January 18, 2019
Jesus Hernandez, a UFCW/RWDSU L-1S member who works at Macy’s in Herald Square, NY recently was featured in The Union Label’s “Walk In My Shoes” series. Here’s his story in his words:
I have been an associate at Macy’s in Herald Square for going on eight years now. I started out in the Bedding Department on the 6th floor and was later promoted to the Home and Electric Department on the 8th floor. Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located in Herald Square in Manhattan, NY. The store covers an entire city block, with more than two million square feet of retail space, it’s one of the largest stores in the world. My union, RWDSU Local 1-S represents nearly 4,000 active employees in Herald Square and at the Queens, Parkchester and White Plains Stores.
I have been a Shop Steward for about four years, helping the employees on my floor when they have issues with everything from scheduling to handling conflicts on the floor. I’ve worked non-union before. What I have found in a unionized store is that we have a voice on the job. In a busy department store like Macy’s, there are a lot of misunderstandings and disagreements. But, because of the union, workers know they are protected against unreasonable customer complaints. I’ve helped fellow members understand that they don’t have to tolerate abusive treatment to keep their jobs, because the union has their back. One of the main issues I see as a steward is scheduling. We have provisions in our contract with Macy’s that requires fair and set scheduling, but we see management violate that a lot. When that happens, we file a grievance on behalf of the employee. RWDSU Local 1-S has negotiated a fair contract, it is up to me and the other shop stewards to help enforce it. Our contract has required Macy’s to provide paid sick leave since before it was mandatory in New York State. I’ve seen Macy’s management try to avoid allowing employees to take their leave. And, I’ve been able to help those employees file grievances so they can receive the time off they are entitled to.
Being a union shop steward, for me, is like standing up to the classroom bully. I get to let them know that we won’t tolerate that kind of behavior. I like my job, and I like being able to help customers who come in to the store, but it makes me feel great to be able to help my coworkers.
Thank you, Jesus, for sharing your story and for everything you do to make our union family strong!
January 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone, issued the following statement regarding the 28-day government shutdown and its impact on America’s 16 million retail workers and the broader economy.
“Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers continue to be locked out of their job or forced to work without pay. But this wasteful shutdown is also threatening the 16 million American workers who help power our country’s $2.6 trillion retail sector and the broader economy.
“When Republicans shut down the government in 2013, retail sales from furloughed workers dropped seven percent and the economy lost $2 billion in productivity. About 1 in 10 Americans are employed in the retail industry and the longer the current shutdown continues, the harder hit these workers and our economy will be.
“It’s high time for President Trump and Congress to stop playing politics with our economy and American workers and finally end this reckless government shutdown.”
Background: The last extended federal government shutdown in 2013 had a significant impact on the U.S. economy:
- Annualized GDP growth for the quarter fell by 0.25 percent.
- Private sector jobs decreased by 120,000.
- Shopping by some 800,000 furloughed federal employees fell by 7 percent.
- As income of furloughed workers shifted to later in the month, consumption habits shifted as well – including on gasoline – and bill payments were delayed.
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.
January 11, 2019
Last year, because of their or their family member’s UFCW membership, Anne Kealy won a $4,000, Matthew Penick was awarded $3,000, and Nicholas Taylor received $1,000 towards their education. In 2019, will you be next?
Since 1991, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $4.3 million to students of union families, including UFCW members. Over 2,900 union families have benefited from our commitment to higher education. This program is offered through the Union Plus Education Fou
ndation, which is sponsored by Union Privilege.
If you are going to college, be sure to apply for the Union Plus Scholarship program before the deadline passes this January 31.
Application deadline: 12:00pm (noon, Eastern Time), Thursday, January 31, 2019.
Award amounts: $500 to $4,000. These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the Fall of 2019. Students may re-apply each year.
Award date: May 31, 2019. During the first week of June 2019 award recipients will be notified by postal mail, and all applicants will be sent email notification.
- Current and retired members of unions participating in any Union Plus program, their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations) are eligible. Grandchildren are not eligible unless a legal dependent (as defined by IRS regulations). At least one year of continuous union membership by the applicant, applicant’s spouse or parent (if applicant is a dependent). The one year membership minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2019.
- Members of participating unions from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada are eligible.
- The applicant must be accepted into a U.S. accredited college, university, community college, technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Awards must be used for the 2019 – 2020 school year.
- Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply.
January 8, 2019
Registration for the next semester of the UFCW’s Free College Benefit is open until January 11, so if you are a UFCW member, retired UFCW member, or a family member and one of your New Year’s resolutions was to go back to school and get your degree, make sure you don’t miss the deadline!
• TEACHER EDUCATION DEGREE • CYBER SECURITY • DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING • ADVERTISING • PROGRAMMING AND DEVELOPMENT
• DATA SCIENCE • HOSPITALITY – EVENT MANAGEMENT • HOSPITALITY – HOTEL AND CONVENTION MANAGEMENT
This amazing benefit makes it possible for UFCW members and their families to earn an Associate Degree online through Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) with no out-of-pocket costs or need for loans.
The UFCW’s Free College Benefit is designed to help UFCW members and their families balance work and home life. You can attend school part-time or full-time – whichever fits your schedule. All you need to get started is a high school degree or GED, and there are no entrance exams to worry about.
More about Eastern Gateway Community College
Eastern Gateway Community College is a public, open-access college located in Steubenville, Ohio, with sites in Youngstown and Warren. The college is part of the University System of Ohio and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. EGCC is committed to innovation and increasing quality educational opportunities for students in Ohio and across the country. The staff of EGCC is union represented.
EGCC is one the fastest growing colleges in Ohio. The school is a national Achieving the Dream Leader College, an American Association of Community Colleges School of Excellence, and recognized nationally for its efforts to prepare a diverse student population for career success. They are also transfer-friendly, which means they strive to accept previous college credits students may have earned elsewhere.
January 4, 2019
According to researchers, about 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions but only about 8 percent end up following through with them. Need a little help? Here’s a few benefits available to UFCW members that can help kickstart your journey to a new year, a new you.
So, what are we all wishing for in the New Year? Here are the top 6 New Year’s resolutions:
71% pledge to diet or eat healthier
Once you register for discounts in the UFCW’s discount portal, you can find discounts on programs to help you eat healthier, such as:
PlateJoy makes healthy eating easy! First take their lifestyle quiz to help them to get your know your tastes, health goals, and time constraints. Then receive custom meal plans to simplify your life.
South Beach Diet
Lose weight fast and get in the best shape of your life with South Beach Diet! Delicious, nutritious and healthy. Learn the way to maintain a healthy weight without hunger or deprivations!
Personal Trainer Food
Personal Trainer Food is the smart, easy, and convenient way to lose fat, get the body you want, and feel great in the process. All their meal plans feature hand-selected meats, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and cheeses to help you lose weight naturally. 28 days of restaurant-quality foods are flash-frozen and delivered right to your doorstep. Their experienced Weight Loss Coaches are there for you every step of the way at no additional charge!
65% hope to exercise more
In addition to discounts for eating healthier, UFCW members are also eligible for discounts at the following gyms:
- Active & Fit
- Gym Network 360
- LA Fitness
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Planet Fitness
- Anytime Fitness
- Gold’s Gym
- New York Sports Clubs
- Boston Sports Clubs
54% want to lose weight
Weight Loss Plans
Get help losing weight with discounts on signing up for Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and more. Get dedicated, personal consulting at 500 locations for $19/month. Jenny Craig clients lose 3x more weight than dieting on their own. Your consultant will find a program that fits your life while creating a menu of delicious, nutritionally-balanced meals to keep feeling full and satisfied every day.
32% plan to save more and spend less
Through the UFCW discount portal, you can clip and print coupons to save on groceries, pet care items, restaurants, and more.
26% resolve to learn a new skill or hobby
21% aim to quit smoking
American Lung Association
10% discount on Freedom From Smoking Plus!
Quit smoking with the click of a button through the new Freedom From Smoking Plus, whose user-friendly interface allows you to create a personal quit smoking plan on your desktop, tablet or smartphone. Through interactive features that include videos, quizzes and activities, Freedom From Smoking Plus walks you through the quitting process and has a surround sound of support from their Lung HelpLine counselors and other quitters through their online community.
To access these discounts, register here and log in.
December 24, 2018
For those of us fortunate enough to be able to sit down and spend time with our loved ones, let’s pause to be thankful for the holiday heroes whose hard work and dedication help make possible the traditions and warm memories we make year after year.
UFCW members are the heart behind the holiday brands we’ve all come to love—brands like Butterball, Boar’s Head, Hanover, Reddi-Wip. For those who work in food processing, their knowledge and expertise help ensure the turkey that makes its way to your grocery store has been properly prepared and is safe to eat, and their skilled quality control makes sure Stove Top Stuffing and Marie Callender’s pies will taste just like you remembered.
UFCW members also sacrifice time with their families to keep Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Giant, and so many other union grocery stores open during the holidays. We know they’ve saved countless holiday feasts from disaster by making sure families across America can make that last minute run to the grocery store if they need to.
From our family to yours, we wish you happy holidays and all the best in the new year.
December 21, 2018
UFCW members make many of the foods we enjoy throughout the holidays and we’re always eager to shine a spotlight on the the people behind the foods we all love.
Klement’s Cocktail Smokies are made by UFCW Local 1473 members in Milwaukee, WI. The cocktail smokies are fully cooked, don’t have any MSG, and are gluten free. Klement’s has been around for 60 years and their products are still made in small batches by hard-working union members using premium ingredients and leaner cuts of meat.
According to the Klement company, the sausages re-create the old country flavor that goes back generations in the Klement family to their roots in central Europe.
UFCW Local 1473 Slow Cooker Cocktail Smokies
This recipe is made in a slow cooker, but you can also make them on the stove top, just be sure not to turn the heat up too high or else they’ll burn.
2 packages 14 oz. Klement’s Bratwurst Cocktail Smokies
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to mix. Cook in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. Make sure the smokies are hot before serving.
December 20, 2018
Part of staying safe on the road means being prepared. When the temperature drops, the safest thing to do is stay home during unsafe weather conditions. But knowing what to do in an emergency if you get stuck out on the roads could save your life.
UFCW Local 1996 member John Cunningham is a CDL driver at JBS/Pilgrim Pride of Athens with 26 years of professional commercial driving experience. With over 1.3 million miles of commercial driving during his career, John knows a thing or two about driving in adverse weather conditions.
Here are a few of his tips for a safer winter driving experience on snow or ice:
1) Stay home.
“First of all, if you don’t have to be out and about, DON’T go out. Stay home. Driving on ice and snow is treacherous for everybody, including those with experience driving on it.”
2) Pack an emergency kit.
“If you do decide to go out, make sure you have a few supplies in case something happens. This list can include but is not limited to: candy or peanuts, non perishable food, extra clothing, boots, a flash light, a full tank of gas if possible, at least a couple of blankets, and a bright piece of cloth or reflective cloth. This is just a partial list of things you may want to have on hand. There are more items that you could keep on hand. You can use your best judgment or look to the internet for suggestions.”
3) Take it slow.
“If you make it out on the road, drive slowly. During slick or icy conditions it does not pay to get in a hurry. Increase your following distance to at least twice, maybe three times, the distance it would be during ideal, dry conditions. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.”
4) Be extra careful on bridges.
“Bridges will inevitably freeze BEFORE the roadway. I start being wary when roads are wet and temperatures start getting around 34 degrees as I have seen bridges start to get slick around that temperature. If you can see ice forming on your mirrors, bridges are probably freezing with roadways not far behind.”
5) Don’t get cocky.
“Don’t get cocky in a 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle. They can give a driver a false sense of security when driving during these conditions.”
6) Keep your cool.
“If the rear of your car starts to slide, gently let off of your accelerator and turn your wheel in the direction of the slide to help correct the situation. Try not to panic as that can be one of the worst things you can do because you will not think clearly. Easy to say I know, but it can be done.”
In addition to John’s tips, AAA has a good list of safety precautions to take when winter weather hits:
AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:
- Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
- Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
- If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
- Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
- Always look and steer where you want to go.
- Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
Tips for long-distance winter trips:
- Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
- Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
- If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
- Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
- Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
- Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
- If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.
Tips for driving in the snow:
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
- Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
- Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
December 19, 2018
Have a long-distance relative you still need to shop for? UFCW members receive 25% GiftTree gift baskets and Teleflora deliveries. More than just flowers and fruit, there’s a little something for everyone.
1.) Wish them good luck in the New Year with lucky bamboo
Because we can all use a little bit of luck sometimes.
2.) Send a little Yuletide spirit with a holiday wreath
Wreaths help brighten any doorstep. If you can’t be there in person, let your friends know you are thinking of them every time they come home.
3.) Help your loved one recover from the holiday hustle and bustle.
4.) Bring a little something to the table with a festive centerpiece.
Can’t make it to dinner? Show you appreciate the invitation with this silver and gold centerpiece.
5.) Remember, Santa isn’t the only one who likes cookies.
This tea and cookie gift box is perfect for warming up on those cold, wintry days.
6.) Skip the partridge and the pears.
Know someone who isn’t able to have a full tree? Send them this mini version.
7.) Or maybe don’t skip the pears.
Because the classic fruit basket is always a winner.
December 17, 2018
If you’re a 20-something juggling student-loan debt and a fast-changing economy, finding the time to think about a pension can be tough. This simple explainer shows the value of a pension and how powerful they can be.
What’s a pension? How’s it Different from a 401(k)?
One of the most common types of retirement plans in America is a 401(k). A pension is different from a 401(k) and is a form of what investment pros call a “Defined Benefit (DB)” retirement plan. A 401(k) is what’s known as a “Defined Contribution (DC)” plan.
Think about it this way: in a 401(k) the amount you put in is fixed, but the amount you take out when you retire is unknown, because you don’t know how the stock market will perform. A pension is a guaranteed sum of money that you start to receive once you retire and lasts until the day you die. It’s a guaranteed income stream that will live as long as you do.
Less Stress When You Prepare Well, No Matter How Life Goes
Pensions are Less Risky.
While no retirement tools are 100% without risk, your pension is less risky than a 401(k). Pensions aren’t as susceptible to market swings like 401(k)s.
- Financial markets have their ups and downs, so what happens if funding levels in a pension begin to fall below sustainable levels? Well, the fund is required by law to implement a plan whereby the employer provides sufficient funds to get it back on track. That way you can focus on all those retirement plans you and your family are excited about, and not on managing your money.
Experts Have Your Back.
It helps that pension plans are professionally managed so you have experts managing those deferred wages.
- A portion of your benefits is also currently insured by the Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation (PBGC), a U.S. Government Agency. Although this provides an important stopgap, we view the PBGC only as an insurer of last resort, since full benefit levels might not be maintained if the fund were ever to be referred to the PBGC.
- Additionally, just like how you and your coworkers are stronger together in your union, your retirement savings can be used to make a real difference. Pension funds often use their investments to make companies stronger, smarter and more ethical.
Your 401(k) Isn’t a Predictable Stand In for Pre-Retirement Wages.
Often there are waiting periods for receiving company contributions to a 401(k) plan. In some of our industries where turnover is high, that leaves Gen Z’ers and millennials who are just getting started with their professional careers locked out of the opportunity to build for retirement.
- If you leave your job before the vesting period ends, you may receive no benefits at all.
- Poor investment returns could considerably lower your retirement account and significantly decrease your ability to sufficiently fund your retirement.
- Unlike a pension plan, a 401(k) does not offer lifetime benefits, and your money may run out before you die. If you want a lifetime benefit from your 401(k) plan it will be costly. To receive a lifetime benefit you would need to buy it from an insurance company, which has overhead expenses and a markup for profit.
- You can make mistakes. While we know you’re smart, you have a lot of things to manage already in life. With a 401(k), you have manage your own savings and if you make a mistaken investment, the results could be catastrophic.
To put it simply, here’s why a pension is such a valuable thing to have:
Safe and Guaranteed.
With a pension, you don’t have to stress about stock market turmoil and can plan accordingly for your retirement. Benefits are guaranteed (up to specified limits) by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federal agency that oversees the health of our pensions.
A pension ensures you will receive income from the day you retire until the day you die. It’s a paycheck for the rest of your life.
A pension is professionally managed and, on average, investment fees are lower than a 401(k) or an IRA. You won’t have to manage and rebalance your portfolio on your own.
The UFCW is dedicated to helping people build better lives – at all stages of life. Fighting for sustainable pensions is one way our union family ensures that hard-working people earn the dignity and respect they should get, no matter how young, old, or in-between folks may be.
More Helpful Resources For You To Check Out:
We just learned a lot about why pensions are better than 401(k)s. Spend some time figuring out how much you should save for retirement. AARP has a great retirement calculator you can use!
Aging in America is expensive and full of unpredictable costs – whether its medical bills, or other surprises life throws your way. It adds up. So, let’s get you prepared and empowered to build a better life – well into your Golden Years.