News and Updates
November 29, 2016
On Nov. 24, UFCW International President Marc Perrone published an op-ed in The Hill that celebrates the role UFCW members and all union members play during Thanksgiving, and calls on political and business leaders to uphold workers’ rights.
The following are key excerpts from the op-ed:
“After a bitter election season that divided our country, the men and women of the United Food and Commercial Workers union are proud of the role we play during the one holiday that brings America together: Thanksgiving.
“As America’s retail worker union, our members produce and process many of the items you’ll see on your Thanksgiving table, including turkeys, stuffing, bread, desserts, and drinks. They work in grocery stores, preparing dinners for families across the country, and in retail stores, selling holiday sweaters and gifts for everyone on your list. It’s fair to say that our members make the holidays happen, and we are extremely proud of that.
“Through hard work and dedication, our 1.3 million members help millions of Americans celebrate the special moments in their lives. Our members are also able to earn a better life for their families with the help of valuable contracts that honor their hard work and dedication. By being part of a union family and standing together, our members earn better wages, benefits and schedules. Their training and devotion offer real value to employers and the customers they serve. And when they work on holidays, like Thanksgiving, it is not under threat or duress, but with the realization that such sacrifice deserves something extra, like holiday pay.
“Sadly, there are those in the political world and corporate America who may see the right to earn a better life, or to spend time with family even on one of our most sacred holidays, as a threat to their businesses. Truth be told, such thinking is a symptom of what is so fundamentally wrong and unfair in America’s economy.”
November 29, 2016
In the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, several UFCW local unions hosted or participated in local food or turkey drives to help ensure everyone in their communities could enjoy a good holiday meal with their families.
RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 donated and delivered 250 turkeys to various community centers across the New York area, thanks to the generosity of the members. The turkeys were then distributed to food pantries at Suffolk Community College, Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, Queens, The INN in Hempstead, and Project Hospitality on Staten Island, all of which ensure that families in their communities have a warm holiday meal. A special video about the turkey drive can be viewed here.
UFCW Local 1776 participated in the 102.9 WMGK Turkey Drop. The local delivered a check for $3,500 and 3,500 pounds of turkey donated by Empire Kosher Poultry. Empire Kosher turkeys are processed by UFCW Local 1776 members in Mifflintown, Pa. Watch footage of their drop off here.
RWDSU members in the New York and New Jersey areas were also among those giving back to help the less fortunate in their communities this holiday season. In addition to food bank efforts throughout the union, RWDSU members prepared meals and provided turkeys to help make the holidays a better time for many families.
In New Jersey, RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 partnered with RWDSU supermarkets Extra Supermarket and Food Bazaar to cook meals to feed thousands of families in Newark and other cities in Essex County. Meals were prepared and served at Clinton Memorial Church in Newark, and the bulk of meals were delivered to area homes, senior buildings, community centers, and public parks. In addition, Local 108, for the 12th year in a row, partnered with the Newark Firehouse Program for Children, and also helped prepare and serve a home-cooked holiday meal for children in Newark.
Big-hearted UFCW Local 342 members also donated food, time and effort to serve Thanksgiving meals to hungry families at Angel Guardian and Mercy Inn. King Kullen grocery in Massapequa and Stop and Shop on Hylan Blvd., Staten Island donated the frozen turkeys.
It is during the holidays that many feel the desire to give back to the community. As a union that represents hard-working families, it is also our responsibility to ensure that our neighbors have a meal to call their own during the holidays. Thank you to all who have given back and made the holidays possible for others.
November 22, 2016
As part of our effort to show members the value they bring to our union family, we have developed a special holiday sticker program. UFCW holiday stickers can be worn by our 1.3 million members throughout the holiday season and lets them show pride in being part of the union that makes the holidays happen. Shipping is not included. If you’re interesting in ordering stickers, contact Erin Ward at (202) 721-8143 or email@example.com.
November 22, 2016
Nearly 14,000 UFCW Local 400 members who work at more than 200 Safeway and Giant stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia ratified new contracts on Nov. 16. Both three-year contracts include higher starting pay, wage progression improvements, no cost increases to employee health insurance, and a plan to secure pensions.
For the past 40 years, Giant and Safeway have jointly negotiated union contracts with UFCW Local 400; but this year, the companies negotiated separately. While the companies were more divided than ever, UFCW Local 400 members who work at Safeway and Giant stuck together and participated in store actions and engaged with customers and community members for a better contract.
“We came into this bargaining with specific goals,” said Mark Federici, president of UFCW Local 400. “One was to get rid of the hour-based pay scale system and get members more money faster than the previous system. We did that. A second goal was maintaining our health and welfare coverage, and we did that. A third goal was to protect and strengthen our pension fund, and we did that.”
“Bargaining is never easy,” Federici added. “This was especially demanding due to the logistical challenges imposed by the separation of the two companies. We had to address the complexity of ensuring that our pension funds are secure and maintaining our members’ health coverage. We told management we’ve done enough. We wanted to change the hour system to monthly and we succeeded.”
November 22, 2016
On Nov. 20, 2,400 workers at the Tyson Fresh Meats pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, ratified a new contract. The workers are members of UFCW Local 431.
The new five-year contract includes $2.60 in wage increases for the five-year term of the contract, with $1.10 per hour upon ratification; $.50 per hour wage increases in years two and three; and $.25 per hour wage increase in years four and five. The contract also includes an additional paid holiday, and increases vacation leave to four weeks after ten years of employment.
“This was a team effort between UFCW Local 431, our bargaining committee, our members and UFCW International to help close the wage gap in the pork industry,” said UFCW Local 431 President Jerry Messer. “I would like to thank everyone involved for helping to secure this contract. I am proud of each and every one of our members.”
November 21, 2016
The hard-working men and women of our union family help make Thanksgiving possible for countless families across the country. UFCW members make and sell almost all the necessities for a holiday feast, and often work long holiday hours away from their own families to make the holiday happen for others.
This Thanksgiving, we can give back to our union family by shopping UFCW-made. Below is your complete UFCW-made Thanksgiving shopping list!
Foster Poultry Farms
Farmland Old Fashioned and Oriental Pit
Hormel Honey Roasted
Manischewitz and Stove Top Stuffing
Hanover Foods Frozen and Del Monte Canned Vegetables
Kraft Mac and Cheese
Knouse Foods Apple Butter
Kroger Brand Pumpkin Puree
Food Club Canned Pumpkin
Jim Beam—Black Label, Rye and White
November 15, 2016
Members of UFCW Local 1776 who work in the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s (PLCB) Wine and Spirits stores overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year agreement with the commonwealth on Oct. 10. The new contract provides significant wage increases and maintains a strong benefits package for the nearly 3,000 employees.
The members who work in the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits stores make considerable contributions to the commonwealth. From generating much needed revenue for the state to preventing minors from getting alcohol, these workers are on the front lines helping our communities.
“I would like to congratulate the members and negotiating committee for their accomplishments in this ratification,” said UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV.
November 15, 2016
UFCW members worked on elections in 22 states, contacted more than 400,000 voters, and helped to ensure some election outcomes across the country that were good for hard-working UFCW members and their families. Here are a few of our Election Day wins:
- We quadrupled the number of women of color in the Senate – electing Kamala Harris of California; Tammy Duckworth of Illinois; and Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada.
- We elected the first Indian-American woman to Congress. Pramila Jayapal will represent Washington’s 7th Congressional District.
- We passed ballot measures in Arizona and Washington that will raise the minimum wage and provide every worker with paid sick leave.
- We raised the minimum wage in Colorado and Maine.
- We expanded access to medical marijuana in Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota, and legalized recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, Nevada, California and Maine.
- We defeated Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona.
- We took control of the New Mexico House of Representatives and flipped both Nevada state legislative chambers.
- And last, but not least, our very own Brigid Kelly was elected to the Ohio State Legislature.
November 15, 2016
On Nov. 10, 15 maintenance workers employed at Colonnade Apartments in Newark, N.J., voted overwhelmingly to join RWDSU/UFCW Local 108.
The workers were concerned about low pay, health and safety issues, and the lack of retirement benefits. Workers were also concerned about being paid for all of the hours they worked.
“I am happy we voted the union in to represent us,” said Pedro Parada, a porter at Colonnade Apartments. “We need someone to fight for our rights and to be there when we need help. The company has been doing whatever they want to us.”
“I feel happy that we now have a union,” said Elva Rodriguez, who works as a janitor at Colonnade Apartments. “I am thankful for them being there for us. I know they are going to help and care for us.”
“This was truly a needed victory,” said Abraham Asabor, an organizer with RWDSU/UFCW Local 108. “This small group of workers are expected to be Jack-of-all-trades. They not only keep the building clean, they are required to do building and apartment upkeep, painting, plumbing, AC and heating and apartment clean outs.”
“They are required to be on call and they are not properly compensated,” Asabor added. “To add insult to injury, they are treated with disrespect and paid low wages. This is the second building we have organized in the past month and the problems are similar. We will fight hard to make sure these workers receive better working conditions.”
“Most importantly, these workers weren’t being treated with any respect, and they wanted to change that,” said RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 President Charles N. Hall, Jr.
November 14, 2016
On Nov. 11, our union family celebrated Veterans Day by highlighting the people who have served our country and protected our freedom.
Our UFCW family is filled with veteran members who not only served their country at home and abroad, but who also serve in their communities each day. They’re in our grocery stores, pharmacies, and the plants that make and package the food our families eat every day. They work in the retail stores where we shop, and countless other places. Our veteran members are also community volunteers, union stewards, parents, and grandparents.