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April 29, 2010

Statement by the UFCW on the Senate Immigration Reform Framework

“The reform plan unveiled today by Senators Reid, Schumer, and Menendez is a positive development in our efforts to fix our nation’s badly broken immigration system.

“”It is an opportunity to move this critical issue forward and to focus it at the federal level where the immigration debate belongs.
“”While the outline presented today is far from perfect, the UFCW looks forward to working with Congress to pass a meaningful comprehensive immigration reform bill that works for the American worker.
“”We applaud Senators Reid, Schumer, and Menendez for their commitment to this important issue, and we call on both Democrats and Republicans to roll up their sleeves and to make real reform a reality.””
April 29, 2010

UFCW PRESIDENT CONDEMNS ARIZONA’S ANTI-IMMIGRANT LAW

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Joe Hansen released the following statement today denouncing Arizona’s controversial new immigration law:

“”Arizona’s new immigration law is unworkable, unconstitutional and it undermines our nation’s rich immigrant history and heritage. It is a recipe for racial profiling and a marked retreat from the values and ideals that have made America strong.

“”In recent years, the debate over immigration has grown increasingly inflammatory, polarizing, and, at times, it has run counter to our nation’s interests and our better instincts. This bill is the result of that divisive debate—and the product of political expediency at its worst.

“”The UFCW strongly denounces the legislation and urges the Department of Justice to aggressively challenge its constitutionality. We also urge Congress to lead on this critical issue at the federal level, where it belongs and where it can be addressed in a comprehensive, rational and productive manner.

“”All across the country, UFCW locals and our members are organizing and mobilizing their communities around the importance of comprehensive immigration reform and protecting workers’ constitutional rights.

“”America needs a 21st century immigration system that works for the American worker—a system where undocumented workers can come out of the shadows and get right with the law, a system where all workers can see their job and earnings prospects strengthened because bottom feeding employers are no longer given free reign to hire and abuse undocumented immigrants, and a system where all workers can speak up without fear of retaliation or discrimination.

“”Together, we can bring stability and security to our economy, to our borders and to our families.  Together, we can refocus this debate on real, meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform that restores the rule of law, respects the constitutional rights of all workers, and recognizes the incredible role that our nation’s diversity has played—and will continue to play—in making our communities strong and vibrant.””

April 28, 2010

UFCW, JBS get labor-management award

UFCW, JBS get labor-management award, Business First, April 16, 2010

April 28, 2010

Outlook for chicken industry just keeps getting better

Outlook for chicken industry just keeps getting better, Meatingplace, April 19, 2010

April 12, 2010

FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS JOIN NATIONAL EFFORT TO BRING FRESH FOOD AND GOOD JOBS TO FOOD DESERT NEIGHBORHOODS

(NEW YORK, NY) – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) proudly announces its support for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative legislation introduced today by New York legislators Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez (D-NY).

The legislation will provide $1 billion through loans and grants to help build approximately 2,100 new grocery stores in high need areas across the country, including an estimated 273 stores in New York City. The initiative would create an estimated 200,000 new jobs nationally.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a critical part of rejuvenating and revitalizing underserved neighborhoods both in terms of food quality and quality jobs that can support a family.

New York-based UFCW Local 1500 is a leading partner in the New York FRESH Initiative which serves as a model for the national legislation and has successfully launched two major supermarkets into previously underserved areas in the Bronx.  Those supermarkets also added hundreds of new jobs and subsequent income to area residents.

Supermarkets act as anchors for economic development in a neighborhood.  In community after community, good supermarket jobs provide workers with good wages, career opportunities and most importantly, quality health care coverage that is key to a healthy lifestyle.   UFCW members in New York and across the U.S. take pride in serving their customers with good food.   This national legislation will provide needed funding to expand those opportunities into even more markets.

The UFCW applauds Senator Gillibrand and Congresswoman Velasquez for their vision in bringing worker organizations together with the economic development leaders and health policy advocates to ensure that new food outlets also provide good career jobs and training opportunities for new employees.

We believe that working together works.  With the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, we will:

  • Create new jobs from building new supermarkets in underserved neighborhoods;
  • Create new jobs from operating those stores; and
  • Create new jobs from related development which will grow up and around the new stores.

All the while, providing millions of residents with access to good, healthy, affordable food.

April 8, 2010

OSHA 300 Logs: An Important Tool To Improve Safety and Ensure Accountability

 

Safety is one of the most important issues at any plant. Preventing injuries at the workplace is about identifying hazards and getting them fixed, and stewards play a particularly important role in making sure this happens.
Many workers are already familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a division within the U.S. Department of Labor that sets and enforces safety standards in the workplace.
These standards are the law and employers are required to comply with them. Among these requirements is the OSHA Form 300. Most employers with 10 or more full-time employees are required to file this form, which is a yearly log of work-related injuries.
Miguel Luna, a steward from UFCW Local 2, works in a plant in Guymon, Okla. He has been an active member of his plant’s safety committee for more than four years.
“I joined the safety committee to help to keep my coworkers safe. Together with other members, we have helped to improve safety at the plant. The OSHA 300 logs are fundamental for our mission. They help a lot,” Luna said.
OSHA mandates that employers record all new cases of work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses if they involve death, time away from work, restricted work, transfer from another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, loss of consciousness, or a significant injury or illness diagnosed by a physician or other licensed health care professional.
“An OSHA 300 log is where companies record the injuries that occur at the workplace,” said Luna. “By law, they have to report all the injuries to OSHA.”
The OSHA law gives workers and their unions the right to have access to injury logs.

 

Stewards, workers, and supervisors can use the OSHA 300 logs to help to improve safety in a food processing or meatpacking plant.
“At our plant, our safety committee meets once a month. We talk about how to improve safety at our plant,” said Luna. “The OSHA logs are very useful for those
of us on the committee, because we can see if we need to improve safety in one area or if we can do something different.”
Luna added that there have been several instances when the OSHA logs have helped the committee to improve safety at the plant.

 

“For example, if we see in the logs  that many injuries are occurring on the line due to an ergonomic issue, then we look into what is causing that issue, we investigate, and once we have reached a conclusion, we meet with the plant’s safety director,” he said.
Unfortunately, in some instances, workplace injuries are being under-counted. This year OSHA has enacted an enforcement program to review the logs and make certain that employers record all injuries.
Luna said that stewards play an important role in making sure employers keep the log current.
“As stewards, we have to review the logs to make sure injuries are being recorded in an accurate and proper way,” he said. “I recommend that stewards stay on top of things and check the logs on a regular basis.”
He said that if a steward suspects that an injury has been inaccurately reported in the OSHA logs, the best way to solve any discrepancy is to talk to the injured worker, get the facts, and talk to the plant’s safety manager or supervisors to try to clarify the issues.
For Luna, the most important thing to do if an injury occurs is to make sure that the affected worker fully recovers.
“Stewards should check back with the injured worker and follow up throughout his or her recovery. We have to support each other and that means making sure injured workers get the proper treatment,” he added.

April 6, 2010

In Maine, Last Sardine Cannery in the U.S. Is Clattering Out

In Maine, Last Sardine Cannery in the U.S. Is Clattering Out, New York Times, April 3, 2010