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February 24, 2017

Why Tom Perez Should Be DNC Chair

As the DNC prepares to elect new leadership, UFCW International President Marc Perrone penned an op-ed in U.S. News & World Report that explains why Tom Perez is the best candidate for hard-working men and women. A key excerpt is below:

The success of the Democratic Party will come down to its ability to do one thing: put hard-working families first.

Tom Perez understands the realities faced by hard-working men and women across America who deserve and have earned a better life. Our union family experienced this firsthand when he was Secretary of Labor during the Obama administration. We saw his passion and commitment to improving the lives of workers when he joined with us to push for better working conditions at our nation’s poultry plants, where workplace safety and health is a key concern.

The truth is that too many good people, from all backgrounds, are struggling to make ends meet and they’re tired of it.

In order for the Democratic Party to help these families and connect with these voters, their message and how they communicate must change. They must do a better job of speaking to voters’ economic needs and social wants, and they must mobilize people who do not see the clear difference between political parties. We believe Tom Perez can do that.

You can read the full op-ed online on the U.S. News & World Report website.

December 20, 2016

UFCW Locals Help Pass Minimum Wage, Sick Leave and Scheduling Legislation

This year, UFCW locals played a major role in passing legislation that helps working families.

In June, UFCW Local 881 helped to pass the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance by 48-0, which will extend earned sick leave to over 450,000 workers in Chicago. The ordinance will most dramatically benefit 42 percent of Chicago’s private sector workforce who currently lack paid sick leave.“On behalf of the 8,000 hardworking members of Local 881 UFCW who live and work in every neighborhood of Chicago, I commend the 48 supportive voting members of the Chicago City Council for passing the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance,” said UFCW Local 881 President Ron Powell. “In 2015, voters in every ward of Chicago overwhelmingly supported extending earned sick leave to working families who are one flu season away from losing their job and economic hardship. We are pleased today that the City Council listened to the working people of Chicago! This is a historic step for our city and a victory for workers and our communities.”

UFCW Local 881 was the founding member of the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, a partnership of community, public health, faith, women’s advocacy, and labor organizations that worked together to raise awareness about this issue. The Earned Sick Leave Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017.

Also in June, San Diego passed legislation that will immediately increase the minimum wage to $10.50 an hour, and then to $11.50 an hour in January. This bill also provides five days of annual paid sick leave. Members of UFCW Local 135 played an important role in the fight for this legislation, which will help hard-working men, women and their families in the San Diego area and improve public health.

This legislation immediately gives a boost to 170,000 workers in the city of San Diego, where many minimum wage employees work two or more jobs to make ends meet.

This new minimum wage increase was a long time coming. Back in 2014, the San Diego City Council voted in favor of raising the minimum wage. However, shortly thereafter, the mayor vetoed it, the city council overrode it and the San Diego Chamber of Commerce stepped in with petitions for a ballot initiative, which halted raises for the working poor for more than two years.

UFCW Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian spoke before the San Diego City Council in favor of raising the minimum wage, and UFCW Local 135 staff phone banked and knocked on doors to get the ballot initiative passed. This victory is the result of an effort, by a diverse coalition led by RaiseUp San Diego, to ensure that no one who works full-time in San Diego is forced to live in poverty.

“The historic passage of an increase in minimum wage and earned sick days for San Diego workers signals a clear turning of the tide in San Diego,” said UFCW Local 135 President Mickey Kasparian. “In the end, a million dollar campaign from out-of-town hotel and restaurant lobbyists and a veto from Mayor Faulconer could not stop San Diegans from voting their conscience. Hopefully, this will alleviate the struggles for workers who make tough decisions like whether to pay the rent or put food on the table.”

In September, 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.

Also in September, 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.”

November 7, 2016

RWDSU/UFCW Members Help Get Out the Vote in Philadelphia

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RWDSU/UFCW members traveled from New York City to Philadelphia to help get out the vote on Nov. 5. RWDSU/UFCW members reminded voters in the City of Brotherly Love that Election Day is Tuesday, November 8, and helped them find their polling places. The activists reminded voters about the importance of this election, and how crucial it is that workers have a president who shares their concerns in the White House.

You can watch a video about the get out the vote effort here.

 

November 7, 2016

Local 367 Members Show Support for UFCW-Endorsed Candidate for State Legislature

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On Oct. 18, during their annual shop steward conference in Tacoma, Wash., UFCW Local 367 members took the time to write postcards encouraging members to vote for Michelle Chatterton for the State House of Representatives for the 25th Legislative District. Twenty members were able to collectively write nearly 200 post cards in 20 minutes for the UFCW-endorsed candidate. 

 

November 7, 2016

UFCW Joins Efforts to Preserve Hard-Working Americans’ Basic Rights

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On Nov. 2, UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement in response to the filing of North Carolina NAACP vs. North Carolina Board of Elections, the latest in a long line of lawsuits seeking to preserve access to voting for all Americans. The NAACP filed the lawsuit which argues that state officials have removed a disproportionate number of African American voter registrations in at least three counties in North Carolina.

“Every American has the right to vote, and access to the ballot box is the foundation of our democracy. Efforts to deny that right disproportionately affect hard-working Americans who are too busy caring for their families and earning a living to fight cheap, vote-suppressing tactics.

“We’re passionate about ensuring every voter has their voice heard in our election, no matter who they support. If you want to win an election – go out and persuade people to support you. Don’t try to use dirty tricks to prevent those who disagree with you from voting. That’s un-American.”

The UFCW has stood up for the civil rights of all Americans throughout the union’s 125 year history, and is a frequent participant in civil rights litigation. Most recently, the UFCW was a plaintiff in Valle del Sol vs. Arizona, in which we fought to preserve the rights of immigrants.

November 1, 2016

MCAW Calls on Walmart to Stop Selling Trump Products

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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.”

You can view photos from each rally here. A full copy of MCAW’s letter to Doug McMillon can be viewed here.

November 1, 2016

Local 648 Sponsors Prop 47 Clinic

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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.

local-648-prop-47-event2UFCW 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

UFCW Hosts Tele-Town Hall with Senator Cory Booker

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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.