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.”
April 3, 2017
More than 70 members from UFCW Locals 75 and 1059 went to Columbus, Ohio, on March 29 to speak with state legislators about the harmful effects of “work for less” laws.
A “work for less” bill was introduced in Ohio in February of this year, but so far it hasn’t gained any traction and legislative leaders in both parties have openly questioned the need for it. UFCW members like Bill Finnegan, who works at Campbell’s Soup in Napoleon, Ohio, are a big reason why “work for less” legislation hasn’t had enough support to pass.
“This is my second lobby day and I chose to come here today to speak with my representatives and senators about the issues that impact the lives of my family and friends,” said Finnegan. “The top concern on that list right now is ‘work for less’ legislation because it would weaken the power and voice of workers all across Ohio.”
In meetings throughout the day with state legislators, UFCW members explained how “work for less” legislation directly threatens every hard-working family, whether they’re part of a union or not. Multiple representatives and senators remarked afterwards that hearing personal stories from people about why they’re so concerned about “work for less” legislation was much more effective than simply showing them the usual facts and graphs.
After the last meeting wrapped up, Finnegan talked about why he enjoyed participating in lobby days and other similar events.
“Getting to do stuff like this and meeting other members of our union are why I really enjoy being a part of UFCW,” he said. “Oftentimes after we hold events like this people will come up to me at work and ask how they can be a steward or become even more involved. Days like today make us realize that we have numbers and with that comes power.”
April 3, 2017
On March 28, UFCW Local 1625 held a lobby day in Tallahassee, Fla., with members who work in hospitals and nursing homes as nurses and nursing assistants. The day gave UFCW Local 1625 members the opportunity to speak with state legislators about SB 676 and HB 7, harmful bills in both chambers that would eliminate Florida’s Certificate of Need (CON) program. The CON program requires health care facilities to have state approval before offering new or expanded services. This process ensures all communities have equal access to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other facilities.
Gloria Rainey, a UFCW Local 1625 member who works at a nursing home in Jacksonville, Fla., spoke passionately about why she chose to attend the lobby day.
“More than anything, I wanted to be here to give the residents we care for a voice,” said Rainey. “These bad bills won’t just hurt our jobs, they would also give patients less of a chance to find high quality health care.”
One of the biggest concerns about eliminating the CON review process is that it would allow the opening of new facilities who would only accept private insurance. The result would be a two-tiered health system in Florida – one for wealthy patients and one for everyone else – that would raise costs and lower the quality of care.
As the day came to a close, Rainey reflected on how much she enjoyed participating in the lobby day.
“The UFCW allows me and my coworkers to have a stronger voice,” she said. “I love being a part of a team of people who have each other’s backs and supports one another. Being a member has helped me find my voice. Today I got to speak with my state senator and give my input on issues that will affect my livelihood and community. I was nervous at first, but once I started speaking about the issues how I saw them, I realized that my senator was listening and really taking in my opinion. We were taken seriously today and it felt good.”