July, 2009

Wal-Mart Watch Joins WakeUpWalmart.com to Hold America

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced that Wal-Mart Watch has joined with WakeUpWalMart.com to form one organization to maximize the ability for Walmart workers to win a voice on the job and bring change to the entire retail industry.

“”We find ourselves at a critical moment in our country – working families are struggling to make ends meet, while corporations like Walmart continue to reap record profits,”” said UFCW President Joe Hansen. “”Walmart workers across America are standing up and demanding change, and the UFCW is standing with them to achieve the health care and labor law reforms that will restore and expand the middle class. The UFCW is the labor union for retail workers and we will not let Walmart, as the world’s largest retailer, shirk its responsibility to the 1.4 million employees who work for the company.””

“”As Walmart workers continue to speak out to transform their jobs, we believe they are best served by a single organization dedicated to supporting Walmart workers and holding the retail giant accountable for its actions,”” said SEIU President Andy Stern. “”Walmart has made a lot of promises to working families, and we plan to hold them accountable for making those changes.””

Walmart earns $34,880 in profit every minute, yet only 50 percent of Walmart workers are covered by the company’s health care plan, because Walmart premiums and deductibles are unaffordable. Workers’ schedules — and therefore wages — are shrinking, and when workers stand up and demand changes, they are confronted with special squad of “”attitude”” enforcers straight from company headquarters in Bentonville. If workers persist in standing up, they are shown the door.

“”We are ready for change, and feel that if we stand together, we can change this company for the better from the inside,”” said Cynthia Murray, an associate from Laurel, MD. “”We work too hard to be pushed aside so that company executives can add a few million dollars to their bonuses this year.””

In April, thousands of Walmart’s 1.4 million associates across the country united to launch Walmart Workers for Change, the largest effort ever by Walmart workers to demand a voice on the job. Workers in more than 100 stores in 15 states across the country have already joined together. This historic action led to the decision by Wal-Mart Watch to unite its strength with WakeUpWalMart.com.

Joining with WakeUpWalMart.com will:

• Unite hundreds of thousands of activists both online and in neighborhoods across the country to support Walmart workers with one collective voice.

• Allow President Obama and Members of Congress to unite with a newly strengthened group invested in transforming the world’s largest retailer.

• Create a stronger partner for Walmart Workers for Change, the Walmart workers leading the campaign to create good jobs at Walmart from the inside.

• Strengthen efforts to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which will allow Walmart workers to form unions free from harassment and intimidation; and ensure passage of real and meaningful healthcare reform that holds employers like Walmart accountable.

PRESIDENT OBAMA TO MEET WITH UFCW MEMBERS ON HEALTH CARE

(BRISTOL, VA) – President Barack Obama will hold health care town hall meeting at the Bristol, Virginia, Kroger grocery store today – Wednesday, July 29 at 4:00 pm. Workers at this store are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 400, and are speaking out for quality, affordable health care for all.

“We’re honored and excited to host President Obama,” said Vera Lewis, a member of the UFCW and a floral designer at the Bristol Kroger. “Like President Obama says, health care reform can’t wait. We need a health care system that covers everyone and brings down costs now.”

UFCW members see the face of the healthcare debate every day across the nation. They work as pharmacists, in health care facilities, and in grocery stores like the Bristol Kroger.  UFCW members see that average families are struggling and we need reform that will ease the burden on working families.

“UFCW members have sacrificed to protect quality health care at the bargaining table,” said UFCW Local 400 President Jim Lowthers. “Reform has got to level the playing field and put an end to irresponsible employers freeloading their health care onto responsible companies and the taxpayer.  Our members are proud to stand with the President and say that now is the time for health care reform.”

UFCW Local 400 represents more than 40,000 workers across Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee and the District of Columbia. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail, meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.

 

UFCW Local 74D Members Approve New Five-Year Contract With MGP Ingredients, Inc.

UFCW Local 74D ratified a new five-year collective bargaining unit agreement with MGP Ingredients, Inc., in Atchison, Kansas. The agreement takes effect on Aug. 3, 2009 and extends through Aug. 31, 2014.

Local 74D President Jason Simmers expressed appreciation “to both sides of the negotiating process for efforts which ultimately resulted in our new, multi-year contract with the company.”

He added: “I believe this contract shows our willingness to improve the conditions at MGPI given these challenging economic times… We hope to help support a stronger, more secure company for the future.”

The previous contract Local 74D members and MGPI expired almost a year ago in August 2008. Workers had authorized a work stoppage for almost three weeks in late September to early October during tough negotiations, but returned to work when the company agreed to extend the previous contract through August 2009 during bargaining.