage equality is finally the law of the land. This decision secures equality and dignity for every family in all fifty states. Our UFCW family strongly supports full equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people – not just the right of all people to marry the person they love, but also equal rights when it comes to employment and immigration policies. It is a historic victory that was simply unimaginable just two decades ago.

While we are celebrating today, it’s worth remembering that there is still a lot of work to be done before LGBT people have full equality under the law. In a majority of states, there is nothing to prevent a worker from being discriminated against or fired simply because of who they love, or because of their gender identity or expression. And LGBT workers’ partners and families can be unfairly excluded from workplace policies and benefits like health coverage or family leave.

A UFCW union contract is often the only protection LGBT workers and their families have from these indignities. The UFCW is proud to play a part in the growing momentum towards equality – from bargaining union contracts that recognize LGBT workers and their families, to fighting for change at the state level, to marching in solidarity at pride parades and celebrations in towns across America.”