News and Updates
September 8, 2017
On September 7, fifteen members of the UFCW Women’s Network from 11 different states visited with members of Congress to discuss issues that impact hard-working families. One member flew in from as far as California, and Valencia, a member from Florida, made the trip despite all the chaos of Hurricane Irma.
Women make up nearly half of the workforce, and many families need two incomes to make ends meet. With the responsibilities of taking care of kids or helping sick family members, having all the support women can get is critical to helping them and their families build the better lives they’ve earned and deserve.
The Women’s Network discussed the FAMILY Act, The Schedules That Work Act, and the importance of affordable health care with members of Congress.
The FAMILY Act would provide paid family leave to all Americans and will make sure that hard-working people are able to take care of themselves and their loved ones no matter where they live, what job they have, or who they work for.
The Schedule That Work Act provides retail, food service and cleaning workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they’re sent home from work before completing their entire shift.
It’s essential for women to have affordable health care options. High health care costs are an especially large burden for lower-income women who regularly need health services, but who struggle to pay premiums and out-of-pocket costs. Making sure that all women have access to quality, affordable care will strengthen millions of American families.
Valencia, from Local 1625 in Florida, explained the power of showing up to speak face-to-face with members of Congress. “I’m a mother of three, and I understand that twelve weeks of unpaid leave is unreasonable for a single-income household. That’s why I’m here to talk to my Congressmember. It’s important to speak out about these issues and for them to hear directly from us.”
March 21, 2017
On March 17, Pearl Sawyer, executive vice president of UFCW Canada Local 1006A, served as the keynote speaker at a U.N. Commission on the Status of Women parallel event sponsored by the Scottish Women’s Convention in New York City. Sawyer presented a paper on behalf of UNI Global Union and UNI Equal Opportunities on the digitalization of work and the effect on gender.
One of the key findings presented was that 47 percent of current jobs being performed across the globe are amenable to being potentially computerized. The types of jobs that will be affected by digitalization will have a direct impact on positions held by women.
The effects of this will require workers to invest in further training and lifelong learning. Unfortunately, this can pose a challenge for women as they can neither afford it due social, cultural and economic barriers, or they cannot fit this need with their family duties and their need to work.
Digitalization of work will also lead to a widening of the technology gap. However, a study from the World Bank predicts that if we double the pace at which women become frequent users of digital technologies, the workplace could reach gender equality by 2040 in developed nations, and by 2060 in developing nations.
After outlining the effects of digitalization on work and gender, Sawyer then addressed the need for solutions: “So what can we do? At UNI Equal Opportunities, we want to be prepared for what lies ahead. We know that it is a daunting, and sometimes frightening scenario, but if we are ready, this challenge can become an excellent opportunity to grow and learn. And to be ready, we need a strategy, a plan. We need to be resourceful, we need to be prepared.”
With the right skills and education, people, particularly women, can use technology to create and capture value. Creative, problem-solving, and social skills will be key skills in the 21st century, especially in those areas where computers are still challenged to match human proficiency.
January 24, 2017
On Jan. 21, members of the UFCW Women’s Network, along with women and men from UFCW locals across the country and Canada, took to the streets in the nation’s capital and many other cities large and small to stand united and show dedication to protecting our rights and the rights of our fellow citizens, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation and identity.
Click the photo below for a slideshow of just a few of the many photos of UFCW members in action:
July 6, 2016
On June 29, the Executive Board of UFCW Local 1189 made history by electing Jennifer Christensen as president of Local 1189. She is the first woman to serve as president of Local 1189 and will serve out the remainder of retired President Seaquist’s term.
Other officers elected by the Executive Board were Jim Gleb, secretary treasurer, and Jeanine Owusu, recording secretary. Abraham Wangnoo, Local 1189’s director of organizing, administered the oath of office to the new officers, including Scottie Rotter, the newest vice president who was elected at the board’s May meeting.
Newly elected President Christensen spoke to a room filled to capacity in the Duluth Labor Temple.
“I would like to thank you – the members, for allowing me to work for you – this is the best job in the world,” she said. “I am honored and humbled by the women who blazed the trails before me and beside me – and for the men who opened doors and showed that there are no glass ceilings in this union.”
July 5, 2016
On June 23, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), along with The Black Institute, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and ColorOfChange.org, sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that calls on the retail giant to withdraw its sponsorship of the 2016 Republican National Convention due to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s history of racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran, and Islamophobic remarks. A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.
“Walmart cannot afford to stay silent when it comes to Donald Trump,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “Throughout his presidential campaign, he has managed to offend men and women of all races and religions and across the political spectrum with his racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran and Islamophobic statements. These are Walmart customers and Walmart employees. Walmart needs to send a message that it will not support bigotry, and join the growing list of companies who are refusing to sponsor this year’s Republican National Convention.”
MCAW has launched an online petition where supporters can sign on to the letter. To date, over 10,000 supporters have signed the petition.
June 17, 2016
The four regional United Association for Labor Education (UALE) summer schools are now accepting registrations! These are wonderful opportunities for women activists, electeds, staff, and community allies to grow their leadership in an empowering learning community. Scholarships are available for women ages 35 and younger (info found in links below).
Check out the programs in your area:
- August 9-13 at UCLA, Los Angeles. SUMMER INSTITUTE ON UNION WOMEN: Breaking Down Barriers and Borders: go to http://www.labor.ucla.edu/get-involved/siuw/
- July 24-28 at Roosevelt University, Chicago and hosted jointly by the Illinois Labor History Society and the University of Illinois’ Labor Education Program. MIDWEST SCHOOL FOR WOMEN WORKERS: The Women of Summer–Exploring the Past and Organizing for the Future. Go to http://www.illinoislaborhistory.org/msww2016/
- July 30-August 3 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. NORTHEAST SUMMER SCHOOL FOR UNION WOMEN: The Struggle is Real. Go to: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/NEunionwomensummerschool
- July 27-30 at Florida International University, Miami. SOUTHERN SCHOOL FOR UNION WOMEN: Know Your Rights–Working in a Globalized Environment. Go to: https://labor.fiu.edu/2016-southern-school-for-working-women/
June 15, 2016
Ariana Davis, a UFCW Local 21 member who works at Safeway, spoke at the White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, actress Kerry Washington and Oprah to discuss key gender equality issues.
Ariana presented with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler about the best way to give working women equal pay and an equal say – a union. Equal pay, fair schedules, paid leave – the bottom line is that if we stand together and negotiate together, we win together.
In front of a crowd of 5,000 people, Ariana shared her experience with being a part of UFCW Local 21 in Seattle. “Being in a union has allowed me to negotiate for and win higher wages, good benefits and economic stability. But the truth is, the power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents. I’ve stood up for my friends at work who were being disrespected by management. And I helped them get justice on the job. That’s a powerful feeling. I am a force in my community.”
Evidence shows that union membership increases wages for all workers, but women experience especially large advantages. Women are the primary breadwinners in 38% of American households – paying them less for no reason puts millions of families and communities at a disadvantage.
Back in the other Washington, Ariana has been busy collecting thousands of signatures as the citizen petitioner behind Initiative 1433, a statewide ballot measure which will raise the minimum wage to $13.50 and provide workers with up to seven days of paid sick leave.
June 14, 2016
Story shared in front of 5,000 at White House United State of Women Summit
Washington, D.C. – Today, Ariana Davis, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) member from Local 21 in Seattle, Washington, shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Oprah at the White House United State of Women Summit.
“The power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents,” said Ariana Davis. “I am respected by workers and managers alike. I am a force in my community. And it’s because I don’t stand alone – I am in a movement with grocery workers and steelworkers and teachers. Together, we have a voice. Together, we can make change.”
The White House United State of Women Summit was put together to provide solutions to key gender equality issues. In 38% of households, women are the primary breadwinners. When women earn less than men for no reason, it negatively impacts families in every community. Working to solve gender equality questions will help hard-working people to live better lives.
- 8 million women in America belong to a union.
- A union contract offers a way to give women both equal pay and an equal say in their workplace.
- Union membership boosts wages for all workers—but women experience especially large advantages.
- The wage gap among union members is less than half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers, and female union members typically earn $230 more per week than women who are not represented by unions—a larger wage premium than men receive.
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 www.ufcw.org