News and Updates
October 15, 2018
Esau Valencia has been a UFCW Local 1245 shop steward at Kings Supermarket for 20 years. Over that time, he’s become increasingly involved in efforts to get out the vote, and this year is no exception. He’s one of the many shining examples of hardworking UFCW members honoring Hispanic Heritage Month by getting involved in their communities.
Over the last few weeks, Esau has been helping fellow members get registered to vote at his store and has volunteered his time going door to door as well. He says that “Although Hispanics are generally more politically involved in other countries, we as a people are active in the U.S., but more can still be done. It takes all of us to make change – to receive the better wages and respect we’ve earned.”
Esau believes it’s his duty, and hopes others in his community do too, to take part in the GOTV effort because as someone who is bilingual, he has the ability to reach and communicate with many people. He thinks it’s especially important for young Latinos to know about and be engaged in these “critical moments,” and recently registered a young member who will be voting for the first time this November.
“Although Hispanics are generally more politically involved in other countries, we as a people are active in the U.S., but more can still be done. It takes all of us to make change – to receive the better wages and respect we’ve earned.”
For Esau, immigration and family separation are two of the most important issues that are affecting his community this year. Additionally, health care reform and keeping Obamacare intact are top priorities. Being a union member has enabled him to take action when it comes to fighting for what matters to hard-working people:
“It’s helped me a lot,” he said. “I’ve been employed at a place where there were no stewards, but now, in my UFCW workplace, I’m able to be more engaged—I’ve been to UFCW Conventions and shared my message. It’s important for us as minorities to get involved.”
March 21, 2017
On March 18, members of UFCW Local 655 who work at Holten Meat in Sauget, Ill., rejected a contract offer that asked them to work harder for less, and made the difficult decision to authorize a strike.
No matter where our members live or the local they are part of, our union family is stronger when we stand together. Our members who work at Holten Meat have made it clear that a work-life balance is not only important, it’s worth fighting for.
“The issue for our members is about quality of life. It’s about having more control over their lives,” said UFCW Local 655 President Dave Cook.
UFCW Local 655 has been negotiating with Holten Meat over this contract for more than four months. While many workers are satisfied with the wages and benefits the company offers, they’ve become frustrated with schedules that make them choose between working and spending time with their families.
Why is this an issue worth standing up for? Today, a veteran employee who works on the night shift at Holten Meat is unable to use his or her seniority to transfer into an open day shift position. Instead, Holten Meat will frequently hire new employees to fill the open day shifts, making our most committed and dedicated members work schedules that sacrifice time from family.
Members are also being asked to split their days off, meaning they have to spend part of the weekend at work and away from their families for no extra pay.
As we all know, our hard-working members can relate to what’s happening at Holten Meat. The dedicated members who work simply want the better life they’ve earned, and supporting a family shouldn’t mean that you never get to see them.
“Give these hard-working men and women the contract they have earned and deserve,” Cook said. “It’s that simple.”
March 21, 2017
On March 17, Pearl Sawyer, executive vice president of UFCW Canada Local 1006A, served as the keynote speaker at a U.N. Commission on the Status of Women parallel event sponsored by the Scottish Women’s Convention in New York City. Sawyer presented a paper on behalf of UNI Global Union and UNI Equal Opportunities on the digitalization of work and the effect on gender.
One of the key findings presented was that 47 percent of current jobs being performed across the globe are amenable to being potentially computerized. The types of jobs that will be affected by digitalization will have a direct impact on positions held by women.
The effects of this will require workers to invest in further training and lifelong learning. Unfortunately, this can pose a challenge for women as they can neither afford it due social, cultural and economic barriers, or they cannot fit this need with their family duties and their need to work.
Digitalization of work will also lead to a widening of the technology gap. However, a study from the World Bank predicts that if we double the pace at which women become frequent users of digital technologies, the workplace could reach gender equality by 2040 in developed nations, and by 2060 in developing nations.
After outlining the effects of digitalization on work and gender, Sawyer then addressed the need for solutions: “So what can we do? At UNI Equal Opportunities, we want to be prepared for what lies ahead. We know that it is a daunting, and sometimes frightening scenario, but if we are ready, this challenge can become an excellent opportunity to grow and learn. And to be ready, we need a strategy, a plan. We need to be resourceful, we need to be prepared.”
With the right skills and education, people, particularly women, can use technology to create and capture value. Creative, problem-solving, and social skills will be key skills in the 21st century, especially in those areas where computers are still challenged to match human proficiency.
March 20, 2017
Last December, 28 workers at Colonial Parking, Inc. in Wilmington, Del., voted to join UFCW Local 27.
The workers were concerned about low wages, unfair treatment by management, and not having seniority recognized. Even though the company hired union busters, the workers stood strong and were very united.
“I’m glad we won,” said Russell Marshall, a worker at Colonial Parking, Inc.
“These workers fought hard for what they believed in, which was having a brighter future that comes with having a voice on the job,” said Nelson Hill, UFCW Local 27 vice president and director of organizing.
“I am very proud of the organizers and the leadership of their director, Nelson Hill, in this victory,” said UFCW Local 27 President Jason Chorpenning. “This employer employed a union busting law firm, but our organizers were able to overcome the law firm’s lies and threats and educate and empower these workers. After their long, hard fight and victory, we are preparing for negotiations to increase pay, improve their working conditions, provide job protection, and guarantee a future for all of these hard-working folks and their families!”
March 13, 2017
On March 8, the UFCW joined women and male supporters across the globe to celebrate International Women’s Day, and recognize the contributions women have made to bettering their workplaces and strengthening our union family.
To commemorate the day, UFCW International President Marc Perrone released a statement, highlighting that “Women make up a majority of our union family, so we understand firsthand the incredible good that comes to workplaces when they have the ability to earn the same success as their male coworkers.” Read the full statement here.
One of the many ways women of the UFCW have found a voice and an opportunity to lead is by becoming a steward. Taralyn Pike, a UFCW Local 400 member who works at Giant, made the decision to become a steward approximately five months ago. After five years at Giant, she’d started to notice “a great deal of unhappiness” at her store. Rather than shrug it off, Taralyn decided she would do something about it. On International Women’s Day, we shared Taralyn’s story on ufcw.org to spread her positive message throughout our hard-working union family.
Staff at the UFCW International also wore red to commemorate the day, standing in solidarity with women across the country. They also joined other labor unions and progressive groups at the Department of Labor for a rally to support women workers.
UFCW Locals were also very involved in celebrating the day, including members of UFCW Local 1500, who visited female members at their workplaces to show their appreciation for all they do. Check out a quick video of the action here.
March 7, 2017
Was your New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier? If so, you’re in luck. To celebrate National Nutrition Month, throughout March our UFCW family and its many food workers will be bringing you tips for a better life through healthy eating.
Spring is just around and the corner, making March the perfect time of year to refocus on eating right, getting healthy, and chasing away those winter blues. We know how hard it can be to balance work with all the demands of your life and still stay focused on your nutrition, but eating healthier foods doesn’t have to be a chore. Throughout the month, we’ll be sharing tips with you to make it easier to stay excited and engaged, and help get you on track to a better you and a better life.
Head to ufcw.org for a quick plan for better eating, and put your best fork forward for #NationalNutritionMonth!
March 6, 2017
On Feb. 27, members of UFCW Local 21 who work at Olympic Medical Center Home Health in Port Angeles, Wash., ratified a new contract. The contract covers about 60 members and includes wage increases, an extra floating holiday and additional education money. The new contract will help recruit and retain quality staff and allow members to better serve the needs of their patients.
March 6, 2017
Weingarten cards are now available at the UFCW Print Store. The cards have been printed in English on one side and are available 25 additional languages.
The languages include:
You can visit the UFCW Print Store to purchase Weingarten cards here. Minimum orders are in batches of 100 in the same language. If you have any questions about accessing the UFCW Print Store, contact Zena Cole and Andre Johnson (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org).
March 6, 2017
On March 3, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum spoke at a rally in front of New York City Hall in support of Intro. 1387, legislation that will ban on-call scheduling practices in the retail industry. On-call scheduling disrupts workers’ lives by requiring them to be available to work certain hours even if they are not scheduled to work and won’t get paid. Appelbaum also testified at the New York City Council’s hearing in support of the ban.
“On-call scheduling is a pervasive and exploitive employment practice where workers do not find out until just before a scheduled shift if they will be required to work or not,” Appelbaum said. “On-call scheduling is devastating for retail workers. You need to put your life on hold and be available for work – regardless of whether you will be called-in or paid. If you are a part-time worker, the uncertainty of your schedule means you can’t arrange for a needed second job. If you are a parent, you don’t know if you are going to need child care. If you want to continue your schooling, you can’t sign up for classes without knowing your availability.”
“Today’s hearings are a critical first step in helping workers gain more control over their own lives and their ability to earn a living,” Appelbaum added. “I urge the city council to pass Intro. 1387 swiftly.”
January 26, 2017
In October, UFCW Local No. 111D members who work at Jim Beam distilleries in Clermont and Boston, Kentucky were in the middle of negotiating for a new contract. They loved working at Jim Beam but had reported regularly working 80 hour weeks, injuries on the job, and a lack of job security.
By standing together and speaking out, Local No. 111D got support from the community and eventually their employer. Jim Beam agreed to a new contract with the workers that would stop relying on temporary workers and hire more full-time workers who could keep up with demand for the product. For members of Local No. 111D, this victory meant less overtime and most importantly, more time with their families.