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October 31, 2011

Apply Now for a Union Plus Scholarship!

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

Workers at Carroll, Iowa, Packing Plant Vote to Join UFCW Local 440

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

FARMLAND FOOD WORKERS SAY UFCW YES!

(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

JBS Workers in Michigan Vote Overwhelmingly to Join the UFCW

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

Statement by UFCW President Joe Hansen on Walmart

(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.””

October 20, 2011

UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION ENDORSES OBAMA 2012

(Washington, D.C.) – The following is a statement issued by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Joseph T. Hansen:

“”The 1.3 million members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) are ready to fight for the future of our country and to stand with leaders who will stand up for working families. President Barack Obama is that leader.

“”I am proud to announce that the UFCW is endorsing President Obama’s reelection campaign because our members understand how much is at stake in this election. President Obama has stood up for the jobless, the uninsured, the middle class taxpayer, Medicare recipients, working women, and accountability from Wall Street. UFCW members are ready to mobilize for the president and to elect more leaders who will stand with him in Congress and statehouses across the country.

“”Cashiers and grocery workers are ready to stand up to elect leaders who will ensure good jobs stay in their communities and that their children can achieve their dream for a better life. Meatpackers and food processors are ready to stand up to elect leaders who will keep fighting to hold Wall Street gamblers accountable to the home owners and retirees who have invested in their future and deserve security and honesty from financial institutions.

“”Working families are struggling during this recession – a recession created by Bush-era tax breaks, lack of financial regulation and unnecessary military escalation. Turning our economy around is going to take a tremendous effort – an effort that must be led by a president who speaks for the 99 percent of Americans who clock into work every morning, instead of those who simply watch stock tickers all day.

“”UFCW members are energized because corporate-backed politicians at the federal and state level have launched an all-out assault on working people. President Obama is fighting back.

“”UFCW members have never stopped fighting back in statehouses and in their communities. They are ready to win the fight for the White House in 2012. The UFCW will be mobilizing, organizing and energizing our members, their friends and families to keep President Obama in the White House and to elect a Congress that works hard for hard working Americans. Ours is an enthusiastic choice to stand with President Obama as he fights against political opposition that seeks to enrich a select few at the expense of millions of regular Americans.””

October 18, 2011

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT BY THE UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION

Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement issued by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union:

“The protest that began as Occupy Wall Street has now bloomed into a mass movement spanning more than 300 cities nationwide. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest corporate greed and demand good jobs now.

“The movement is spreading like wildfire, with Americans standing up for economic justice across the nation. This is a movement started by ordinary Americans, fed-up with the growing inequality in this country – people who simply want good jobs and a shot at the American Dream. The UFCW shares that vision for America.

“The people “occupying” cities across the country are workers, students, and the unemployed. They are our friends and relatives, our neighbors and co-workers. They are fighting for the same things we are: good jobs, fairness, and an end to corporate greed and attacks on workers.  And it’s part of a larger movement, one that started earlier this year as workers fought back against corporate greed and right-wing politicians in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and across the nation.

“In Wisconsin, hundreds of thousands of workers and outraged community members stormed the capitol in Madison after anti-worker politicians rammed through legislation attacking the rights of workers. In Ohio, over a million signatures were gathered to repeal Ohio’s SB 5. Corporate America has launched an unprecedented attack on our jobs and our rights, but the other 99% aren’t just rolling over.

“So exactly what do we – the 99% – have to be so angry about? To begin with: worker productivity has been rising over the past decade, but wages have remained stagnant while the cost of health care has skyrocketed, leaving the average American struggling to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the gap between the richest 1% and the rest of us has gotten even wider.

“What we have seen over the past few weeks is more and more ordinary Americans standing up and demanding their share of the success that’s being hoarded by the wealthiest 1% of the country. UFCW has been encouraging its members and local unions to join Occupy actions in their communities. We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with these brave Americans as they fight to make America a better, more just nation.”

October 7, 2011

UFCW STANDS WITH MEDICAL CANNABIS RETAIL WORKERS

(Washington, D.C.) – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the nation’s largest retail worker organization, demands an immediate end to the U.S. Attorney’s misguided prosecution of operators of small dispensaries of legal medical cannabis in California.

In the past year, thousands of hardworking and taxpaying medical cannabis industry workers have joined together with the UFCW in various states in order to protect their jobs in this emerging industry.   In today’s economy, hourly wage jobs like these that pay good wages with decent benefits are vital to keeping our economy afloat and families out of poverty.

At a time when the unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, our economy requires bold action from our government to create good family-sustaining jobs. The steps taken by the four California U.S. attorneys to send letters Wednesday and Thursday notifying at least 16 medical dispensaries and their landlords that they are violating federal drug laws would do just the opposite.

“I have a good middle class American Job with good health benefits and a pension that I can look forward to,” said Larry Richards, a UFCW Local 5 member and a manager at the Blue Sky Dispensary in Oakland, California. “Because of our industry and our union I am able to be a productive breadwinner and, as a person living with HIV since 1983, I have fought and struggled not to be a drain on society. I want to work, I want to be productive but now, they want to take my job and put me back on the rolls of Social Security.”

UFCW proudly stands with our members in the Humboldt Growers Association, the Citizens for Safer Neighborhoods Committee of Colorado, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, and our coalition partners in MendoGrown, the Patients Care Alliance, the National Cannabis Industry Association, and the Citizens Coalition for Patient Care.

Medical cannabis is a safe and effective treatment option for many serious medical conditions including cancer, and patients should not be forced to purchase their medicine from criminals, drug dealers, and thugs.  If the federal government closes commercial dispensaries and collectives in California, patients will have no safe access to their medication.  In addition, thousands of workers will be forced from their jobs in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

UFCW and our members are dedicated to a dignified, controlled, taxed, regulated, compliant, unionized medical cannabis industry.  We stand in solidarity with the workers and patients of the unionized medical cannabis industry.