Real People. Real Action.

We’re the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW), a proud union family of 1.3 million hard-working men and women working together to provide a better life for our families and yours.

Give Back.

Our union family is building worker and community leaders that will meet the needs and aspirations of working families. We want to strengthen our communities to achieve economic, racial and social justice.

Speak Out.

Our members know that no one should struggle alone. It only takes one conversation to create lasting change that grows power for working people. Join us and amplify the voices of our membership.

Take a Stand.

People who are a part of UFCW have joined together to take back control of their lives. We are committed to creating a diverse, inclusive democracy for our communities and workplaces.

We believe every hard-working man and woman has earned the right to a better life.

all working people. We fight to stop trade deals that will destroy good middle class jobs, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, and improve the lives of all workers by supporting a higher minimum wage, paid leave, smart scheduling, and protecting the rights of all workers to join our union family.

Stick together and win.

For our members, we negotiate better lives for our union family and work with irresponsible employers to help make them more responsible employers. For nonmembers who want a better life, we’re here to make a real difference in the lives of those workers who want to make their employers better and are tired of struggling alone.

Make a Positive Impact

Making a positive impact in the lives of others isn’t easy, but we’re committed to improving our communities, and the lives of our customers and co-workers. From helping feed the hungry to working together with employers to make positive change, we know the power we all have to make a difference in the lives others.

Rain or Shine, UFCW is Family

 We are 1.3 million qualified and empowered working men and women who are determined to create a better and more just workplace. We are working with responsible employers in the U.S. and Canada, and around the world, to ensure workplace safety and improve wages and benefits. We are the UFCW, and by standing together, we can make a difference.

August 4, 2003

Workers Strike Tyson Foods

Workers at the Tyson Foods plant in Jefferson, Wisc., set up picket lines after overwhelmingly rejecting a company offer that would cut wages and risk the loss of medical treatment for workers’ families.

For a company whose motto is:””It’s What Your Family Deserves,”” no working family—and no community—deserves the attack on living standards the giant meat processor has launched against workers at its Jefferson plant.

“”Tyson’s proposal would devastate my family,”” said UFCW Local 538 member, John Hernandez, a 25-year plant employee. “”The company wants to cut our wages and increase the cost of our health care coverage. Our families can’t live on that.””

The Jefferson plant is profitable. The facility is part of Tyson’s prepared foods division which posted a 4.2% profit for first quarter 2003.

The company’s contract offer seeks wholesale cuts in workers pay and benefits including:

A pay cut of 73 cents an hour, on average, as well as a wage freeze for four years.

An increase in health care coverage rates up to $40 a week, as well as higher deductibles and out of pocket expenses which could total $4600 a year for basic family coverage.

A freeze on pension benefits for current workers and elimination of pension benefits for new hires.

A 50% reduction in sick leave.

A two week cut in vacation benefits.

“”Tyson’s proposal comes out of greed, not need,”” says Kevin Williamson, UFCW International Vice President and Region 6 Director. “”The plant has operated 100 years without a strike, and now Tyson is attempting to repay a loyal and experienced workforce by destroying their living standards.””

Contract negotiations have taken place over the last eight months. In January the Company gave the union a 30-day notice saying it would terminate the current extended contract at midnight on February 25.

UFCW Local 538 has filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board, charging the company with bargaining in bad faith.

Tyson’s Jefferson plant, employing 470 workers, produces pepperoni for Tombstone, DiGiorno, Domino”s and Jack’s pizzas, as well as hams, ring bologna, and hot dogs.

“”This company forced this strike on us,”” said Mike Rice, UFCW Local 538 Business Agent. “”We’re fighting for our families, our futures, and our community. We’re on the picket line today and we’ll be here for however long it takes to reach a fair settlement our members’ families deserve.””

August 4, 2003

Wal-Mart Snatches Domain Name to Block Union Talk

Wal-Mart claims its associates can speak for themselves.  Why then did the retail giant seize the internet domain name www.unionizewalmart.com?  Simple, to prevent workers from using the web address to build a movement for a voice on the job.

“”Wal-Mart’s actions show what the company is truly afraid of—an organized workforce.  Wal-Mart associates deserve the right to have a voice for fair treatment, living wages and decent family health benefits and the union is going to keep fighting to help them get there,”” said Mike Leonard, Executive Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

Wal-Mart workers haven’t been discouraged.  Worker-run websites are building t a nationwide worker-to-worker network among Wal-Mart associates that is growing.  A community-wide Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club organizing campaign in Las Vegas, Nevada, sparked the worker website: www.walmartworkerslv.com that is run by the in-store organizing committee and has inspired other sites across the country.

Several others sites of note include:

www.walmartyrs.com and www.walmartwatch.com– both sponsored by the UFCW.

www.walmartswaronworkers.com – featuring former Wal-Mart managers describing illegal tactics they were taught to use against union organizing.

www.therighttochoose.com — run by a former Sam’s Club associate in Lansing, Michigan.

www.walmartworkerstexas.com – run by current and former Wal-Mart workers.

www.walmartdayofaction.com – central site for the People’s Campaign- Justice @ Wal-Mart

August 4, 2003

WAL-MART’S WAR ON WORKERS: JUDGE ORDERS REINSTATEMENT, BACKPAY FOR WAL-MART WORKER

(Kingman, Arizona) – Wal-Mart has been forced to reinstate a worker from its Kingman, Arizona Tire and Lube Express department and provide him back pay. An administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered Wal-Mart to rehire Brad Jones who was fired on February 28, 2002 in retaliation for his efforts to organize a union and compensate him with back pay.

A majority of the 18 associates working in the Tire and Lube Express at the Kingman, Arizona Wal-Mart Supercenter signed cards authorizing the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 99R to give them an organized voice on wages, health benefits, scheduling and working conditions. The UFCW filed a petition with the NLRB for a secret ballot union representation election in August, 2000.

The NLRB blocked the election due to Wal-Mart’s systematic intimidation and other illegal activities against its workers. But Wal-Mart’s campaign against the union supporters didn’t end. Brad Jones, one of three leaders in the union effort at the store, was a “”marked man,”” according to the ALJ.

The judge found that Store Manager, Jim Winkler, had targeted the three outspoken union supporters by directing supervisors to hold them to a higher standard and “”wait for them to screw up.”” Two employees left and the third, Jones, was singled out by management. Jones was fired two days after receiving a good yearly performance review which included a 4% salary increase.

During the campaign, the judge found that Wal-Mart illegally monitored workers by placing an inexperienced manager from Bentonville, Arkansas in the department to fill a vacancy. The executive had no experience as was unable to work alongside the TLE employees as the job required. His assignment, it seemed, was to carry out surveillance on the workers, a clear violation of their federal rights.

The judge’s ruling also found that Wal-Mart failed to enforce its non-harassment policy when an anti-union worker was harassing two union supporters. The victims suffered from their colleagues’ harassment about their weight and religious beliefs. Despite several appeals to management to protect the victims, Wal-Mart refused.

Wal-Mart’s illegal tactics in Kingman, Arizona exposed further illegal threats to workers across the country. The company’s “”Associate Benefits Book”” which outlines conditions for eligibility for various benefits expressly stated that associates represented by a union are not eligible for coverage. The Judge ordered that Wal-Mart reprint and amend its benefit book to reflect that union-represented workers’ benefits are determined through the collective bargaining process and that union-represented workers will remain eligible for benefits during bargaining.

Wal-Mart is also required to post notices in every location admitting its violations of the law and promising not to discriminate against union-represented workers. The ALJ decision in Kingman is the first time Wal-Mart has been ordered to make a national remedy to its illegal anti-union tactics.

August 4, 2003

WAL-MART’S WAR ON WORKERS:

(Kingman, Arizona) – Wal-Mart will be forced to reinstate yet another worker with full back pay and to notify its one million employees nationwide that it had committed an unfair labor practice as a result of a decision by an administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Judge Gregory Z. Meyerson ordered Wal-Mart to rehire Brad Jones in the retail giant’s Kingman, Arizona, Tire and Lube Express (TLE) department. Jones was fired on February 28, 2002 in retaliation for his efforts to organize a union.

A majority of the “”associates””, as Wal-Mart calls employees, working in the TLE at the Supercenter had signed union authorization cards for United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 99 to give them an organized voice on wages, health benefits, scheduling and working conditions, and the NLRB had set a secret ballot union representation election for August, 2000.

The NLRB blocked the election, however, due to Wal-Mart’s systematic intimidation and other illegal tactics against its workers. But the company’s campaign against the union supporters didn’t end. Jones, one of three leaders in the union effort at the store, was a “”marked man,”” according to the ALJ.

The judge found that Store Manager, Jim Winkler, had targeted three outspoken union supporters by directing supervisors to hold them to a higher standard and “”wait for them to screw up.”” Two left and the third, Jones, was singled out by management. Jones was fired two days after receiving a good yearly performance review which included a 4% wage increase.

During the campaign, the judge found that Wal-Mart illegally monitored workers by placing a new manager in the department to carry out illegal surveillance on the workers’ union activities. The manager, who had no experience in an automotive service unit was unable to work alongside the TLE employees as the job required.

The judge also found that Wal-Mart failed to enforce its non-harassment policy against an anti-union worker who was harassing two union supporters. The victims suffered from their colleagues’ harassment about their weight and religious beliefs. Despite several appeals to management to protect the victims, Wal-Mart refused to enforce its policy, although one Bentonville executive insisted the company takes “”complaints of harassment seriously.””

Wal-Mart’s illegal tactics in Kingman, Arizona exposed further illegal threats to workers across the country. The company’s “”Associate Benefits Book”” which outlines eligibility for various benefits expressly stated that associates represented by a union are not eligible for benefits. The Judge ordered that Wal-Mart reprint and amend its benefit book to reflect that union-represented workers’ benefits are determined through the collective bargaining process and that union-represented workers will remain eligible for benefits during bargaining.

Wal-Mart is also required to post notices in every location admitting its violations of the law and promising not to discriminate against union-represented workers. The ALJ decision in Kingman is the first time Wal-Mart has been ordered to make a national remedy to its illegal anti-union tactics.

August 4, 2003

GENUARDI’S WORKERS TO LAUNCH “”SOS”” CAMPAIGN TO SAVE OUR STORES

Rally and Press Conference – Wednesday, March 12th at 12:30 p.m.

Genuardi’s at East Norriton, 25 West Germantown Pike – Norristown

 

(Philadelphia, PA) Genuardi’s workers will launch a campaign to Save Our Stores at a press conference and rally on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 at 12:30 p.m.  Two years ago, Safeway bought the long-time Philadelphia family-owned grocery chain and has driven it into the ground.  Customers and workers are deeply disappointed in Safeway’s management of our local chain.  Workers are fighting back.

 

Genuardi’s workers want to have a voice.  They want to have a seat at the table to force Safeway to keep these stores as an asset to our community.  Safeway should respect the knowledge, experience and loyalty of the Genuardi’s workforce.

 

This isn’t the first time Safeway has nearly destroyed a local chain.  Workers from the Dominick’s chain in Chicago will tell their story of Safeway’s takeover and subsequent downturn in sales.  The Dominick’s workers have a union on their side and are actively saving their company thanks to their voice with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). Safeway workers from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. will join workers from Chicago at the rally as part of the UFCW Safeway Worker Action Team (SWAT) to help local workers stand up to Safeway’s mismanagement and corporate greed.

 

August 4, 2003

Tyson Foods Uses PETA Supporter To Supply Scabs in Jefferson, Wisconsin Pepperoni Plant Strike

Washington, D.C.: Tyson Foods, the Arkansas based meat processor, is using Scott Mayer, operator of QPS Staffing Services of Greenfield, Wisconsin, and an avowed supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to provide “”scabs”” in a pepperoni plant strike in Jefferson, Wisconsin, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced today.

“”Tyson Foods agreement with Scott Mayer and QPS demonstrates clearly that they will use anyone, anywhere, at anytime to scab hardworking American workers standing up for their families,”” said UFCW Local 538 Business Agent Mike Rice.

“”It is supremely ironic that as PETA is attacking Tyson Foods, the company turns around and cuts a deal with a PETA supporter to run scabs into Jefferson, Wisconsin every day in the early morning darkness,”” pointed out Rice. “”To add insult to injury, the scabs are transported on school buses operated by Riteway Bus Services, a company based in Richfield, Wisconsin.””

PETA has recently issued press releases entitled: “”PETA Calls for Prosecution of Tyson Foods and Five Tyson Employees; Formal Complaint, Whistleblower Tell of Deliberate Torture of Birds”” (February 18, 2003) and “”PETA Urges Tyson Foods to Fake It with Meat Products”” (December 24, 2002). See www.peta.org for details.

Scott Mayer, operator of what is claimed to be “”Wisconsin’s largest independent staffing service”” is also an Indy Racing driver, whose biography states that he and his wife are “”active supporters of PETA and the Humane Society.”” See: www.indyracing.com/drivers/driver_bios.php?driver_id=143

UFCW Local 538 members went out on strike at the Tyson Foods pepperoni and other toppings plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin, on February 28, 2003. The plant, formerly known as Doskocil Foods, is one of the largest producers of pepperoni in the United States. Its customers include Pizza Hut, Kraft Foods (DiGiorno, Tombstone and Jack’s pizza brands), and Schwan’s (Tony’s Pizza), one of the largest providers of pizza to schoolchildren in the country.

For more information on the strike visit www.tysonfamiliesstandup.org

August 4, 2003

Whole Foods Workers Rally for a Voice at Work

Rally and Press Conference on Friday, April 4, 2003 at 12:45 p.m. at the Whole Foods Market 24th Street and 7th Avenue in New York

Whole Foods workers are ready to expose the whole truth about Whole Foods Markets. “”Take a look behind the company’s ‘core values’ veneer…its high polish ‘commitment’ to team member, communities, and customers”” ask Whole Foods workers in an ad campaign hitting news stands on Friday.

Workers from Madison, Wisconsin, the first Whole Foods workers in the nation to organize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) will lead a rally on Friday at 12:45 p.m. at the Whole Foods Market at 24th Street and 7th Avenue in New York.

Ads will debut this week in the Village Voice, the Villager and weekly newspapers in eight other major media markets. Whole Foods management promotes a set of ‘core values’ that shape the stores. Yet workers feel the company has abandoned those values and seek a voice with the UFCW to help keep the company focused on its founding principles.

Whole Foods faces unfair labor charges for its campaign to suppress worker rights in Wisconsin and Virginia. New York City union members, labor leaders and elected officials will call on Whole Foods to respect local workers and consumers by lifting up workplace standards and obeying the law.

WHO: Whole Foods workers from Wisconsin and Virginia, New York Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin, Councilwoman Christine Quinn

WHAT: Hundreds to Rally in Support of Whole Foods Workers Right to a Voice at Work

WHEN: Friday, April 4, 2003 at 12:45 p.m.

WHERE: Whole Foods Market at 24th Street and 7th Avenue in New York

August 4, 2003

Whole Foods Workers Tell the Whole Story about Whole Foods

Worker Voices Censored by “”Vegetarian Times””

Whole Foods workers are exposing the whole truth about Whole Foods Markets. “”Take a look behind the company’s ‘core values’ veneer…its high polish ‘commitment’ to team member, communities, and customers”” ask Whole Foods workers in an ad campaign hitting news stands on Friday.

Ads will debut this week in the leading weekly papers in New York City, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Boulder, Colorado. Whole Foods workers are speaking out as part of a growing national movement for a voice with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

Whole Foods management promotes a set of ‘core values’ that shape the stores. Yet workers feel the company has abandoned those values and seek a voice with the UFCW to help keep the company focused on its founding principles.

The workers’ ad asks customers:

“”Have you ever talked with a Whole Foods worker who is trying to take the company’s glossy pronouncements seriously about respect for team members, self-direction, self-responsibility, open and timely information…workers who take the company at its word and attempt to create a quality work environment?””

Workers in Madison, Wisconsin kick-started the national movement by voting for UFCW Local 1444 representation on July 15, 2002. Despite Whole Foods’ stall tactics, the workers continue to bargain with them and are working toward reaching a first contract.

The Madison campaign leaders launched a website, www.wholeworkersunite.org where workers from the 142 Whole Foods stores can connect with each other and learn about taking action for a better workplace.

The National Labor Relations Board postponed the scheduled April 4 election at the Whole Foods store in Tyson’s Corner, Va., while it investigates charges that the company engaged in a variety of illegal activities designed to stop the employees’ organizing efforts, including:

  • Termination, surveillance and interrogation of pro-union employees.
  • Allowing anti-union literature to be circulated while at the same time blocking the distribution of pro-union literature.
  • Arbitrarily changing the schedules of pro-union employees to create hardships for working parents.
  • Illegal polling of the workers’ stance on the union through a purported “”contest,”” which awarded employees money for expressing anti-union views.

Employees at the Virginia store sought out UFCW Local 400 organizers last November over complaints of low pay and changes to health and insurance benefits, among other issues.

The growing movement of Whole Foods workers is reaching out to customers and community members for support in their effort to have a voice at work. The national newspaper ads calls on the public to email Whole Foods at rs.team@wholefoods.com and let the company know that the community supports the workers.

“”Vegetarian Times”” magazine silenced the voices of the Whole Foods employees by refusing to run the paid advertisement citing a close business and personal relationship with Whole Foods.

Whole Foods faces unfair labor charges for its campaign to suppress worker rights in Wisconsin and Virginia. New York City union members, labor leaders and elected officials will call on Whole Foods to respect local workers and consumers by lifting up workplace standards and obeying the law.

Click here to view a copy of the newspaper ad

August 4, 2003

“”Next Action Undetermined””; Stalled OSHA Regulation Leaves Workers At Risk

(Washington, DC)–America’s most dangerous industries will most likely stay that way if OSHA continues to stall. The low-wage, predominantly Hispanic immigrant, workforce in meatpacking and poultry plants suffer the highest injury rates in the nation. Forced by their employers to pay for their own safety gear, such as mesh gloves, boots and even ear plugs, workers end up wearing it beyond its useful life, putting them at risk for serious injury.

The labor movement, in conjunction with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, is calling for the Secretary of Labor to act on the rule that mandates employer payment for personal protective equipment. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW)– joined by eight additional labor organizations–today, filed a petition with the Secretary of Labor to demand action within 60 days. This standard has been stalled at the agency for three years.

“”Many workers in these industries rely on personal protective equipment as virtually their only measure of protection. Workers should not be required to bear the cost of this basic protection.”” said Jackie Nowell, Director, Occupational Safety and Health Office, UFCW.

Nowell points out that workers in meat and poultry industries, for example, wear metal mesh gloves, which cost as much as $65, to prevent knife cuts and rubber boots to prevent falling on slippery floors.

In 1999, members of the UFCW and other unions offered real world testimony that without a requirement for employer payment, equipment was often improperly selected, poorly maintained and used beyond its useful life, putting workers at risk of injury.

“”Low-wage workers are most acutely in need of the protection offered by the rule. In the higher wage industries, most employers routinely supply all required safety gear free of charge.”” said Nowell.

Despite the clear demonstrated need and support for this requirement, the rule was not finalized and has lain dormant for three years. The rule has repeatedly slipped off OSHA’s Regulatory Agenda, and most recently was listed as a long-term action with the notation “”Next Action Undetermined.””

“”It is shocking and irresponsible that the Department can move so fast to cut overtime pay for workers through regulations, but won’t move a simple job safety regulation that has been waiting for years,”” said Patricia Scarcelli, International Vice President and Director of the Legislative and Political Affairs Department. “”This simple rule can help to improve the day-to-day lives of thousands of immigrant workers. And it is sitting there waiting for Secretary Chao to give the word.””

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August 4, 2003

Kohl’s Workers Launch Grassroots Campaign to Save Their Stores

Hundreds of local Kohl’s supermarket workers are mobilizing the community to join a grassroots effort to keep the Kohl’s family of workers together. The workers, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Locals 1444 and 73A, face an uncertain future and fear losing their family’s health care now that Roundy’s has purchased the Kohl’s stores.

Consumers in the Madison and Dane County communities are receiving postcards from Kohl’s workers asking for their support in the campaign to protect worker’s jobs. Roundy’s is refusing to provide any assurances to the long-time Kohl’s workers–which could result in hundreds of local workers to lose their jobs and family health insurance.

“”Keep our Kohl’s family together,”” reads the postcard. “”Now Roundy’s has purchased Kohl’s– with no commitment to the working families who have made these stores part of our community. We could lose our family health care coverage.””

Roundy’s management is planning to close the Kohl’s stores before reopening as “”Copps”” (a Roundy’s subsidiary) in order to skirt federal labor law designed to protect workers in the event of a sale. Kohl’s workers have been notified that they must apply for positions at the Roundy’s stores, and will be forced to lose years of seniority, benefits and take significant wage reductions. Workers are facing a very uncertain and potentially devastating future now with Copps.

“”Our entire community depends on good jobs with quality family health care. Kohl’s workers are part of this community. Roundy’s should respect our community and respect these workers enough to honor their many years of quality service and retain the Kohl’s workers,”” said Daniel Welch, UFCW Local 1444 President.

The grassroots postcard campaign is the latest step in the grassroots effort to save good local jobs with family health insurance. Last week, twenty four Dane County Commissioners signed a letter calling on Roundy’s to retain the long-time local workers and maintain their wages and benefits.

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