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December 4, 2019

UFCW Statement on Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Applauds Warren-Schakowsky Legislation for ‘Holding Corporations Accountable’ and Helping End ‘Exploitation’ of Retail Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), announced its support for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act unveiled by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL). UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Rather than do what’s right, multi-billion dollar retail companies force millions of Americans into part-time jobs – jobs that guarantee they will struggle to make ends meet. Far too many of these workers are paid low wages, cannot access family leave or contribute to a pension, and are losing extra hours to outside contractors. This is wrong and it must end now.

“The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights will go a long way towards making part-time jobs good jobs for all workers. This bill will hold corporations accountable and help end the modern-day exploitation of millions of hard-working men and women in America’s retail industry.”

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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

 

 

December 3, 2019

UFCW: Retirement of Millions of Americans Threatened by New Congressional Pension Proposal

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Says Congress Must Reject Plan that Reduces Current Benefits and Jeopardizes Pensions for Future Retirees 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), announced its opposition to a multiemployer pensions proposal from U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Millions of American workers – union and nonunion – would have their retirement thrown into chaos if this plan passes. Not only would it cause a massive reduction in current pension benefits, it will recklessly endanger the pensions of future retirees across the country. After a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, workers should be able to retire with dignity and the security of knowing they can provide for themselves and their loved ones.

“Congress must pass the bipartisan Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act to protect these pensions before the crisis becomes even more costly and widespread. The retirement security for millions of workers and their families is on the line. We cannot wait any longer.”

Grassley Pensions Plan Impact on American Workers’ Retirement Security

This proposal, if implemented, will severely harm healthy defined benefit multiemployer plans, and will put millions of participants’ pension plans at risk.

  • The proposed PBGC premiums and new retiree and stakeholder copayments will place tremendous burdens on healthy plans, unnecessarily punish the stakeholders, and disproportionately impact plans with lower contribution rates.
  • The proposed changes to the calculations used to value liabilities are inappropriate, logically inconsistent, and will overstate the value of liabilities significantly, causing extreme harm to plans that are currently healthy.
  • Proposed changes to withdrawal liability provisions will very likely decrease withdrawal liability amounts, meaning that many employers who withdraw from plans will not be required to pay their fair share, exacerbating the already-existing financial strain faced by these plans.
  • Proposed governance changes will be harmful to plans’ continued existence and do not address the underlying causes of the problem that Congress is trying to solve.
  • Proposed restrictions on benefit improvements in healthy plans are inappropriate.
  • The creation of “Composite Plans” would legalize a new plan structure that would shift investment risk from employers to workers.

UFCW Call for Action on Multiemployer Pensions

UFCW has been a strong national advocate for pensions reform and is calling for Congress to pass H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act. Last year, UFCW sent a letter to Congress urging action on legislation to provide low-cost loans to eligible multiemployer pension plans to enable them to continue to pay earned pensions to retirees and fund their long-term pension commitments.

Why Congress Must Pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act:

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act is a common-sense way to shore up the multiemployer plans while protecting the earned pensions of retirees and active workers.

  • An estimated 10 million workers and retirees are in about 1,400 multiemployer pension plans. (PBGC)
  • The failure of pension plans would hurt not only individual retirees, but also their local communities, the plans’ contributing employers and the future of the multiemployer retirement system overall.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act provides a path forward to address the country’s growing pension crisis by providing the financial support the plans need to avoid insolvency.

  • If nothing is done, some troubled plans will fail and retirees will face massive cuts to the benefits they earned over decades of work.
  • If the plans are allowed to fail, not only will they no longer be able to pay promised benefits, but taxpayers would be at risk of having to pay billions to cover the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) shortfall.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration, within the Treasury Department, to provide low-cost loans to qualified underfunded multiemployer pension plans.

  • Plans would have up to 30 years to pay earned retiree benefits, prudently invest the loan proceeds and employer contributions, and re-pay the loan.
  • During the loan period, employers may not reduce contributions and the plan may not increase promised benefits.
  • The plan must demonstrate that receipt of the loan will enable the plan to avoid insolvency, pay benefits and loan interest, and accumulate sufficient funds to repay the loan principal when due.

 

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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

December 2, 2019

2019 UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship Winners

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. The fund has distributed more than $2 million in scholarships since 1958.

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.

Congratulations to the 2019 UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship winners and good luck with your classes!

 

 

November 27, 2019

Top 5 most forgotten Thanksgiving ingredients

UFCW members work at major grocery stores such as Kroger, Ralph’s, Meijer, Safeway, Giant, Albertsons, and Stop & Shop, and over the years have been there to help with last-minute Thanksgiving grocery shopping.

“My dad worked grocery for over two decades,” said UFCW International Facebook page fan Victor Román in response to a recent post thanking our UFCW members who are working this Thanksgiving. “I recall times we had to have dinner later so he could join us, or earlier so he could leave for his shift. I never take for granted, when I do have to go to the store on a holiday, the service the clerks and cashiers are providing me. While I would have preferred that my dad stay with us the entire Thanksgiving day, I’m glad that at least he got paid extra for providing his employer time that is priceless to us. That extra pay, I’m sure, was in large part due to negotiations that the UFCW had made on behalf of their members.”

Román wasn’t alone in expressing his gratitude for those working over the holidays. “I work at a grocery store that is represented by the UFCW, and have worked my share of holidays,” said Todd Gustafson in a Facebook comment.  “And I do appreciate all my fellow sisters and brothers, who along with myself, have spent time away from their family so others could spend time with theirs.”

If you do end up running to the store on Thanksgiving, remember the people working and taking time away from their loved ones so that you have the things you need for your holiday feast. Even the most careful cook can forget an ingredient from time to time when there’s so much going on, so make sure you have these top 5 most often forgotten items.

1. Cream cheese

Cream cheese sneaks it’s way into a number of recipes from appetizers to desserts, but we don’t really think of it as a Thanksgiving staple so it’s easy to leave off.

Open package cream cheese on grey surface. High point of view.

2. Cream of mushroom soup

Green bean casserole and a number of other dishes make use of cream of mushroom soup as a base. Eyeball your recipes to be sure you’re not leaving this one out.

Can of Mushroom Soup. illustration3. Celery

Celery is one of those ingredients that is easy to forget any time of year because it’s rarely the star of a recipe, but really adds to the flavor and texture of a dish. If you use celery in your stuffing, don’t forget to pick this up in the produce aisle.

Celery stalks on white cutting board4. Yams

Perhaps it’s yam’s simplicity that makes them easy to forget, but many would be sad to find this Thanksgiving staple missing from their table.

Plate of candied yams5. Butter

Grocery chain Meijer sells more butter the day before Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. It’s best not to guess on this one. Make a list of everything you’ll be cooking and add up how many sticks of butter you’ll need. Do you need salted or unsalted? Will you want more butter at the table for spreading on rolls? Try to leave enough time to let butter for the table reach room temperature so that it’s easier to spread.

Close-Up Of Butter On Blue Background

November 25, 2019

UFCW: Consumer and Worker Protections Must Be Top Priority for Northeast Governors in Cannabis Framework

Union Representing Cannabis Workers Calls for Regional Framework to Prioritize Labor Peace Agreements that Support Good Jobs, Consumer Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union is calling for consumer and worker protections to be a top priority for Governors Andrew Cuomo (New York), Ned Lamont (Connecticut), Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), and Charlie Baker (Massachusetts) in their states’ new joint framework on cannabis.

In a letter to these governors, UFCW called the agreement an important first step to strengthen the cannabis industry and support good jobs, but also emphasized the need to invest in high standards that put consumers and workers first. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s cannabis industry has the power to create thousands of good jobs that support hardworking families and the communities they serve. But we can only achieve this with strong labor peace agreements that set high standards that reward responsible businesses, strengthen worker voices, and put consumer safety first. We urge these governors to make this a centerpiece of their cannabis framework as they continue to invest in the future of our economy.”

BACKGROUND

In the letter to Northeast governors, UFCW emphasized the importance of labor peace agreements. A labor peace agreement is a written and mutually agreed-upon document between a labor union and an employer, typically one that is licensed to operate in a regulated industry by a state or local government.

  • Labor peace agreements strengthen business stability and support a healthy workplace
  • Unions and their members typically agree to refrain from engaging in strikes, boycotts, picketing and any other interference in the employer’s business.
  • Employers, in return, agree to not interfere with efforts by the labor union to communicate with, and attempt to organize and represent, the employer’s workers.
  • These agreements generally require the employer, including management and supervisory staff, to agree to remain neutral regarding unions and their representation of the workforce.

Labor peace agreements do not equate to mandatory unionization and do not impose a union contract. In fact, union organizing must still take place at the worksite. And negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the business only begin after a majority of workers elect to join the union. Ultimately, labor peace agreements provide an additional safeguard for workers and strengthen the businesses that agree to them.

Both New York and New Jersey already have labor peace agreements in place for medical cannabis businesses.

This week’s letter is signed by the following labor leaders:

  • UFCW International President Marc Perrone – Washington, D.C.
  • Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum – New York, NY
  • UFCW International Vice President and Region 1 Director David Young – Little Falls, NJ
  • UFCW Local 152 President Brian String – Egg Harbor Township, NJ
  • UFCW Local 328 President Timothy Melia – Providence, RI
  • RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 President Jon Durso – Mineola, NY
  • UFCW Local 360 President Salvatore “Sam” Ferraino – West Berlin, NJ
  • UFCW Local 371 President Thomas Wilkinson – Westport, CT
  • UFCW Local 919 President Mark Espinosa – Farmington, CT
  • UFCW Local 1445 President Jeffrey Bollen – Dedham, MA
  • UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey – Springfield, MA
  • UFCW Local 1776KS President Wendell Young – Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • RWDSU New York City Director Dave Mertz – New York, NY

Since 2010, the UFCW has been a leader in the cannabis industry and currently represents thousands of cannabis workers in 12 states around the country. The UFCW represents more than 300,000 workers across a wide range of industries in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

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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

 

November 20, 2019

UFCW Statement on Amazon Launch of Cashierless Grocery Chain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its opposition to Amazon’s launch of a cashierless grocery chain reported to open next year. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Amazon has one agenda – to eliminate as many jobs as possible to enrich one multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos. The takeover of Whole Foods was just the beginning of a ruthless strategy to fundamentally change our country’s grocery industry. Despite a widespread consumer backlash to Amazon Go stores, Jeff Bezos is doubling down on the cashierless business model in food retail as he seeks to eliminate millions of good American jobs.

Make no mistake, Amazon represents a clear and present danger to working and middle class Americans. It is long past the time for our leaders to wake up and act before Amazon and Jeff Bezos do long-lasting damage to America’s 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 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 19, 2019

Those who work Thanksgiving deserve thanks for being there when we need them

About 9 out of 10 Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and think it is an important time to spend with family and friends. But in order for the rest of us to enjoy that time together, there’s still many workers clocking in to keep our communities running.

In our UFCW family alone, we have dedicated, hard-working members in places like hospitals, grocery stores, and retail locations who sacrifice time with their loved ones every year to make sure the rest of us still have access to the things we need.

Thanksgiving Days Off Chart

Almost every Thanksgiving cook has a story about some year that they forgot a vital ingredient and had to make an emergency run to the grocery store, and chances are good that it was a UFCW member who helped them at union grocery stores like Safeway or Fred Meyer . Unlike non-union workers, UFCW workers are covered by contracts that spell out what the rules and compensation are for working holidays, and many enjoy the added pay and chance to help others that can come with working on days like Thanksgiving.

Working Thanksgiving also means our members have heard all the horror story cooking fiascos last-minute shoppers come in with. With that, we have a couple of quick tips to keep in mind to avoid unnecessary stress.


Tips for a successful feast


Plan when to defrost your turkey

While you aren’t likely to forget to buy turkey, if you buy frozen, it can be easy to forget to take the turkey out to defrost in time. The safest way to defrost a turkey is in the refrigerator, but this method does take some time, about one day per 4 – 5 pounds of weight. That means if you get a large, heritage turkey, it could take up to 4 days in the refrigerator to thaw.

If T-day comes and your bird is still a bit frosty, according to the USDA, you can still cook a frozen turkey, it’s just going to take longer.

Measure your roasting pan

Is your roasting pan large enough for your turkey? Do you know where it is?

Do you have a meat thermometer?

While it’s possible to cook a turkey without one, it’s way less stressful to know for sure if it’s done cooking and safe to eat.

If you are using an oven safe leave-in thermometer, insert the probe into the thigh so that the tip of the thermometer is at the thickest part, but not touching the bone. Remove the turkey when it reaches 180°F. The breast must reach 170°F.  If the turkey is stuffed, check the temperature of the center of the stuffing is at least 165°F.

If you are using an instant read thermometer, check 30-60 minutes before the estimated finish time, then about every 15 minutes thereafter.

Stale bread takes time

Are you making your stuffing from scratch? Soft, fresh bread doesn’t work very well for stuffing, so this is another step to remember about ahead of time. If your bread is too soft, spread it out on a sheet pan and leave it out on the kitchen counter overnight.

You can’t have enough butter

Unsalted butter is best for baking and cooking so you can control how much salt is in your recipe, but salted tastes best melted on dinner rolls, so you’ll probably want to pick up both kinds.

Do you need ice?

Ice is one of the easiest items to forget because it’s difficult to buy ahead of time.

How’s your salt and pepper stash?

It’s easy to take salt and pepper for granted, but difficult to do without them if you find you’re running low.

Do you have enough aluminum foil and plastic zip-top bags?

If you are planning on sending your guests home with leftovers, they’ll need something to put the food in. Foil and zip-top bags can be a big help, or else stockpile yogurt containers, takeout boxes, or other plastic food containers you can reuse and help cut back on waste.

Monitor your pets

Have a safe, quiet place for your animal friends and be sure they can’t reach where the food is being laid out.

November 15, 2019

UFCW Local 328 assembles 233 Thanksgiving Baskets for families in need

For many, the holidays aren’t just a time for food and gifts, it’s also a time of service to our communities and gratitude for the good things we have in our lives. UFCW members from local unions all across the country will participate in food drives and other fundraising events over the next few months to help spread a little holiday joy to those who may need it most.

Earlier this month, UFCW Local 328 members pulled together to assemble over 230 Thanksgiving baskets for families in need this holiday season.

If you plan on participating in any volunteering or fundraising activities over the holidays, we’d love for you to share your story with us. Send us your name, the local union you belong to, and a quick description of what you’ll be doing and why it’s important to you to submissions@ufcw.org.

November 15, 2019

Chemical Workers Boost Pay by Standing Together in Eight-Month Negotiation

After eight months of negotiations with their employer, PeroxyChem workers in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., ratified their first contract on Oct. 25.

The bargaining committee for the newly organized PeroxyChem workers of ICWUC

The workers first joined the ICWUC Local 61C in December of 2018 because they were concerned about wages and lack of respect from managers.

The three-year agreement addresses those issues and includes annual raises, job security, just cause discipline language and many more protections and benefits that will set these new members up for success.

PeroxyChem is a leading global manufacturer and supplier of hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, persulfates and adjacent technologies.

The ICWUC is an important part of our UFCW family and represents primarily workers in the chemical industry. If you work in the industry and are interested in improving your wages and working conditions, contact the ICWUC about how you can become a member.

November 5, 2019

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UFCW members are eligible for a wide range of discounts. To verify your membership and gain access to our discount portal, please visit the UFCW Lifemart Discount Program website.


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