December 7, 2018
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December 5, 2018
One of the benefits of union membership is being able to negotiate with your employer on equal footing. Rather than having to go to your boss as an individual and hope they are in the position to be able to do something about your concerns, union representation means there’s an organized and meaningful way to take worker concerns to the company and sit down and hammer out real, binding solutions.
The primary way this is achieved is through negotiating contracts between the company and the local union representing the workers, or what is often referred to as “collective bargaining.” UFCW members at several different locals recently demonstrated how standing together through this process can lead to better jobs and better security.
UFCW Local Members of UFCW Local 700 who work at Kroger stores in South Bend, Indiana, ratified a new contract on Nov. 1 that improves wages and protects benefits. The one-year contract covers about 800 workers in nine stores in the South Bend area.
The new contract helps to create a more secure future for Kroger workers and their families through regular, guaranteed wage increases. The agreement also protects pensions and quality, affordable health care, and includes contract language improvements.
“We are powerful when we stick together,” said UFCW Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning. “Together, we won a contract that increases wages, provides access to affordable health care, and protects retirement benefits for Kroger workers in South Bend.”
Members of UFCW Local 919 who work at Bob’s Discount Furniture stores in Connecticut ratified a new contract that also improves their wages and benefits. The three-year contract covers 70 sales professionals and office clericals at three stores in Manchester, Orange and Stamford.
The new contract, which marks the third agreement for the workers, gave zero concessions and includes wage increases and a zero percent increase on employee health and welfare costs. The office clerical staff will receive an 8 percent raise over the three-year life of the contract, with the first 3 percent retroactive to July 15, 2018. The new agreement also includes improved scheduling and seniority rights, especially when it comes to the distribution of overtime and much desired reduction on the amount of time workers can lose out on their earned commission when a customer returns a purchase.
December 4, 2018
“When I first started at the hospital, I didn’t know anything about what the union did for me or my co-workers. However, once I got involved, I quickly learned that UFCW doesn’t just represent workers at their workplaces; it helps communities, charities, and fights the government for better legislation for all working people. That is who I am . A helper.”
Originally appeared in the UFCW Local 832 magazine:
Eric Flett was born in Ste Rose du Lac, Manitoba, about 15 minutes from where he lived, the Ebb and Flow First Nation. Eric lived there with his parents and nine siblings until he was about four years old, when his family moved to Winnipeg. He said it wasn’t easy adjusting from reserve life to city life in the North End. But thanks to his mother’s strict parenting, Eric stayed on the straight and narrow, maintained a childhood free from bad influences and graduated from Sisler High School in 1986.
Eric attended his first ceremonial sweat lodge when he was 14. A sweat lodge is traditionally a place where prayer and song ceremonies are performed, so that we can be cleansed. However, it wasn’t until he was around 20 years of age that his interest and understanding were truly formed, and from that point on he has been continually active in ceremonies and traditions.
When Eric took part in the Sun Dance Ceremony, his niece was very sick and he wanted to dance for her. This ceremony usually involves the community gathering together to pray for healing. Individuals make personal sacrifices on behalf of a loved one or the community.
From here, Eric continued to participate in his culture’s activities and received training from his Elders. Today Eric plays a leadership role in the community, a role that is entrusted to those who earned the rights and training to lead a sweat lodge and other ceremonies.
These earned rights are what help Eric succeed in his day-to-day life as well as work. Eric became a UFCW Local 832 member in 1990, when he was hired as a healthcare aide at the St. Boniface Hospital. He thought this was a perfect fit, as he loves helping people and refers to himself in his Ojibwa language as “helper.” Today, he works as a porter in the diagnostic imaging department, still helping people.
His involvement with the union began about 10 years ago when he was elected to the audit committee of UFCW, which continues today. Besides his porter position, Eric is also a shop steward and sits on Local 832’s executive board.
When asked why he is so active in his union, he replied, “When I first started at the hospital, I didn’t know anything about what the union did for me or my co-workers. However, once I got involved, I quickly learned that UFCW doesn’t just represent workers at their workplaces; it helps communities, charities, and fights the government for better legislation for all working people. That is who I am . A helper.”
On his off days, Eric enjoys watching TV, golfing and continuing to practice his culture.
December 4, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding a report by the Wall Street Journal that Amazon is testing its Amazon Go technology in bigger stores with the possibility of introducing it into Whole Foods stores across the United States, potentially impacting thousands of workers.
“Amazon’s new push to aggressively expand their cashierless technology, likely to Whole Foods stores across the country, poses an existential threat to thousands of American jobs and our economy.
“Grocery stores already face pressure to use cashierless technology to stay competitive. Amazon ramping up their push to expand this technology and bring it to Whole Foods stores around the country would likely lead to smaller grocery chains being squeezed out of business, increased prices for consumers with fewer options, lower wages for workers, and potentially millions of lost jobs as stores are forced to further reduce costs.
“Our nation’s leaders must realize now that Amazon’s ruthless business model will lead to massive job losses that could cripple our entire economy. We must stand up and fight for the good-paying jobs our families and communities count on, before it’s too late.”
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.
November 27, 2018
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November 21, 2018
UFCW members make a number of the Thanksgiving staples we know and love—Butterball turkey, Dole cranberry sauce, Kraft stuffing, Reddi-wip. But there’s another Thanksgiving tradition that our members have a hand in that has nothing to do with food: football.
Watching football on Thanksgiving has its roots in the 19th century.
Americans have been celebrating Thanksgiving since President Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863. Not long later, rival college and high school football teams began facing off on the holiday.
Princeton played Yale in the New York City area on Thanksgiving Day from 1876 through 1881. In 1882, The Thanksgiving Day football game became an institutionalized schedule of organized football.
The National Football League (NFL) wasn’t founded until 1920, but since it’s inception, it’s embraced the Thansgiving game day tradition. For the past 60 years, UFCW members at UFCW Local 1546 have been handcrafting the official NFL football leather at the Horween Leather Company in Chicago, Illinois.
Former NFL player Israel Idonije recently visited the plant to learn more about how the UFCW works together with management to ensure both high quality leather and good, sustainable jobs.
“You talk about a brotherhood, a sisterhood, a union—a family—and the commitment of people working together to support one another. It’s really special,” said Idonije.
“Just because you don’t agree on everything doesn’t mean you can’t work together,” says Skip Horween, president of Horween. “We do recognize that we are in this together.”
November 20, 2018
In the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, UFCW members from local unions around the country are coming together to help ensure everyone in their communities can enjoy a good holiday meal.
No one should have to struggle alone
UFCW/RWDSU Local 338 members volunteered at The INN in Hempstead. A not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization, The INN provides a broad variety of essential services to assist those challenged by hunger, homelessness and profound poverty and is the largest private social service agency of its kind on Long Island. The Hempstead soup kitchen was founded on the principle that everyone would be treated with dignity and respect – a belief shared by our union family.
Meanwhile, UFCW Local 328 members pooled their resources to make a difference in the lives of 220 families:
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of our membership, we will be able to provide over 220 Thanksgiving bags to families in need this holiday season. We truly are a @UFCW union family! pic.twitter.com/j5gffhxG5T
— UFCW Local 328 (@UFCWLocal328) November 13, 2018
Getting in the Spirit
The hard-working men and women of UFCW Local 152 used a little good old-fashioned competitive spirit to collect 2,475 cans and other food items for their local area food banks. Each store/facility faced off to see who could collect the most canned goods. Top contributors will celebrate with a pizza party for their coworkers, but the real winners are area families who will be the beneficiaries of the collected items.
Cooked with Love
UFCW Local 342 members helped out with their annual Thanksgiving drive by not only donating goods, but also volunteering their time. On Saturday, November 17th, volunteers gathered at Mariner’s Temple Baptist church to make sure families in their community could have a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. Food for the drive was collected in bins at the local union offices leading up to the event.
Thank you to everyone who has helped out so far! If you have a story of how UFCW members are helping their communities this holiday season, we’d love to hear from you! Please email us at email@example.com.
November 19, 2018
The hard-working men and women of our union family help make Thanksgiving possible for countless families across the country. UFCW members make and sell almost all the necessities for a holiday feast, and often work long holiday hours away from their own families to make the holiday happen for others.
As you enjoy the following foods this holiday season, take a moment to remember the UFCW members who helped make them:
Foster Poultry Farms
Hormel Honey Roasted
Kraft Stove Top Stuffing
Hanover Foods Frozen vegetables
Birds Eye vegetables
Del Monte Canned vegetables
Kraft Mac and Cheese
Ocean Spray cranberry sauce
Dole cranberry sauce
Pam cooking spray
Wesson corn, sunflower, canola and vegetable oil
Fleishmann’s Move Over Butter
Musselman cherry pie filling
Philadelphia cream cheese
Kroger Brand pumpkin puree
Food Club canned pumpkin
Welch’s non alcoholic sparkling wine
Nestle hot chocolate
Maxwell House Coffee
November 16, 2018
UFCW local unions around the country offer a wide range of programs and training to enhance the professional skills of their members and help them take their careers to the next level.
One such program is UFCW Local 21’s Meatcutters Apprenticeship Program. Domico Kelly, UFCW Local 21 member and graduate of the program, shares with us the advantages of working as a meatcutter and why he’s grateful he took the leap and signed up:
The Meat Apprenticeship Program of King County in Washington near Seattle is a nationally recognized program that teaches a diverse student population to become experts in the meat cutting trade. Students graduate from the program with an official WA certification which is honored in all 50 states.
“I didn’t just want a job, I wanted a union job. A career,” says Kelly. “I wanted to work hard to provide for my family. So when the UFCW offered me a chance to start a 2 year program to become a certified butcher, it was an incredible opportunity and I didn’t hesitate.”
“This is a good trade to have. I’m a person with disability, so when I came out of high school, I didn’t really know what I was going to be doing. But once I got back here, I said, ‘I could do this.'”
“I’m really glad I did this. It’s good, decent money. You’re going to be able to pay your bills. You’re going to be able to do a whole lot. You could even buy your own house. This job is a good job. If you have a family, you’re going to be able to take care of your family.”
The comprehensive program focuses on teaching students to exceed levels of industry competency through a rigorous and challenging curriculum. Students learn how to work more efficiently both independently and in teams. They explore their employers’ policies, procedures and expectations while learning how to maximize productivity, profitability, craftsmanship, and customer service. Meat apprentice students learn how to be more effective employees and to exceed customer expectations.
November 14, 2018
The fires sweeping through Northern California have destroyed the homes and taken the lives of loved ones in our Union family. There are no words to express our sorrow for their loss.
UFCW Local 8 Golden State has created a special fund for members in need of assistance.*
If you want to contribute to the UFCW 8 Disaster Relief Fund for California Fire Victims please go to UFCW8.org/donate
*If you are a member in need of help please visit www.UFCW8.org/relief or call at (888) 834-4488.