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UFCW RELEASES NATIONAL PRINT AD – WILL REACH 1.2 MILLION PEOPLE

Partners for A Better Life. An Open Letter to America’s Hard-Working Families.

a better life finalWASHINGTON, D.C. — Erratic scheduling, low-wage part-time jobs, trade deals that ship good jobs overseas, and skyrocketing income inequality are all themes of a national print ad that will be released Labor Day weekend by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

The ad is an open letter to hard-working families and makes clear to everyone that no one in America should have to fight for a better life alone. The following are excerpts from the letter:

“Today, millions of hard-working families struggle to survive on low-paying full-time jobs or low-wage part-time jobs.

“Erratic hours and scheduling make it impossible for workers to control their lives.

“Trade deals ship good jobs overseas while offering false promises of better jobs tomorrow.

“Irresponsible corporations like Walmart treat their employees and their families as if they were dispensable.

“The question that must be asked is how long can this nation endure when so few have so much, and so many have so little? For the sake of a better America, the time has come for real change.

“Our message to retail workers, and to all hard-working men and women is a simple one – you and your family deserve better. By joining together, we can help you fight for it.

“For those retail workers who have questions, concerns, or even doubts, please reach out to us at abetterlife@ufcw.org

“We are determined to earn your trust and support. Let’s prove that by becoming partners we can change your life, and the lives of millions of retail workers for the better.”

The entire ad can be seen here and will be featured throughout Labor Day weekend in USA Today. It will reach more than 1.2 million people.

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

Honoring the History of Labor Day

via activerain.com

via activerain.com

While most Americans view Labor Day as the last long weekend of the summer and another day off work, the history behind the holiday was actually a result of one of the most intense and violent struggles for workers’ rights.

In 1894, during a time of severe economic and social unrest, thousands of workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company went on strike to protest the way George Pullman, founder and president of the Pullman Palace Car Company, treated his workers.  Pullman was one of the wealthiest men in the Chicago area, and subjected his workers to high rents and low pay in the company town he had built for them near the factory.  His actions forced many of his workers into debt and poverty.  When his workers rebelled and went on strike with the support of Eugene Debs and the American Railway Union, Pullman gained the support of President Grover Cleveland, who ordered federal troops to intervene—leading to a bloody confrontation and the deaths of more than 30 Pullman workers.  Soon afterwards and amid growing criticism to the brutal response to the striking workers, President Cleveland established Labor Day as a national holiday in an effort to appease organized labor.

One hundred and twenty-one years after the Pullman Strike, our country is still grappling with economic and social unrest as income inequality persists and the right of workers to stick together for better workplace conditions continues to be challenged.  Too many American workers are struggling to survive in low-wage, part-time jobs that hamper their ability to move up the economic ladder. And the sheer desperation of many Americans who simply want to work has enabled many companies to cut wages and hours, misclassify workers as independent contractors or hire temporary workers to avoid providing benefits, subject their workers to erratic scheduling practices, and punish those who speak out for better workplace conditions.

Many of these abuses are a direct result of the smaller number of unionized workers.  Fortunately, America’s workers are realizing that the key to economic prosperity for working people is power in numbers.  Across the country, thousands of low-wage, part-time workers are leading the fight to narrow the wealth gap by sticking together for better wages and benefits. Like the Pullman workers, they are standing up to their wealthy employers through strikes and protests in the face of threats and intimidation.  Some have even lost their jobs in their fight for a voice on the job.  Despite these setbacks, they continue to call attention to our country’s increasing reliance on low-wage, part-time jobs and its devastating effect on American workers.

This Labor Day, let’s take time to remember those before us who stood up to powerful corporate and political interests to fight for a better life and a more equitable society.  Let’s honor them by focusing on the power we all have to define a brighter path forward for the millions of workers and their families who deserve and have earned a better life.

President Perrone Statement on Extreme Poverty Increasing in America

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, International President of the largest private sector union in the nation, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement in response to news that the number of people struggling to survive on just $2 per day has more than doubled since 1996, placing 1.5 million American households into extreme poverty.

 “The idea that there are 1.5 million families in America, the wealthiest nation on Earth, living on just $2 per day is beyond shocking and should be a wakeup call to all our political leaders – especially those running for President – that real change is needed now.

“This dire situation has only been worsened by irresponsible corporations like Walmart who rely on scheduling techniques that too often provide workers with unpredictable schedules and pay. These erratic scheduling practices make it clear that Walmart and many other bad employers are ok with making work hurt rather than pay.

“It is time for elected leaders, of both parties, to understand that a living wage, reliable work schedules, and the ability of all workers to organize and negotiate better lives, are keys to reducing poverty and strengthening our nation’s economic future.

“We can’t continue down a path where the jobs that are created only serve to perpetuate low wages, poverty and despair. We must do better, and our union family is committed to fighting these economic injustices in every way possible.”