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October 4, 2012

Political Roundup: Great news in PA, the starts of debate season, and voting begins in OH

Good News for Voters in Pennsylvania

This week’s decision by a Pennsylvania judge to halt the state’s new voter identification law, ordering that it not be enforced for the presidential election, is a step in the right direction. Voter ID laws target those who are least likely to have photo IDs or to be able to afford any, and make it harder for people—including minorities, seniors and low-income voters—to exercise their right to vote.

With the election just five weeks away, the ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson means that voters in Pennsylvania will not be required to show photo ID at the polls on Election Day—making it easier for all eligible Pennsylvanians to participate in this important election.

Pennsylvania is a swing state with 20 electoral votes up for grabs. According to recent surveys compiled by RealClearPolitics, President Obama is leading in statewide opinion polls by an average of 8 points.

Mitt Romney: A Man of the People?

After dismissing half of the American people as “victims” at a private fundraiser in May, it’s amazing that Romney would try to hoodwink middle class and low- income voters into thinking that he cares about them. In last night’s debate, Romney tried to portray himself as a man of the people and said that he would not raise taxes on middle-class families or reduce the share of taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans.

Don’t be fooled. Romney and his and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, have made it clear that they are planning to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of America’s workers and the poor. They want to make significant cuts to programs that serve the poor and middle class—including cuts to K-12 education, job training and grants which help kids go to college, replacing Medicare with a voucher system that would increase health care costs for seniors, and gutting Medicaid for the working poor.

The only groups benefiting from the Romney/Ryan plan would be the wealthiest Americans—whose tax cuts would be permanent if Romney and Ryan have their way—and corporations, which would receive tax breaks even as they continue to ship good middle class jobs overseas.

With the election only five weeks away, America’s workers face a stark choice between an opportunist who favors the wealthy one percent at the expense of the young, the elderly, the sick and the poor, and a leader who has given a voice to those who are too often overlooked and is fighting to create jobs and prosperity for all Americans.

Voting in Ohio is underway!

Early voting has begun in the swingiest of swing states – good old Ohio. After a bumpy ramp up to early voting, involving some bizarre actions on the part of Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, things appear to be running smoothly. So far, early voting numbers are high compared with four years ago. Seems like the people of Ohio are ready to get their vote on! If you’re looking for more information on early voting in Ohio, click here And if you’re not in Ohio, don’t despair! Early voting will continue to spread around the country over the coming weeks. More specifically: California Oct. 7; Indiana Oct. 9; Arizona Oct. 11; Georgia Oct. 15; Kansas Oct. 17; Tennessee Oct. 17; North Carolina Oct. 18; Nevada Oct. 20; New Mexico Oct. 20; Alaska Oct. 22; North Dakota Oct. 22; Arkansas Oct. 22; Colorado Oct. 22; D.C. Oct. 22; Illinois Oct. 22; Texas Oct. 22; Wisconsin Oct.22; Hawaii Oct. 23; Louisiana Oct. 23; Utah Oct. 23; West Virginia Oct. 24; Florida Oct. 27; Maryland Oct. 27; Oklahoma Nov. 2

September 25, 2012

September 25 is National Voter Registration Day!

Today is National Voter Registration Day!

Are you registered yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

Click here to get registered today!

On the National Voter Registration day site, can you also find a registration event- just type in your zip code, and select the distance you are willing to travel.  A list of locations becomes instantly available for you, complete with all the details you need, including the time of the event and contact information.

For residents of many states, you can register right from your computer! Just click the “Register to Vote” tab, and fill in your information as the site takes you step by step through this super easy process.

If you’re already registered, there’s more you can do! Go to http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/ and click on the “Promote” tab.  There, you will find a variety of neat ways to tell other people to register.  You can either change your profile picture and status on Facebook with a National Voter Registration Day logo, send an e-mail, Tweet about it (you can even tweet to your favorite celebrities straight from the site), or share any of the graphics provided on the site through any media you choose.

Think you have all the time in the world to register? Think again- in the 2008 election, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they either missed the registration deadline, or didn’t know how.  That’s why National Voter Registration Day is employing thousands of organizations, volunteers, and social media outlets to get the word out about registration.  Because no matter who you are voting for, it’s so important that you do.  Exercise your right as an American to have a voice in your government.

Click here to get registered today!

September 21, 2012

What are UFCW Members Doing to Help Working Families this Election?

We asked our members ‘What are you doing or going to do to make sure working families win this November?”

Here are some of the highlights of what they said!

“Having my church have voter registration available  for all the young people and seniors”

“I sent $ to the DNC and i am proudly displaying my Obama/Biden bumper sticker”

“Not voting for Romney”

“Go to vote”

“Phone banking and canvasing- also taking anyone to vote early that will let me”


“Voting for Obama!”

“Passing better legislation”

“Helping a local state senate candidate”

“helping whenever needed”

“i’m reminding everyone i speak to is we need to move forward not backwards”

“I’m gonna drag everything that ain’t glued down 2 the polls…lol”

“Lookin’ 4 help to start a union at my Walmart”“Stand up for my rights”

“Tryn’ to make sure everyone that i know votes in November!”

“I work on the polls for our rights that the G.O.P. is trying to take away from us”

“Making sure the working class understand that president Obama is the best candidate for our future and we need to keep moving forward!!!!”

“Run for state rep”

If you want to join the UFCW rapid response team and be part of the next poll, sign up to receive text messages by texting JOIN to MYUFCW (698329). Your feedback could be the next to be featured on the UFCW blog.

September 20, 2012

Mr. Picketman is at it Again!

Exciting news! As promised, Phil Meza, a.k.a. Mr. Picketman, has just released his new song for Obama 2012!

Some may not be familiar with Mr. Picketman, but as a member of Local 1428, his contributions to the fight for working families are an inspiration, not only because of the time and effort he puts forth to the cause, but his musical talents as well.  Meza has created several hip-hop songs dedicated to various causes in the labor movement, including the 2008 Obama campaign,  and this year’s Wisconsin recall effort of Governor Scott Walker.  Additionally, he has worked with OUR Walmart to create songs that highlight Walmart’s anti-worker agenda.

And now, Meza adds to his list of labor-inspired works with “Obama 2012”.  Just as catchy as his previous beats, the song is a strong call to all of our brothers and sister to vote in this election for President Obama.

“The choice is evident, it’s time to re-elect the president,” Meza raps on the song.  His message may be simple, but it could not be more important: President Obama is the candidate we need in the white house next year, because he will “stand with the working class”.

Check out the Mr. Picketman’s song here!

September 18, 2012

Leaked Video Reveals What Romney Really Thinks of America’s Working Families

In a video obtained by Mother Jones, Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed exactly what he thinks of those who he deems as Obama supporters—including hard working men and women and seniors—at a private fundraiser on May 17 in Boca Raton, Fla.

Photo credit: Elections Meter

There are 47 percent who are with him,” Romney said of Obama supporters in the video, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.”

As a candidate for president, it’s amazing that Romney would write off half the American people as “victims” and declare at the same fundraiser that his job “is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

In the weeks leading up to the election, Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, will continue to pay lip service to America’s workers and the middle class.  This video underscores what they really think of America’s workers—the cornerstone of the middle class—who pay payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and our seniors who depend on these programs for their health and well-being. Check it out:

September 17, 2012

Things Could be Looking up for Labor after Judge Strikes Down Wisconsin’s Act 10

Big news for labor came out of Wisconsin on Friday, when a judge struck down Scott Walker’s controversial anti-collective bargaining law. Although the governor has said he is sure his state will successfully appeal the judge’s decision about Act 10, we certainly are not.  If anything, this news could be just the fuel people need to keep up the fight for labor rights, and do what’s right, especially when this decision comes so near to the November Presidential election.
In a Washington Post article about the ruling, a few possible outcomes of this news are detailed, most of which bode well for the state’s- and the nation’s- labor movement:

Firstly, the decision, although perhaps only temporary, is a big motivator for all those involved in this year’s earlier anti-walker protests.  After investing countless resources into the movement to stop his anti-worker legislation from passing, and recall the governor, it was disheartening to lose the battle.  Working families see that our efforts were not in vain.

Another point made in the article suggests that now, political polarization and opinion on the issue is not going to fade away, and will only be rejuvenated.  Because of the Friday decision, Democrats and Republicans are less likely to compromise on their beliefs regarding right-to-work legislation, essentially giving the labor movement a second wind. Collective bargaining is now back in the spotlight, front and center.  The debate is not over.

This is good news folks.  Even if the judge’s ruling doesn’t stand up, we know that the fight will not be over.

September 10, 2012

What Will Romney do for…Energy?

Big oil companies already benefit from generous tax cuts, so why does Mitt Romney’s plan stand to give them even more benefits? After taking into account all of the tax breaks for the top five oil companies, Romney’s plan would potentially benefit them by $4 billion a year.

Here’s why these companies do NOT need more tax cuts, and why Romney’s energy plan is not good for America:

  • According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Big Oil earned a combined $137 billion in 2011, or $261,000 per minute.
  • Big Oil advocates claim that they need the existing tax breaks to create jobs and increase oil production. But even with these tax breaks, some of these companies have produced less oil and laid off thousands of workers over the past six years. In fact, an analysis by the House Natural Resources Committee Democrats found that “ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP combined to reduce their U.S. workforces by 17,500 jobs between 2005 and 2010.”
  • Big Oil and gas companies, their lobbying arm the American Petroleum Institute, and various oil-funded nonprofits have already spent more than $20 million on paid advertising to oppose President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Big Oil tax breaks, and generate public support for oil drilling off protected coasts and other oil issues too.
  • His plan, following the lead of the Ryan budget, would force huge cuts to critical programs including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Gov. Romney is apparently willing to increase the deficit to continue tax breaks for Big Oil companies and cut their taxes even further.

Padding Big Oil's pockets
credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund

The continuation of tax subsidies for Big Oil reflects the industry’s longstanding political influence.

America needs to pay close attention to the specific plans Romney has in mind for our country if he were to win the 2012 election. The facts show that President Obama’s actions while in office, as well as his plans for the future, are what’s best for young Americans, working families, and the middle class.

June 21, 2012


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to Mitt Romney’s speech before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

“During the Republican presidential primaries, there was no one more radical on the issue of immigration than Mitt Romney. He promised to veto the DREAM Act and encouraged undocumented immigrants to self-deport. Last week, he criticized President Obama’s historic immigration order as temporary, even though it would prevent the deportation of nearly a million young, patriotic immigrants who work hard and play by the rules. Today, in front of the nation’s Latino leaders, Romney offered more of the same, pledging to replace the President’s order with something more permanent. That something is likely to be in the mold of Arizona’s restrictive and inhumane immigration law, an approach Romney strongly supported. Mitt Romney may be a flip-flopper, but when it comes to immigration, his extreme position is crystal clear.”


The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

June 14, 2011

Statement by UFCW President Joseph T. Hansen Regarding Jobs Council Meeting

Washington, D.C. –  The following remarks were delivered by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Joseph T. Hansen at the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness meeting in Durham, N.C. on June 13:

“I look at the work of this council as an effort to look at primarily non-legislative approaches to address the plight of the millions of unemployed or underemployed workers in this country.

“I believe we need to play to our country’s strengths.  While not as sexy as some things you will hear today, one of our country’s strengths is agriculture—directly employing over 2 million Americans.  And when you add related processing, distribution and retail jobs, that number grows to almost 4 million.

“The UFCW represents over 300,000 workers in food manufacturing—mainly in meat and poultry processing.  The U.S. meat and poultry industry directly employs 1.8 million people and pays $45.5 billion in wages and benefits.  An estimated 580,000 people have jobs in distribution of meat and poultry products, and over 1 million more retail jobs depend on the sale of meat and poultry products to the public.   The meat and poultry industry is a growing industry with growing employment.

“Exports are a significant—and increasingly important driver—of this job growth.

  • For every $1 billion in beef exports, over 12,000 jobs are created.
  • For every $1 billion in pork exports, over 13,000 jobs are created.
  • For every $1 billion in poultry exports, over 11,000 jobs are created.

“Industry economists believe that a focused governmental effort to address barriers to United States’ meat exports to Asian countries has the potential to add thousands of jobs in the U.S.  Secretary Vilsack and Ambassador Kirk have done important work in this area.  We have already begun to see results. China has started to recognize that it is in their self-interest to address their domestic food situation by cracking open their import door to U.S. meat.  As a result, food exports to China are growing strongly.

“Right now, we have additional opportunities with Russia.  Since Russia is looking to join the World Trade Organization, it is important to get their commitment to drop their various methods of blocking U.S. meat imports.  I know Ambassador Kirk and his team are aware of these issues, but I wanted to take this opportunity to stress the impact these issues have on U.S. jobs.

“Along with meat exports, I wanted to take this opportunity to stress another issue—the importance of traditional defined benefit pensions in the economic health of this country.  Virtually all economists agree that the U.S. economy needs to be rebalanced:

  • We need more national saving, investment, and new business formation; and
  • We need less debt fueled consumption.

“The continuance of defined benefit pension plans needs to be part of that rebalancing.  In 2007, public and private defined benefit pension plans had nearly $9 trillion in assets and, in the aggregate, these plans were almost fully funded.  The downturn in financial markets reduced many of the plans’ funding.  There is a consensus among labor and employers that there is a need for relief – not to change the requirement to fully fund pensions, but to extend the time frame for achieving such funding.

“Defined benefit plans have made significant investments in infrastructure in support of job generation in the U.S.  We cannot afford to lose this source of funds which help create jobs.  A well-thought out program of federal government guarantees and other financial incentives directed at pension investors could encourage such plans to invest even greater allocations to rebuilding America’s infrastructure.  We hope that the Administration and Congress can work to achieve these goals.

“Finally, Mr. President, I want to thank you for keeping America’s unemployed at the top of your Administration’s priorities.  I look forward to working with the council to help you continue to create job opportunities for American workers.  Thank you.”