June, 2011

UFCW Statement on the Proposed NLRB Rule that would Standardize the Representation Election Process

Today’s proposed rule from the National Labor Relations Board comes down to basic fairness on the job. When workers choose to vote to form a union on the job, the vote shouldnt be plagued by delays, bureaucracy or obstacles. Working people are already struggling. And, theyre waiting and wondering when the economy will recover to a point that therell be enough stable, middle class jobs in their communities.  They shouldnt have to struggle to get a union voice on the job. They shouldnt have to wait and wonder when theyll get justice on the job.

Just ask the workers at the 2 Sisters Food Group plant in Riverside, California. When a majority decided they wanted a union voice in their workplace, their employer used the lengthy timeline of the NLRB election process to mount a vicious harassment and intimidation campaign. Instead of investing in their workforce, they hired anti-worker consultants. They distributed anti-union flyers. They forced attendance at daily anti-union meetings. They insisted on including leads who appeared to be supervisors in the unit, which workers agreed to, in order to avoid a lengthy pre-election litigation delay.

As Election Day neared, bosses escalated their campaign by hiring uniformed security guards to monitor the comings and goings of every worker. They illegally fired five workers for their union support-one just a week before the election. When the voting came, off-shift workers were forced to wait at a parking lot gate and then personally escorted one by one to the ballot box by the company CEO, then escorted off company grounds.

The harassment, intimidation and illegal firings were too much.  Workers feared for their livelihoods, and they narrowly lost their bid for a union.

Todays proposed rule is an acknowledgment that the pressure and bullying 2 Sisters workers encountered shouldnt happen in an American workplace or at an American ballot box. American workers have the right to vote on whether to form a union; and the election process should be straightforward and streamlined; it shouldnt involve long delays nor require workers to navigate a legal maze.


Food & Commercial Workers Denounce Slashing of Federal Food Safety Budget

WASHINGTON, DC—The following is a statement from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union:

“Yesterday, Republicans in the House of Representatives slashed millions of dollars from the budget of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food safety programs. This bill, which not one Democrat voted for, put’s the safety of American families and food supply at risk by slashing funding for food inspections and safety.

“Americans have faced a veritable deluge of food safety problems over the last decade in products as varied as peanuts, spinach and tomatoes. The Obama administration led the charge to ensure for adequate inspection and regulation to keep our dinner table safe, but House Republicans are undoing that hard work by gutting the funding for a safer food supply. Around 48,000,000 Americans get sick from their food every year, yet House Republicans don’t see food safety as an issue worth funding.

“We work across the food industry – in meat, poultry, food processing, canning and produce – but we’re especially concerned that the new bill may cause furloughs for meat and poultry inspectors. These inspectors play a vital role in the functioning of one of America’s largest export industries. Our workers in the processing and packing industries depend on their involvement to insure a safe product for their customers. Lax inspections could also have a negative effect on American food exports at a time when our economy is already struggling. We need to fully fund the food safety bill and ensure a food supply that Americans can count on for the future.”


The UFCW, Smithfield and Food Network

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – (June 17, 2011) – Delighted to join TODAY’s 10th annual “Lend a Hand” campaign with Al Roker, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and Smithfield delivered 120,000 servings of protein to benefit Covenant House of West Virginia and other local charitable agencies at Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences, 300 Leon Sullivan Way, at 7:00 a.m.

Covenant House, the final stop on the “Lend a Hand” philanthropic tour, is a multi-faceted, nonprofit organization that offers a variety of assistance services to the Charleston community.  In addition to a food pantry that provides nearly 5,000 meals annually, Covenant House services include a day shelter, community housing, housing assistance and community resource education.

“Feeding the Hungry” is a joint program of the UFCW and Smithfield to donate and help deliver 20 million servings of protein over three years to assistance organizations around the country. The partnership is designed to bring much needed assistance to the growing number of people facing hunger and food insecurity in our communities.

“Last year we fed over 6 million people and as we take our nationwide Feeding the Hungry Tour on the road for the second year, the UFCW is committed to ensuring that families across the country have the relief and the opportunities they need to weather the current economic crises,” said Joe Hansen, UFCW international president. “All across the country, UFCW members are on the frontlines of efforts to improve and strengthen their communities, and this partnership reflects their unwavering commitment to protect and advocate for families during tough times.”

“Smithfield is proud to continue the second year of our hunger relief tour.  We’re well on our way to feeding 20 million people,” said Dennis Pittman, public affairs director, Smithfield.  “We hope to continue increasing awareness and encourage individuals and companies to donate to their local food banks.”