UFCW History

Historical Meat Packing Protest
Packing and Processing
It’s been more than 100 years since Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle exposed the terrible working conditions and unsanitary practices going on inside America’s meatpacking plants.
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Retail Clerks
The Retail Clerks International Union, then known as the Retail Clerks National Protective Union, was chartered by the American Federation of Labor in 1890.
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Meat Cutters
The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America (AMC & BW of NA) was chartered by the American Federation of Labor in 1897 with seven locals, five of them composed of mostly skilled retail workers.
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Footwear and Leatherworkers
During the 18th and 19th centuries, footwear and leather workers were known as cordwainers, and it was under that name that they first organized.
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Barbers and Beauticians
The history of the Barbers and Beauticians Association can be traced back to the formation of the American Federation of Labor itself.

While the history of the UFCW begins in 1979, the history of the various industries that make up our union is long and proud. The industries that UFCW members work in were involved in the earliest stages of trade unionism in North America, and many times these workers acted as a catalyst for early change within the labor community.

The progression the UFCW has experienced since its inception is due in large part to its extraordinary leaders. These men and women dedicated their lives to the Labor Movement, and pledged life-long service to UFCW members and all working people. As a result of their efforts, the workers of North America have initiated change and gained a strong voice on the job for themselves and for future generations.