News and Updates
January 22, 2018
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement on Jan. 19 in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to eliminate line speed limits at pork plants. This latest announcement follows the recent regulatory effort to remove line speed limits for the poultry industry.
The UFCW represents hard-working men and women in pork plants that have already had their line speed limits eliminated as part of a trial program, as well as people who are in plants that run profitably with line speed limits in place. According to a 2013 report from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, the existing trial program did not result in better food safety.
Perrone’s statement reads as follows:
“This desire to increase line speeds is being driven entirely by corporate greed and defies common sense.
“Jobs inside pork plants are some of the most dangerous and difficult in America. We’re only putting workers at greater risk of injury and consumers at greater risk of consuming unsafe meat by asking everyone who labors inside one to work faster.
“For the sake of keeping millions of hard-working families safe, this decision deserves immediate reconsideration.”
January 22, 2018
On Jan. 5, 40 workers at Wild Oats Market Co-op in Williamstown, Massachusetts, ratified their first contract with UFCW Local 1459.
The three-year contract includes vacation accrual for all workers, new health and safety protections, annual wage increases, and a labor management committee to increase transparency and strengthen the voices of the workers.
“We came together to improve conditions for all workers at Wild Oats Market,” said Karen Kane, a Wild Oats Market Co-op worker and negotiating team member. “This contract provides a solid foundation to give workers a voice and a better life working at our community-owned grocery store.”
January 16, 2018
The statement reads as follows:
“This is a particularly important time to reflect on Dr. King’s pursuit of inclusivity and allow it to inspire our enthusiasm for the same ideals. He showed that change for the better and compassion for others starts with all of us. When we stand up for our values and become actively involved in positive action, we can build a better nation and a better life for the many, not just the few.”
“It would be a fitting tribute to Dr. King and his legacy in 2018 if our country and those who lead us could begin moving beyond divisions, and towards an America that is defined by justice, dignity, and respect.”
January 16, 2018
On Dec. 29, 24 members of UFCW Local 653 who work at Gold Cross Ambulance in Mankato, Minnesota, ratified a new contract. The Gold Cross Ambulance workers are employed as paramedics and emergency medical technicians in Greater Minnesota.
The three-year contract includes wage increases for all members, as well as language updates that improve on-call status and scheduling for members.
January 16, 2018
Members of UFCW 21 who are employed in the registered nurse and dietary services units at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Washington, ratified new contracts by an overwhelming margin on Dec. 21. Harrison Medical Center is an affiliate of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) Franciscan Health, and UFCW Local 21 represents 2,200 members who are employed by CHI.
The 18-month contract for registered nurses and the three-year contract for dietary and service workers include wage increases and maintain healthcare costs this year and in 2019. The new agreements also include staffing language and successorship rights that are critical due to the recent announcement that CHI will be merging with Dignity Health. Members of the professional technical unit recently reached a tentative agreement and will be voting on their contract on January 17.
UFCW Local 21 members at CHI St. Joseph Medical Center, Regional Hospital, Highline Hospital and Harrison Hospital stood together for months to win strong contracts across the Puget Sound, including leafleting, informational picketing, public hearings and community forums.
January 16, 2018
The workers wanted a voice in their workplace and an end to “at will” employment. They also wanted to become a part of ICWUC Local 252C and the Atomic Trades and Labor Council. ICWUC Local 252C President Greg Malone, Chief Steward James Woody, Recording Secretary Jackie Martin, Secretary Treasurer Chris Beatty, Vice President Thomas Duncan, and the members of ICWUC Local 252C played a key part in this organizing victory.
“I would like to think the members who worked hard to make this happen,” Malone said. “I would also like to thank Charles Smith and Rhonda Hawn for helping our committee understand the complex issues associated with the Rad Techs.”
The ICWUC is proud to welcome these 95 workers to our union and look forward to helping them negotiate their first contract.
January 9, 2018
On Jan. 8, Working Families United protested the termination of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for 200,000 Salvadorans currently working and living in America. The UFCW is one of five unions that form the Working Families United immigration campaign, which also includes UNITE HERE, IUPAT, Iron Workers, and Bricklayers. All five unions represent tens of thousands of TPS union workers in hospitality, construction, meat processing and trades.
“Hundreds of thousands of hard-working families who pay taxes and contribute to our communities will now be forced to upend their lives and settle into a dangerous country they no longer know,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “From working in meatpacking and food processing plants to retail shops to other sectors, people with TPS hold key roles in our economy that make America stronger and safer.”
Maria Elena Durazo, general vice president of UNITE HERE, echoed that sentiment. “Today Trump’s DHS is taking nearly 200,000 law-abiding American immigrants and turning them from legal workers into targets for deportation,” Durazo said.
Looking forward, Working Families United member unions are pledging to keep the fight to save TPS up at the congressional level, including with a nearly one million dollar advocacy budget.
“We urge Congress to do what is right and immediately pass a long-term legislative solution that gives every TPS family the stability and security they’ve earned and deserve,” said Kenneth E. Rigmaiden, general president of IUPAT. “As a union family, we are committed to helping people who work hard build better lives – especially when they’ve been forced to flee their home countries due to unimaginable violence. We will amplify those voices and stand steadfast, shoulder to shoulder, until a just solution is reached.”
January 8, 2018
With Santa’s help, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) launched a series of strike actions at Walmart stores across the country in December to protest the retail giant’s refusal to provide its 1.5 million workers with holiday pay. The “Santa Claus on Strike” actions were held in 13 cities, including Phoenix, Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Cincinnati and Memphis. At each action, Santa and his holiday helpers made all those who love Christmas aware of Walmart’s “no holiday pay” policy.
Walmart eliminated holiday pay in 2016, replacing it with a policy where workers accrue paid time off based on hours worked. Under this policy, a new part-time Walmart worker has to work 33 hours to get just one paid hour off, which could take weeks to accrue given Walmart’s inconsistent scheduling. Holiday pay, for those who work on the holiday, typically includes a premium above and beyond what they are paid hourly. And, in the case of many union retail workers, they are given holiday pay even if they don’t work that day.
“Santa Claus is on strike for one simple reason: It’s time Walmart do the right thing and provide holiday pay for its 1.5 million hard-working men and women – the same holiday pay it used to provide in 2015 before it decided to “Grinch” its workers,” said MCAW Director Randy Parraz. “To be very clear, this initiative is about more than Santa Claus and Christmas, it’s about the values that the holidays represent and which Walmart has chosen to ignore.”
The “Santa Claus on Strike” actions were the second phase of MCAW’s six-week holiday initiative to highlight Walmart’s “war on the holidays.” MCAW’s holiday campaign has included grassroots events at Walmart stores, targeted paid media, including two national TV ads, aggressive social media, and outreach to civic and community leaders, all with the important goal of having Walmart end its policy of refusing to provide holiday pay to its workers.
“Walmart earns millions of dollars from not paying its workers holiday pay – this is wrong and it must stop. The extra pay millions of other American workers earn during the holidays make a difference, and Walmart workers deserve no less,” said Parraz.
January 8, 2018
Workers at AOC Resins in Valparaiso, Indiana, recently voted to join the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW by an overwhelming margin. AOC is a plastic fabrication company, and the workers wanted a voice in their workplace.
“Working class people have no one to trust but themselves. We know what we need and we know as individuals our voices are ignored,” said Kyle Gatlin, an operator at AOC Resins. “It’s only when we accept the idea ‘what’s good for one is good for all’ will we be able to change the conditions of our labor. For the past few months, we have driven towards a common goal of unionizing all hourly employees and accomplishing that goal felt amazing. The ICWUC has been with us for every need along the way, and this wouldn’t have been possible without Lance Heasley’s guidance.”
The ICWUC is proud to welcome all of these workers to our union and looks forward to helping them negotiate their first contract.
January 8, 2018
On Jan. 4, UFCW Locals 17A, 75, 880, 1059, along with the ICWUC and RWDSU, released the following statements after endorsing Steve Dettelbach for Ohio Attorney General. Collectively, these local unions represent over 80,000 hard-working Ohioans.
“Steve Dettelbach has continually proven that he is completely committed to putting what’s best for everyday Ohioans above all else,” said Randy Quickel, president of UFCW Local 1059.
“Now, more than ever, we need and deserve leaders like Steve who will stand with and up for hard-working men and women when it matters most,” said Carl Ivka, president of UFCW Local 880.
“Simply put, Steve Dettelbach will be an Attorney General who protects good jobs and better wages across Ohio. We endorse him with enthusiasm and look forward to helping him win this race,” said Kevin Garvey, president of UFCW Local 75.
“Steve Dettelbach isn’t afraid to push back against predatory corporations and secure real progress for hard-working people. We look forward to him standing up for everyday Ohioans as our next Attorney General,” said Sonja Campell, president of UFCW Local 17A.
“Steve Dettelbach knows how to work with the community and law enforcement to help make our communities safer for all,” said ICWUC President Frank Cyphers.
“The time has come for Ohio to have an Attorney General who puts people before politics. Steve has spent his career fighting for justice for working people, no matter who they work for. Steve is not afraid to stand up to business owners who hurt working people – no matter what. We will fight for him to win this election because we know he will fight for us as Attorney General,” said RWDSU Regional Director Rick Marshall.