We’re the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW), a proud union family of 1.3 million hard-working men and women working together to provide a better life for our families and yours.
Who We Represent
More than 70% of the beef American families eat is produced by our members at UFCW-represented packing plants.
Your Friends and Neighbors
Everyday, our incredible UFCW members provide the ingredients for daily life to tens of millions of families all across America and Canada. From your favorite retail stores, to local supermarkets, pharmacies, health care, food and meat processing, and manufacturing, we’re proud to help serve and feed the neighbors we call home, and the communities we call home. In fact, we work hard because we know the people we serve work hard.
It’s also why, as members of the UFCW, we believe that hard work should be rewarded with a better life. Working together, we’re united behind one goal: to improve the lives of working and middle-class families all across America and Canada who needlessly struggle alone.
If you’re a member, let us know how we can help and get better.
If you’re not a member, and you want a better life, reach out to us. Let us earn your trust and prove to you how, together, we can make a difference in your life.
We’re There For You Every Day
Being there for you and your family is something the UFCW does everyday – for our members and the millions of customers we’re lucky to serve. Providing good value, and reflecting the values of what makes our nation great – we’re proud to work in some amazing stores and companies that you depend on.
Our members work at your favorite grocery chains—like Kroger (including Fred Meyer, Ralphs and King Soopers), Albertsons (including Safeway, Vons, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Cars, Pavilion, Acme, Shaw’s, Star, Jewel-Osco and Lucky), Supervalu (Cub Foods, Rainbow, and Shoppers Food)—and our processing facilities make some of our most iconic foods.
In fact, whether it’s Campbell’s soup, Welch’s jelly, Kraft mac and cheese, or Quaker Oats—it’s the hard work of UFCW members behind the scenes that helps put some of our nation’s favorite foods on the kitchen table.
Our work helps ensure that the food and snacks your family loves are prepared safely and with care.
But our work doesn’t stop there.
If you’ve filled a prescription at CVS or Rite Aid, or bought back-to-school clothes at Macy’s, Bloomingdales, or H&M, there is a pretty good chance a UFCW member was there to help you and ring you up.
And, whether you like pork, beef, or chicken, more than 70% of the beef and 60% of the pork you and millions of US families consume is processed by our great members at UFCW-represented packing plants.
You may know it, but you would be hard pressed to find a single home in the US or Canada that doesn’t contain at least one food, drug, or product that has passed through a UFCW member’s hands.
It’s why our members are so proud of what they do, and why we are so passionate that every hard-working man and women deserves a better life.
Our Value to You
Every hard-working family, no matter where they live, has earned the right to a better life.
Standing Up for Hard-Working Men and Women
The truth is that millions of non-union workers struggle alone. They feel trapped working for bad employers who ignore the fact that it’s the men and women who work every day who make their companies a success. Bad jobs defined by poor wages, no benefits, erratic schedules, discrimination, dangerous workplace, and so much more — we believe this can change.
Better wages, better benefits, schedules that give working people control over their lives, and safe and just workplaces are what is possible when we all stand together.
Better wages let you build the kind of life you’ve earned, one where you can support those you love and plan your future responsibly. Better benefits give you the peace of mind of knowing you can see a doctor if you need to, or can have a day off with a sick child when you need one. And better schedules give you the ability to spend time with friends and family or attend classes so you can pursue your dreams.
A better life comes from the power of standing together. And it’s what our union family fights for every day.
For our members, we negotiate better lives for our union family and work with irresponsible employers to help make them more responsible employers.
For nonmembers who want a better life, we’re here to make a real difference in the lives of those workers who want to make their employers better and are tired of struggling alone.
Making an Impact UFCW Members Are Hard at Work in Their Communities
Find out what UFCW members are doing to make real change for their customers, their co workers, and their communities.
Making a positive impact in the lives of others isn’t easy, but we’re committed to improving our communities, and the lives of our customers and co-workers. From helping feed the hungry to working together with employers to make positive change, we know the power we all have to make a difference in the lives others.
Working Together to Make a Difference: Reducing Workplace Injuries
Up until 1989, repetitive stress injuries were a major issue in meat packing plants, and ergonomics was seldom talked about. Distressed by the high injury rate in the plants, the UFCW partnered with Tyson, one of the leading meat processing companies, to pioneer a groundbreaking safety program that within the first two years of its implementation, resulted in a 73% drop in reported injuries and illnesses requiring a doctor and a 67% drop in injuries and illnesses reported overall.
Over the past 25 years, the program has revolutionized the industry, combining cutting edge technology with worker training and expertise to dramatically reduce the number of injuries on the job and raising the bar for all packing and processing facilities.
Working to Feed the Hungry
As America’s food union, we believe no one in America should go hungry. Whether though legislation or through volunteering and food drives, supporting anti-poverty, anti-hunger and nutrition programs is not only the right thing to do, it’s a passion for our members.
Over the years, we’ve worked with a diverse coalition of progressive partners, community groups, and leading food companies to help address the food crisis in our communities. We’ve worked together to donate millions of servings of high-quality and much needed protein to local food banks through programs like Feeding the Hungry and Stamp Out Hunger. As part of efforts, we’ve also teamed up with Postal Workers in the “Stamp Out Hunger” initiative — America’s largest food drive — which in 2016 helped provide millions of critical food products to local food banks all across the country.
Our efforts don’t end there. We’ve organized our members to speak out and help lead the legislative fight to make labor standards part of regional food system plans and fought steep cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) funding.
UFCW Charity Foundation
As members of the UFCW, we know how important it is to give back, and we’re proud of our national leading efforts to combat cancer and help educate our youth. Through the Charity Foundation, the UFCW is one the largest charity donors to help find a cure for cancer, helping raise millions for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
A National Leader in the Fight Against Cancer
Over the past three decades, the UFCW has raised more than $60 million dollars to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s efforts to invest in research to advance lifesaving treatments and cures, and to provide free information and support services to blood cancer patients and their families around the world. Together in this special partnership, LLS and the UFCW are truly helping blood cancer patients live better, longer lives.
Helping Educate Our Youth
The UFCW’s Charity Foundation Scholarship initiative provides educational scholarships for UFCW members and their children.
The great part of being a member of our union family is that our members stand up and are always ready to give back. In fact, thanks to the amazing generosity of UFCW members and local unions across the US and Canada, as well as the philanthropy of UFCW vendors, service providers, and corporate partners, the UFCW Charity Foundation is able to fulfill our broad mission of bettering the lives of others across our communities. .
UFCW Elected Leaders Every 5 years, the UFCW International holds a convention and elects its next leaders
Marc began his career working part-time in a grocery store as a teenager, and through decades of service, working hard to better the lives of fellow members of our union family, was elected International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
His election to UFCW International President in 2014, following a decade of service as the UFCW’s Secretary-Treasurer, is the capstone of a lifelong career in the service of hard-working families. Now at the helm of one of the country’s most diverse and dynamic labor unions, Marc’s bold leadership and vision is defining a new direction for the UFCW that remains committed to the values the UFCW will always stand for.
At the heart of Marc’s philosophy is his fundamental belief that our members are the strength of our union family and that we are stronger when we stand together. To better the lives of others, we must be willing to think differently and champion the issues that matter most to our members.
Marc brings more than four decades of experience to his position. He joined the Retail Clerks – which later became the UFCW – in 1971 while working as a part-time clerk at Weingarten’s food store in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He learned firsthand the power we have to negotiate better lives when we stand together. Marc honed his union organizing skills while working on campaigns across the country on behalf of diverse workers who had earned a better life and deserved someone to fight for them.
Marc has served in many leadership capacities within the UFCW. He was elected to the UFCW International Union Executive Committee in February 2000 and elected Secretary-Treasurer in 2004.
As Secretary-Treasurer, Marc knew as our union’s financial strength grows, so does our strength at the bargaining table. Under his guidance, the UFCW streamlined finances to transition to a union with a renewed focus on organizing and enabled the UFCW’s collective bargaining and political programs to transform the lives of working people. He was also responsible for the stewardship of the pension funds that will enable UFCW members to live out their retirement years in security and with dignity.
Marc paid his way through college while working in a grocery store and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies. Over the course of his career, he sought additional educational opportunities and continued his education in economics, capital markets, and public policy.
You can follow Marc on Twitter @Marc_Perrone
UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther López is a leading champion of working men and women, immigrants, and all families seeking a better life. For decades, she has worked tirelessly to bring social and economic justice to every corner of the United States and beyond.
López began with the UFCW in November 2006 when she was hired as Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department. In that role, she has helped put the UFCW on the front lines of the most crucial civil rights battles of our time—fighting back against voter suppression, working to end exploitation of refugees from countries like Burma, Sudan and Somalia, creating more opportunities for women, and expanding LGBT equality.
López is best known for her leadership on comprehensive immigration reform, recognizing the issue as central to civil, human, and labor rights. After President Obama announced relief from deportation for the parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, López launched a program to ensure eligible UFCW members were first in line to apply. Prior to that, she spearheaded the Union Citizenship Action program, also known as UCAN, to help UFCW members become naturalized and get on the path to citizenship. López was the lead staff person on the UFCW Commission on ICE Enforcement that highlighted civil rights abuses in the 2006 Swift raids. All along, López has never lost focus on the broader goal of giving aspiring Americans the chance to become citizens and ensuring all workers are protected from exploitation.
López has also helped lead the transformation of the UFCW into a more diverse union. As part of this effort, she developed and administered two diversity surveys that asked important questions about how to make the UFCW leadership more reflective of its membership. Since López took the helm of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department, more women and minorities have been hired and promoted into positions of power. She also oversaw the launch of the UFCW’s first-ever LGBT constituency group-OUTreach.
Prior to her career at the UFCW, López played an active role in improving labor conditions within the state of Illinois, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Labor, as well as in the governor’s cabinet as Director of the Illinois Department of Labor.
López currently serves on the national boards of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service,Jobs With Justice, Center for Community Change, National Consumers League, and Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.
Executive Vice Presidents
National President, UFCW Canada
Executive Vice President, UFCW International
Paul R. Meinema is the National President of UFCW Canada — the country’s leading and most progressive private-sector union with more than 250,000 members from coast to coast. Paul is also Executive Vice President, UFCW International and a member of the UFCW International Executive Committee.
Paul’s dedication to UFCW spans four decades, going back to the early 1980s when he first volunteered to serve his co-workers as a shop steward while working on the floor at the Fletcher’s meat processing plant in Red Deer, Alberta. Over the next six years, he also served as a member of various workplace committees, as well as a community labour rights activist.
In 1990, Paul was hired as a local union staff representative at UFCW Canada Local 1118, and was part of the team that successfully organized the Cargill packing plant in High River, Alberta. A year later, in 1991 he joined the UFCW Canada national office with responsibilities as an organizer and International Representative for Atlantic Canada.
In 1995, Paul returned to Western Canada as an International Representative assigned to Saskatchewan. In 2002, he was elected as President of UFCW Canada Local 1400 — the largest private-sector union local in the province.
In 2009, Paul R. Meinema moved from his Local 1400 presidency to join the UFCW Canada national leadership team as Executive Assistant to the National President. In 2013, Paul R. Meinema was elected UFCW Canada National President, and UFCW International Executive Vice President.
In addition to his role as UFCW Canada National President and UFCW International Executive Vice President, Paul also serves as a trustee of the UFCW Saskatchewan Dental Plan; as Canadian Sector Representative on the Board of Directors of the International Foundation of Benefits; and as a trustee of various UFCW Canada benefit and pension plans.
Executive Vice President
President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
UFCW Executive Vice President Stuart Appelbaum first became involved in the labor movement because he believed that the best way to end injustice is by organizing people for change.
As President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), he has been a transformative labor leader and improved the lives of thousands of workers across the country.
Appelbaum ascended to the presidency of the RWDSU in May of 1998 and has been reelected four times since then by the members of the union.
During that time, the union has secured contracts for retail workers and other workers that have raised industry standards for scheduling, wages, benefits, and a variety of job protections.
Appelbaum is known for championing new models of organizing, and has given a strong union voice to many of the most vulnerable workers in the United States.
He has greatly increased the influence of the RWDSU and UFCW as forces for economic justice and social progress, forging deep alliances with the progressive movement, the civil rights movement, the immigrant rights movement, the faith community, and the LGBT movement.
In 2010, Appelbaum oversaw the successful strike at Mott’s Applesauce in upstate New York, a strike that generated national attention for the RWDSU and led to a strong new contract with wage hikes and benefit increases for more than 300 RWDSU members who are Mott’s workers.
To bridge the gap between union and nonunion retail, Appelbaum launched the Retail Action Project (RAP), a member-based organization with the mission of building worker power through collective action, elevating industry standards, and promoting family-sustaining jobs.
Under Appelbaum’s leadership, the RWDSU has also successfully pushed the New York City Council to pass the strongest municipal living wage law in the country, and secured numerous contracts for car wash workers, setting a new precedent for a previously unorganized workforce.
Appelbaum has been a leading national critic of Walmart’s harmful business model and mistreatment of workers, and has defeated Walmart’s numerous efforts in recent years to enter New York City, the largest and most coveted retail market in the United States.
A strong believer in the importance of political action and engagement, Appelbaum has turned the RWDSU’s electoral endorsement into a must-have for many Democrats in competitive races.
Appelbaum is an active member of the Democratic National Committee, serving on its Executive Committee, and as Vice Chair of the DNC Labor Council. Appelbaum has been elected a delegate to every Democratic National Convention since 1992. In 2008, he served as a member of the Electoral College as an Obama elector from New York.
Appelbaum is a Vice President of the national AFL-CIO and a member of the Federation’s Executive Council.
He is also the President of the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), the voice of the Jewish community in the labor movement and the voice of the labor movement in the Jewish community, and Senior Advisor to the UFCW’s LGBT constituency group OUTreach.
Appelbaum is, in addition, an officer of two global union federations: IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations) and UNI (Union Network International).
Before joining the RWDSU, he worked for the Michigan State AFL-CIO.
Prior to that, he served as Chief House Counsel of the DNC, and as Executive Assistant to the Connecticut Secretary of the State.
Appelbaum graduated with honors from Harvard Law School, and summa cum laude from Brandeis University, where he was named a Louis Dembitz Brandeis Scholar and was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
He is a member of the bar of Connecticut.
Executive Vice President
UFCW Executive Vice President Shaun Barclay has been a member of UFCW for 47 years, serving as shop steward for 7 years, rank and file bargaining committee and strike captain.
He has been a full-time representative for more than 35 years serving as organizer, local union president, executive assistant to the director of organizing, and Region Director representing 278,000 members in the 10 Western states stretching from Alaska to Mexico to the Rockies. Shaun is now leading the UFCW’s national growth efforts as Director of Organizing, a position he assumed early in 2015.
Under his leadership, the Arizona local union became the largest private sector union in the state, growing from 6,000 to 12,000 members. Barclay led a drive that successfully organized 56 non-union stores in less than two years.
While serving as Director of Region 5 in Texas, his staff organized the first Wal-Mart meat department in the United States in Jacksonville, Texas.
Barclay’s father is a retired member of the United Auto Workers and his mother was a retired member of the American Federation of Teachers in Kansas City, MO.