April 27, 2007
(Siler City, NC)—Los trabajadores de Townsend que están luchando por mejores condiciones en las plantas polleras de Siler City y Pittsboro han empezado a investigar alegaciones de la omisión del pago por horas trabajadas y otras violaciones de las leyes federales de salario y pago por hora. Los trabajadores de Townsend han estado tratando de organizarse bajo la Unión de Trabajadores Comerciales y de Alimentos (UFCW).
Durante la campaña de organización actual, los trabajadores se han quejado con regularidad que Town send cambia los relojes en la planta, exige que los trabajadores paguen por el equipo necesario, y que la compañía no les pague por el tiempo que trabajan. Muchos trabajadores creen que Townsend hace esto porque no cree que los trabajadores inmigrantes se vayan a quejar.
“”La ley es muy clara—requiere que empleadores como Townsend paga sus empleados por el tiempo que trabajan. Esto incluye el tiempo que pasan poniéndose y quitándose el equipo de seguridad requerido. Parece que Townsend cree que los trabajadores en sus plantas en Siler City y Pittsboro deben ofrecer su mano de obra como un regalo a la compañía. Ellos merecen recibir pago por todo el tiempo que trabajan—incluyendo el tiempo ya trabajado que todavía no ha sido pagado—y esa es una de las razones por la que están tratando de formar una unión,”” dijo Mark Lauritsen, director y vicepresidente de la División de Procesamiento, Empacado y Manufactura de Alimentos de la UFCW.
Una trabajadora de Pittsboro, Inez Díaz, dijo, “”Trabajamos duro. Merecemos recibir pago y trato justo de Townsend. Ellos nos quitan el costo de nuestros materiales de trabajo de nuestros cheques. Ni nos pagan por nuestro tiempo de preparación. Ya es hora que Townsend deje de tratarnos como ciudadanos de segunda clase. Estamos formando una unión para mejorar las condiciones para los inmigrantes y todos los trabajadores en las polleras.””
La UFCW apoyará la marcha por los derechos inmigrantes el 1 mayo en Raleigh-Durham. El año pasado, los trabajadores e inmigrantes marcharon para exigir la reforma comprensiva de la política migratoria. “”El abuso de los trabajadores inmigrantes es una práctica que muchos empleadores usan para bajar los estándares de trabajo para todos los trabajadores en varios sectores económicos, incluyendo la industria avícola,”” dijo Lauritsen. “”Y es una de la razones principales por la que la UFCW está apoyando la reforma comprensiva de las leyes de inmigración.””
Paulo Faustino, empleado de Townsend, está de acuerdo, “”Los abusos de los trabajadores inmigrantes en las polleras tienen que parar. Con una unión tendremos el poder legal para ganar mejoramientos y cambio. Merecemos pago y trato justo. No debemos dejar que la compañía nos intimide con lo que dicen. Tenemos el derecho de exigir mejoramientos en las condiciones para todos los inmigrantes y trabajadores en las polleras. Es por eso que estamos formando una unión con la UFCW. “”
La UFCW representa a 1.3 millones de trabajadores por todo la América de Norte. Los miembros de la UFCW trabajan en las industrias de empacado de carne, procesamiento de pollo y de alimentos, venta de alimentos al por menor y en supermercados. La UFCW se centra en los trabajadores. Está comprometida a ayudar los trabajadores ganar mejores salarios, beneficios y condiciones de trabajo más seguras. A pesar de los retos presentados por el alto costo de la asistencia de salud y los medicamentos recetados, la inseguridad de jubilación y la instabilidad económica, la UFCW es una voz poderosa para los trabajadores y trabajadoras y es un líder en la protección y mejoramiento de las vidas de todas las personas que trabajan.
April 27, 2007
(Siler City, NC) — Townsends workers fighting for better conditions at the Siler City and Pittsboro, North Carolina, poultry plants have begun investigating widespread worker claims of underpayment for time worked and other violations of federal wage and hour laws. Townsends workers have been working to organize a union with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).
During the ongoing union organizing campaign, workers have regularly complained about Townsends changing clocks in the factory, forcing the workers to pay for necessary equipment, and not paying for worked time. Many workers believe Townsends does this because they don’t think the immigrant workforce will complain.
“The law is clear – employers like Townsends are required to pay workers for all the time they work. That includes the time it takes putting on and taking off required safety equipment. Townsends seems to believe workers at their plants in Siler City and Pittsboro should provide their labor as a gift to the company. They deserve to be paid for all of their work—including any unpaid work they’ve already performed—and it’s one of the reasons the workers are forming a union,” said Mark Lauritsen, UFCW International Vice President and Director of the union’s Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division.
Pittsboro employee Samuel Tapia Alavarado said, “We work hard. We deserve to be paid and treated fairly at Townsends. They deduct work supplies from our checks. They do not even pay us for our prep time. It is time for Townsends to stop treating us like second class citizens. We are forming a union to improve conditions for all immigrants and all workers in the polleras.”
UFCW will be supporting the May 1 immigrant rights rally in Raleigh-Durham. Last year, workers and immigrants marched on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform. “Abuse of immigrant workers is a practice many employers use to lower working standards for all workers in numerous economic sectors, including the poultry sector,” said Lauritsen. “And it’s one of the prime reasons the UFCW supports comprehensive immigration reform.”
Townsends worker Paulo Faustino agrees: “The abuses to immigrant workers in the polleras must stop. With a union we will have the legal power to win improvements and changes. We deserve to be treated and paid fairly. We should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by what the company says. It is our right to take a stand to improve conditions for all immigrants and all workers in the polleras. That’s why we are forming a union with UFCW.”
“Workers at Townsends deserve the chance to have a voice on the job for improved safety, living wages and respect for all workers. The UFCW intends to make that happen,” continued Lauritsen.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) represent 1.3 million workers across North America. UFCW members work in poultry and meatpacking plants, food processing facilities, retail stores and supermarkets. The UFCW is about workers helping workers achieve better wages, better benefits, and safer working conditions. Despite the challenges of soaring health care premiums, costly prescription medications, retirement insecurity, and economic instability, the UFCW is a powerful voice for working men and women, leading efforts to protect and improve the livelihoods of all workers.
April 24, 2007
Yesterday, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, along with fellow labor unions and community groups, sent a letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives in strong support of the Industrial Bank Holding Act of 2007 (H.R. 698). The letter outlines the benefits of H.R. 698, a common-sense approach to addressing the huge growth of industrial loan companies (ILCs), and urges the Representatives to join 104 others in cosponsoring the bill.
“We need to close the loophole, and end the threat to the soundness and security of the U.S. financial system,” said UFCW International Vice President and Director of the UFCW Legislative and Political Action Department, Michael J. Wilson.
On Thursday, April 26, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on H.R. 698.
April 16, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC — Grocery workers are standing up to protect good jobs with affordable health care in communities across the country. Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union in eight markets are holding store events today and sending a unified message to supermarket giants.
Supermarkets chains nationwide, like Supervalu, are refusing to agree to provide the affordable health care and living wages their employees deserve. Communities may end up paying the price, with taxpayers shouldering the burden of government paid health care.
Workers are taking action and reaching out to customers at Supervalu-owned stores in Southern California, Oregon, Seattle, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Workers at Kroger stores in Toledo and Houston are bargaining with the company now and holding press events in solidarity with the national action.
UFCW members at Supervalu-owned stores – Albertsons, Jewel, Cub Foods, and Acme stores, are concerned about Supervalu’s bargaining agenda with workers in other markets.
“It’s really important that everybody throughout the country has decent contracts, with benefits and wages that allow them to support their families,” says Eileen Fonseca, a Supervalu-owned Acme worker and a member of UFCW Local 1776 in Philadelphia.
Albertsons (Supervalu) workers in Southern California were locked out by the company in a bitter five-month-long strike/lockout in 2003 and 2004. Now, Albertsons (Supervalu) employees there have already voted to authorize a strike due to the company’s irresponsible position at the bargaining table. The current contract expired last month.
“”I want to provide a good life for my family, and I work hard for my employer. Now that the employers are making such huge profits, I think they need to show grocery workers and our families the respect we deserve,” said Sharlette Villacorta, UFCW Local 770 member who works at Albertsons, in Los Angeles, Calif.
With more than 400,000 grocery workers at the bargaining table this year, UFCW members have launched Grocery Workers United – www.groceryworkersunited.com – as a clearinghouse for unity actions.
“We all do the same jobs, and we all work hard,” said Mike Newman, a Kroger worker from Toledo and member of UFCW Local 911. “We just want to be able to pay our bills, and I think the community understands that. They know what you need to make a living wage here.”
The actions today are all part of a growing national unity bargaining movement among UFCW members working in the grocery industry.
This year, 400,000 UFCW members working the grocery industry will be negotiating contracts with their employers, seeking to improve jobs for all grocery workers. The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers, with nearly one million in the grocery industry.
April 5, 2007
Washington DC—The announcement of a mutual aid pact among Southern California Grocers—Albertsons (Supervalu), Ralphs (Kroger) and Vons (Safeway)—hastily ended contract talks between the supermarket chains and their employees represented by seven United Food and Commercial Workers Local Unions (UFCW).
“The supermarkets are up to their old tricks,” said UFCW International Vice President and Region 8 Director Shaun Barclay. “This pact fits the same pattern of their actions three years ago when they forced UFCW members and their families into the streets and disrupted shoppers for nearly five months in a grab to end meaningful health care coverage for employees.”
Talks with national supermarket chains had been ongoing in Southern California for nearly three months.
In the meantime, Stater Bros. and Gelson’s—two smaller Southern California regional chains—and the UFCW reached model agreements, providing wage increases, the end to second-class status for new workers and a return to providing affordable, quality health coverage for all employees.
Supervalu, Kroger, and Safeway all enjoy annual sales that are 10 to 20 times bigger than Stater Bros. and Gelson’s. The smaller chains don’t have the economies of scale in their warehousing and distribution networks, nor do they have the clout with major manufacturers and vendors that the national chains command. And they face the same non-union competition in the Southern California market that is overwhelmingly unionized.
“Given that the big grocers say they want to ‘serve the interests of our employees, customers, and companies,’ it’s a no-brainer for these national companies to reach a settlement along the lines of the Stater Bros. and Gelson’s agreements,” said Barclay. “They’re making record profits and hold dominant positions in markets across the country where they operate.”
“But,” he continued, “forming this pact speaks louder than words. It certainly appears that the big grocers have no interest in recognizing UFCW members for their partnership in the impressive success of their companies. It seems they have no interest in the effects their position will have on employees, families, shoppers and communities.”
Approximately 400,000 UFCW members are negotiating contracts with retail food operators in 2007. Most work for Kroger, Safeway or Supervalu. Talks have begun in the Puget Sound area, Eugene, Oregon, Houston, and Toledo, Ohio.
“”UFCW members across the country are tuned in to what’s happening in Southern California. They know everyone, including their customers, has a stake in what happens in these negotiations out here,”” said Barclay.