July 20, 2016
On July 1, Kroger workers who are members of UFCW Local 1995 ratified a new contract. The contract covers 12,000 Kroger workers in middle and east Tennessee, north Alabama, and south Kentucky.
The new contract includes wage increases and affordable health care, maintains the employee pension fund, and revises tiers for pay, vacation and holidays.
“The Local 1995 Bargaining Committee and staff did a great job in understanding our members’ needs and effectively communicating those to Kroger,” said UFCW Local 1995 President Gregory Stallings. “Therefore, we were able to reach a Memorandum of Agreement with the company and complete the ratification process prior to July 4th.”
July 19, 2016
(l to r) Local 1102 Rep. Mayra Valladares, Elsa Barrera, and Local 1102 Rep. Jeff Guardado.
The RWDSU/UFCW is part of the New York Union Child Care Coalition, a group of unions that developed and promoted the Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project to help provide affordable child care for working families in the state. By working with New York State Senators Jeff Klein and Diane Savino, the RWDSU/UFCW was instrumental in helping to establish the program.
And RWDSU/UFCW members are starting to benefit. Elsa Barrera is a Local 1102 member and a mother of three. On top of her dedication to raising her three children, Elsa also works full-time at Flying Foods – an airplane food service supplier – at JFK airport. Barrera has received a grant from the program, and will be able to send two of her children to a camp program for the summer at nearly no cost. This support will help Elsa make ends meet and help her children receive the care and security they deserve.
“Workers like Elsa are truly deserving of this kind of grant,” said RWDSU/UFCW Deputy Political Director Jessica Garcia. “This program will help many others provide for their families while ensuring their children get quality care.”
Other RWDSU/UFCW members at Macy’s and H&M have also seen their child care costs drastically reduced thanks to the program.
July 15, 2016
In March, employees at eight Giant stores represented by Local 400 – six in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and two in Southern Maryland – were told their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based grocery store Delhaize. These proposed store sales threatened the better wages, benefits and grocery store experience that the Giant stores provide to the local community.
Which is why Local 400 members who work at Giant, their loyal customers and community leaders banded together to help make people see that selling these stores was a bad idea. Through a series of rallies, public meetings and marches, they sent a clear message that the local community didn’t want these grocery stores and the good jobs they provide to be sold away.
“I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area,” said Robyn Wheeler, a Local 400 member who has worked at Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years.
In addition to organizing public events that drew attention to the negative aspects of the proposal to sell the local grocery stores, Local 400 members also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits and competition.
Treesa Shipp, a Local 400 member who works at the Giant in Stafford said, “Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process and were able to stop our store from being sold. They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and work hard to make it successful every single day.”
July 14, 2016
A 2013 Georgia law that negatively impacted workers all across the Peach State was tossed out by a Judge this week for contradicting federal labor laws.
Specifically, the legislation allowed union members to cancel their membership at any time, rather than waiting the usual one-year period. This means that corporations were made to be more powerful as they would be able to easily intimidate workers into leaving their union early. By overturning this law, it will be easier for hard-working families in Georgia to negotiate for better working conditions and wages. Ultimately, more people and communities will now be able to enjoy the financial stability and higher standard of living that comes with being a part of a union.
UFCW Local 1996, which helped to lead the lawsuit, celebrated the good news. “They spent precious legislative time and money in 2013 going after the working families that make our state great,” said UFCW Local 1996 President Steve Lomax of the leaders who pushed for the legislation. “Tens of thousands of taxpayer-funded dollars for a long legal fight gained nothing for Georgia citizens.”
July 8, 2016
Reposted from UFCW Local 400
Violent flooding has devastated thousands of households in West Virginia. Pitch in today to help a Local 400 family who has lost everything.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington Western River Flood Punt Team provides lifejackets to locals near Clendenin, West Virginia, June 24, 2016. The team is assisting the West Virginia State Emergency Operation Center by providing disaster and relief assistance in response to the widespread flooding. U.S. Coast Guard photo
Imagine losing your home, your car – even your loved ones – after a typical summer rain storm quickly turned into a devastating flood. Imagine clinging to your children for hours while you await rescue, watching helplessly as your family home floats away in violent flood waters.
This is the reality facing thousands of families in West Virginia.
At Local 400, at least 18 members and their families have been affected. Thirteen families have had their homes and vehicles completely destroyed, their hometowns nearly washed off the map. Others have lost vehicles, clothing and family heirlooms. Everyone has weeks of clean up yet to come.
Pitch in now to help a family who has lost everything. Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to a family in Local 400 who has had their home devastated by the flood.
This is a time to come together as a union family and support our brothers and sisters in need. Many communities will never be the same. At least 22 people have lost their lives as a result of the disaster. Even today, clean up and rescue efforts are still ongoing as subsequent tornadoes and thunderstorms continue to hamper first responders.
The impact of this devastation will be felt for years to come. But right now, you can help our fellow union members get back on their feet. Pitch in to help a Local 400 family today.
Your tax-deductible donation will be processed through the West Virginia AFL-CIO Disaster Relief Fund and given directly to a Local 400 family in need.
Together, we will get through this. We are a union family and we will be there for each other.
July 5, 2016
On June 23, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), along with The Black Institute, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and ColorOfChange.org, sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that calls on the retail giant to withdraw its sponsorship of the 2016 Republican National Convention due to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s history of racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran, and Islamophobic remarks. A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.
“Walmart cannot afford to stay silent when it comes to Donald Trump,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “Throughout his presidential campaign, he has managed to offend men and women of all races and religions and across the political spectrum with his racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran and Islamophobic statements. These are Walmart customers and Walmart employees. Walmart needs to send a message that it will not support bigotry, and join the growing list of companies who are refusing to sponsor this year’s Republican National Convention.”
MCAW has launched an online petition where supporters can sign on to the letter. To date, over 10,000 supporters have signed the petition.
March 24, 2016
UFCW partners with Cargill, ConAgra Foods, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Pinnacle Foods, Downs Food Group, Ryder Logistics for multi-ton donation of high-quality, high-protein food
Members of Local 617 who proudly process the products made at the Fort Madison Iowa Plant
FLINT, MICH. – In an effort to help Flint families dealing with an unprecedented water and economic crisis, the nation’s largest union for food workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), has teamed up with some of America’s largest food manufacturers for a massive multi-ton donation of high-quality food to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint, Michigan.
As part of this effort, some of America’s best-known food manufacturers and longtime UFCW partners, including Cargill, ConAgra Foods, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Pinnacle Foods, Downs Food Group and Ryder Logistics have joined forces to bring relief to Flint families in need. Together they’ve donated more than 60 tons of beef, pork, poultry, canned meats, ready-to-eat soups and pastas, and peanut butter.
“The crisis imposed on Flint families is a historic failure. To do what is right for these good people we must act, and we must act together,” UFCW 876 President Roger Robinson said. “Today, UFCW and its employer partners have come together for this community, demonstrating our ability to unite in advocacy for the protections all families deserve; to be the voice of the worker that is too often ignored; and to provide the strength and support to navigate all workers to a better life.”
“We firmly believe that everyone has the right to enjoy safe and nutritious food,” said Jarrod Gillig, general manager of Cargill’s beef processing plant in Schuyler that is producing the beef for Cargill’s donation. “We know that protein, like ground beef, provides an array of essential nutrients to children and adults, and we believe it is important for us to provide some relief for a community in need of long-term support.”
“Our donation provides a variety of quality, protein-rich products for the people of Flint,” said Thomas L. Nuss, director of human resource operations at Hormel Foods. “We are proud to partner with the UFCW in this endeavor, and hope our effort will help those in need.”
“At JBS, we’re committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work, and to helping when our neighbors are in need,” said Chris Gaddis, head of JBS USA human resources. “Families in Flint are experiencing extremely difficult times, and if we can help, we’re honored to offer our support to those families.”
Leading this effort to help feed Flint families in need are UFCW locals across the country, specifically members of UFCW Locals 38, (Milton, Pa.), 293 (Fremont, Neb.), 540 (Grapevine, Tex.), 617 (Fort Madison, Iowa), 1149 (Marshalltown, Iowa), 1161 (Worthington, Minn.) 1996 (Suwanee, Ga.), who have made or contributed food or transportation to this effort.
In addition, UFCW Locals 876 and 951, which represent workers in Flint and across Michigan, have been coordinating the UFCW’s ongoing efforts to serve their Flint members, their families and the broader Eastern Michigan community.
“We are committed to helping not only our members, but the entire community effected by the Flint water crisis,” John Cakmakci, UFCW 951 president, said. “To date, we have raised over $100,000 to provide quality food and water to Flint residents. Next week, we will be hosting the first of many food and water give-aways for the nearly 500 UFCW 951 members and retirees living through this horrible situation.”
Additionally, Local 876 has contributed more than $14,000 as part of their on-going local relief efforts.
“Good, nutritious food is key to the Flint community’s recovery, and we can’t thank this incredible team enough for what they have done for Flint families and children” said Kara Ross, Vice President of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
More than 125,000 pounds of food from eight companies in eight states and nine UFCW locals
Products included are: Fresh beef, ground beef, pork, poultry, peanut butter, canned chicken, Chef Boyardee, Hormel chili, Dinty Moore Compleats beef stew, Peter Pan peanut butter, Skippy peanut butter singles, and Vienna Sausages
March 22, 2016
On March 9, UFCW Local 1428, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, hosted the first annual Labor United Against Cancer Run/Walk and Wellness Fair in San Dimas, California. Over 175 people attended the event to stand united in the fight against cancer, including members of the community, and labor and elected officials. In addition to Local 1428, members of UNAC, USW, Teamsters 396, Teamsters 630, Laborers 300, HERE 11, IUPAT DC36, Firefighters Local 1014, and SEIU 2015 were there to support a worthy cause.
Over $15,000 was raised from the event and donated to the American Cancer Society, and members of Local 1428 will continue to support the American Cancer Society with the end goal of finding a cure for this horrible and devastating disease.
“When labor unites, labor wins and with this event we are showing that labor is united in the fight to defeat cancer,” said UFCW Local 1428 President Mark Ramos.
March 1, 2016
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”30%” align=”right” size=”2″ quote=”It’s great being a Local 400 member. It helps me on the job having my union standing behind me. And that enables me—and many of my Local 400 brothers and sisters—to do what we can for our community.” cite=”William Iveym, UFCW Local 400″ parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
The following was originally posted by Local 400:
For ten years, William Ivey’s organization has provided every second grader at Capron Elementary School with a backpack filled with school supplies.
When William Ivey says, “We try to give back to the community,” he’s not kidding. A UFCW Local 400 member working as a sanitation specialist at Boar’s Head in Jarratt, Va., for the past 12 years, Billy goes far above and beyond the call of duty to support not only his Local 400 brothers and sisters, but his neighbors, too.
Together with his Local 400 colleagues Emerson Tennessee and Andrew Blunt, his brother Leon and other friends, Billy founded the Community Fellowship of Men, an organization that has “adopted” the second grade class at Capron Elementary School in Capron, Va., as their own. The Community Fellowship hosts an annual cookout every October, which raises funds to provide every second grader with a backpack filled with school supplies. The 2015 cookout marked the 10th year of this great event, which includes inflatable bounce houses for the children, and a car show for the adults.
“We provide the sausages and the meats and we man the grills,” Billy said. “It’s a real family gathering. People look forward to it every year. And the children love their backpacks.”
[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#084e93″ text=”#ffffff” width=”content” align=”center” size=”2″ quote=”It’s a real family gathering. People look forward to it every year. And the children love their backpacks.” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
Community Fellowship members support the students in other ways, too, volunteering in the school, passing out healthy snacks, and helping with athletic contests, for example.
And it’s not just children who benefit. The Community Fellowship assists widows in Southampton County, with members mowing the grass when it’s hot outside and helping out around the house as needed.
Billy’s community spirit is also seen in his involvement with his church, Pleasant Plains Baptist, located in his hometown of Drewryville, Va. Billy is a member of the church’s Ministry of Comfort and serves on the Usher Board. “The church is very important to me,” Billy said. “It helps me be a better person.”
Billy’s exemplary leadership and activism reflect the values of his union. “It’s great being a Local 400 member,” he said. “It helps me on the job having my union standing behind me. And that enables me—and many of my Local 400 brothers and sisters—to do what we can for our community.”
February 17, 2016
via Local 400
Widower Hailed as Hero
by Bruce Kozarsky, Union Leader Editor
Local 400 shop steward and life saver, Adam Carter Peak.
It started out as a typical day for Adam Carter Peak, head meat cutter and Local 400 shop steward at Kroger #406 in Appomattox, Va. But then, all of a sudden, his store manager ran in and told him to get some ice—a truck driver making a delivery had collapsed from heat exhaustion.
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”30%” align=”right” size=”2″ quote=”The look on Mr. Goin’s face was the same look on my wife’s eyes when she passed. I just said, ‘I am not going to let this happen to anyone else.’” cite=”Adam Carter Peak, Local 400 Shop Steward” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
Adam ran out with the ice, but he saw that the driver, whose last name was Goin, wasn’t breathing. “I took my meat coat off, laid him down on his back, put it under his neck and started doing CPR,” Adam recalled. “After about four minutes, which seemed like forever, the paramedics came, but they let me keep doing CPR. A minute or two later, they told me to step away, put paddles on him and gave him a shock, and then they told me to go back to doing CPR. I did it another 20 minutes or so. I kept thinking, ‘Why aren’t the experts doing this?’ but I wasn’t going to stop.”
“Then, the next thing you know, he took a big breath,” Adam said. “He was breathing when they put him in the ambulance and took him to the hospital.” About six hours later, Goin’s surgeon called Adam and told him his CPR had saved Goin’s life. If it wasn’t for Adam, the man would not have survived his heart attack.
Adam was physically exhausted—but also emotionally drained. Just six months earlier, his wife, Laura—the mother of their four-year old daughter Madison and two-year-old son Carter—died suddenly and unexpectedly from an aneurysm. “I just got emotional,” Adam said. “This was the most intense thing I’ve ever experienced since then. The look on Mr. Goin’s face was the same look on my wife’s eyes when she passed. I just said, ‘I am not going to let this happen to anyone else.’” And he didn’t.
The next day, Goin’s son and daughter-in-law came to the store, shook Adam’s hand and said, “My dad’s alive because of you. Thanks to you, his two grandchildren will get to know their grandfather.” Goin’s wife also called to deliver the same message of thanks. Adam didn’t know what to say in response. “I was just doing what I’d want done if the same thing happened to me,” he said.
Ironically, Adam has never been formally trained in CPR. “A buddy of mine in law enforcement told me how to do CPR a few years ago and I’ve seen what they do on TV,” he said. “I guess I must have been doing it right, since the paramedics told me to keep it up.”
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#282828″ text=”#ffffff” width=”30%” align=”left” size=”2″ quote=”He saw that a man was dying and jumped in to save his life. That would be a good deed under any circumstances, but the fact that he has been through so much makes it all the more impressive. He has my deepest admiration and respect.” cite=”Mark P. Federici, UFCW Local 400 President ” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
“Adam will never say this because he’s a very humble guy, but as far as I’m concerned, he’s a hero,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “He saw that a man was dying and jumped in to save his life. That would be a good deed under any circumstances, but the fact that he has been through so much makes it all the more impressive. He has my deepest admiration and respect.”
“I’d also note that what Adam did is what shop stewards throughout our union do, only on a much larger scale,” Federici said. “They’re problem solvers. In this case, the problem Adam solved had life or death consequences. And thank God he didn’t hesitate.”
Adam, who has worked at Kroger for 5 and a half years, became a shop steward within just a few weeks of joining the company. “I told my rep I wanted to be steward,” he said. “My dad was a proud union member, and I wanted to help people, too.”
Today, Adam continues to adjust to life without his wife, as a single dad raising two young children. Fortunately, Kroger has been accommodating when he needs flexibility in his work schedule and his wife’s parents help out too. His courage, his perseverance and his attitude of “doing unto others” have earned him the good will of all Local 400 members.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Union Leader, the quarterly magazine of UFCW Local 400.