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    News and Updates


August 26, 2019

Kentucky Auto Workers Join Local 227

On August 16, Processing Technicians at Yanfeng in Louisville, Ky., voted “yes” and won their election to be represented by UFCW Local 227. Yanfeng is a leading manufacturer of automotive interiors, and Local 227 has represented 650 workers at the company since 2007. The Processing Technicians were part of the original bargaining unit until the company outsourced that work. The company later decided to bring those jobs back, but did not initially allow those workers to join Local 227.

The Processing Technicians had to file a wage and hour lawsuit when they weren’t paid for overtime and recently, everyone was forced to take a 10 percent pay cut. The workers’ supervisor often reminded them that they could be treated like that because they weren’t part of the union. The workers approached Chief Steward Chuck Darius to find out what it would take for them to join our union, and it didn’t take long for Darius and UFCW 227 Organizer Dave Villegas to get all of them to sign authorization cards.

“We’re really proud to welcome the Processing Techs at Yanfeng to our union family,” said UFCW 227 President Bob Blair. “We’re also grateful to our Chief Steward Chuck who was able to tell his nonunion co-workers about all the benefits you get by joining our union. Without stewards like Chuck, the important work that we do couldn’t happen.”

August 19, 2019

New Jersey Warehouse Workers Stand Together for a Better Life

Nearly 100 workers at L&R Distributors in Monroe Township, N.J., joined UFCW Local 2013 on August 8 for better treatment in the workplace.

These hard-working men and women joined UFCW Local 2013 through a card check and neutrality agreement to strengthen wages, benefits, paid leave and working conditions. L&R Distributors is a leading national distributor within the supermarket, drug, independent and mass classes trade across the U.S.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer,” said L& R Distributors worker Maria Lucas, who served on the organizing committee. “We just have to convince other people that they have the power. This is what they can do by participating to make change. It is important to stand up for your rights, and regardless of who you are and where you come from, to hold your head up high with dignity and respect.”

“We are extremely happy that the workers of L&R Distributors have chosen to join us and be represented by UFCW Local 2013,” said UFCW Local 2013 President Louis Mark Carotenuto. “Now, more than ever, is the time for workers to pull together and take on employers who would otherwise attempt to take advantage of what they perceive as a helpless class of workers – regardless of whether it’s because of race, ethnicity or sex.”

“Issues such as dignity and respect in the workplace; a livable wage with affordable benefits; and safe working conditions and reasonable work schedules are things that all workers should be afforded,” Carotenuto added. “Pay equality for female workers and the ability to achieve an opportunity for affordable retirement for all after years of dedication and service to a company that is a leader in their industry… these are not too much to strive for or achieve. The American dream is for all people and together we will work hard to achieve that for these members!”

August 19, 2019

Massachusetts Nursing Home Workers Unite for Good Jobs, Better Wages

On July 26, workers at Mattapan Health and Rehabilitation Center in the Boston area unanimously voted to join UFCW Local 1445.

The 75 certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses, kitchen, dietary, aid, housekeeping, laundry, activities and maintenance workers joined our union family by a vote of 68 to 0. These workers came together because they were concerned about job security, lack of respect from new managers, and no pay raises for the last five years.

“Fairness in our workplace is the reason why we voted for the UFCW,” said one of the Mattapan Health and Rehabilitation Center workers.

August 19, 2019

Mississippi Cottonseed Co-op Workers Join ICWUC

On June 25, Cottonseed Co-op Corporation workers in Jonestown, Miss., joined the ICWUC. Cottonseed Co-op was previously known as Delta Oil Mill and was represented by the ICWUC until its bankruptcy and closing approximately five years ago. The cottonseed processing facility reopened approximately two years ago under the name Cottonseed Co-op, and the company rehired many of the previous employees from Delta Oil Mill.

When the workers came back to work without a union contract, they found that many of the benefits and protections they once had when they were members of the ICWUC were now gone.

These hard-working men and women knew they had earned and deserved better, so they reached out to their former union representative, Regional Director Ricky Lawrence, in early May. Lawrence sent them cards to sign to see how much interest there was at the facility and in a couple of weeks they had mailed him back signed cards for approximately 80 percent of the current employees. Organizer Ernest Perkins visited with the workers, and then contacted his organizing colleague, Lance Heasley, to come assist in the NLRB petition process.

During the petition process, the organizing team gave the company the option of having a neutral third party count the cards rather than go through with the NLRB election process. The company agreed to have a neutral third party and on June 25, the neutral party determined that 47 of the 57 employees had signed cards. The company then voluntarily recognized the ICWUC as the bargaining agent for the Cottonseed Co-op employees and agreed on a date to begin negotiating a contract.

The ICWUC is proud to welcome back these workers and looks forward to working with them in negotiating their first contract.

August 12, 2019

Sodexo Workers in Kentucky Join Local 227

On July 31, Sodexo food service workers at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, Ky., joined UFCW Local 227 for better wages and a voice in the workplace. These workers joined our union family because they were concerned about low staffing levels, favoritism, little to no wage increases and new hires receiving higher rates of pay than workers who have been there for 10 years or longer.

Sodexo is one of the world’s largest multinational corporations, with headquarters in France. The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) has an agreement with Sodexo regarding the right of workers to unionize. Section 3.3 of the agreement with IUF addresses the right of Sodexo employees to establish and join labor organizations without fear of retaliation, repression or any other form of discrimination and Section 5 addresses freedom of association, union recognition and collective bargaining. Showing the workers that their employer had publicly agreed to their right to join a union was one of the factors that made this organizing campaign a success.

“We’re excited to welcome the newest members of our union family,” said UFCW Local 227 President Bob Blair. “Their vote to join our union makes Local 227 stronger and gives these hard-working men and women the incredible benefits of union membership.”

August 6, 2019

Washington Health Care Workers Join Local 21

UFCW Local 21 recently welcomed more health care workers into our union family.

Seattle Children’s Hospital workers who serve as Electroneurodiagnostic Technicians voted unanimously to join UFCW Local 21 on June 7. These 18 workers, who use various machines to monitor a patient’s nervous system, wanted the same union benefits as other technicians at the hospital who recently negotiated a strong union contract.

Last month, 80 Patient Access and Patient Advocate Representatives who work for Conifer Health Solutions at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw, Wash., voted to join UFCW Local 21 by an overwhelming margin. St. Joseph Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital are part of CHI Franciscan Health System, one of the largest health care systems in the Puget Sound area.

Since being outsourced to Conifer several years ago, these workers have dealt with stagnant wages, benefit reductions and poor treatment. Finally, workers had enough and decided to join UFCW Local 21 like their colleagues at Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton, Wash. Conifer—a subsidiary of the giant conglomerate Tenet Healthcare Corp.—threw everything they had at this group of workers, flying in top union busters from Los Angeles and New York. Despite these tactics, the workers held on and won union representation.

“We have opened the door for a chance to achieve amazing changes,” said Conifer employee Peggy Laush. “Keep up the positive momentum and our workplace will be one that everyone will want to be a part of instead of a revolving door.”

June 3, 2019

UFCW Local 540 Welcomes More Than 400 Danone Workers

On May 22, more than 400 workers at the Danone North America plant in Dallas joined UFCW Local 540 to ensure they have the good pay and working conditions they’ve earned and deserve. Danone is a major food and beverage company with a wide range of products, including the organic milk and coffee creamers produced by these workers.

The Danone workers joined UFCW Local 540 to strengthen job security after several employees were terminated or disciplined without any way to voice their disagreement. The workers were also concerned about favoritism, and not having a fair job-bidding system.

“This is a very good example of how the International union and Local Union staff, in solidarity with global unions, can collaborate and work together for a great victory for the workers,” said UFCW Local 540 President Johnny Rodriguez. “Let’s do it again.”

April 16, 2019

THRIVE Network Workers Join Local 888 for a Better Life

On April 5, 470 direct support professionals at THRIVE Network in Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y., joined UFCW Local 888 for better wages, benefits and a voice in the workplace. THRIVE Network is a social services agency dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families who are in need of crucial services to enhance their lives.

THRIVE Network workers wanted to join UFCW Local 888 because they were concerned about staffing issues, not being paid their worth and justice center investigations with no representation. In addition, the workers had been denied the cost of living adjustment increase designated by the state of New York for all direct support professionals.

THRIVE Network workers were enthusiastic about joining our union family.

“You do not know how bad we needed this union! 8-8-8! This is a real union!” said Crystal Stephenson.

“Yay, we did it! We look forward to contract negotiations!” said Melissa Kirk.

“Congratulations to all THRIVE Network workers for coming together and voting in favor of their best interest,” said UFCW Local 888 Director of Organizing Marshall Paris. “Local 888 welcomes you to our Healthcare Division family with open arms. We look forward to unifying everyone to negotiate a union agreement that addresses all your issues.”

April 8, 2019

UFCW Welcomes Vireo Health Workers in Maryland to Union Family

On March 22, workers at Vireo Health’s Maryland Medical Solutions in Hurlock, Md., voted to join UFCW Local 27 to ensure they receive the good pay and benefits they have earned. Vireo Health’s Maryland Medical Solutions is a physician-led, patient-focused medical cannabis grower and processor.

Workers at the facility were excited to join our union family.

“I’m excited to be able to negotiate over wage increases that would allow for things like a savings account,” said Ian Stenzer.

“It’s exciting to know that we will have job security and will have the power to bargain for improvements to our jobs,” added Blaine Hill.

“Congratulations to the hard-working men and women of Vireo’s Maryland Medical Solutions,” said UFCW Local 27 President Jason Chorpenning. “They have empowered themselves with the tools for a better future. We look forward to negotiating the best contract that we can for the workers and their families.”

January 22, 2019

Meatpacking Workers in Detroit Join Local 876

Meatpacking workers at the Wolverine Packing Co. in Detroit joined UFCW Local 876 on Dec. 28. The approximately 85 workers were concerned about the company’s unfair promotion process, pay issues, little advancement for female workers, as well as verbal harassment by management and favoritism.

Wolverine Packing Co. is a family-owned business that produces a range of portioned and processed meats including ground beef and steaks.