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October 10, 2017

MCAW’s College Tour Reaches 1.6 Million Students

On Oct. 4, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) ended its “2017 Trump & Walmart Make America Worse” tour at the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville. Tour organizers visited 30 college campuses from September 5 to October 4 to expose the shared values and agenda of Trump and Walmart, which promote the privatization of our public education system and profit from a low-wage economy. The campaign reached 1.6 million college students through digital ads at targeted campuses along the tour, and signed up over 2,500 students to join the campaign to stop the Trump and Walmart agenda.

A large part of the tour utilized social media, digital ads, student video interviews, and text messaging to effectively engage college students about the Trump and Walmart agenda and sign students up to the MCAW campaign. Tour organizers also asked students via an online survey if they think Trump and Walmart make America better or worse. Out of the 1,573 people who responded, 94 percent said worse, five percent said better, and only one percent didn’t answer.

“This tour gave us the opportunity to connect with students and leaders who will be key partners in promoting a culture that values where you shop and who you support,” said MCAW Director Randy Parraz.


October 10, 2017

Local 653 Launches Hustle Pilot Program

UFCW Local 653 recently launched a successful Hustle pilot program with a few of its stewards to explore another way to increase member-to-member communication. Hustle is the one-on-one text messaging platform available to locals through the UFCW International.

UFCW Local 653 wrote a simple script to ask people to attend one of five regional meetings throughout the first week of October. It was preloaded into the app, along with a list of members. As a pilot program, each steward had a list of 100 members, and additional contacts ready if they had the ability to text more.

The script went as follows:

“Hi Coworker, this is Name, steward with our Union Local 653. We’re negotiating our contract ✊🏽 next year & having big meetings next week for us to work on winning together. www.meetingflier.link Will you join me Oct. 2nd 3rd or 4th?”

As each message was sent, Coworker and Name were automatically replaced by the names of all the members receiving the message and the name of the steward sending the messages. Even better, each member was able to respond individually and the steward was able to engage in a personalized, one-on-one text conversation.

Also included in the message was a Fist Emoji (Union Power!) to catch people’s attention and a link to an online flier so people could click for more information.

In total, five UFCW Local 653 stewards sent messages to 925 coworkers in only a few hours. Over 150 members responded to the messages, which is a very high response rate. The Hustle effort complemented the one-on-one conversations stewards were having with members to encourage high turnout to the regional meetings.

Paul Swanson, one of the UFCW Local 653 stewards who participated, said, “The preloaded messages with basic answers were pretty easy to use. I reached 100 members in less than 15 minutes. Fifteen to 20 members responded to me with additional questions that I was pleased to answer.”

Alex Kunau, another UFCW Local 653 steward, noted, “Hustle was very easy. It was simple, straightforward and I could zip through the contacts fast. It took me less than an hour to get through 200 contacts.”

“Ninety-nine percent of the people were happy to be contacted by a fellow union member,” he added.

UFCW Local 653 has plans to train all stewards in their local to use the Hustle app in 2018.

October 2, 2017

New “How To” Video Features Local 919 Stop & Shop Produce Clerk

Maia Dubar, a UFCW Local 919 member and Stop & Shop produce clerk in Connecticut, is back again with tips about how to pick out and enjoy a kiwano melon, starfruit, and kiwi in the UFCW’s new “how to” video.

This video is part of a series of “how to” tips from UFCW members who are experts in their fields. In addition to Maia’s tips about tropical fruits, the series features expert advice from a UFCW prep cook, cake decorator, makeup artist, florist and butcher.

You can watch Maia show you how to pick out and enjoy tropical fruits here. You can also subscribe to UFCW’s “how to” videos here.

October 2, 2017

Local 770 Helps Members Apply for DACA Renewals

On Sept. 23, UFCW Local 770, in partnership with the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, and Central American Resource Center, held a workshop to assist members with the the two-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal application process. The workshop, which was held at the Ricardo F. Icaza Workers Center in Huntington Park, California, is part of UFCW Local 770’s effort to provide financial assistance so that qualified union members can renew their DACA applications before the October 5, 2017 deadline.

“I feel very happy and very appreciative for this opportunity,” said Silvia, a young DACA recipient and daughter of a UFCW Local 770 member, who attended the workshop. “It relieves me of a lot of stress because the renewal was pretty expensive.”

“They helped us with the immigration fee and completing the application process. They pretty much helped with everything,” she added.

After renewing her work permit through DACA, Silvia plans to attend medical school. “I’m very excited about being able to renew my status, to continue working and try to go back to school,” she said.

According to President Trump’s announcement on Sept. 5, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications from people who don’t already have DACA. People who already have DACA, and whose work permits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, will be able to apply for a two-year renewal if their application is received by October 5, 2017.

Additional information about UFCW Local 770’s DACA program is available here.

October 2, 2017

Local 653 Linden Hills Co-op Workers Ratify First Union Contract

Linden Hills Co-op workers in Minneapolis, who are members of UFCW Local 653, ratified their first union contract on Sept. 26. The three-year contract, which began on October 1, includes raises for all employees and paid time off. An overwhelming majority – 85 percent – of Linden Hills Co-op workers voted to join UFCW Local 653 in February of this year.

“By standing together and voting to approve this contract, we’ve improved our lives and jobs. We chose to do this because we’re committed to strengthening our co-op and community because no one deserves to be left behind or struggle alone,” said Evan Adams-Hanson, a front end floor coordinator.

“What we fought for and now have is so real and important to building the better lives we’ve earned and deserve. Our amazing co-op has become even more amazing because we’ll now be able to better serve our community and take care of our families,” said Tracie Lemberg, who works in health and body care.

“As a working parent, having a reasonable and flexible schedule that allows me to spend time with my kids is critical. Thanks to our new union contract, I won’t be penalized for taking time off to attend parent-teacher conferences or caring for my kids when they get sick,” said Heidi Souza, who works in the deli department

“Co-op values are union values, so we feel this contract will only make Linden Hills Co-op and the local community stronger,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht. “I am inspired by the Linden Hills workers’ courage to stand up. Our union family is proud to help everyone at Linden Hills improve their workplace and raise standards for all retail workers in Minnesota.”

October 2, 2017

Albertsons Deli Workers Join Local 368A

On Sept. 21, deli workers at Albertsons store #169 in Boise, Idaho, voted to join UFCW Local 368A by an overwhelming margin. The grocery and meat departments in the Albertsons store were already organized by UFCW Local 368A, and union members who work in the store and in neighboring stores in the Treasure Valley played a crucial role by standing in solidarity with the deli workers.

“We are really happy we can now sit down and negotiate with Albertsons over several issues we really care about,” said Andrew Cade, who has worked at the store’s deli since September of 2016. “For some time now, we have seen our coworkers in the same store enjoy the benefits of a union contract, such as affordable healthcare, and now we have a real opportunity to bargain for some of those same things.”

Joshua Barton, a frozen supervisor who served as the union’s observer during the election, noted union members’ encouragement was crucial in helping his coworkers stand for what they deserve.

“We have been talking to them during breaks and after shifts about the fact that they, too, have a right to organize and bargain for what they need, just the way we already do,” Barton said.


September 25, 2017

Post-Hurricane Safety Tips Are Available for Members

Our union family is dedicated to helping the thousands of hard-working UFCW members stay safe as they return to homes and property damaged by the recent hurricanes. Here are some tips for dealing with safety hazards, such as contaminated floodwater and mold, after the storm is over:

Contaminated Floodwaters

Catastrophic flooding can introduce sewage from external sources into indoor environments. This sewage can pose serious health threats to building occupants and to cleanup and restoration workers. In any flood cleanup, assume that pathogens are present. Keep the following in mind to prevent further harm.

When you are directly exposed to floodwater…

  • Avoid direct skin contact with floodwaters to minimize the chance for infection. Be especially careful of the face and eyes.
  • Protect all cuts, scrapes, and sores.
  • Immediately wash and disinfect any wound that comes in contact with sewage.
  • If skin contact with floodwaters does occur, use soap and water to clean exposed areas. Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs can be used when soap or clean water is not available.
  • Hands should be washed after removal of gloves. Gloves that will be reused should be cleaned with soap and water and dried between uses.

Discard the following…

  • Food
  • Cosmetics
  • Medicines and medical supplies
  • Stuffed animals and toys
  • Mattresses and pillows
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Large carpets and carpet padding
  • Cardboard
  • Impacted sheet rock, ceiling tiles, and similar porous materials

When disinfecting other items…

  • Make a household bleach solution by combining 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Bleach should never be used in concentrated form because it can cause severe skin and respiratory harm.
  • Never use bleach with any product that contains ammonia. Sheetrock, carpets, and other building materials and furnishings that have been damaged by water are likely to now be contaminated with mold. Breathing in or touching mold can cause health problems. Killing mold (for example, with bleach) does not get rid of all the health hazards.


Sheetrock, carpets, and other building materials and furnishings that have been damaged by water are likely to now be contaminated with mold. Breathing in or touching mold can cause health problems. Killing mold (for example, with bleach) does not get rid of all the health hazards.

When cleaning up your home…

  • Always assume that water-damaged buildings, materials, and furnishings are contaminated with mold.
  • Non-porous materials (metals, glass, hard plastics, etc.) can usually be cleaned.
  • Semi-porous and porous structural materials, such as wood and concrete, can be cleaned if they are structurally sound.
  • Porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and insulation, and wallboards (with more than a small area of mold growth) should be removed and discarded.
  • Disinfectants are usually not needed because physical removal of fungal growth is the most effective way to prevent exposure. Clean with a soap or detergent solution.

While it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure your workplace is safe, being aware of and knowing how to recognize dangerous conditions can help you stay protected at home, as well.

As always, if there is anything we can do to help answer your questions about rebuilding and recovery, or if you’d like to know how you can help, don’t hesitate to let us know at 202-466-1502 or ftapia@ufcw.org.

Sources: NYCOSH

September 25, 2017

UFCW Launches Labor Against Cancer Initiative

The UFCW, in partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), has launched a new “Labor Against Cancer” initiative in the battle to end blood cancers.

This new initiative builds on our 30-year partnership with LLS to fund and support some of the world’s best and brightest blood cancer researchers to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Our decades-long partnership with LLS has raised $83 million so far to help fund research that has advanced treatments such as chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and smart drugs, which have become the standard for many other cancers.

There are many opportunities to participate in Labor Against Cancer, starting with our first annual member drive. It is simple to donate, and we have worked with LLS to provide some exciting incentives to help promote LLS awareness and member participation, including the opportunity to win Fitbits and Apple Watches.

Everyone knows someone who has dealt with this disease or heard the words “you have cancer,” themselves. Together, we can show our brothers and sisters who are struggling with blood cancers that they are not alone and can have hope for the future. Visit the Labor Against Cancer website here to donate to this worthy cause.

September 25, 2017

Safeway Pharmacy Technicians in Colorado and Wyoming Join Local 7

Safeway pharmacy technicians in Brighton, Colorado, and Douglas, Wyoming, recently voted to join UFCW Local 7. The elections were held on Sept. 8 in Colorado and August 30 in Wyoming.

Safeway pharmacy technicians in both states were concerned about wage increases, and wanted better health care benefits. The workers in Wyoming were also concerned about being accredited for prior experience. Workers in both states wanted to join the rest of their coworkers for a voice on the job, and with this election, both stores are now wall to wall union.


September 25, 2017

RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 Saks Contract Has National Impact

On Sept. 14, about 100 members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 who work in the women’s shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue’s iconic flagship store in New York City ratified a new contract that will reverberate nationwide. The hard-fought contract repelled the company’s outrageous demands to eliminate employee commissions when a customer paid with an “earned gift card” or “Saks First” loyalty points – a change which would have slashed employee pay by up to 10 percent. This hard-fought victory is not only a win for members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102, but is also a triumph for hard-working Saks employees in stores across the country, as the company has indicated that because of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102’s arguments against these arbitrary programs, it will halt a previously planned nationwide implementation.

Under the new agreement, the company will retain the present commission structure by preserving the union employees’ 10 percent commission on sales of women’s shoes. Further, the union negotiated the right to have employees’ sales goals adjusted to account for their use of vacation and other paid time off. Finally, RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 negotiated a contract ratification bonus for Saks’ unionized workforce.  

“I am taken aback by the company’s response to our concerns about changes to the commission system and their interest in not just retaining the system in New York but for my friends and colleagues at other stores,” said Gil McGarvey, a Saks sales representative and Local 1102 shop steward and executive board member. “In all my years at Saks, never have I felt more heard by the company – and the union is the reason we were heard.”   

“I am exceptionally proud of, and humbled by, the hard work and selfless dedication of our nine member negotiations team,” said Alvin Ramnarain, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102. “This contract is a huge win for both our members, and also for workers across the country who would have received drastic pay cuts. Saks, after speaking with its corporate partners, agreed to back off its demands, and actually informed us that because of the arguments presented at the bargaining table, they would quash this program nationwide. We are grateful that Saks understood that when they invest in their people and let them sell, their business will thrive. This is clearly a case where the union difference will have a positive effect on Saks’ profits, and that’s a win for our members and the company. What is clear today is that when workers stand together, we can win.”