News and Updates
May 7, 2018
UFCW locals participated in Workers’ Memorial Day events during the last week of April to remember workers who have been injured or killed in the workplace in the U.S. and around the world. Officially, Workers’ Memorial Day is April 28, and is a day to renew the fight for strong workplace safety and health protections.
Members of UFCW Local 1473 participated in Workers’ Memorial Day events in Madison and Milwaukee. At both events, members stood in honor of their fellow workers who lost their lives on the job. In Madison, Recording Secretary Chad Whiteside read the names of the workers that had most recently lost their lives in Wisconsin.
Members of UFCW Local 324 joined the Orange County Labor Federation for a march and rally in Anaheim, California. UFCW Local 555 members participated in a Workers’ Memorial Day event in Portland, Oregon, which was sponsored by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council. Members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 participated in the Long Island Workers’ Memorial ceremony, and attended a mass at St. Patrick’s church in Long Island to honor working men and women who have been killed due to workplace injuries or illnesses.
If your local participated in a Workers’ Memorial Day event, please send photos and a brief description of the event to firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 12, 2018
Members of UFCW Local 700 who work at Maple Leaf Farms in Milford, Indiana, recently won a health and safety improvement in their plant. The workers, who process ducks at the plant, began to report health related issues, including eye irritation and respiratory problems, as a result of exposure to Microtox, a disinfectant commonly used in the poultry industry.
UFCW Local 700 Union Rep Juan Garcia and Executive Assistant to the President Scott Barnett immediately began an investigation, including a visit from Robyn Robbins, the director of the UFCW’s Occupational Safety and Health Office. Representatives from UFCW Local 700 and the company also met to address worker safety concerns around the use of Microtox.
As a result of the labor-management meeting, the company temporarily discontinued the use of Microtox, took steps to reduce splashing, dripping and spillage, and ordered a new air monitoring system to monitor the levels of Microtox. UFCW Local 700 has created a new workplace survey regarding the impact of this chemical.
Thanks to the quick action of UFCW Local 700 staff and assistance from the International, we were able to effectively address issues regarding the health and safety of our members.
March 5, 2018
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
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 20, 2018
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 13, 2018
Michelle Garrett, a member of UFCW Local 1000 who works as a florist at a Kroger store in Texas, is back to show you how to create a beautiful bouquet for Valentine’s Day 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 Michelle’s tips about how to create a beautiful floral arrangement, the series features expert advice from a UFCW butcher, produce clerk, prep cook, cake decorator and makeup artist.
February 13, 2018
One example is Rob, a member of UFCW Local 1776 and a Wine Specialist at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits store 4646 in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.
“When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I always recommend sparkling wine because it is popular, versatile and celebratory, i.e. ‘pop the cork,’” he said. “Sparkling wine can be used at any time before, during or after dinner.”
There are many varieties of sparkling wine, but Rob recommends sparkling wines from California, Prosecco from Italy, or the classic: champagne from France.
On the West Coast, Becky at See’s candy has been a member of UFCW Local 5 since 2002. Now an assistant store manager, Becky’s experience is put to good use during one of her store’s busiest times of year–Valentine’s Day.
“We serve anywhere from 200 to 600 people a day,” she said.
If you’re planning to buy a sweet treat for a special someone this Valentine’s Day, Becky recommends getting one of See’s pre-filled 1-pound heart boxes if you’re in a hurry, or using their handy candy menu at sees.com to hand select each individual chocolate inside.
UFCW members also have access to exclusive discounts for Valentine’s Day. You can save 25 percent on flowers and gifts from Teleflora. Get more information here and make someone’s Valentine’s Day special.
February 13, 2018
Every year, the UFCW Charity Foundation’s scholarship program offers scholarships to UFCW members or their immediate family members who want to further their education and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and UFCW values. Since 1958, the fund has distributed more than $2 million in scholarships.
Past winners have gone on to make significant contributions to society and to the UFCW – entering a range of fields including public service, medicine, law, business and teaching. Many have returned to the UFCW as staffers, organizers, and community activists who contribute to our mission.
The UFCW Charity Foundation is now accepting scholarship applications for 2018. All applications will be due by May 13, 2018. You can get more information about the UFCW’s scholarship program here.
February 5, 2018
Black History Month dates back to 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans dedicated the second week in February as “Negro History Week” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the celebration was officially recognized and expanded and every U.S. president since then has celebrated Black History Month during the month of February.
This month, the UFCW will highlight milestones in the civil rights movement on our website—including the 50th anniversary of the Memphis sanitation strike. We will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UFCW’s Black History Month program, and pay tribute to African American labor leaders who fought for fair wages, dignity in the workplace, and the freedom to organize in spite of considerable barriers.
February 5, 2018
UFCW OUTreach scholarship winners who are members of UFCW Locals 23, 367, 400 and 653 attended the Creating Change Conference in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24 to 28. The conference was organized by the national LGBTQ Task Force and is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement.
UFCW OUTreach Executive Board members have served as a key voice for working class and labor issues at the Creating Change Conference during the past two years, and providing scholarships to UFCW members so that they can attend this conference is a critical step in recruiting and developing new leaders within our union and in the broader LGBTQ movement.
The UFCW OUTreach scholarships were awarded to: UFCW Local 23 member David Byrd, who works at a Giant Eagle supermarket in the Pittsburgh area; UFCW Local 367 member Denise Anderson, a union steward at Safeway in Hoquiam, Washington; UFCW Local 400 member Felicia Miller, a union steward at Safeway in Warrington, Virginia; and UFCW Local 653 member Mark McGraw, a union steward at Linden Hills Co-op in Minneapolis.
Here are some excerpts from their essays, which were part of the scholarship application process:
From Denise Anderson:
“I believe what I can learn at this conference will not only help to mentor LGBTQ youth in my community, but will give me the skills I need to help LGBTQ union members realize how being a union member means they have support and are equal to and have the same rights as all other union members.”
From Mark McGraw:
“Contract language is only one part of the equation. It’s only effective if workers are actively and consistently engaged in creating a culture of inclusion, respect and accountability to one another and holding ourselves to a standard that promotes a just and affirming workplace. That’s why I organized a union in the first place and striving to make that vision everyday practice is what keeps me invested in this ongoing project!”
From Felicia Miller:
“I feel I could help our Sisters & Brothers here in Virginia who are LGBT because we are sometime on the margins in fear of protecting our jobs here in Virginia because we fear repercussions from being LGBT.”
From David Byrd:
“I would like to attend the Creating Change conference to acquire skills and tools to help such workers in the Pittsburgh area, as well as to assist in building political power in our quest for social and economic justice.”
“I hope this scholarship program will continue because it will give other LGBT and all the letters of Rainbow Union members an opportunity to know we are not in this fight alone,” said Miller, after attending the conference. “I also hope that we, as union members, can have a booth there next year to catch the nonunion members and explain how important unions are for our fellow community—like with our written contracts that say we cannot be discriminated against just because of our gender preference.”