In a recent article by Grocery Headquarters, a number of industry executives, specializing in various aspects of the business, gave their insights about what the fast-growing and ever-changing retail food industry will look like in 2020, and what needs to be done before then.
Our very own UFCW President Joe Hansen was one of the featured executives in the article. Here’s what Joe had to say:
“As we work toward 2020, strengthening the middle class is essential to rebuilding our economy, and retail employers must lead the way in making sure that retail jobs are good jobs with benefits so that more retail workers have a pathway to the middle-class.
In supermarkets across the country you will find United Food and Commercial Workers International Union members stocking the shelves, working the deli counters and cash registers, and carefully bagging groceries.
Despite the fragile economy, retail food jobs are growing and these jobs are setting the working and living standards for thousands of American workers. Moving forward, it is critically important that all employers in this industry compensate workers with the kind of pay and benefits that allow them to live in the middle class.
Academic studies, including a recent report by Demos, provide quantitative evidence that retailers, workers and the U.S. economy can benefit if retail companies invest in their workforce. According to the Demos report, raising wages for full-time retail workers at the nation’s largest retail companies (those employing at least 1,000 workers) would result in improving the lives of more than 1.5 million retail workers and their families who are currently living in or hovering above poverty.”
With the help of the union, many of these workers are enjoying good jobs, and in turn they work hard to ensure the success of their companies. But there is much more to be done in order for all working voices to be heard, and to ensure a bright future for the industry and America’s middle class.