News and Updates
August 19, 2019
On June 25, Cottonseed Co-op Corporation workers in Jonestown, Miss., joined the ICWUC. Cottonseed Co-op was previously known as Delta Oil Mill and was represented by the ICWUC until its bankruptcy and closing approximately five years ago. The cottonseed processing facility reopened approximately two years ago under the name Cottonseed Co-op, and the company rehired many of the previous employees from Delta Oil Mill.
When the workers came back to work without a union contract, they found that many of the benefits and protections they once had when they were members of the ICWUC were now gone.
These hard-working men and women knew they had earned and deserved better, so they reached out to their former union representative, Regional Director Ricky Lawrence, in early May. Lawrence sent them cards to sign to see how much interest there was at the facility and in a couple of weeks they had mailed him back signed cards for approximately 80 percent of the current employees. Organizer Ernest Perkins visited with the workers, and then contacted his organizing colleague, Lance Heasley, to come assist in the NLRB petition process.
During the petition process, the organizing team gave the company the option of having a neutral third party count the cards rather than go through with the NLRB election process. The company agreed to have a neutral third party and on June 25, the neutral party determined that 47 of the 57 employees had signed cards. The company then voluntarily recognized the ICWUC as the bargaining agent for the Cottonseed Co-op employees and agreed on a date to begin negotiating a contract.
The ICWUC is proud to welcome back these workers and looks forward to working with them in negotiating their first contract.
January 22, 2019
PeroxyChem workers in Saratoga Springs, New York, voted unanimously to join the ICWUC on Dec. 13. The workers joined the ICWUC because they were concerned about medical insurance, safety, wages and lack of respect from managers. PeroxyChem is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, persulfates and adjacent technologies.
Representative Andy Kokiko and Organizer Lance Heasley were instrumental during this process by speaking with the workers, as well as petitioning for and organizing the workers. The ICWUC looks forward to working with our new members at PeroxyChem to achieve their first contract.
January 16, 2018
The workers wanted a voice in their workplace and an end to “at will” employment. They also wanted to become a part of ICWUC Local 252C and the Atomic Trades and Labor Council. ICWUC Local 252C President Greg Malone, Chief Steward James Woody, Recording Secretary Jackie Martin, Secretary Treasurer Chris Beatty, Vice President Thomas Duncan, and the members of ICWUC Local 252C played a key part in this organizing victory.
“I would like to think the members who worked hard to make this happen,” Malone said. “I would also like to thank Charles Smith and Rhonda Hawn for helping our committee understand the complex issues associated with the Rad Techs.”
The ICWUC is proud to welcome these 95 workers to our union and look forward to helping them negotiate their first contract.
January 8, 2018
Workers at AOC Resins in Valparaiso, Indiana, recently voted to join the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW by an overwhelming margin. AOC is a plastic fabrication company, and the workers wanted a voice in their workplace.
“Working class people have no one to trust but themselves. We know what we need and we know as individuals our voices are ignored,” said Kyle Gatlin, an operator at AOC Resins. “It’s only when we accept the idea ‘what’s good for one is good for all’ will we be able to change the conditions of our labor. For the past few months, we have driven towards a common goal of unionizing all hourly employees and accomplishing that goal felt amazing. The ICWUC has been with us for every need along the way, and this wouldn’t have been possible without Lance Heasley’s guidance.”
The ICWUC is proud to welcome all of these workers to our union and looks forward to helping them negotiate their first contract.
September 5, 2017
Recently, 28 workers at SBM Management Services in Elkton, Va., voted to join ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C by an overwhelming margin. SBM Management Services is a subcontractor at the Merck plant in the area, and the workers clean many parts of the facility, as well as the laboratory glassware.
The SBM Management Services workers wanted a voice in the workplace, as well as an end to “at will” employment. They also wanted the benefits and protections that ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C can offer. ICWUC/UFCW Local 94C Vice President Matt Dean and President Ricky Breeden were instrumental in this victory for these workers, with the support of Council Vice President Gerry Setley.
August 28, 2017
Representatives from UFCW Locals 7, 1167 and 1428 attended a chemical emergency response training sponsored by the UFCW Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Office and the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW during the week of August 7. The training took place at UFCW Local 324’s office in Buena Park, Calif.
The class was designed to teach union staff how to identify and respond to chemical hazards. Class participants learned about hazardous chemicals, respiratory protection, personal protective equipment, toxicology, and OSHA regulations. Class participants also took part in a simulated hazardous chemical release and containment exercise, donning a self-contained breathing apparatus and other personal protective equipment, and putting into practice what they learned in the classroom.
This training is part of a long-standing partnership between the UFCW OSH Office and ICWUC. UFCW local union representatives and stewards throughout the country are recruited to attend chemical emergency response trainings, which are usually held at ICWUC’s training center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The program is funded with grants, which pay for participants’ travel and lodging. The UFCW OSH office coordinates the program, which has provided training for hundreds of members and UFCW staff over the past 20 years.
A key feature of this program is the collaboration of eight unions, universities and worker organizations. During this particular week, UFCW representatives were in class with members of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, American Federation of Government Employees, and ICWUC.
“I think the chemical emergency response course that I attended was very interesting and informative,” said Phillip Meza, a union representative for UFCW Local 1428. “I plan on taking the information I’ve learned and tools I was given to do better site visits with our membership to ensure their safety when dealing with chemicals. It has also given me the ability to identify potential hazards that I can warn members about. For organizing purposes, I feel the information we learned will also help us to mobilize workers who are working under unsafe conditions and not being provided proper personal protection equipment.”
The program is ongoing throughout the year. If your local is interested in attending a training, contact Fernando Tapia, safety and health program coordinator, UFCW OSH Office, at email@example.com.
August 14, 2017
On August 5, the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) of the UFCW held an officer training and steward class in Scottsboro, Ala., for 21 officers and stewards at UFCW Local 504T. The UFCW Local 504T officers and stewards are employed at Lozier Corporation in Scottsboro, and work in the maintenance, production and warehouse divisions producing metal and wood shelves and their braces. UFCW Local 504T’s current contract with Lozier Corporation covers 325 members.
Participants learned about the duties of officers and shop stewards, as well as the duties of the organizing and safety committees. The training session also provided participants with an overview of health and safety issues officers and stewards may face in the workplace. The training session was hosted by UFCW Local 504T, and ICWUC Secretary-Treasurer and Regional Director Neal Dillard and ICWUC Recorder Chuck Denny served as the instructors.