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February 25, 2020

UFCW Statement on Amazon Cashierless Grocery Store Opening

America’s Largest Grocery Union Slams Cashierless Model that Discriminates Against Low-Income Shoppers, Hurts Customer Service, and Threatens Good Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its strong opposition to Amazon’s opening of a new cashierless grocery store in Seattle. UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement:

“Amazon represents a clear and present danger to millions of good jobs. The brutal truth is that Amazon is focused on one thing – eliminating as many jobs as possible to enrich one multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos. Despite the failure of their Amazon Go stores, it is clear that Bezos is determined to pursue a ruthless strategy that is designed to destroy millions of grocery worker jobs.

“At a time when millions of Americans are already struggling, when most Americans are one paycheck away from disaster, what does it say that Bezos wants to create stores that serve food and groceries and eliminate the jobs real people need. Now, more than ever, it is time for our nation’s leaders – Democrats and Republicans – to wake up and act before Amazon and Jeff Bezos do permanent damage to America’s economy and the future of work.”

“Make no mistake, the UFCW will make sure that Amazon’s ruthless business model is a 2020 election issue. Every voter – and every candidate running for office – will be made aware that they have a choice to make: support good jobs or support Amazon’s destruction of jobs.”

Background:

As reported by CNBC, Amazon is continuing its ruthless strategy to take over America’s $800 billion grocery industry. Today, less than three years after purchasing Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, Amazon is opening its first, full-size, cashierless grocery store. It uses the same technology from the Amazon Go stores that have faced a national backlash from customers and lawmakers who say it discriminates against low-income shoppers and threatens good jobs.

Amazon Go stores have failed to meet lofty predictions and are unlikely to deliver the $639 million in 2020 sales the company promised. Additional reports show Amazon Go stores’ operating losses are still ballooning. And since purchasing Whole Foods, the grocery chain was the only Amazon division to report a sales slowdown during the fourth quarter.

Amazon could also be looking to scale its cashier-free technology to other retailers and chains such as movie theaters and airports, threatening many of the jobs in these industries as well.

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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 14, 2020

UFCW members hard at work to make Valentine’s Day a little sweeter

From flower arrangements to sparkling wines to hand-crafted chocolates, UFCW members have been hard at work to make sure you have what you need to celebrate with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day.

The UFCW represents florists at union grocery stores 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), and Supervalu (Cub Foods, Rainbow, and Shoppers Food) just to name a few. Michelle is a florist at Kroger in Texas, where she enjoys creating the perfect floral arrangements and bouquets to help brighten someone’s day. She recently shared how to properly arrange a bouquet in a vase, but if you still need some help, just ask your local union florist and they’ll be happy to share their expertise with you.

UFCW members also make Russell Stover, Ghiradelli and Hershey’s candies in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Members of UFCW Local 5 who make See’s Candies craft each chocolate confection by hand. The Food Network’s Tyler Florence visited UFCW Local 5 members at the See’s Candies factory in San Francisco and got a peek at how these Valentine’s Day treats are made. You can view the video here.

“Growing up with them was awesome,” said Sacramento customer Rachel Martini, who in town from the east coast visiting family. “Literally every time I eat See’s, it’s a little bite of nostalgia. Walking into the shops is a literal treat too. They’re always so kind and inviting and give you free chocolates to try while you walk around. It’s something that hasn’t changed a bit in the last 25 years.”

Young woman holding up a bag of See's candy outside of a See's candy store

“Walking into the shops is a literal treat too. They’re always so kind,” says Sacramento See’s candy customer Rachel Martini.

You can pair your chocolates with sparkling wines made by members of UFCW Local 186D, including Andre Champagne, JFJ Champagne, Tott’s Champagne and Wycliff Champagne.

UFCW members also have access to exclusive discounts for Valentine’s Day gifts and beyond, including 25 percent off on flowers and gift baskets. Register here for these discounts and make someone’s Valentine’s Day special.

February 11, 2020

UFCW Charity Foundation now receiving applications for 2020 scholarship

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 >>>

*UFCW-employed officers and staff, and their immediate families are not eligible for this program.

February 7, 2020

Celebrating Black History Month: Four leaders in labor history

African American women in a Texas poultry plant helped pave the way for safer poultry for everyone

Union organizing efforts won significant benefits for meatpacking workers during the first half of the 20th century. In 1960, before a wave of automation and rapid restructuring would decimate jobs in the industry, meatpacking wages were 15 percent above the average wage for manufacturing workers in the United States. But one area where change was slow to come was in the poultry industry. Unlike other jobs in meatpacking, a much higher percentage of poultry workers were African American women in the anti-union South.

Strikers outside the Eastex Poultry plant in Center, Texas.

Strikers outside the Eastex Poultry plant in Center, Texas.

African American women working at the Eastex Poultry plant in Center, Texas decided to change that in 1953 when they wrote to the Amalgamated Meat Cutters (which later became the UFCW) and asked to join the union. The campaign that ensued revealed the widespread issues with food poisoning related to poultry and resulted in the passage of the Poultry Products Inspection Act in 1957. After tense negotiations between the union and the company, Eastex settled after 11 months, agreeing to wage increases, time-and-a-half overtime pay, three paid holidays and vacations, a grievance procedure, and reinstatement of strikers. Eastex subsequently sold out to Holly Farms, which later sold out to Tyson.

 

Vice-president Russell Lasley led the UPWA in a battle against housing discrimination in Chicago

United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) Vice-President Russell R. Lasley (1914-1989) 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.

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.

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.

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.”

Addie Wyatt: “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”

Another leader to emerge from the UPWA was Addie Wyatt, who got her start through union activism and continued her fight for workers’ rights during the height of the American Feminist Movement. 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.

While Wyatt was working in the canning department at Armour and Company, she was replaced with a white worker who was paid more. The union, which had a non-discrimination clause in their contract, was able to fight the company’s unfair act of discrimination and get her her job back.

“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.”

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. She was inducted into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor in 2012.

 

Bayard Rustin: A champion for both black and LGBT workers

One of the greatest moments of the Civil Rights era was the March on Washington in 1963–one of the largest non-violent protests to ever occur in America. The March on Washington brought thousands of people of all races together, in the name of equal rights for everyone–whether they were black or white, rich or poor, Muslim or Christian. Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. made one of his most inspiring and famous speeches at the march, which culminated on the National mall.

But history has often overlooked the man who was the driving force behind this monumental event–a man named Bayard Rustin. Rustin was the one who organized the march, bringing methods used by Gandhi as well as the Quaker religion to Washington to ensure peace, but also impact. It was Rustin who helped shape Dr. King into the iconic symbol of peace he is remembered as.

Although Bayard Rustin was a tireless activist, his life achievements are unknown to many, and he has even been called the “lost prophet” of the civil rights movement. This is largely because not only was Rustin silenced and threatened like many others were for being a black man speaking out for equal rights, but also because he was openly gay in a time when homophobia and bigotry was rampant. Rustin continued his life as an openly gay man, even after being incarcerated for it, and is seen as a champion of the LGBT movement still today. Despite being beaten, arrested, jailed, and fired from various leadership positions, Rustin overcame and made a huge impact on the civil and economic rights movements.

 

“We are all one. And if we don’t know it, we will learn it the hard way.” —Bayard Rustin

February 6, 2020

UFCW: Amazon’s Nearly $1 Billion in Unpaid Taxes is Funding Technology Threatening Millions of American Jobs

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls Out Jeff Bezos for Misleading Tax Claims As Amazon Pushes to Eliminate Jobs Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) condemned the failure of Amazon to pay more than $800 million in federal income taxes owed, which was reported this week. UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Tens of millions of Americans pay their taxes, but not Amazon. Amazon uses tax loopholes to avoid paying billions in taxes – even as they pocket billions more in tax breaks from struggling cities and race to replace millions of jobs with automation.

“The fact is that Jeff Bezos and Amazon have one agenda – driving up profits at any cost by replacing talented employees with machines; regardless of whether it’s at Whole Foods, Amazon warehouses, or competing retail and grocery stores.

“Make no mistake, Amazon represents a clear and present danger to working- and middle-class Americans. It is time to realize that Amazon’s ruthless business model will lead to massive job losses that could cripple our entire economy.”

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org 

 

 

 

February 6, 2020

UFCW Applauds House Passage of The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls Bill Passage Major Step to Put Power Back in the Hands of Workers Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) applauded the passage of H.R. 2474, the “The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act” by the U.S. House of Representatives. UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Today’s passage of the PRO Act sends a powerful message that members of Congress are standing with American workers and supporting their right to make their voices heard.

“The PRO Act would put into action the strongest labor reforms in 80 years. This bill will restore protections that enable workers to join a union and empower them to negotiate for the higher wages, better benefits, more secure retirement and safer workplace they have earned. And thanks to strong enforcement measures, the PRO Act will hold corporations accountable for any violations of workers’ rights.

“American workers need to know their rights are protected and that Congress has their back. UFCW is proud to support the PRO Act and urges the Senate to quickly pass this bill and send it to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Background:

  • Attacks on unions and workers’ rights to form a union have led to an overall decline in the rights of workers and the deterioration of the prosperity of America’s working families.
  • From 1983 to 2016, the household wealth of the median American household decreased by 3% while the wealth of the top .1% increased by 133%.
  • In response, the “The Protecting the Right to Organize Act” or PRO Act would help to reverse the dangerous economic decline of the American worker and protecting America’s workers’ rights.
  • H.R. 2474, the PRO Act, passed the House on February 6, 2020 with bipartisan support.

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org 

February 4, 2020

UFCW: American Families Deserve a “More Perfect Union”

Ahead of State of the Union, Largest Private Sector Union Calls for Action to Protect and Strengthen American Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union highlighted the need for action from both parties to confront automation and other threats endangering American jobs and our economy. UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s hardworking families listening to tonight’s State of the Union need more than talk, they need real solutions and bipartisan action. All across the country, men and women, from every state, are working harder than ever before. Their healthcare costs keep increasing, wages are stagnant, and they are struggling to build a better life.

“They witness a national dysfunction that ignores the fact that huge corporations like Amazon are pushing automation that threatens millions of American jobs in retail, or reckless deregulation across our meatpacking industry that is jeopardizing our country’s food supply and jobs. And if that was not bad enough, millions of families are worried about a growing pension crisis that is putting at risk the retirement savings they worked their whole lives to earn.

“American workers deserve a more perfect union, and that begins with building an economy that puts their interests first, not the interests of the wealthy elite or powerful corporations. It’s time for the President, and all our country’s leaders, across both parties, to get to work on building the more just America they deserve.”

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org 

January 31, 2020

Union members make the leather for every Super Bowl football

Did you know the leather for every single NFL football, including the ones that will be used in this Sunday’s Super Bowl, is crafted by members of UFCW Local 1546 who work at the Horween Leather Company? The hard-working men and women of the Horween Leather Company in Chicago, Ill., have been supplying the leather for every Super Bowl football since the very first game in 1967.

The company takes pride in the talented UFCW members whose skills can be seen in the high quality of the final product. Despite the leather’s sheen, which can give the appearance of being slippery, the proprietary “tanned in tack” finish actually means the ball gets stickier after being buffed a few times, making it easier to grip. A 1,000-ton press with special German-made embossing plates gives the leather its distinctive pebbling.

Take a peak inside the historic plant and learn more about how the leather is made in this video:

January 24, 2020

Union members get 20% at UFCW-represented “Union Vitamins”

In 2016, the men and women of Union Vitamins in Clearwater, Fla., made history when they started a union at their work through UFCW Local 1625 and became the first union-made vitamin manufacturer in the country. Union Vitamins workers produce vitamins and health supplements, including: vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, omega 3 pure fish oil, multi-vitamins and other products.

Bottle of "Limber Up" supplementsTrying to stick to that New Years resolution to work out but finding with the winter weather that you’re a little stiff? The “Limber Up” or “Cherry C80” supplements might be perfect for you. Or perhaps you are looking for something to help with that new diet, in which case you might want something like their Garcinia Cambogia supplement, which some studies have suggested might help with fat loss and boosting serotonin levels. Whatever your health goals, you can rest easy knowing that what you are putting into your body was created by union workers with quality in mind.

“We created Union Vitamins to ensure our family atmosphere will remain in place here, and to ensure that all employees are always treated with fairness,”said Jim Harper, president of Union Vitamins. “Union Vitamins will demonstrate to other corporations how they can become union, make quality products, beat foreign competition, and maintain healthy profitability. Union Vitamins is an industry role model for value, efficiency and good health, all under the banner of union workers.”

“Why buy nonunion-made products when one can buy 100 percent pure union-made vitamins and supplements that save you time and money?”  added Harper.

Customers have also recognized the high quality of the products. In a Yelp review, one customer noted:

Goats Milk and Turmeric Beauty Bar

In addition to dietary supplements, Union Vitamins also makes several high quality, all natural beauty products, such as their Goats Milk and Turmeric Beauty Bar

“I had the pleasure of touring the facility and meeting most of the team I am very impressed and I am so excited to learn more about the various products offered. I love that this is a local business, that operates with very high standards and offers great quality products.

I am a bug magnet!!! Ask any of my friends. I have now tried the Cinnaturals B-Off bug repellent and have found it to actually keep most of the bugs away from me. (I say most because I am one of those individuals who will get bit in the areas I missed with bug sprays and through my clothing. I went into the rainforest with this and it helped with the mosquitos.” 

“We are excited and pleased that UFCW Local 1625 has partnered with Union Vitamins, a company that produces the finest vitamins in the world,” said UFCW Local 1625 President Ed Chambers. “We are proud to report that these vitamins are 100 percent union-made. We look forward to growing together and helping our members prosper in this new venture.”


Union members can receive 20% off their order when they use the code “UFCW20A”

January 19, 2020

Chicago Area Cannabis Workers Make History by Joining Local 881

Workers at Cresco Labs in Joliet, Ill., made history by joining UFCW Local 881 on Jan. 14, becoming the first cannabis workers in Illinois history to achieve a union contract. This victory came just weeks after recreational cannabis was legalized in the state. Cresco Labs is one of the largest cannabis companies operating in Illinois.

This election sets a strong precedent for the new and expanding Illinois cannabis industry. After a few weeks into cannabis legalization in Illinois, the Cresco workers are showing how the cannabis industry can live up to the promises it made to local communities when it lobbied for their support.

The goal of the Illinois cannabis legalization was to support good-paying union jobs throughout the industry. With a union contract, cannabis jobs can help hard-working men and women support their families and strengthen their communities.

The UFCW is working to ensure that cannabis jobs provide good wages, pensions, health care coverage, and dignity in the workplace.

The 100 Cresco Labs workers were supported throughout the organizing campaign by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, U.S. Representatives Bill Foster and Robin Kelly, as well as local legislators and religious, labor, and community organizations.

“Unions give us a way to be represented as a collective group and give everyone a voice,” said Jaclyn Taylor, a Cresco Labs employee.

“Congratulations to the new Local 881 members at Cresco in Joliet who have set a positive example ‒ for the entire state of Illinois and the cannabis industry at large ‒ of what can happen when workers come together to improve their working conditions,” said UFCW Local 881 President Steve Powell. “It takes strong resolve on the part of workers to stand up and demand a real voice on the job. Our union is proud of these workers and looks forward to standing with them to negotiate and demand a fair and just contract that will improve their working conditions.”