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March 5, 2018

Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Workers in Maryland Join Local 27

On Feb. 8, 80 workers from the Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Berlin, Maryland, joined UFCW Local 27. The unit consists of certified nursing assistants, as well as dietary employees.

The workers were concerned about low wages, insufficient benefits, and not having a voice in the workplace. They were united in their belief that joining our union family will lead to a better life.

“After being there for some time, I realize that nothing was going to change unless we did something about it,” said Tammy Timmons. “I think that having a union is the change we need.”

“Something needed to be done,” said Genell Fontaine. “If we didn’t do it, the company wouldn’t either.”

“We needed a union,” said Danica Alexandre. “We needed better wages, better working conditions, and respect we deserve on the job.”

“I felt having a union is the best way to get what we want: better wages, better health care, better working conditions, and better treatment on the job,” said Erica Nelson.

“This victory was a very good win for these hard-working workers at Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and they voted to join our union by over a two to one margin,” said UFCW Local 27 President Jason Chorpenning. “Our organizers worked very hard and the vote showed it. It was an amazing show of solidarity by the workers. As these new members stand together, Local 27 will help them change their lives for the better. I want to welcome our new sisters and brothers to our family at Local 27.”

March 5, 2018

UFCW Celebrates Women’s History Month

The month of March marks Women’s History Month and provides us with an opportunity to honor women in the labor movement. This month, we will highlight how labor unions have benefited women, and the social and economic issues that affect women in the workplace, including the need for fair scheduling, affordable, high quality child care, and paid maternity and sick leave.

Throughout this month, the UFCW will pay tribute to women who defied convention and fought for workers’ rights, as well as women who continue to fight for the right to stick together for decent wages and benefits and respect in the workplace.

February 26, 2018

MCAW and UFCW Call on Filmmakers to End Partnership With Walmart

On Feb. 7, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) and UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther López sent a joint letter to Melissa McCarthy, Dee Rees, and Nancy Meyers, urging them to stand up for the rights of working women and end their Academy Awards partnership with Walmart.

The letter was in response to the three prominent female celebrities’ partnership with Walmart to produce the company’s television commercials that will air during the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4. As part of the effort to highlight Walmart’s track record, MCAW also published a full-page ad in Variety magazine.

“While at face value this would seem to represent a positive campaign, we urge to you look at the facts about Walmart’s past actions that reflect on its values. Values that have had a negative impact on countless women and their families, and that send a terrible message as to what behavior is acceptable if we are serious about social equality and justice,” said López in the letter to the three Hollywood filmmakers.

The Variety ad, which includes a graphic of the Oscar Award hiding its face, lists several reasons and facts as to why Walmart is an unfriendly workplace for women, families, and pregnant workers, and details Walmart’s scrutiny towards some women of color shoppers and mistreatment of some LGBTQ employees.

Starting this week, MCAW will begin a series of on the ground actions in Los Angeles, including human bill boarding outside a pre-awards gala Wednesday evening and a press conference on Thursday with a former Walmart worker who was mistreated while pregnant and working at Walmart.

You can sign a petition in support of this campaign here.

February 26, 2018

UFCW Celebrates Black History Month

On Feb. 23, the UFCW International hosted a lunch and panel discussion in celebration of Black History Month. This event marked the 25th anniversary of the UFCW’s Black History Month program, which centered around the theme “we rise.”

UFCW International President Marc Perrone and International Vice President and Director of Civil Rights and Community Action Robin Williams opened the program. Panelists included Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed last year in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the founder of the Heather Heyer Foundation; Marvin Randolph, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Elections Fund; and Erica Clemmons, state director of the Georgia Chapter of the 9to5 National Association. Carol Joyner, director of the Labor Project for Working Families, served as the moderator.

Panelists talked about the need to work together to achieve social and economic justice.

Clemmons made the point that there are so many organizations out there that are doing good things in the social justice arena. “We need to harness each other’s energy,” she said.

“All these groups have wonderful programs, but people are not talking to other people about what they’re doing,” said Bro. “We’ve got to pull together.”

Randolph also underscored the importance of working together for social justice. “We have the combined power to do great things,” he said.

February 26, 2018

Local 1208 Marches in HKonJ Rally in North Carolina

Members of UFCW Local 1208 joined thousands of allies at the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Feb. 10. The march focused on voting rights, equal rights and other social justice issues. UFCW Local 1208 has joined this march numerous times, beginning with the Smithfield campaign.

The HKonJ People’s Assembly Coalition is made up of more than 125 North Carolina NAACP branches, youth councils and college chapters from across the state, as well as members of over 200 other social justice organizations.

February 26, 2018

Local 152 Pitman Manor Workers in New Jersey Ratify First Contract

On Feb. 12, members of UFCW Local 152 who work at Pitman Manor in Pitman, New Jersey, ratified their first union contract by an overwhelming margin. Pitman manor is an assisted living community and is part of United Methodist Homes of New Jersey. The 110 workers joined UFCW Local 152 last August because they were concerned about wages, health benefits, and wanted a voice in the workplace.

The new three-year agreement includes guaranteed wage increases, and excellent health, welfare, life and prepaid legal benefits that resulted in a substantial cost reduction for the new membership. The agreement also includes language that addresses just cause provisions, seniority rights, grievance and arbitration, and enhanced bereavement.

February 20, 2018

UFCW Responds to White House Request to Test Harvest Box Plan

On Feb. 15, UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued a statement regarding the White House asking Congress for $30 million this year to test the “America’s Harvest Box” proposal in President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget. This proposal would significantly change the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).

Perrone’s statement reads as follows:

“Whether you are Republican or Democrat, pro-union or not, shop at a big grocery store or a small local co-op, ‘America’s Harvest Box’ is one of the worst policy proposals ever made to address hunger and poverty. It will further worsen the economic divide across the country and must be stopped for the sake of the better America we all believe in.

“The harvest box proposal punishes the poor, removes significant sales from local grocery stores, and needlessly puts millions of good grocery store jobs at risk of being eliminated.

“The grocery stores our members work in are often the largest employers in their communities, and provide the wages and benefits necessary for hard-working families to build and live better lives.”


February 20, 2018

Region 1 Takes a Stand Against Lidl in New Jersey

Region 1 locals have taken a stand against low wages and poor benefits at a Lidl store in Vineland, New Jersey, and are encouraging members of the Vineland community to protect jobs with good wages and benefits by shopping at local ShopRite Supermarkets and Acme Markets. Region 1 locals have maintained a picket line in front of the Lidl store since last November.

“Every local in New Jersey has committed staff and volunteer members to walk the picket line in solidarity with Local 152 in their stand against Lidl,” said International Vice President and Director of Region 1 Dave Young. “I’m proud of the level of cooperation and strength in membership during these important actions.”

February 20, 2018

Local 919 Burlington Coat Factory Workers Ratify New Contract

On Feb. 2, 37 full- and part-time Burlington Coat Factory workers in New London, Connecticut, unanimously ratified a new contract.

The new three-year agreement guarantees $1.30 increase in wages, improved bereavement coverage, nine-day advanced scheduling, and doubled travel pay reimbursement. The agreement also includes an improved grievance procedure and new hire union orientation language that allows the Business Agent to hold quarterly meetings at the store on company time to introduce workers to the union.

February 20, 2018

Local 653 Lunds & Byerlys Workers in Minneapolis Ratify New Contract

More than 2,100 members of UFCW Local 653 who work at Lunds & Byerlys grocery stores in Minneapolis and nearby suburbs ratified a new contract on Feb. 11. The three-year agreement includes an increase in wages and better benefits, and the total economic value of the contract is over $60 million over the first year alone.

The new agreement raises wages for part-time and full-time workers during each year of the contract, and the average wage increase over the three-year contract for all workers is $3,708.89.

“This raise will provide more financial stability and economic independence for myself and my family. Since I’m part-time, making more money and only having to work one job makes me worry less each month. It means a lot,” said Taddeo Balma, who works in the produce department of Lunds & Byerlys in Minnetonka.

The contract increases the number and security of full-time positions, and improves the quality of part-time positions. Five hundred and fifteen workers will become regular part-time, which guarantees them increased take home pay, as well as three weeks paid vacation after eight years, six national holidays, bereavement leave for domestic partners, jury duty, and ancillary benefits that include dental, vision, life, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

“When you are part-time, it comes down to the bottom line. I’m on Medicare, and the dental ancillary benefit is huge. It adds a tremendous value to my life,” said Mary Heintz of the Burnsville Lunds & Byerlys, who will now become a regular part-time employee.

Workers who qualify for the 401(k) retirement program will continue to receive contributions that were negotiated between the union and Lunds & Byerlys. These include full-time contributions from $2 to $4 an hour and part-time is $1.35 an hour.

Workers will also enjoy expanded non-discrimination language that covers gender, gender identification, pregnancy, veterans, and criminal record after employment. Employees who return on breaks from high school and college will retain seniority. New to the contract is automation language that gives notice to employees and training opportunities if any technology is implemented in the store.

“I applaud our members for saying ‘yes’ by voting in this new three-year contract,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht. “In the 37 years that I have been with Local 653, this contract brings the most dramatic improvements to the most workers that I’ve ever seen. I’m proud that our union bargaining committee worked together with Lunds & Byerlys to make so many working families’ lives better.”