December 1, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) — Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, today released the following statement after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) took a step toward approving a final rule to modernize the union election process and House Republicans passed legislation to block that rule.
“”The NLRBs proposed rule to streamline the vote for union representation would be a modest but important first step toward fixing a broken process that favors CEOs over workers. Justice delayed is justice denied, and that is too often the case for workers that file a union election petition. Many employers delay, delay, and delay some more through frivolous litigation and other procedural tactics. They use this time to intimidate, harass, and in some cases fire pro-union employees. The result is an unfair election or no election at all. This proposed rule would ensure that when a majority of workers want to have a voice on the job, they will be able to do so, free of interference.
“”With the rule not even finalized, House Republicans have continued their assault on workers by passing legislation to block it. It is the latest act by a party more committed to denying the rights of workers to stick together than fixing the economy and creating jobs. Like the rest of the extreme anti-worker measures passed by the House, we expect this one will be given a quick death in the Senate.
“Union contracts offer the best opportunity for stable, middle-class jobs. The NLRB is charged with protecting the right of every American to bargain for a better life. This proposed rule would do just that. It should be adopted.””
November 10, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) — Following is a statement from Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union on the election results in Ohio:
“”The repeal of Senate Bill 5 is bigger than just one law or one state. It sends a message to all those who would try to silence the voice of American workers: you do so at your own peril. It shows that the right to bargain collectively for a better life is fundamental—not some perk that can be stripped away on a whim. The votes cast today in Columbus and Cleveland and everywhere in between will have aftershocks in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Washington D.C.
“”America’s working families want a good job that pays a fair wage, decent affordable health care, access to a quality education for their kids, and a little money left in the bank so they can retire with dignity. They also understand that the economic mess we find ourselves in today was caused by Wall Street, not Main Street. They know the guilty parties are speculators and predatory lenders, not teachers and first responders. Extreme politicians like Governor Kasich are waging war on the middle class.
“”Today’s vote shows that we are fighting back. And better yet, we are winning. I am proud of the UFCW and its members for their great work in Ohio. We understand that an attack on one worker—whether public or private sector, union or non-union—is an attack on all workers. We are proud to be part of diverse coalition of activists, including the entire labor movement, who dedicated countless hours to the fight for workers’ rights in Ohio.
“”Tonight we know that America’s middle class will no longer sit idly by. The silent majority is silent no more. Every elected official that would do us harm should take notice.””
November 7, 2011
(Dodge City, Kan.) – A majority of the 2,500 workers at National Beef’s Dodge City, Kansas beef slaughter and processing facility voted to join UFCW District Local 2, in an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, on Thursday and Friday, November 3 and 4, 2011.
The workers’ campaign began when several National Beef workers contacted the UFCW seeking a union voice on the job. At that time, National Beef and the UFCW agreed on a fair and balanced process that allowed employees to vote on whether or not they wanted union representation. UFCW represents the workers at a neighboring Cargill beef slaughter and processing plant in Dodge City.
“Helping to organize my co-workers into a union was a life changing journey,” said Rebecca McGary, a worker in the fabrication department at National Beef.
“We know that workers at Cargill, just down the street from National Beef, have had a contract with Local 2 for many years – and that means they have always had a say in their wages, benefits and working conditions,” said Ramon Prieto who works on the kill floor at National Beef and who took a leading role in organizing his co-workers. “That’s why I voted to join the UFCW, so that we all will have a chance to negotiate benefits and salaries, job security, and a better life for our families.”
The National Beef workers are the latest in a series of meatpacking workers to join the UFCW at locations across the country. On October 19, approximately 1,000 workers at a JBS beef kill facility in Plainwell, Michigan joined UFCW Local 951. On October 25, 125 workers at a Farmland Foods facility in Carroll, Iowa joined UFCW Local 440. And in late September, 300 workers at Nebraska Prime in Hastings, Nebraska joined UFCW Local 293.
November 2, 2011
Statement from Joe Hansen, UFCW International President on Trusteeship of UFCW Local 348S in Brooklyn, New York
(Washington, D.C.) — Following is a statement from Joe Hansen, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) International President on the trusteeship of UFCW Local 348S:
“”The UFCW International Union took action today to place UFCW Local 348S of Brooklyn, New York, under trusteeship. Our primary objective is protecting the local union’s members. We will assure that their contracts, benefits, and benefit funds are protected and provide the level of service Local 348S members deserve from their union. We will also assure that the union’s finances are in order and all assets secured.
“”The president and secretary-treasurer of Local 348S were charged last week with violations of federal criminal laws related to their work as local union leaders. The International Union obtained an order from a New York federal court enforcing the trusteeship. The trusteeship assures that the local union’s assets and resources are protected and that members are properly represented. It ensures that the local leadership’s defense of the criminal charges do not interfere in any way with the local union’s ability to represent its members. All contracts affecting wages and benefits for Local 348S members remain in effect.
“”The UFCW International Union has a responsibility to serve the more than 13,000 members of this local union to the best of our ability and we will do so. I have appointed UFCW International Vice President Richard Whalen, Trustee of Local 348S.””
October 31, 2011
Applications are now open for the 2012 Union Plus Scholarship Program, which provides $150,000 in scholarships to union members, their spouses and dependents.
In addition to demonstrating academic ability, applicants are required to submit essays of no more than 500 words describing their career goals, detailing their relationship with the union movement and explaining why they are deserving of a union scholarship.
Individuals must be accepted into an accredited college or university, community college or recognized technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Graduate school students are also eligible for Union Plus Scholarships. There is no requirement to have participated in any Union Plus program in order to apply.
Nearly 2,100 students in union families have received money for college through the Union Plus Scholarship Program. This year’s application is entirely online—allowing students to complete their application over time and save their responses. The application deadline is January 31, 2012. To apply, please visit www.UnionPlus.org/Education.
October 27, 2011
Statement from Joe Hansen, UFCW International President on Department of Justice Indictment of UFCW Local 348 Leadership
(Washington, D.C.) — Following is a statement from Joe Hansen, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) International President on the Department of Justice’s indictment of UFCW Local 348 leadership:
“”This morning, the UFCW International Union sent staff persons to the offices of UFCW Local 348 to ensure that UFCW members are protected and represented.
“”These are very serious charges and the UFCW International Union will cooperate fully with the Department of Justice in whatever way is necessary.
“”The UFCW International Union has its own internal review and investigation procedures for local union operations and representation matters. Those procedures had not been activated by any membership complaints or other actions that would have signaled a cause for concern.
“”UFCW Local 348 members can be assured that the International Union takes their representation seriously and is taking action immediately to see that they have the full support of the International Union.””
October 27, 2011
More than 125 workers at the Farmland Food meatpacking plant in Carroll, Iowa, voted Tuesday for a voice on the job with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 440. The vote adds the Farmland workers in Carroll to the Farmland Denison workers already represented by UFCW Local 440.
“Im proud that my coworkers stood together to get a long-awaited voice on the job here in Carroll,” said Gary Schaefer, a mechanic in the plant. “We won our union voice by using worksite solidarity among workers from all parts of the world. Our cross-cultural unity was key to bringing everyone together.”
Saul Trevino, a receiving dock employee, said, “Together, we talked to each other about organizing and how together wed be able to advocate for better working conditions for everyone in the plant. Im glad were now UFCW Local 440 just like the Farmland workers in Denison.”
UFCW Local 440 represents 1200 workers in western Iowa in the meatpacking and food processing industry.
October 26, 2011
(Denison, Iowa) – More than 125 workers at the Farmland Food meatpacking plant in Carroll, Iowa, voted yesterday for a voice on the job with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 440.
Yesterday’s vote adds the Farmland workers in Carroll to the Farmland Denison workers already represented by UFCW Local 440.
“”Im proud that my coworkers stood together to get a long-awaited voice on the job here in Carroll,”” said Gary Schaefer, a mechanic in the plant. “”We won our union voice by using worksite solidarity among workers from all parts of the world. Our cross-cultural unity was key to bringing everyone together.””
Saul Trevino, a receiving dock employee, said, “”Together, we talked to each other about organizing and how together wed be able to advocate for better working conditions for everyone in the plant. Im glad were now UFCW Local 440 just like the Farmland workers in Denison.””
UFCW Local 440 represents 1200 workers in western Iowa in the meatpacking and food processing industry.
October 21, 2011
On October 19, 1000 an overwhelming majority of workers at the JBS slaughterhouse and production facility in Plainwell, Mich., voted to join UFCW Local 951. Workers said they wanted a union voice on the job in order to address unjust terminations, unsafe working conditions, and an unfair compensation system where new employees were earning more than workers with more than 15 years of service to the company.
“This win feels great,” said Troy Schlotterback, a JBS employee and a part of the organizing committee. “I come from a union family and I have worked in a union plant in the past. I have seen, first hand, what a union can do for the middle class.”
“I am surprised and happy by the win,” said Li Lin Thang, who has worked for JBS for three years. The bad working conditions and discrimination will finally be gone, I feel free now.”
JBS is the world’s largest processor of fresh beef and pork, with more than US$30 billion in annual sales as of 2010. JBS acquired this Packerland plant in 2008. During the workers’ campaign, JBS allowed a free and fair process for workers to decide whether they wanted union representation. The campaign was similar to previous JBS campaigns in Hyrum, Utah and Souderton, Penn.
Workers at the West Michigan plant will join with 28,000 other JBS workers who already enjoy the benefits of UFCW union representation on the job.
October 21, 2011
(Washington, D.C.) — The following is a statement from UFCW International President Joseph T. Hansen on Walmart’s plan to roll back health care coverage for part time workers:
“”Walmart’s plan to roll back health care coverage for part-time workers and raise premiums for full-time employees should set off alarm bells for American workers. This lowering of working standards will have repercussions throughout the retail industry—particularly for part-time workers.
“”Retail jobs are the jobs of the future. In fact, retail is one of the only sectors of our economy that’s growing. Many of those jobs will be part-time. Much like manufacturing once did, retail jobs will define how it is to live and work in America in the 21st Century. It’s critically important that retail employers compensate their workers with pay and benefits that allow them to live in the middle class.
“”That’s why retail workers have been sticking together in their union for decades. Together in the UFCW, they’ve bargained good health care coverage for more part-timers than any other union. In doing so, they’ve brought up the economic standards for hundreds of thousands of workers, their families, and communities.
“”Yet today, many retail workers are forced to work two or more jobs to make ends meet, partly due to the fact that companies are moving to a part-time model. Outside of companies where workers have a union voice on the job, most retail part-time jobs do not come with the benefits that workers need to take care of their families. So, despite working multiple jobs, many workers must rely on government health care or go without.
“”As the largest retail employer in the country, Walmart could – and should – lead the way in making sure that retail jobs are good jobs—the kind that come with good benefits and wages for all workers. That’s why for years, the UFCW has fought to change companies like Walmart and push them to be more responsible employers. A few years ago, when the public learned that many of its workers were on Medicaid because they could not afford the company’s health care plan or did not qualify to be on it, the UFCW and our community partners pressured Walmart to make a commitment to expand their health care coverage for part time workers.
“”But it looks like Walmart is once again succumbing to corporate greed, and putting profits ahead of people. The Waltons are one of the wealthiest families in the country; they own the largest corporation in America, and that means they have a responsibility to provide good jobs and help shore up our middle class – not take advantage of the economic crisis. We at the UFCW call on the Waltons and Walmart to provide good jobs with affordable health care benefits for part-timers and full-timers alike. It’s the right thing to do for the future of our economy, our country, and our communities.””