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August 31, 2009

UFCW Join Mexican Consul General to Launch Celebration of “Labor Rights Week” as Labor Day 2009 Approaches

Local Unions Partner with Mexican Consulate in Thirteen Cities to Offer Innovative Worker Rights Programming

(Chicago, Ill.) – The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is proud to partner with the Embassy of Mexico, the U.S. Department of Labor and allied organizations to promote the first “Semana de Derechos Laborales”, or Labor Rights Week.  UFCW International President Joe Hansen joined the Mexican Consul General of Chicago, Manuel Rodríguez Arriaga, to launch the national outreach and education program that is taking place in thirteen cities across the country.

As Labor Day 2009 approaches, Semana de Derechos Laborales, which continues through September 4, will focus on the inclusion of Mexican nationals in American workplaces and communities. Programming includes workshops and informational sessions on labor, immigration, and human rights.

“Our communities and neighborhoods are better, safer places to work and live when all workers know and exercise their rights,” said Hansen.  “Semana de Derechos Laborales is a perfect way to empower Mexican national workers with information and promote full participation in the civic fabric of our nation.  The UFCW has been a union of immigrants for more than 100 years and this weeks’ program helps ensure that a new generation of workers has the resources to have their voice heard on the job.”

Educating immigrant workforces about rights in the workplace helps raise the standard of treatment for all workers in industries where new immigrants often work, including meatpacking, food processing, and grocery.

“In the past few years, a growing number of immigrant workers were subject to abuse under a mantle of fear that was created by policy approaches which allowed unscrupulous employers to use immigration status to threaten deportation if workers reported discrimination, wage and hour or health and safety violations. We recognize the leadership of Secretary Solis in this issue and believe that joint efforts like the Labor Rights Week will strengthen our ability to protect the rights of our nationals abroad”, said Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.

The UFCW is a proud partner in this week’s activities and has worked with local consulate offices to prepare activities uniquely suited to the communities in which they are offered.  The program in Fresno, California, conducted by the local consulate and UFCW Local 5 will focus outreach to workers in the agricultural and dairy industries.  UFCW Local 540 and local partners in Dallas, Texas, are taking questions about labor rights on a three-hour long news broadcast program on the local Univision network.  The kick-off event in Chicago, Illinois will feature President Hansen and Consul General Rodríguez Arriaga, who will be joined by a number of community leaders.

More details about local events are available at www.ufcw.org

The UFCW has been a national leader in the fight to develop a fairer, more humane immigration system. President Hansen recently served as founding chairman of a national commission which studied federal raids on workplaces and made recommendations for comprehensive immigration reform.

Earlier this year, UFCW Canada and the Mexican state of Michoacán signed a landmark co-operation agreement to ensure that the human and labor rights of agricultural workers from Michoacán, Mexico are recognized and enforced while they work in Canadian fields and greenhouses.

With 1.3 million members, the UFCW is the nation’s largest private-sector union with members in the supermarket, meatpacking, food processing, and other industries.

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Programming open to the media will continue until September 4. Inquiries and interview requests should be directed to Jill Cashen, UFCW, 202-728-4797 or press@ufcw.org.

August 31, 2009

UFCW en Conjunto con el Consulado General de M

PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA: 31 DE AGOSTO DE 2009

UFCW en Conjunto con el Consulado General de México Lanzarán Celebración de la “Semana de Derechos Laborales” en la Aproximación del Día del Trabajo de 2009.

Filiales Locales de la Unión Trabajarán Junto a los Consulados Mexicanos en Trece Ciudades para Ofrecer Innovadores Programas de Derechos Laborales

(Chicago, Ill.) – La Unión Internacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos y del Comercio (UFCW, por sus siglas en inglés) está orgullosa de asociarse a la Embajada de México, el Departamento de Trabajo y otras organizaciones aliadas para promover la primera “Semana de Derechos Laborales” (Labor Rights Week). Joe Hansen, presidente internacional de la UFCW, se unió a Manuel Rodríguez Arriaga, cónsul general de México en Chicago, para lanzar una campaña nacional de alcance y un programa de educación que se están realizando en trece ciudades en todo el país.

En la aproximación del Día del Trabajo de 2009, La Semana de Derechos Laborales continuará hasta el 4 de septiembre y se enfoca en la inclusión de los nacionales mexicanos en los lugares de trabajo y comunidades de los Estados Unidos. Los programas incluyen clases y sesiones informativas en derechos laborales, inmigración y derechos humanos.

“Nuestras comunidades y vecindarios son lugares mejores y más seguros para trabajar y vivir cuando todos los trabajadores saben y ejercen sus derechos”, expresó Hansen. “La Semana de Derechos Laborales es una manera perfecta para dar más poder a los trabajadores mexicanos por medio de la información y promoción de su participación activa en la base cívica de nuestra nación. La UFCW ha sido la unión de los inmigrantes por más de 100 años y el programa a realizarse estas semanas ayudará a asegurar que una nueva generación de trabajadores tenga los medios para que puedan hacer escuchar su voz en los lugares donde trabajan”.

Educar a los trabajadores inmigrantes sobre los derechos de los inmigrantes en sus lugares de trabajo ayuda a mejorar los estándares del trato a todos los trabajadores en las industrias en donde los nuevos inmigrantes generalmente trabajan, incluyendo las empacadoras cárnicas, procesadoras de alimentos y supermercados.

“En los últimos años, un creciente número de trabajadores inmigrantes fueron sujetos a abusos bajo el manto del miedo que fue creado por políticas que permitieron a empleadores inescrupulosos usar el estatus migratorio para amenazar a sus trabajadores con la deportación si ellos reportaban discriminación, o violaciones salariales, sanitarias o de salud. Reconocemos que el liderazgo de la Secretaria Solis en este tema y creemos que los esfuerzos conjuntos como la Semana de Derechos Laborales fortalecerán nuestra capacidad para proteger los derechos de nuestros compatriotas en el extranjero”, indicó Arturo Sarukhan, embajador de México en los Estados Unidos.

La UFCW está orgullosa se estar asociada con las actividades de esta semana y ha trabajado con las oficinas consulares para preparar las actividades únicamente adecuadas para las comunidades en las cuales se ofrecen. Dentro de estas se encuentran el programa en Fresco, California, dirigido por el consulado local y el Local 5 de la UFCW que se enfocará en alcanzar a los trabajadores en las industrias agrarias y de productos lácteos. El Local 540 de la UFCW y socios locales en Dallas, Texas, están recibiendo preguntas sobre los derechos de los trabajadores en un programa televisivo transmitido por la cadena Univisión que dura tres horas. El evento inaugural se realizará en Chicago con el Presidente Hansen y el Cónsul General Rodríguez Arriaga, quienes estarán acompañados de varios líderes comunitarios.

Más detalles sobre los eventos locales están disponibles en el www.ufcw.org

La UFCW ha liderado la lucha nacional para desarrollar un sistema de inmigración más humano y justo. El Presidente Hansen recientemente fue el presidente fundador de una comisión nacional que estudió las redadas federales en los lugares de trabajo y realizó recomendaciones para una reforma migratoria comprensiva.

Previamente en este año, la UFCW en Canadá y el estado mexicano de Michoacán, firmaron un histórico acuerdo de cooperación para asegurarse que los derechos humanos y laborales de los trabajadores agrícolas de Michoacán, México sean reconocidos y cumplidos mientras trabajan en los campos e invernaderos de Canadá.

Con 1.3 millones de miembros, la UFCW es la unión (sindicato) más grande dentro del sector privado con miembros en supermercados, empacadoras cárnicas, procesamiento de comida, y otras industrias.

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Los programas están abiertos a los medios de comunicación y continuarán hasta el 4 de septiembre. Preguntas y peticiones de entrevistas deben ser dirigidas a Jill Cashen, UFCW al 202-728-4797 o press@ufcw.org.

August 31, 2009

UFCW Joins Mexican Consul General to Launch Celebration of

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 31, 2009

Food and Commercial Workers Join Mexican Consul General to Launch Celebration of “Labor Rights Week” as Labor Day 2009 Approaches

Local Unions Partner with Mexican Consulate in Thirteen Cities to Offer
Innovative Worker Rights Programming

(Chicago, Ill.) – The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is proud to partner with the Embassy of Mexico, the U.S. Department of Labor and allied organizations to promote the first “Semana de Derechos Laborales”, or Labor Rights Week.  UFCW International President Joe Hansen joined the Mexican Consul General of Chicago, Manuel Rodríguez Arriaga, to launch the national outreach and education program that is taking place in thirteen cities across the country.

As Labor Day 2009 approaches, Semana de Derechos Laborales, which continues through September 4, will focus on the inclusion of Mexican nationals in American workplaces and communities. Programming includes workshops and informational sessions on labor, immigration, and human rights.

“Our communities and neighborhoods are better, safer places to work and live when all workers know and exercise their rights,” said Hansen.  “Semana de Derechos Laborales is a perfect way to empower Mexican national workers with information and promote full participation in the civic fabric of our nation.  The UFCW has been a union of immigrants for more than 100 years and this weeks’ program helps ensure that a new generation of workers has the resources to have their voice heard on the job.”

Educating immigrant workforces about rights in the workplace helps raise the standard of treatment for all workers in industries where new immigrants often work, including meatpacking, food processing, and grocery.

“In the past few years, a growing number of immigrant workers were subject to abuse under a mantle of fear that was created by policy approaches which allowed unscrupulous employers to use immigration status to threaten deportation if workers reported discrimination, wage and hour or health and safety violations. We recognize the leadership of Secretary Solis in this issue and believe that joint efforts like the Labor Rights Week will strengthen our ability to protect the rights of our nationals abroad”, said Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan.

The UFCW is a proud partner in this week’s activities and has worked with local consulate offices to prepare activities uniquely suited to the communities in which they are offered.  The program in Fresno, California, conducted by the local consulate and UFCW Local 5 will focus outreach to workers in the agricultural and dairy industries.  UFCW Local 540 and local partners in Dallas, Texas, are taking questions about labor rights on a three-hour long news broadcast program on the local Univision network.  The kick-off event in Chicago, Illinois will feature President Hansen and Consul General Rodríguez Arriaga, who will be joined by a number of community leaders.

More details about local events are available at www.ufcw.org

The UFCW has been a national leader in the fight to develop a fairer, more humane immigration system. President Hansen recently served as founding chairman of a national commission which studied federal raids on workplaces and made recommendations for comprehensive immigration reform.

Earlier this year, UFCW Canada and the Mexican state of Michoacán signed a landmark co-operation agreement to ensure that the human and labor rights of agricultural workers from Michoacán, Mexico are recognized and enforced while they work in Canadian fields and greenhouses.

With 1.3 million members, the UFCW is the nation’s largest private-sector union with members in the supermarket, meatpacking, food processing, and other industries.

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Programming open to the media will continue until September 4. Inquiries and interview requests should be directed to Jill Cashen, UFCW, 202-728-4797 or press@ufcw.org.

August 28, 2009

Plumrose Settles Allegations of Labor Law Violations

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa–In the face of allegations that it had violated numerous federal laws, Plumrose USA has entered into a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Many workers at Plumrose, which processes deli meats and pork products at its facility in Council Bluffs, have been taking steps to form a union with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) for several years. Plumrose had been charged with giving workers the impression that they were under surveillance and that their immigration status would be reported to federal authorities, forbidding employees from discussing the union at work, and interrogating workers about union activities.

“This settlement just confirms what so many of us have known for a long time,” said Carlos Barraza, a ten-year Plumrose worker. “It’s long past time for change at Plumrose. The only way we’ll get a real voice on the job here is by exercising our rights and standing together.”

The settlement requires Plumrose to post a notice in its Council Bluffs facility informing employees that federal law protects their right to form a union for their “benefit and protection” and that it would be unlawful for Plumrose to interfere with the exercise of that right. The full text of the notice can be found at http://www.fairnessforfoodworkers.org/plumrose.pdf

“Plumrose is a textbook case on why workers need a free and fair process to form a union,”” said Mark Lauritsen, Director of the UFCW Manufacturing, Packing, and Food Processing Division. “Standing up for yourself and your coworkers shouldn’t carry the risk of the boss’s wrath or losing your job. The employees who are forced to work in such a hostile environment hope that this settlement represents a new attitude at Plumrose toward the free exercise of the right to form a union.”

More than 1.3 million food processing, grocery, and retail workers in the United States and Canada have joined together in the UFCW to protect their workplace rights and to improve working conditions.

August 26, 2009

UFCW members stand with Arizona workers for humane and fair immigration policies

PHOENIX—The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and UFCW Local 99 today held a community forum with Arizona workers to discuss how a failed national immigration policy has caused widespread confusion and fear among workers and their families  . At a community meeting today, UFCW leaders discussed the country’s failed immigration system, which has resulted in massive disruption of economics and business operations. Today’s event is part of a national series of community outreach events designed to bring people together, celebrate unity, and defend the rights of legal residents, citizens and workers.

“We have seen federal agents routinely violate the 4th Amendment rights of workers during massive workplace raids across the country,” said Mark Lauritsen, UFCW International Vice President.  “Until national leaders fix our country’s immigration system, our local communities will be torn apart, and the constitutional rights of citizens and legal residents will be routinely violated. Our country desperately requires a framework for moving forward, humanely and comprehensively, to fix our immigration system. Broken enforcement is exacerbating a broken immigration system.  We stand with the Phoenix community to question whether local police officers will be able to enforce immigration laws without exposing the city residents to racial profiling, discrimination and violating civil rights.”

Among those who spoke at the meeting were UFCW workers who—one year ago, on December 12, 2006 (the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a Mexican religious celebration)—were illegally detained at meatpacking plants in five states in workplace raids carried out by federal agents at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). More than 12,000 meatpacking workers—including citizens, legal residents and immigrants in the process of legalization—were swept up in ICE raids at six meat packing plants. The UFCW represents workers at five of the plants, including Worthington, Minn.; Greeley, Colo.; Cactus, Tex.; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Grand Island, Neb.

“It is disgraceful how law enforcement officials violate basic human rights just because our government cannot fix the immigration system,” said Maria Acosta of Phoenix, who works at Food City grocery store.

“I was interrogated and detained for hours just because federal agents thought I was breaking immigration laws,” said Pasqual Talamantes, a UFCW meatpacking worker from Grand Island, Neb. “They were handcuffing us and holding guns. I told them I was a citizen, born here in the United States, and they did not believe me.”

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For more information: www.ufcw.org/icemisconduct.cfm

August 26, 2009

Statement of UFCW International President Joe Hansen on the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy

(Washington, DC) — “Senator Kennedy was an unwavering champion for workers across the country.  His passion, his vision and his devotion to the issues that matter ensured that working men and women had a voice in the halls of Congress. His commitment, his courage and his conviction brought dignity and opportunity to working families, to minorities and to recent immigrants. Time and time again, decade after decade, he stood with the UFCW in our efforts to improve the lives of our members.  He stood with us in the fight for equity and equality and justice.

“There will never be another Senator Ted Kennedy, but as he so eloquently and passionately said at the Democratic National Convention in 1980, ‘the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.’ It is now our mission to ensure that the work Senator Kennedy dedicated his life to goes on and that the dream he fought so hard for never dies—The dream of health care for every American, of a nation that upholds its rich and vibrant immigrant heritage, and where we embrace our diversity and put aside our differences in the name of building a more perfect union.

“Today, we mourn the loss of the Lion of the Senate. Tomorrow, let us redouble our efforts in the causes that he cared so much about. That is how we pay tribute to this amazing man. That is how we respect what he accomplished throughout his life, and that is how we honor his legacy.”

August 10, 2009

ROUSES GROCERY OBSTRUCTS FREE SPEECH, INTERFERES WITH WORKERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             August 10, 2009

 

ROUSES GROCERY OBSTRUCTS FREE SPEECH, INTERFERES WITH WORKERS’ RIGHT TO UNION INFORMATION

 

Louisiana Grocery Store Calls Police on Employees for Expressing Interest in Joining the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union

 

(NEW ORLEANS) – Rouses grocery store in Louisiana is not behaving like a responsible neighborhood business. Instead, the company is clamping down on the first amendment right of workers, obstructing their right to express any interest in joining the UFCW. The grocer went so far as to call the police, insisting on the arrest of workers and other union members attempting to talk about union representation.

“Workers play a big part in the company’s success,” said UFCW Region 5 Director Chad Young.  “And they should share in that success with a voice on the job for paychecks that can support families, affordable, quality health care and job security.” 

 

Even though Rouses allows numerous groups to engage with workers and customers outside their stores, the company is refusing to allow union members and company workers to distribute information and engage in conversations about the process of forming a union.

 

“What’s clear is that Rouses wants to pick and choose when it abides by the law,” said Young. “The UFCW is filing unfair labor practice charges against the company on behalf of workers and union members who believe their rights were violated. It’s the workers choice on whether they want a union. Rouses should abide by the law and stop interfering with that right.”

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.

 

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For more information, contact Marc Goumbri, 202-257-8771, or press@ufcw.org