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November 10, 2011

Statement from UFCW International President Joe Hansen on Election Results in Ohio

(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

NATIONAL BEEF WORKERS CHOOSE UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS FOR A UNION VOICE ON THE JOB

(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.””