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February 18, 2018

Save money on tax prep with 15% off TaxACT or $20 off Turbotax

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Did you know your UFCW membership gives you access to a number of money saving coupons and discounts? Right now, UFCW members can save up to $20 on TurboTax Federal Products or 15% off at TaxACT.

To receive discounts, register for an account and then log in to view not only savings on tax preparation, but also child care, groceries, car rental, and much more!

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February 15, 2018

Black History Month: Addie Wyatt

Earlier this Black History Month, we wrote about Russell Lasley of United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), one of the most progressive champions for civil rights in the labor movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Lasley was instrumental in the development and implementation of the anti-discrimination programs of the UPWA. This week, we pay tribute to Addie Wyatt, another leader who got her start through union activism at the UPWA and continued her fight for workers’ rights during the height of the American Feminist Movement.

Early Life

Addie Loraine Cameron, better known as Addie L. Wyatt (1924 –2012), was born in Mississippi and moved to Chicago with her family in 1930.  When she was 17 years old, she began working in the meatpacking industry.  Although she applied for a job as a typist for Armour and Company, African American women were barred from holding clerical positions at the time. Instead, she was sent to the canning department to pack stew in cans for the army.

Due to a contract between Armour and the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), she ending up earned more working on the packinghouse floor canning stew than she would have made working as a typist, and joined the UPWA after learning that the union did not discriminate against its members.

“I was impressed,” said Wyatt in an interview with Alice Bernstein in 2005.  “How could two young black women meet with two white bosses and achieve the success that we had achieved at that time? I was told that it was because of the union. It was a violation of the union contract…I was really moved to the extent that I wanted to do something to help this union. I didn’t know what the union was. But I know that I needed help and here was the place that I could get that help. I knew that I wanted to help other workers, and I found out that I could help them by joining with them and making the union strong and powerful enough to bring about change.”

Rising Through the Ranks

In 1953, she was elected vice president of UPWA Local 56. In 1954, she became the first woman president of the local, and was soon tapped to serve as an international representative. She held this position through the 1968 merger of UPWA and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen until 1974, when she became director of the newly formed Women’s Affairs Department.

Addie Wyatt, of the United Packinghouse Worker’s Association, is shown seated at a desk speaking during the Merger Talks.

In 1970s, she became the first female international vice president in the history of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen and later served as director of its Human Rights and Women’s Affairs and Civil Rights Departments. She served as the first female African American international vice president of the UFCW after Amalgamated and the Retail Clerks International Union merged in 1979.

A Leader in the Civil Rights Movement

Addie Wyatt appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1975 as one of the “Women of the Year”

Wyatt and her husband were ordained ministers and founded the Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago.  She played an integral role in the civil rights movement, and joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in major civil rights marches, including the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the demonstration in Chicago. She was one of the founders of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the country’s only national organization for union women. She was also a founding member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the National Organization of Women.

In honor of her work, she was named one of Time magazine′s Women of the Year in 1975, and one of Ebony magazine′s 100 most influential black Americans from 1980 to 1984. The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists established the Addie L. Wyatt Award in 1987. In 1984, Addie Wyatt retired from the labor movement as one of its highest ranked and most prominent African American and female officials. She was inducted into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor in 2012.

February 15, 2018

UFCW Statement on White House Request to Test Harvest Box Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the White House asking Congress for $30 million this year to test the “America’s Harvest Box” proposal in President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget. This proposal would significantly change the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).

“Whether you are Republican or Democrat, pro-union or not, shop at a big grocery store or a small local co-op, ‘America’s Harvest Box’ is one of the worst policy proposals ever made to address hunger and poverty. It will further worsen the economic divide across the country and must be stopped for the sake of the better America we all believe in. 

“The harvest box proposal punishes the poor, removes significant sales from local grocery stores, and needlessly puts millions of good grocery store jobs at risk of being eliminated. 

“The grocery stores our members work in are often the largest employers in their communities, and provide the wages and benefits necessary for hard-working families to build and live better lives.”

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.  Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

 

February 13, 2018

Welcome to the family, Severance Food workers!

Congratulations and welcome to some of our newest UFCW members,  the hardworking men and women at Severance Foods, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. The roughly 50 workers at Severance Foods manufacture a large variety of tortilla chips that are distributed worldwide.

“We voted to unionize to get better benefits, sick days, better safety equipment and raises,” said Jan Paul Calo, who works for Severance Foods and was among those who wanted to improve their jobs and help everyone who works there on the path to a better life and a better future for their families.

On Jan. 31, members of UFCW Local 371, along with elected officials and community allies, stood in solidarity with the Severance Foods workers as they prepared to cast their votes in a secret ballot election to join our union. Organizers used Hustle, the innovative texting app, to reach out to workers at Severance Foods, as well as to coordinate the rally before the vote.

February 13, 2018

UFCW Charity Foundation Now Accepting Applications for 2018

Looking to further your education? The UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship is now accepting applications from UFCW members and their families.

Every year the UFCW Charity Foundation scholarship program offers scholarships to UFCW members or their immediate family members who want to further their education and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and to UFCW values.  Since 1958, the fund has distributed more than $2 million in scholarships.

Past winners have gone on to make significant contributions to society and to the UFCW – entering a range of fields including public service, medicine, law, business and teaching.  Many have returned to the UFCW as staffers, organizers, and community activists who contribute to our mission.

Apply Now >>>

February 13, 2018

A Florist Explains How to Create a Bouquet

Watch United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s (UFCW) Michelle show you how to create your own bouquet—great a DIY Valentine’s gift, romantic gesture, or home decor.

Related

February 8, 2018

UFCW Members Make Valentine’s Day Happen

Becky, a UFCW Local 5 member, displays a box of See’s Valentine’s candies

As with many holidays, the members of our hard-working union family help make Valentine’s Day happen for members of their communities and people across the country.

One example is Rob Peters, a member of UFCW Local 1776 and a Wine Specialist at Fine Wine & Good Spirits store 4646 in Ardmore, Pa.

“When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I always recommend sparkling wine because it is popular, versatile and celebratory, i.e. ‘pop the cork,’” he said.  “Sparkling wine can be used at any time before, during or after dinner.”

There are many varieties of sparkling wine, but Rob recommends sparkling wines from California, Prosecco from Italy, or the classic: champagne from France.

On the West Coast, Becky S. at See’s candy has been a member of UFCW Local 5 since 2002. Now an assistant store manager, Becky’s experience is put to good use during one of her store’s busiest times of year–Valentine’s Day.

“We serve anywhere from 200 to 600 people a day,” she said.

Despite the hectic work day, Becky always has a smile on her face. For folks looking to buy a sweet treat for a special someone this Valentine’s Day, Becky recommends getting one of See’s pre-filled 1-pound heart boxes if you’re in a hurry, or using their handy candy menu (also found at sees.com) to hand select each individual chocolate inside.

“It’s a great idea to purchase one of our beautiful 1-pound boxes because they are reusable and you can bring them in again next year,” she said.

UFCW members also have access to exclusive discounts for Valentine’s Day. You can save 25 percent on flowers and gifts from Teleflora. Get more information here and make someone’s Valentine’s Day special.
February 6, 2018

Black History Month: Remembering Russell R. Lasley and the UPWA

This Black History month, we celebrate the life and legacy of United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) Vice-President Russell R. Lasley (1914-1989). Lasley was an officer in UPWA Local 46 in Waterloo, Iowa. He got his start working at The Rath Packing Co. and rose to become one of the central figures in the American civil rights movement.  Lasley was a vice president of the international union for more than 20 years, remaining after the UPWA merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen where he became director of the merged union’s civil rights department.

The United Packinghouse Workers of America was one of the most progressive champions for civil rights in the labor movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Formed in 1943, the union began pursuing anti-discrimination activities in 1949 and formed an anti-discrimination department in 1950. The UPWA required every union local to have an anti-discrimination department, and the national union headquarters made certain that the local departments had their own programs in the meatpacking plants and communities.

UPWA (United Packinghouse Workers of America) delegates at 1957 convention with Herbert Hill. From left to right are Ollie Webb, Richard Miller, Charles Hayes, Addie Wyatt, Herbert Hill, Phil Weightman, and Russell Lasley.

UPWA (United Packinghouse Workers of America) delegates at 1957 convention with Herbert Hill. From left to right are Ollie Webb, Richard Miller, Charles Hayes, Addie Wyatt, Herbert Hill, Phil Weightman, and Russell Lasley.

Together with the union, Lasley fought against housing discrimination in Chicago, according to labor historian Michael Honey of the University of Washington-Tacoma. “He was trying to open up housing for black families in white neighborhoods,” Honey said. “When one home was surrounded and fire bombed, the union brought people out to try to defend the black homeowner. The Packinghouse Workers union was extraordinary. It probably was one of the few unions where whites would really come out and support black civil rights.”

In addition to helping organize a march for voting rights on the nation’s capital in 1957 and forming defense committees to provide protection for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he came under attack, the UPWA also played a key role in the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was a group of southern churches and clergy who together coordinated protests and demonstrations in the wake of the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Martin Luther King, Jr., during his appearance at the United Packinghouse Workers of American Wage-Policy Conference. With him are Russell Lasley (left), a UPWA vice-president, and president Ralph Helstein. A poster at the head table calls attention to the boycott supporting workers on strike against the Kohler Company since 1954.

Lasley attended the founding meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in January 1957, calling it ‘‘an extreme honor and privilege to represent UPWA in a conference of leaders who have dedicated their lives to the cause of freedom and the establishment of a society free of racial injustice and second class citizenship.”

In addition to continually organizing conferences and legislative actions in support of equal rights for women and minorities, the UPWA donated 80 percent of the cost of SCLC’s first year budget and held regular drives to raise money for sit ins and freedom rides.  “I guess the Southern Christian Leadership Conference would not have existed without the Packinghouse Workers union,” said King scholar Clayborne Carson, professor of history and director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University in California.

Ever a visionary, in his address to the members of the UPWA at their 1962 convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, King warned that the advances of technology were outpacing government’s ability to find creative solutions to the threats to workers they posed. His warnings were prophetic- facing enormous job losses in the packinghouses after automation shook the foundations of the meat-packing industry, the UPWA’s remaining membership merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen in 1968. The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen would later go on to merge with the Retail Clerks International Union in 1979 and form what today is the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

 

 

Excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King’s Address to the United Packinghouse Workers of America

May 21, 1962

The United Packinghouse Workers of America has set an example for every democratic organization in the nation. Indeed, if labor as a whole, if the administration in Washington, matched your concern and your deeds, the civil rights problem would not be a burning national shame, but a problem long solved and in its solution a luminous accomplishment in the best tradition of American principles.

In the early days of organization of our Southern Christian Leadership Conference, you employed the shop collection to raise significant funds for us. As we continued our struggles for human dignity, you remained a constant supporter in some of our darkest hours when the most savage elements among our adversaries took control.

Your dependable help was like a mighty fortress protecting us. Your aid, however, went beyond money. When various city and state officials of the state of Alabama, in abuse of legitimate judicial process, instituted a series of libel suits against us in an attempt to wreck our leadership, you provided brilliant legal aid through your union council to strengthen our defense.

The debt we owe you is great, and we cannot repay you today, but our memory is long and our gratitude is lasting, and when the day comes when we have won victories enough to have some surplus strength, it will be yours to command.

Another proud distinction your union possesses is its record of dealing with discrimination internally. In the last analysis, this is an acid test. It is not easy and it is rarely accomplished completely because the whole of our society is pulsing with racism, but the steps you have taken are longer and more decisive than others can boast. Indeed, though I am no historian of labor, I feel safe in saying that even within the CIO tradition where discrimination was fought with conscious purpose your record is the best. In America today this is the highest expression of patriotism and moral responsibility.

It is never easy to pioneer, but you did it while organizing a powerful industry whose abuses of public welfare were so extreme that they became a legend recorded in our literature by Upton Sinclair in his book The Jungle. That jungle was finally cleared and civilized by legislation and the adoption of socially responsible practices.

However, today a new jungle is creeping back, swallowing up and nullifying the achievements of the past, and this new jungle is not a wilderness of nature. It has the shining glittering face of science. It consists of the negative effects of automation and the runaway shop.

Both of these are destroying your jobs, changing your lives, while plays to counteract their destructive effects are either inadequate or nonexistent….


As machines replace men, we must again question whether the depth of our social thinking matches the growth of technological creativity. We cannot create machines which revolutionize industry unless we simultaneously create ideas commensurate with social and economic reorganization, which harness the power of such machines for the benefit of man….The new age will not be an era of hope but of fear and emptiness unless we master this problem….


Like you, we are deeply concerned with minimum wages, with social security, with health measures. We, along with you, want housing fit for families to live in happily and comfortably. Like you, we want job certainty in our working days and retirement security when we grow old. A society as dynamic as ours can provide these things if it is as flexible and inventive as the science which is such a vital part of it….


Years ago, it became a proud boast of the packing industry that by the application of science no part of the animal was wasted. “Everything but the squeal of the pig” was converted into a socially useful product. It is fair to say that if this could be done by one industry with pigs, all of society should seem capable of progress without wasting any people! This is the achievable test of the new age.

We will have no fear of the future if we master together the task of the present. So much that we have already done together proves that in going further and strengthening our ties we will inevitably enrich the lives of all of us, bringing democratic dynamism into the political bloodstream of the nation. Lest we forget, the men who established our country were in the main ordinary people – but they had an extraordinary dream that all problems could be solved by united action; by participation of all upon an equal basis.

They called their dream democracy. Nearly two hundred years later, if we now faithfully develop and practice democracy, transforming it into living reality for all of our citizens, it will fashion a new era of abundance in material and moral riches.

 

Members of a Des Moines United Packinghouse Workers of America local picket outside a Woolworth’s store to demonstrate their opposition to segregation of Woolworth stores in the South.

Two members of United Packinghouse Workers Local 1124 in New Orleans on strike against the Colonial Sugar Company.

Two members of United Packinghouse Workers Local 1124 in New Orleans on strike against the Colonial Sugar Company.

Private security guards hired by the Colonial Sugar Company photograph striking members of the United Packinghouse Union. As the result of a court restraining order the strikers were “walking” along a public street.

February 2, 2018

Most popular Super Bowl recipes by state

Most popular Super Bowl foods by state

Aside from Thanksgiving, Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day. UFCW members in grocery stores and in food processing plants across the country have been working hard to prep the meats, cheese trays, deli sandwiches, veggie platters and other great game day snacks we all love.

“This is one of the busiest times of the year for my store,” said Earl Greenlawn, a member of UFCW Local 367 who works at Kroger. “Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, my co-workers and I put in long hours preparing food and helping customers plan their menus. We love knowing that our hard work makes it easy for people to enjoy the game with their friends and family.”

So what exactly is everyone eating during the Big Game?

According to Google Trends, the top recipes searched for by state are:

ALABAMA: Porchetta
ALASKA: Spinach quiche
ARIZONA: Corn bread cake
ARKANSAS: Cheese dip
CALIFORNIA: Cupcakes
COLORADO: Queso dip
CONNECTICUT: Cupcakes
DELAWARE: Chili
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Italian meatballs
FLORIDA: Spinach artichoke dip
GEORGIA: Pico De Gallo
HAWAII: Grilled liempo
IDAHO: Mac and cheese
ILLINOIS: Buffalo chicken dip
INDIANA: Pulled pork
IOWA: Artichoke dip
KANSAS: S’mores dessert
KENTUCKY: Bean salsa
LOUISIANA: Creamy shrimp, crabmeat, and spinach dip
MAINE: Spinach Caesar salad
MARYLAND: Chickpea soup
MASSACHUSETTS: Buffalo chicken dip
MICHIGAN: Hamburger sliders
MINNESOTA: Chili
MISSISSIPPI: Sweet potato shepherd’s pie
MISSOURI: Chili

MONTANA: Buttermilk biscuits
NEBRASKA: Chicken wings
NEVADA: Cake pops
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Tacos
NEW JERSEY: Buffalo wings
NEW MEXICO: Fried jalapeño poppers
NEW YORK: Jalapeño poppers
NORTH CAROLINA: Buffalo wings
NORTH DAKOTA: Jalapeño poppers
OHIO: Pulled pork pita nachos
OKLAHOMA: Oven mac and cheese
OREGON: Tater Tot casserole
PENNSYLVANIA: Buffalo chicken dip
RHODE ISLAND: Bean dip
SOUTH CAROLINA: Pepperoni dip
SOUTH DAKOTA: Creamy chicken casserole
TENNESSEE: Buffalo chicken appetizer
TEXAS: Football cupcakes
UTAH: Cheesy chicken broccoli casserole
VERMONT: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
VIRGINIA: Buffalo chicken dip
WASHINGTON: Baked chicken wings
WEST VIRGINIA: Bacon cheese ball
WISCONSIN: Buffalo chicken dip
WYOMING: Homemade Oreo cookies

Whatever you’re eating this weekend, there’s a good chance a UFCW member somewhere along the line helped it reach your home. Enjoy the game and let us know your favorite recipes on our Facebook page. 

January 30, 2018

UFCW Statement on USDA’s Decision to Reject Poultry Industry’s Push to End Line Speed Limits

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to deny the National Chicken Council’s (NCC) petition to eliminate line speed limits at poultry plants.

“This decision is a victory for hard-working poultry workers who hold one of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America, and the consumers who depend upon them to provide chicken that is safe to eat. However, we remain concerned that poultry companies can request line speed waivers for individual plants. 

“In addition to putting poultry workers at greater risk of injury, eliminating line speeds puts consumers at risk by making it more difficult for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination. 

“It was unbelievable to see major poultry industry groups ignore these well-known risks and lobby the USDA to eliminate line speeds.” 

Thousands of UFCW members who work in poultry plants sent comments to the USDA about the dangers of this petition. The UFCW also sent letters in October and December of 2017 to the USDA that highlighted how risky the NCC petition to eliminate line speeds would be for both workers and consumers. There are more than 250,000 poultry workers in America and 70,000 of them are members of the UFCW union family.

BACKGROUND

  • The Government Accountability Office released a report in December of 2017 that confirmed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry plants.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.  Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.