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August 22, 2017

CVS Workers in Southern California Ratify New Contract

After months of negotiations, over 5,000 members of UFCW Locals 5, 135, 324, 648, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442 who work at over 350 CVS stores in Southern California ratified a new contract last week.

The four-year contract includes wage increases and better access to more affordable health care in the newly organized stores. The new agreement also includes improved scheduling practices, more protections during layoffs, and a process for part-time employees to become full-time based on seniority.

 

August 21, 2017

Pitman Manor Workers Join Local 152

Local 152 organizers Matthew Kane, Hugh Giordano, and Ed Fuller handbill Pitman Manor workers.

On August 18, 127 workers at United Methodist Homes of Pitman Manor in Pitman, N.J., voted to join UFCW Local 152 by an overwhelming margin. Pitman Manor is an assisted living community, and the new members are employed as licensed practical nurses, certified medical assistants, certified nursing assistants, as well as dietary, housekeeping maintenance, and clerical workers.

The workers joined UFCW Local 152 because they were concerned about health benefits and wages. They also wanted a voice in the workplace.

“I was really impressed with our committee,” said UFCW Local 152 Director of Organizing Chad Brooks. “They did a great job taking on management during anti-union meetings, and making sure workers knew the truth.”

August 21, 2017

Local 400 Passes Resolution in Reaction to Violence in Charlottesville

Photo by Mark Dixon titled “Charlottesville” via Creative Commons.

On August 16, the board of directors of UFCW Local 400 passed an official resolution condemning white supremacy and the violent actions of bigots in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month.

“Now is a time to make it clear what we stand for,” said UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici. “Unity and solidarity are core values of our union family. We embody the diversity that makes our country great. The hard-working men and women of Local 400 stand together for a better life for all Americans. Hatred simply has no place in our union or in our country.”

UFCW Local 400 has nearly 11,000 members who live and work in Virginia, including grocery workers at three Kroger stores and one Giant Food store in the city of Charlottesville. The resolution was approved by a unanimous vote of the board of directors at a regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

The resolution mourns the death of Heather Heyer and further expresses full support of “all counter-protesters who demonstrated against the hateful white supremacists.” In addition, the board resolution mourns the deaths of Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving the Commonwealth.

The full text of the resolution is below:

WHEREAS, nearly 11,000 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 members live and work in the Commonwealth of Virginia;

WHEREAS, we are proud that our membership reflects the racial, ethnic, sexual identity, and religious diversity of the Commonwealth and our great nation;

WHEREAS, although racism is hardly a new phenomenon in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recorded a significant spike in hate crimes since Donald Trump’s election, as well as violent gatherings of white supremacists, including the deadly events in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend;

WHEREAS, the wealthy and powerful have always used the politics of hate, division, and racism to divide the working class and weaken unions;

WHEREAS, by forging interracial solidarity, Lipton Tea workers in Suffolk, Va., recently won a union contract that dramatically lowers health care premiums, raises wages and secures better working conditions for all;

THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 condemns the racist, violent actions of Nazis, and white nationalists, and attendees of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville this weekend.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 rejects in the strongest possible terms the ideology of white supremacy.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 mourns the death of Heather Heyer and will fight like hell for the living in her name.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 is deeply saddened by the deaths of two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M. M. Bates, who lost their lives in the line of duty while serving the Commonwealth;

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 fully supports all counter-protesters who demonstrated against the hateful white supremacists who attended the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, and UFCW Local 400 extends our thoughts and prayers to all counter-protesters who were injured in the resulting violence.

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED that UFCW Local 400 recommits ourselves to the struggle for racial and economic justice, gender equality, and human and civil rights for all, and stands in solidarity with anyone who is fighting for the same.

 

August 21, 2017

MCAW Calls on Walmart to Stop Using Justice Program Found Unlawful by California Court

On August 18, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) Director Randy Parraz issued a statement in response to a California court ruling that a shoplifter diversion program used by Walmart constitutes “false imprisonment and extortion.” The program used by Walmart and other California retailers is provided by Corrective Education Company (CEC).

The statement reads as follows:

“While we are glad that real justice has been served to California shoppers who have been victimized by Walmart’s use of Corrective Education Company’s program, the problem remains that the ruling does not stop Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., from using the offensive CEC program in other states.

“The fact that Walmart allowed a private company like CEC to embed itself inside its storesfalsely imprison; fingerprint, and document suspected shoplifters in a backroom; and then extort them for money, is beyond disgraceful.

“Walmart shoppers nationwide deserve assurance that they will not be victimized by a program that subjects them to false imprisonment and extortion if they are suspected of shoplifting. This isn’t the Wild West anymore, and its time Walmart immediately stops using the offensive CEC or similar programs in all its stores nationwide.”

In California, Walmart has put more people through CEC’s program than any other retailer in the state. According to documents filed in the case, Walmart enrolled 3,597 people in the program—a third of all CEC participants in California—as of April 2017. The court found that California retailers using the CEC program, like Walmart, were “acting in concert and are jointly liable for the extortionate conduct.”

MCAW has been closely following and speaking out against Walmart’s Restorative Justice program, which utilizes pre-charge companies like CEC in 1,500 Walmart locations nationwide. MCAW has also been working with state legislators to further investigate and take legislative action against this controversial practice.

August 15, 2017

New ‘How To” Video Features UFCW Cake Decorator

UFCW cake decorator Carolyn Brooks is back with tips about how to decorate a birthday cake 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 Carolyn’s cake decorating tips, the series features expert advice from a UFCW makeup artist, florist, butcher, produce clerk and prep cook.

You can watch Carolyn decorate a birthday cake here. You can also subscribe to UFCW’s “how to” videos here.

August 14, 2017

ICWUC Holds Officer Training and Steward Class

On August 5, the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW held an officer training and steward class in Scottsboro, Ala., for 21 officers and stewards at UFCW Local 504T. The UFCW Local 504T officers and stewards are employed at Lozier Corporation in Scottsboro, and work in the maintenance, production and warehouse divisions producing metal and wood shelves and their braces. UFCW Local 504T’s current contract with Lozier Corporation covers 325 members.

Participants learned about the duties of officers and shop stewards, as well as the duties of the organizing and safety committees. The training session also provided participants with an overview of health and safety issues officers and stewards may face in the workplace. The training session was hosted by UFCW Local 504T, and ICWUC Secretary-Treasurer and Regional Director Neal Dillard and ICWUC Recorder Chuck Denny served as the instructors.

 

August 14, 2017

Local 1776 Expands Member Health Services at Cargill Plant

On August 8, UFCW Local 1776 and Cargill announced the opening of a near-site health center for Cargill workers in Hazleton, Pa.

The over 700 Cargill workers at the Hazleton plant are members of UFCW Local 1776 and produce beef products for sale at supermarkets. The center, which will be managed by Marathon Health, will provide convenient access to high quality care and preventative screenings for UFCW Local 1776 members and their families.

“With partnerships like these, Cargill, Marathon Health and Local 1776 are leading the way for meaningful change in the lives of workers,” said UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell W. Young, IV. “We are proud to have negotiated this benefit for members who work at Cargill, and look forward to using this program as a model for our members who work in other facilities, as well.”

August 14, 2017

Local 152 Bradley Beach Workers Ratify New Contract

On August 3, 23 members of UFCW Local 152 who work for the borough of Bradley Beach in Monmouth County, N.J., ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin. The Bradley Beach workers are employed in the borough’s public works department, municipal court, police dispatch, and code enforcement. The borough of Bradley Beach approved the ratified agreement on August 8.

The three-year contract addresses a pressing issue in the public sector in New Jersey—health care contributions. Under Governor Chris Christie, Chapter 78 was passed into law, which called for an increase in public sector workers’ contributions toward their health care and pensions. Despite this hurdle, UFCW Local 152 successfully negotiated a reduction in members’ health care contributions to 20 percent by the third and last year of the agreement.

August 7, 2017

MCAW Responds to Walmart’s Proposal to Create Manufacturing Jobs

On July 28, Making Change At Walmart (MCAW) Director Randy Parraz issued a statement in response to Walmart’s release of a “Policy Roadmap to Renew U.S. Manufacturing,” which proposes policy actions to address barriers to U.S. manufacturing growth with the goal of creating jobs.

The statement reads as follows:

“Walmart doesn’t care about creating supplier manufacturing jobs in America, it cares about getting the cheapest product made regardless of the cost.

“The release of a ‘policy roadmap’ is a pathetic publicity stunt. Sadly, Walmart pretends to propose more U.S. manufacturing jobs at a time when its pressure is destroying them, like in Milton, Pa., and also at a time when it is recruiting more overseas vendors in China and other countries.

“If Walmart wants to create more American manufacturing – the answer is simple: buy American.”

August 7, 2017

Local 365 Member Honored for Helping Local Farm Workers

Photo courtesy of The Stand

On July 19, WPEA /UFCW Local 365 member Jason Holland was honored with the Mother Jones Award from the Washington State Labor Council for his efforts to help local farm workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Wash., organize and secure a strong union contract. Holland works as an organizer and researcher at WPEA/UFCW Local 365.

The farm workers, from Oaxaca, Mexico, realized that there was strength in numbers and formed the first new farm worker union in the country in over 20 years—Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ). Using his law degree from Vanderbilt University, Holland supported FUJ’s efforts by writing the contract the workers would bring to the negotiating table. He also marched and protested alongside FUJ members in solidarity, receiving no compensation for his work – besides knowing he stepped up to help fellow hard-working men and women in need of a strong union family.

As he accepted the Mother Jones Award, Holland reflected on his work with members of FUJ and how the experience changed his life. “When you see injustice, don’t just stand there and let it happen,” he said. “Take action.”

You can see Holland accept the Mother Jones Award here.