News and Updates
November 7, 2012
UFCW Urges Congress to End Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Billionaires and Protect Social Safety Net
Now that the election is over, Congress will meet for a lame duck session to deal with important unresolved issues. The Bush tax cuts—which have largely benefited millionaires and billionaires, are set to expire. The UFCW supports ending these tax breaks for the richest 2 percent. In addition, Congress must take action on $6 billion in spending cuts scheduled to take place on January 1, 2013. The UFCW opposes any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. We support deficit reduction, but it must be done responsibly by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share.
- For a list of public events at Congressional Offices on Thursday, November 8, click here.
- To contact your Member of Congress, call 888-659-9401.
November 6, 2012
“President Obama stands with workers. And Mitt Romney cannot stand them.”
This was UFCW President Joe Hansen’s message, summed up by a simple statement, in yesterday’s Huffington Post article, “A Clear Choice for Workers“.
President Hansen couldn’t have been more on the money. Citing Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke to UFCW members this past Thursday, President Hansen pointed out that there has never been a clearer choice for workers in a presidential election about which candidate will stand up for them and fight for their rights alongside middle class America.
This year, a fed up and frustrated public supported tea party conservatives in several states, and once elected, these officials began a blatant attack on workers with “right-to-work” acts that aimed to take collective bargaining off the table, and threatened unions of all sorts, making the ability for teachers, firefighters, medical workers, and scores of other public employees to have a voice on the job virtually impossible. President Hansen points out that the politicians who worked so hard to pass these type of actions, did nothing to create jobs. Electing Mitt Romney as our next president would only mean more anti-worker policies, when our country is in need of more, quality jobs. President Obama on the other hand, has proven to be a job creator.
President Hansen continues by stressing that unions have no place in the formerly know as “Moderate Mitt’s” presidency, who has flip-flopped into the palm of right-wing conservatives who no longer see union workers as “respectful adversaries across the negotiating table,” but “as bottom lines to be squeezed.”
When Romney says he will go after union bosses, President Hansen says, he is only threatening a cashier, or grocery bagger, or construction worker, or teacher who was brave enough to stand up and form a union and have a voice. If you are undecided about who to vote for today, read Joe’s message and do what’s right for working America- vote for four more years of President Obama.
November 5, 2012
In the last glimpse at job growth before tomorrow’s election, the numbers showed a modest increase in the month of October, with the unemployment rate now at 7.8 percent. On Friday, The Labor Department reported that 171,000 jobs were added, in a wide variety of career fields. These latest statistics mean that during President Obama’s four years in office, there has been a net gain in jobs.
If this isn’t enough proof for conservative officials who claimed that September’s statistics, that showed the unemployment rate had fallen below 8% for the first time since since the President took office, were a fluke- then we don’t know what is. It’s evident now more than ever that our president is a job creator. The recovery process is slow, and there is still much to be done- like increasing stagnant wages and providing more full time work- but the choice is clear. Go out tomorrow and vote for the working class.
November 2, 2012
Last night, Vice President Joe Biden spoke to over 50,000 UFCW members who called in to listen to him at a telephone town hall meeting. He talked about the importance of this election for working families, and the need to get out and vote for the candidates that support working people in this country.
“This is the clearest choice labor has had in a presidential election in my lifetime,” said Vice President Biden. “Not only is labor at risk, but the whole middle class is at risk.”
“You, workers, are the only folks keeping the barbarians from the gate,” he continued. “Organized labor built the middle class… These guys are all out of the same mold – Kasich, Walker, Scott, Ryan, Romney, the National Chamber. They may be decent men personally, but you are on their list…You can’t kid yourselves.”
“Guys, we need you. We need you to vote and make sure every labor household votes for us – and we need you to go out there and make the case,” said Vice President Biden. “You guys vouched for me before. Remember. This is not your father’s Republican party…This is not a hard choice…Don’t compare Barack to the Almighty. Compare him to the alternative. And the alternative, for labor, is bleak, if the other guys get elected.”
Listen to the full remarks here: Joe Biden Telephone Town Hall – November 1, 2012.
And then get out and vote! Tell your friends and family to vote! Want more info on how to vote, and how to vote early? Click here to find out more. Remember, as the Vice President said, “The future depends on you.”
November 1, 2012
Early voting has already begun in many states! Why wait until November 6th when you can vote today? Avoid long lines at the polls and other potential issues, and make sure you make your voice heard in this important election. Click here to use our early voting calendar and find out when, where, and how you can vote early in the next week!
Why is this election so important? Because President Obama is pro-worker, pro-union, and pro-middle class. Mitt Romney has made it his agenda to get rid of labor unions as we know them, and supports right-wing policies that will only make it harder for workers to have a voice on the job. So vote to stand up for your rights.
October 23, 2012
At last night’s third and final presidential debate, Mitt Romney once again demonstrated that he is willing to say anything to get elected, and his shifting positions on domestic and foreign policy and willingness to lie and pander have raised questions about what he stands for and how he will govern.
Our country can’t afford to go back to the Bush/Cheney policies that proved disastrous here at home and abroad. President Obama is the only candidate with the vision and experience to lead our country in the right direction—forward.
Here’s what UFCW members had to say following the debate:
“i think obama won this debate….he has more foreign policy knowledge than romney….i am so glad the debates are done…the people will show their choice on november 6th. obama 2012…moving forward!”
“obama is strong! vote democrat if u care about 100% of our citizens”
“gov. romney uses a thousand words to say absolutely nothing.”
“mr obama has my respect”
“4 more years obama has my vote”
October 18, 2012
UFCW members have been kicking it into high gear! Across the country, members and their locals are working hard to ensure that working families’ voices are heard in this election.
Here’s a quick look at some members in action:
In Kentucky, union members and others in the community are supporting Democrat Charlie Hoffman for the 62nd House District. Up until two years ago, Hoffman had effectively represented his jurisdiction since 1997, but was edged out in the last election by newcomer Ryan Quarles. Voters who sympathize with workers rights know that bringing back Hoffman is the right choice. Having spent years as a career meat-cutter at Kroger, Hoffman knows what its like for the average American worker, and puts those values first. When he was in office, he proved to be an effective legislator, capable of working across party lines, and pressed for laws that benefited small farmers and other local workers. The incumbent Quarles however, has not passed any such laws, and has not proved himself to be an advocate of working Americans.
In Michigan, union members are from across the state are drumming up support for Proposal 2. Currently, Michigan state law requires public employees to pay 20% of their healthcare costs, a policy that highlights how the public sector has been shifting healthcare costs on to its employees. Also, collective bargaining is limited for many workers, making the ability to fight for fair wages and safe equipment, among other things, very difficult. If Proposition 2 is approved this year, it will help to protect jobs and families. UFCW members like Kristy Geldersma, an employee at Meijer have been out door knocking and phone banking to build support for this legislation that will strengthen the ability for unions to collectively bargain.
On October 9th, Obama supporters gathered for a rally in Dayton, Ohio. UFCW Local 75 and 1059 members were in attendance, along with many others, to support candidates like State House Rep. Roland Winburn. The candidates support keeping jobs in Ohio and also investing and expanding vocational and technical training in the state to keep Ohio’s workforce competitive and growing. Continuing the support after the rally, members canvassed in nearby areas. Their message was about their main goal: to not become a right to work state. They’re also reminding their friends and neighbors that President Obama is standing up for people to have a union voice on the job, while Mitt Romney does not support people having a voice at work.
October 17, 2012
Last night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University shed more light on Mitt Romney’s evasions, contradictions and outright lies about his position on policies that affect the poor and middle class. Once again, he tried to portray himself as a man who empathizes with working families, but, as President Obama pointed out, Romney’s extreme positions on education, immigration, taxes, pay equity and health care tell a very different story.
Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, have made it clear that they intend to make significant cuts to K-12 education, as well Pell grants and job training. They are against comprehensive immigration reform. They do not support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and and want to repeal “Obamacare” and take us back to the days where people are denied coverage for pre-existing conditions. The only groups benefiting from the Romney/Ryan plan are the wealthy few—whose taxes would be cut even further — and corporations, which would receive tax breaks for shipping good middle class jobs overseas.
Romney couldn’t make up his mind about jobs during this debate, covering just about every position throughout the two hour and a half hour broadcast:
- “I’m going to make sure you get a job. Thanks Jeremy. Yeah, you bet.”
- “As president, I will create 12 million new jobs.”
- “The government doesn’t create jobs.”
Talk about flip-flopping. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke eloquently about his vision for bring not just any jobs, but good paying jobs back to America.
We can’t afford to go back to the same old trickle down policies that got us into this economic mess in the first place. This debate made it clear that President Obama is committed to making life better for working families and our most vulnerable citizens.
October 11, 2012
One of the common complaints surrounding this year’s Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is his vast wealth and the disconnect it creates between him and every day Americans who struggle to make ends meet. Although Romney is ridiculously wealthy, and has come to symbolize the skyrocketing economic inequality in our country, extreme wealth is certainly not a new phenomenon when it comes to elected officials. Many members of Congress share in this excessive wealth, and simply don’t understand the experiences of average Americans.
It may seem like this is a trend that has become the norm, but there are ways to solve this dilemma. In a report by American Rights at Work, data shows that unions everywhere are now encouraging members to run for elected offices. This means that everyday people, like food service workers, health workers, firefighters and police are now getting involved with politics on the local, state, and sometimes federal levels. Recently, UFCW member and former Fry’s Food Pharmacy Tech Jonathan Larkin became an Arizona State Representative-Elect, and plans to enact policies that will benefit workers in our country.
The report also shows that when members of Congress held jobs like nurse, teacher, and police officer before entering office, they were more likely to take pro-worker positions such as protecting Social Security, enacting stronger workplace safety and discrimination protections, and reforming the financial industry.
A case study from the report cites Maggie Carlton, a member of the Culinary Workers Union, as an example: Carlton is a 14-year Culinary Workers member who worked as a waitress at the Treasure Island casino while successfully running for and then serving in public office. Her shop floor experiences as a union member influenced her path to political candidacy. While waitressing in the casino’s coffee shop, Carlton served as a bargaining team member, shop steward, and volunteer on the union’s organizing and political campaigns. She participated in negotiations for three collective bargaining agreements, sitting across the table from the country’s top gaming executives.
When elected to office, these are the types of officials who are more likely to support workers’ rights and promote programs and legislation that will benefit the middle class, because they have lived the lives of average Americans! To see more data and case studies of workers running for office and working for the rights of the middle class, read the ARAW report here.
October 5, 2012
For those of you who don’t know Phil Meza, a.k.a. “Mr. Picketman,” the UFCW Local 1428 member got his nickname during a rally one day, after he scrawled out a song on the back of his picket sign – a song he would soon lead the crowd in singing. Music has been a lifetime hobby for Picketman, but, throughout his 20 years as a union member and Albertson’s employee in Southern California (where he served as a department manager for years, and then as a front end service supervisor) he’s developed ideas for songs that he could use to help further the fight to protect working families.
Check out the latest Picketman video here:
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