January, 2013

Joe Hansen Weighs in on President Obama’s Immigration Speech

LAS VEGAS, NV — Joe Hansen, International President of the UFCW, today released the following statement after attending President Obama’s immigration speech in Las Vegas.

“I agree with President Obama—the time to reform our broken immigration system is now. The plan unveiled yesterday by a bipartisan group of Senators is a good start and they should get to work right away drafting legislation. The UFCW strongly supports comprehensive immigration reform that treats all immigrants with respect and dignity and creates a modern, 21st century system that reflects our values. Reform should include a roadmap to citizenship for those already here, an effective mechanism for determining employment eligibility, smart and humane border enforcement, and a fair process for allocating employment based visas. This issue is personal for UFCW members. Many watched in horror during the 2006 ICE raids as hundreds of documented and undocumented workers were detained and harassed just for doing their jobs. Our nation is better than that. We must be a land of opportunity for all those who work hard in pursuit of the American Dream. Passing comprehensive immigration reform will allow us to do that.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

“The Decision is Misguided:” Joe Hansen on U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit’s Ruling on President Obama’s Recess Appointment to the NLRB

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s ruling on President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“This decision is misguided. When President Obama made appointments to the NLRB during a Congressional recess he was merely exercising his Constitutional authority. The real issue here is the Senate’s inability to confirm qualified nominees. Senate Republicans, aided by a broken rules system, are carrying the water of big business and denying workers and unions a fair shake. This entire fiasco underscores the need for true filibuster reform and proves that the modest agreement on Senate rules reached yesterday is nowhere near good enough.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.


Labor Mourns Another Leader: Inez McCormack

Inez McCormack, an influential trade unionist in northern Ireland, has passed away. Inez was a dedicated campaigner of women’s rights, and was considered a friend by notable female leaders such as Hilary Clinton and Meryl Streep, who portrayed Inez in a 2010 play about influential women.  In 2011, she was also featured in Newsweek‘s “150 Women Who Shake the World”.

Among the many contributions Inez made to society in her lifetime, are her activism in the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement in northern Ireland, her work for The National Union of Public Employees and Unison, and her achievements as the first female president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU). Her position here enabled her to make “unequaled” progress in the women’s and human rights, according to her peers, including getting higher wages for women in low-paying jobs. In fact her work towards social justice and labor rights has effected people around the globe.

In the 1980’s, she was a signatory to the historic MacBride Principles, a corporate code of conduct for US companies investing in Northern Ireland which demanded outcomes to address religious inequality in employment. She was also the founder of the “groundbreaking” Participation and the Practice of Rights organisation (PPR), which provides support to local disadvantaged communities and groups in using a rights based approach to change the social and economic inequalities and deprivation they face.

What made Inez so successful in her role as a labor leader and activist was her “unstinting passion”. When, after portraying Inez in the play “SEVEN”, Meryl Streep asked her why she did the work she did, Inez replied, “at the heart of everything, I desire to see the glint in a woman’s eye who thought she was nobody, when she realises that she is somebody.” The many people who’s lives were made better by the work that Inez did are saddened by her death, but know that her spirit will forever remain among workers and union members.

Hilary Clinton noted that in one of their last conversations, Inez had “wanted to talk about how we had to keep working to bring people together so that they would recognize the common humanity and experience in the other; the fact that they want to be part of a family and a community; have a good job and a livelihood; a chance to learn and try to make sense of the world; to seek meaning and fulfillment in their choice of religious faith and practice” and that she said “there are so many more ties that bind us than divide us.”

For more information about the impact that Inez had on the labor world, click here.