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September 5, 2017

SBM Management Services Workers Join ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C

Recently, 28 workers at SBM Management Services in Elkton, Va., voted to join ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C by an overwhelming margin. SBM Management Services is a subcontractor at the Merck plant in the area, and the workers clean many parts of the facility, as well as the laboratory glassware.

The SBM Management Services workers wanted a voice in the workplace, as well as an end to “at will” employment. They also wanted the benefits and protections that ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C can offer. ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C Vice President Matt Dean and President Ricky Breeden were instrumental in this victory for these workers, with the support of Council Vice President Gerry Setley.

 

September 5, 2017

UFCW Condemns White House Decision to End DACA

On Sept. 5, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement regarding the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children.

The statement reads as follows:

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is cold-hearted, cruel, and a betrayal of what America stands for.

“Hundreds of thousands of young, hard-working men and women who love America will now be needlessly punished for childhood circumstances. These young people have grown up in this country, passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school, and have worked hard to build a better America. They have earned and deserve fair treatment, but instead their lives are being thrown into chaos with this announcement.

“President Trump’s decision will not make America great again; rather, it will tear families apart, damage communities, and further fuel a terrible divide that is already hurting the nation we all love.

“On behalf of the 1.3 million members of our union family, we urge all Members of Congress to immediately do what is right and protect these Dreamers.”

On Sept. 6, the UFCW distributed a memo to UFCW Locals regarding the status of DACA.

The memo reads as follows:

TO: ALL UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS LOCAL UNIONS

As many of you know, on September 5, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a phased ending to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The following outlines important details and information for our locals to discuss with affected members.

What will end immediately?

No new DACA applications will be accepted as of September 5, 2017.

No new applications for employment authorization will be accepted after September 5, 2017.

There will be no approval of advance parole, which allows temporary leave from the U.S. and lawful reentry into U.S., for DACA recipients as of September 5, 2017.

What about DACA will continue to be processed?

Initial DACA applications and employment authorization requests that are already filed as of September 5, 2017 will be processed.

Applications for renewal of DACA and work authorization for current beneficiaries whose status expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 will be processed if they are received by DHS within the next 30 days by October 5, 2017. If granted, the recipient will remain in status for the validity period which typically has been two years.

Applications for DACA renewal and work authorization filed after October 5, 2017 shall be rejected.

What is the status of current DACA recipients?

Current DACA recipients and Employment Authorization Document holders will continue in the DACA status with work authorization for the duration of the two-year validity periods.

DACA recipients with currently approved advance parole will be allowed to temporarily leave for the validity period granted. However, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) still retains discretion to deny reentry at the border.

What is the current status of enforcement when DACA expires?

DACA information provided to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process DACA applications will not be proactively shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or CBP.

For more information, contact the UFCW Legal Department at (202) 466-1593 or rbowser@ufcw.org.

 

September 5, 2017

UFCW Attends Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions Delegate Conference

On August 25 to 27, UFCW International President Marc Perrone and 123 delegates from UFCW Locals 7, 21, 27, 135, 324, 400, 555, 770, 1428 and 1996 attended the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions Delegate Conference in Portland, Ore. The purpose of the conference was to build solidarity and strength among the coalition with the end goal of negotiating strong contracts with Kaiser Permanente.

The Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions, AFL-CIO, is a federation of 29 locals from the UFCW and 10 other international unions that represent 120,000 union members. The UFCW represents 11,600 Kaiser Permanente employees, most of whom are professional or technical workers. UFCW Locals 1167 and 1442 also represent Kaiser Permanente workers, but were not able to attend the conference.

President Perrone spoke at the conference, and emphasized the importance of working together to secure strong contracts and improve health care for our members at Kaiser Permanente and those they care for.

“If there is ever a doubt about how important this coalition is or of the value our members offer every single day, let us never forget this: You are the ones that give hope, where too often there is none. You provide comfort and care at our most vulnerable times,” Perrone said.

“It is not politicians or policymakers who make a difference in the lives of others who are suffering from the pains and ills that imperil so many millions. It is us. It is this coalition. It is this diverse union family. We are the ones who have accepted the responsibility to stand together. To work together. To believe in each other, and to unite together to better the lives of those whom we care for, and all our Kaiser members – across every one of our unions. The responsibility of caring for others and for our members is not a responsibility that is borne by one union, any union leader, or even Kaiser itself. It is a responsibility that must be shared and respected.”

September 5, 2017

Our Union Family Celebrates Labor Day

This Labor Day, UFCW Locals across the country partnered with other unions, allies, and community members to pay tribute to America’s workers.

Below are some of the parades and other holiday events that took place:

August 28, 2017

UFCW and ICWUC Hold Chemical Emergency Response Training for Locals

Representatives from UFCW Locals 7, 1167 and 1428 attended a chemical emergency response training sponsored by the UFCW Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office and the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW during the week of August 7. The training took place at UFCW Local 324’s office in Buena Park, Calif. 

The class was designed to teach union staff how to identify and respond to chemical hazards. Class participants learned about hazardous chemicals, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, toxicology, and OSHA regulations. Class participants also took part in a simulated hazardous chemical release and containment exercise, donning a self-contained breathing apparatus and other personal protective equipment, and putting into practice what they learned in the classroom.

This training is part of a long-standing partnership between the UFCW OSH Office and ICWUC. UFCW local union representatives and stewards throughout the country are recruited to attend chemical emergency response trainings, which are usually held at ICWUC’s training center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The program is funded with grants, which pay for participants’ travel and lodging. The UFCW OSH office coordinates the program, which has provided training for hundreds of members and UFCW staff over the past 20 years.    

A key feature of this program is the collaboration of eight unions, universities and worker organizations. During this particular week, UFCW representatives were in class with members of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, American Federation of Government Employees, and ICWUC.   

“I think the chemical emergency response course that I attended was very interesting and informative,” said Phillip Meza, a union representative for UFCW Local 1428. “I plan on taking the information I’ve learned and tools I was given to do better site visits with our membership to ensure their safety when dealing with chemicals. It has also given me the ability to identify potential hazards that I can warn members about. For organizing purposes, I feel the information we learned will also help us to mobilize workers who are working under unsafe conditions and not being provided proper personal protection equipment.”

The program is ongoing throughout the year. If your local is interested in attending a training, contact Fernando Tapia, safety and health program coordinator, UFCW OSH Office, at
ftapia@ufcw.org.

August 28, 2017

New “How To” Video Features Local 653 Cub Foods Butcher

The UFCW’s new “how to” video features Jon Viner, a butcher at Cub Foods in Minneapolis and member of UFCW Local 653, who shows you how to cut up a whole chicken.

This video is part of a series of “how to” tips from UFCW members who are experts in their fields. In addition to Jon’s tips about how to cut up and make the most out of a whole chicken, the series features expert advice from a UFCW produce clerk, prep cook, cake decorator, makeup artist, and florist.

You can watch Jon show you how to cut up a whole chicken here. You can also subscribe to UFCW’s “how to” videos here.

August 28, 2017

UFCW Sends Letter to Whole Foods Board of Directors

On August 23, UFCW International President Marc Perrone sent a letter  to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey and the entire Whole Foods Board of Directors, calling on them to take specific steps to protect the jobs, wages, and benefits of employees who may be negatively impacted by Amazon’s acquisition of the company. Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods was finalized on Monday, August 28.

The letter states:

“Realistically, we expect shareholders to approve of your company’s merger with Amazon. Our union family’s only hope is that you will consider the well-being of every employee who works inside your stores. These hard-working men and women are not numbers on a balance sheet; rather, they have families to support and lives to build. They may not matter much to you or Amazon, but they matter to us.”

Perrone also made clear the risks for Whole Foods if they fail to do what is right:

“The question now is whether shareholders and the Board of Whole Foods will consider the loss of Whole Foods jobs and the brand impact once customers realize Amazon has sacrificed these workers – the very people who made Whole Foods stores so successful.”

You can read the entire letter here.

August 28, 2017

Fresenius Kidney Care Workers Join RWDSU/UFCW

Recently, over 40 workers at two separate Fresenius Kidney Care centers in Mobile, Ala., voted to join the RWDSU/UFCW Mid-South Council by an overwhelming margin.

These workers stuck together through six weeks of anti-union rhetoric. The anti-union campaign included management bringing in union-busting “consultants” to shut down the organizing drive. Despite these anti-union tactics, the workers were undaunted in their desire to make their jobs better by winning a union voice in the workplace.

 

August 28, 2017

QFC Clicklist Workers Join Local 21

On August 23, Quality Food Center (QFC) Clicklist workers in Sammamish, Wash., voted to join UFCW Local 21. Based in Bellevue, Wash., QFC is a supermarket chain owned by The Kroger Co., and Clicklist is Kroger’s online grocery service.

The six new UFCW Local 21 members fulfill the online orders for QFC, and load and deliver the groceries. They joined UFCW Local 21 because they were concerned about shift protections. A union contract means they can’t be sent home if Clicklist work is slow, and they will be able to help out in other areas of the store.

UFCW 21 represents nearly 21,000 grocery workers in Washington State, including 4,342 QFC workers.

 

August 22, 2017

UFCW Makes Case for Amazon’s Growth to Face More Scrutiny

Photo by Simone Brunozzi titled “Amazon” via Creative Commons.

On August 21, UFCW International President Marc Perrone wrote an op-ed for The Hill that details how Amazon’s growing monopoly over the retail sector has negative impacts for American workers.

EXCERPTS FROM THE OP-ED:

All of us, no matter what political leanings we have, will be impacted by Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation. This isn’t hyperbole.

In 2016, 43 percent of all online sales went through Amazon; the online retailer also accounted for more than half of all online sales growth last year.

Amazon controls a huge swath of the steadily growing online marketplace and it gives them a distinct advantage over regional and national competitors – which results in job cuts. Public filings show that Amazon played a large role in eliminating more than 50,000 jobs from Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy. And in March, MarketWatch estimated that Amazon’s dominant growth could remove as many as 1.5 million retail jobs within five years.

All of this begs the question, if Amazon forces millions of service and retail sector jobs to be lost, if they squeeze suppliers to the bone, if they devastate commercial construction because much fewer retail spaces are built, and if they make it impossible for grocery or retail workers to earn a better life because they can no longer find work, where do elected leaders think “good American jobs” are going to come from?

You can read the full op-ed here.