News and Updates
August 28, 2012
In July of 2009, a terrible fire broke out at the Patrick Cudahy meatpacking plant in Milwaukee, WI. The massive Smithfield plant was completely consumed by the fire, threatening lives, costing millions of dollars in damage, and displacing over 1,400 workers, leaving them without work.
The devastating fire at the Patrick Cudahy plant prompted UFCW Local 1473 to immediately reach out across the labor community. The Patrick Cudahy Worker Relief Fund was formed, and generous donations were made. Local 1473 members then worked with the the Milwaukee County Labor Council and the Hunger Task Force to establish a food bank specifically for the Patrick Cudahy workers. The Hunger Task Force, which, prior to the fire had relied on the Patrick Cudahy plant to supply many of the products in their food bank, was now helping to feed the displaced workers.
With the support of the Hunger Task force and other organizations, members were able to stick together and move toward recovering from the fire. Three years later, members are back at the plant to continue their work and support for organizations like the Hunger Task Force that play such an important role in their communities.
Last week, members from UFCW Local 1473 again joined partners Smithfield, Patrick Cudahy, and Pick ‘n Save in the latest event for the Feeding the Hungry campaign. The 40,000 pound donation went to the Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee, WI. Some of the members of Local 1473 still work at the nearby Patrick Cudahy meat processing plant, continuing to help produce products such as hams and bacon, which were part of the donation to the Hunger Task Force. This latest Feeding the Hungry donation exhibited the special and continued relationship members share with the Hunger Task Force.
The UFCW is committed to ensuring that families across the country have the relief and the opportunities they need to weather the current economic crises. As the foodworkers’ union, with members working in grocery stores, packing plants, and food processing plants, UFCW members and locals have long been involved in programs to help the hungry and provide for those in need. One of the most successful, and certainly the largest, of these programs is the joint UFCW/Smithfield Feeding the Hungry (FTH) Program – a three-year, multi-city, coast to coast effort to donate and deliver more than 20 million servings of protein to food banks through Feeding America’s network.
All across the country UFCW members are on the frontlines of efforts to improve and strengthen their communities, and this partnership reflects their unwavering commitment to protect and advocate for families during tough times. This partnership is about bringing together organizations with the resources, the relationships and the know-how to ensure that vulnerable communities across the country have access to well-supplied food banks. Our goal is simple: Get good, nutritious food to as many families, in as many communities, as possible.
August 24, 2012
To make sure your child’s back-to-school supplies are union-made, check out this great resource from the Union Label and Services Trades Department!
The flyer also notes that the luckiest kids in the nation are getting an education provided by union teachers, principals, and custodial/support staff. We couldn’t agree more.
August 14, 2012
UFCW Local 1208 has been very busy this year! So far in 2012, Local 1208 has seen both tremendous progress in both the Smithfield Plant they represent, and in their local community of Tar Heel, North Carolina. This progress is due to the actions, member related and community outreach events, and the key role Local 1208 has taken in transforming the working environment for those living in Tarheel and its surrounding counties. Below, see a few of the things Local 1208 has been up to!
Defferred Action Event- St. Pauls, NC
This event was coordinated by a group of local students. The forum included a PowerPoint presentation given by immigration lawyers, which discussed President Obama’s newest immigration reform. The floor was opened for questions about the new reform, immigration, and deportation. Many UFCW members attended, and Local 1208 had the chance to share its support of both immigrants and immigrant reform. Local 1208 is also currently working with attorneys across North Carolina to coordinate labs that will assist people with the application process as new reforms roll out. Way to make everyone feel welcome!
Community Health Fairs- Fayetteville and Red Springs, NC
Local 1208 this year continued their tradition of participating in Community Health Fairs, which offer free information and services from local health care organization and the communities they serve. Local 1208 offered a range of information about work place safety, health laws (OSHA Q/A), and workers’ rights to a safe and healthy workplace.
Monthly Obama Sticker Contest- Tar Heel, NC
Each month, Local 1208 rewards it members for showing support for Obama by holding an Obama sticker contest. The contest involves picking a car at random from the Smithfield Packing Plant (which they represent) parking lot that boasts a “UFCW for Obama” bumper sticker. Not only does each monthly winner receive a VISA gift card, but they also earn the right to have their picture proudly publicized throughout the plant during the corresponding weekly action, encouraging others to participate.
Head over to the Local 1208 facebook page to see what else the Local is doing!
August 10, 2012
August 9, 2012
|Brittany Metts and Stephanie Pryor|
“It’s all about being personable and telling your story,” she said. “You can’t put an age on maturity. Yes, I’m only 20 but I have gone through some experiences that say a 40-year-old just experienced,” Metts added. “We as humans, as women, have a lot more in common than you think, if you just take the time to listen.”
July 27, 2012
UFCW/ICWUC Local 90-T in Rockmart, Georgia took time out this week to volunteer at their local Home Spun Festival – registering voters, giving away water bottles, and talking to friends and neighbors about what it means to have a union voice on the job.
The Home Spun festival is a tradition dating back 35 years in Rockmart, but this year marks Local -T’s first official involvement in the festival. The local staff and members in attendance were in agreement that it won’t be their last!
What a great way to spend the day – union brothers and sisters coming together for the good of the community to share information on voting and workplace rights. Do you have more stories about union members giving back in their communities? If so, send them along to firstname.lastname@example.org and your story could be featured right here on the blog!
July 12, 2012
Here on the blog, we like to recognize those who work hard and strive to help the cause of the working family.
Congratulations to the 78 newest graduates of the National Labor College Class of 2012!
The students graduated this past Saturday with Bachelors degrees, representing 25 unions across the nation including UFCW, as well as Working America, the AFL-CIO’s Community affiliate.
“Today, it is vitally important that we have NLC graduates with the skills necessary to put our members back to work and to effectively respond to the strident challenges we face to our basic right to bargain collectively,” said John Sweeney, President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO. “By balancing work, education, union roles, and family responsibilities, the graduates have achieved a tremendous accomplishment.”
Several students were highlighted for their outstanding contributions to the NLC community:
- Helen Foreman-Hines of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was awarded the prestigious President’s Award.
- Mark King, president of the student government association and member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) was elected by his fellow graduates as class speaker and received a distinguished paper award for his senior thesis.
- Jon Leinbaugh of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association (SMWIA) and Joseph Walsh of the Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA) were awarded the 2012 Bert and Annabel Seidman Prize for Advancing Social Policy.
- Trenton Reich of Working America and Paul Simon of the Electrical Workers (IBEW) received distinguished paper awards for their senior theses.
July 10, 2012
New research about the bifurcation of American society has produced some alarming information about the opportunity gap in our country.
Although there is of course inequality in the standards of living among America’s adults, the inequality in opportunity for our children is sometimes overlooked. But it is a growing problem. According the the article from the NYTimes, in the decades to come, our country will be even more divided than it is now. In decades past, kids of college-grads and high-school grads invested similarly in their children. Now, however, more affluent parents spend much more on their childrens’ futures, while the less affluent have decreased in those investments.
Aside from money, the most important thing affluent parents are giving to their kids is time. In fact, affluent parents have quadrupled the amount of time they spend with their kids, whether it be at home, supporting them at a sporting event, or driving them to any plethora of extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, high-school educated parents have increased child-care time, but only slightly. In the previous generation of families, things were opposite, and it was the working-class families who spent more time together. But now, the attention gap in the first three years of life for working-class family kids, when it is most important, is only growing.
This growing chasm among the classes is also causing the less fortunate children to become more pessimistic and detached. One researcher noted that “It’s perfectly understandable that kids from working-class backgrounds have become cynical and even paranoid, for virtually all our major social institutions have failed them — family, friends, church, school and community.” These kids are less likely to participate in voluntary service work that could provide them with a sense of purpose, they do worse in school, and their opportunities are limited.