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April 6, 2018

April 10th is Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day is recognized on different days depending on the year and the country because it symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

Another way of looking at it is that if men and women both started working January 1, 2017, then men got to stop working December 31 and the women have been working since then for free. That’s because women made 22% less on average in 2017 than men. The gap only gets wider when you also take race and ethnicity into consideration.

According to the Economic Policy Institute:

“While April 10th is the overall Equal Pay Day, the gaps for women of color are even larger. As compared to white men, women of color have to work even further into 2018 to make up for the wage deficit they experienced in 2017. Black women’s equal pay day is August 7th, Native American women’s equal pay day is September 27th, and Latina equal pay day doesn’t come until November 1st, almost an entire second year of working to equal typical white male wages in 2017.”

The good news is that even though all the factors that contribute to women earning less than men are complicated, simply belonging to union and having the support that comes from being part of a union family goes a long way in evening out the wage gap. Unions raise wages in women-dominated service occupations (which include food service and janitorial services). Union women working in those industries make 87% more in total compensation and 56% more in wages than their nonunion counterparts. And overall, hourly wages for union women are 9% higher on average than for nonunionized women.

Peace of Mind

“There are probably Federal Laws that protect non-union workers but having such language in your contract makes it easier. I know my union will fight for me,” says Jennifer Rios. “Under a union contract, depending on your job classification, we’re all paid the same. We all move through the same progression steps. With the guaranteed wage increases, I’m able to do a little extra for my family, such as planning a family outing bowling.”

“The guaranteed wage increase helped me and my family a lot,” echoes Local 338 member Evony, who works at Duane Reade in New York. “It’s helped me pay my bills and doing more for my kids. Unlike non-union workers, we know we’re getting our set raise.”

Crystal Quarles worked at a teacher for nearly 15 years and made $8/ an hour with no health insurance. When she started at Kroger in 2014, she joined the UFCW Local 700 without hesitation. Because of her 6 month wage increases she is now at her top rate of pay. As a single mom, she is very glad to have a contract where women are paid the same amount as men for the same work.

Equal Opportunity

Being paid different amounts for the same level of work isn’t the only thing that keeps women stuck earning less. Sometimes, it’s lack of access to higher paid positions. There again unions help ensure equal access to opportunities for advancement for all workers.

In March of 2014 Marlenny Solaris, a UFCW Local 342 member, heard there may be a job opening she could bid on at the nursing home where she worked.  This Porter job was typically performed by men in the Porter classification, and she was told by the Supervisor that it was not a woman’s job. When the Home did not put the posting up, Solaris bid on another job and got it. Only after she received her new position did her supervisor post the full-time Porter classification job Solaris had originally expressed interest in.

Local 342 Representatives backed Solaris when she again applied for the now posted Porter position and then she got it.  This paved the way for more women who have since taken jobs at the nursing home as Porters. Her situation also shows how the ways in which women can be prevented from having access to higher-paid positions can be complicated, because without a union there to represent her, there’s little chance Solaris would have been able to even apply for the position she was qualified for and had expressed an interest in.


Union membership also helps provide training to help level the playing field for hardworking men and women, regardless of gender.

“I didn’t have to take out a student loan to become a pharmacy Technician,” says Margarita Alejandro, a UFCW Local 1428 member who works at CVS in California. “Thanks to my union contract I’m able to get on the job training from my clerk position to technician and to make more money and provide for my family.”


April 5, 2018

Tyson Foods, UFCW Expand Workplace Safety Efforts

Company, union collaboration called a model for the food industry

Dakota Dunes, S.D. — April 5, 2018 — Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) are expanding their collaborative efforts to make workplace safety improvements at the company’s food processing plants and commemorating 30 years of working together for safer workplaces.

The three decades-long partnership is one union leaders call a model for the food industry. It began in 1988, with the launch of a landmark ergonomics program and has evolved to include improvements that have helped reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. While the primary focus has been Tyson Foods’ beef and pork operations, it is now being expanded to the company’s poultry business, which has been accelerating its workplace safety efforts in recent years.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made through our collaboration with the UFCW, and especially the active involvement of frontline team members,” said Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “We know that all of us must remain diligent if we’re to achieve additional improvements.”

“We value the progress we’ve made at Tyson and are looking forward to expanding our partnership to create safer workplaces for all of their hard-working men and women,” said Mark Lauritsen, director of the UFCW’s Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division. “Working together with Tyson has meant empowering workers and their union to make a better, safer workplace.”

Examples of the company’s and union’s collaborative efforts include:

  • Plant safety audits by management and union representatives
  • Ergonomics and safety committees that enable frontline workers and their union to regularly meet with plant management on safety matters
  • Empowering frontline workers to stop the production line if a safety or ergonomics issue is detected
  • Project “Why Not,” which encourages management and frontline workers and their union to re-evaluate job functions for ergonomic improvement
  • Full-time safety and ergonomic “captains” responsible for day-to-day safety and ergonomic monitoring
  • “Captains of the Week,” who are workers allowed to leave the production line for one hour every day for a week to gain in depth exposure to safety and ergonomics programs

“We’ve worked hard over the years to create a culture where everyone is comfortable to speak up about safety issues,” said Sherry Louk, a nine-year Tyson Foods veteran and safety captain at the plant in Perry, Iowa. “Because we all want the safest workplace possible, there is an environment of empowerment where we can be honest about safety concerns and fix them before somebody gets hurt. At Tyson, I can say ‘I’ve got your back’ because the company and the union have mine.”

The next step in the company-union relationship is increased focus on the company’s poultry plants, where the UFCW represents workers at 12 locations.

“We value our frontline team members who are crucial to the continued success of our poultry businesses,” said Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry, Tyson Foods. “While we have existing programs to help train and protect our people and give them a voice in the workplace, we look forward to working more closely with the UFCW on additional ways we can improve.”

The UFCW currently represents more than 24,000 people employed by Tyson Foods or its subsidiaries. 

About Tyson Foods 

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball  Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 122,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM. 

About the UFCW

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.


April 3, 2018

You or someone in your family headed to college? Apply for the UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship

Looking to further your education? There is still time to apply for the UFCW Charity Foundation 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.

March 29, 2018

18 regional hot dogs to enjoy on opening day

Today marks the start of baseball season! Hard-working UFCW members across the country produce and package a lot of the hot dogs people will chow down on while watching America’s favorite pastime -including the famous Dodger Dog, made by UFCW 770 members. But while baseball and hot dogs might be a national past time, how you like to top your dog can say a lot about where you live.

Here’s some of the most popular regional hot dogs, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:

1.) New York City

New Yorkers eat more hot dogs than any other group in the country. From downtown Manhattan to Coney Island, when you buy your hot dog in the Big Apple, it will come served with steamed onions and a pale, deli-style yellow mustard.

 2.) Chicago

The possible antithesis to New York dogs, Chicago dogs are layered with yellow mustard, dark green relish, chopped raw onion, pickle spear, sport peppers, tomato slices and topped with a dash of celery salt and served in a poppy seed bun.

3.) Atlanta and the South

Buying a hot dog at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves, or elsewhere in Atlanta and the south, you’ll find your dog topped with coleslaw and perhaps some delicious Vidalia onions.

4.) Kansas City

Get the mints out – you’ll need them when you order up a hot dog in KC as it is served with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a sesame seed bun.

5.) The Rockie Dog

Served at Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies – is a foot-long dog with grilled peppers, kraut and onions.

6.) The Fenway Frank

Served at none other than Fenway Park – is the only dog to eat while watching the Red Sox. It’s boiled and grilled and served in a New England style bun with mustard and relish. New England dogs can also be found topped with Boston baked beans

7.) Sonoran Dog

This Southwestern favorite features a grilled, bacon-wrapped hot dog on a sturdy bun, pinto beans, grilled onions and green peppers, chopped fresh tomatoes, relish, tomatillo jalapeno salsa, mayonnaise, mustard and shredded cheese.

8.) The Texas Dog

Chili, cheese and jalapenos make this the favored item at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

9.) Michigan Coney Island Dog (AKA Michigan Coney)

This favorite of Michiganders features a meaty chili sauce on top of a hot dog with mustard and onion.

10.) West Virginia Dog

This favorite features chili, mustard and coleslaw atop a wiener on a steamed bun.

11.) New Jersey Dog

A variety of hot dog styles can be found in New Jersey but the one most unique to the state is the Italian Dog. It’s a hot dog in thick pizza bread topped with onions, peppers and deep fried potatoes.

12.) Philadelphia Dog

A classic Philadelphia dog is one of the most interesting ones you’ll find. It features the brotherly love of an all-beef hot dog with a fish cake inside the bun as well. It is often topped with a sweet vinegary slaw and spicy mustard.

13.) Cleveland Polish Boy

Cleveland is home to two unique hot dog offerings. The Polish Boy is a kielbasa or hot dog served on a bun covered with a layer of french fries, a layer of sweet southern style barbecue sauce or hot sauce, and a layer of coleslaw. It is commonly found in carts around town. At Indians games and elsewhere in the city you can also top your hot dog with Stadium Mustard, a type of Brown mustard with similar flavor to a spicy Dijon mustard.

14.) Cincinnati Coney

The home of famous chili is also the home of some delicious chili dogs. These are topped with Cincinnati style chili and usually also feature a heaping mound of grated cheddar cheese on top.


15.) Washington, D.C.

The Nation’s Capital is where you’ll find the half-smoke: a half pork, half beef sausage that is like a hot dog but with more coarsely ground meat and a little extra spice. A classic half-smoke is topped with chili, mustard and onions. You can find them in hot dog joints around the city as well as at Nationals Park.


16.) California

There are many different hot dog varieties sold throughout the state of California, but the one most unique to the state is a bacon wrapped dog with grilled onions and peppers. These are favorites from carts around Los Angeles and San Francisco.


17.) Seattle

The Seattle dog offers a topping twist not found in many places around the country…cream cheese. The hot dogs are split in half and grilled before being put in a toasted bun and are also topped with grilled onions. Sriracha sauce and jalapeños are popular additions as well.


18) Alaska


True to its roots in the far north, the Alaska dog is commonly called a Reindeer hot dog or sausage, but it isn’t actually made from reindeer meat. Instead the meat is typically caribou. The hot dog is served in a steamed bun with grilled onions that are sometimes sautéed in coca-cola.


March 28, 2018

National Nutrition Month: How many calories should your child be eating?

March is National Nutrition Month, a time to focus on healthy eating and and proper nutrition. We’ve been sharing helpful tips from the USDA’s MyPlate program. For more on the MyPlate program and to find more healthy recipes, fun activities, and meal planning materials, go to www.choosemyplate.gov. 

Young Children

According to the USDA MyPlate Guide, the healthy number of calories a preschooler needs are:

2 yrs Boys and Girls Any level 1000 calories
3 yrs Boys Less than 30 minutes 1200 calories
30-60 minutes, More than 60 minutes 1400 calories
Girls Less than 30 minutes 1000 calories
30-60 minutes 1200 calories
More than 60 minutes 1400 calories
4-5 yrs Boys and Girls Less than 30 minutes 1200 calories
30-60 minutes 1400 calories
Boys More than 60 minutes 1600 calories
Girls More than 60 minutes 1400 calories

Getting Older Children Involved

You may need some patience when first getting your young chef familiar with the kitchen, but the long-term benefits will pay off as it provides a good opportunity to teach about healthy eating and the importance of sharing household duties.

Here’s a few tips from the MyPlate program to help get young chefs involved:

1.) Create a yogurt sundae!

Top plain, low-fat or fat-free yogurt with fresh, frozen, or canned fruit, like bananas, strawberries, or peaches. Sprinkle whole-grain cereal on top for crunch.

2.) Make pita pockets

Stuff a small whole-wheat pita with sliced bell peppers, salsa, and a slice of low-fat cheese. Melt in the microwave for 15-20 seconds.

3.) Jazz up your favorite cereal

Make a trail mix! Stir 1/4 cup of unsalted nuts, 1/4 cup of dried raisins or cranberries, and 1/4 cup of whole-grain cereal together.

4.) Make a fruit sandwich

Cut an apple into thin slices. Spread peanut butter or almond butter between two slices to create “apple sandwiches.”

5.) Dip your veggies

Create veggie treats by dipping slices of cucumbers, peppers, and carrots in a low-fat salad dressing or hummus.

6.) Pack an afterschool snack

For a healthy afterschool snack, keep a fruit cup packed in 100% juice or water in your bag. Some fresh fruit, like bananas and oranges, are also easy to pack and eat any time.

You don’t have to wait for a party to make these “party pinwheels.” The bite sized sandwich roll ups also make great snacks.

7.) Try a piece of cheesy toast!

Toast a slice of whole-wheat bread and top with a slice of your favorite low-fat cheese.

8.) Freeze your fruit

For a frozen treat on hot days, try freezing grapes or bananas! Don’t forget to peel bananas and pull grapes from the stem before freezing.

9.) Power up with ‘roll-ups’

Roll a slice of low-salt deli turkey or ham around an apple wedge or around a slice of low-fat cheese.

10.) Build a fruit salad

Mix your favorite sliced fruits such as pineapple, grapes, and melon.

March 23, 2018

UFCW members get access to special AT&T discounts

How it Works

AT&T is the only nationwide unionized wireless carrier. When you choose AT&T, you support the nearly 150,000 union members employed there.

Shop Online.

Go to the AT&T Union Member site and enroll in the Union Member Discount Program.

Shop online

Go In-Store.

Visit your neighborhood AT&T store and show them your union ID and the discount code: 3508840.

More Information

Local 919 SOH Photo 3

Interested in more discounts for UFCW members? Check out MyUFCW.org.

March 20, 2018

Women’s History Month: 1911 Triangle fire survivor recalls the tragedy in her own words

On March 25, 1911, one of the deadliest disasters in New York’s history unfolded over the span of 15 tragic minutes as fire tore through the Triangle shirtwaist factory. One hundred forty-six people, mostly young women and girls, and many of them recent immigrants, died in the fire, unable to escape through the doors that management regularly locked to prevent workers from leaving.

Prior to the fire, the women who worked at Triangle Waist Company had already tried to organize and improve conditions at the factory.

A massive strike by women’s shirtwaist makers in 1909, known as the Uprising of 20,000, began with a spontaneous walkout at the company. For years, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) had been actively trying to organize the New York garment industry and address poor working conditions and low pay. While the union was able to negotiate a contract covering most of those workers after a four-month strike where women were regularly beaten and arrested, Triangle Shirtwaist refused to sign the agreement, leaving workers unprotected.

Dora Maisler was a sample maker on the eighth floor of the Asch Building survivor of the 1911 fire. She was interviewed by Sigmund Arywitz, former California State Commissioner of Labor in April 12, 1957:

“Well, the only thing I can tell when we were on strike, we weren’t allowed to picket so we used to go with tools, in our sleeves. It was a regular Korean War. So they put out – that’s right. They – you know we weren’t allowed to picket at that time.

So they put out plain street walkers, who used to fight us. So then we – we took off – we made the – the cutters helped us picket. So the bosses put out – put out gangsters to fight us and that was the practice.”

Listen to Triangle Factory fire survivor Dora Maisler recount the fire in her own words or read the transcript:

A policeman stands in the street, observing charred rubble and corpses of workers following the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in New York City on March 25, 1911. Hulton Archive

Remembering the Victims of the Fire


March 14, 2018

UFCW’s Work to “Bring Value to Retailers and Customers” Highlighted on DealCrunch

UFCW Featured on DealCrunch.com:

UFCW Fights to Improve the Pay and Quality of Life for the Workers Who Bring Value to Retailers and Customers

By: Chris Curry

The Crunch: The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union works daily to improve pay, benefits, and working conditions for its 1.3 million members. The UFCW is America’s largest private sector labor union and represents the grocery, retail, and packing house workers who help the economy run. As technology threatens to automate many jobs, the UFCW is working to show the value that knowledgeable and professional associates bring to customers and businesses. The organization also helps members advance their careers through free college tuition and GED courses. In the modern labor movement, the UFCW stands up for working conditions — and work-life balance — that result in better jobs and a stronger labor force.

The members of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union play an often-overlooked role in our daily lives.

Take Super Bowl Sunday for instance. UFCW members work in the industries that provide some of the most popular items on the menus at parties across the country: Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, the Heinz Ketchup for those hot dogs, the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing for the chicken wings, and they even sell the avocados for the guacamole. The Jim Beam for the whiskey and Cokes came from a distillery whose workers are represented by the UFCW, and members made the leather for the footballs used in the game.

“Our members are behind the scenes in all these daily interactions and moments in people’s lives, from the Super Bowl to Christmas,” UFCW Communications Director Erikka Knuti said.

In addition to featuring the hard work UFCW members do and the value they have to offer, DealCrunch also highlighted a number of the education opportunities available to UFCW members and their family members:

Programs Help Prepare Members Through Education & Skills Training

In the modern workplace, businesses and employees both face a significant challenge in managing rapid change. And while companies allocate resources for change in the form of equipment or technology, preparing workers for an evolving workplace is often an afterthought.

The UFCW has introduced multiple programs to help members adapt to changes and progress in their careers and personal lives.

Free College for Career Advancement Opportunities

UFCW members and their families — spouses, domestic partners, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren — receive free tuition toward an online associate’s degree from Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio. The arrangement covers all fees and ebooks for courses.

The free tuition program initially started with local labor unions in Ohio that recognized cost was the single biggest barrier to finishing college.

Collage of UFCW free college benefits

Finance, marketing, early childhood education, criminal justice, and accounting are among the degree programs available.

Erikka said in one particular case, the opportunity to pursue an early childhood education degree benefited both a UFCW member and the retail store where she works.

“She is taking early childhood development classes and gaining expertise while working in the baby aisle at her store,” Erikka said.

GED Courses to Help Workers Finish High School

Across the country, many frontline retail and grocery store workers drop out of high school to get a job and help support their families. Erikka said a new UFCW initiative is designed to help them.

“We’re about to roll out a program for people who didn’t finish high school to get their GED,” she said.

A GED will help workers meet qualifications for additional positions and open the door to pursuing an associate’s degree through the free tuition program at Eastern Gateway Community College.

Language Training to Improve Customer Service

English as a second language programs are also available to help UFCW workers better serve customers and advance in their careers. The UFCW will soon offer Spanish as a second language programs as well.

The skills that members learn through language courses will only add to their value in a retail setting, Erikka said.

“It all goes back to the value our members can offer a company,” she said. “The fact that they are taking early childhood development classes to better work in the baby products aisle and are interested in taking Spanish as a second language to better help customers, that is something that should be valued.”

 Are you a UFCW member interested in learning more about these discounts and educational opportunities?

Learn More About:

Language Training GED Courses Discounts Free College Degree

March 13, 2018

National Nutrition Month: Healthy Eating Tips for Busy Families

With temperatures warming up and spring just around the corner, March is the perfect time of year to get a fresh start and refocus on eating right and getting healthy.

Balancing work and busy family schedules can already feel overwhelming at times and for many, healthy eating and proper nutrition can be one of the first things that suffers. But eating healthier foods doesn’t have to be a chore. Meal prep and cooking can be a fun way to spend quality time with our loved ones.

What foods are important to your family’s heritage?

Is there a recipe you remember from your grandmother? Food you ate growing up that you have fond memories of? By cooking these foods with your family, you help pass on important traditions. If the foods are fried or high in sugar, can you bake it instead or use substitutions to put a healthier twist on the recipe and make it your own?

Make a plan before you shop.

It’s easy to get distracted at the grocery store or overwhelmed by options. Plan out the meals you’ll be cooking ahead of time and shop with a list. You’ll cut down on food waste and avoid impulse buying unhealthy foods.

Get kids excited about vegetables by growing them.

Even if you don’t have room or time for a garden, try growing some herbs in a pot. Seeing the effort that goes into growing food and having the satisfaction of eating something they grew themselves can really help get kids involved and more interested in their fruits and vegetables.

March 8, 2018

International Women’s Day Began as “International Working Women’s Day”

The month of March marks Women’s History Month, and March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day, a day with roots in the American labor movement and the struggles of working women.

The article, “Don’t forget what International Women’s Day is really about – striking, that ran in The Independent, recently featured the origins of the day and it’s ties to women workers organizing for better working conditions and fair treatment:

It was in 1857, that on 8 March in New York City, garments workers went on strike. Suffering horrific conditions, endless hours and low pay, they took to the streets demanding better money and working conditions. Dispersed after being attacked by police, the women continued to fight and from their movement the first women’s labour unions were established.

In the early 20th century, their movement blossomed. New York City’s streets again saw women march demanding shorter hours, better pay, an end to child labour and the right to vote in 1908. Leading labour organisers sought to strengthen the movement internationally. At the Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen in 1910, Clara Zetkin asked over 100 women from 17 countries – representing unions, socialist parties and women’s working clubs – to pass a motion for an International Working Women’s Day. They did so, unanimously, and the so International Women’s Day was born.

To honor the sacrifices made by working women to improve working conditions and secure stability, equality, and independence, we wanted to show a few snapshots of ordinary, working women from our own UFCW history. These moments captured in time speak to the unsung efforts made by women over the past century to ensure Americans could put food on their table, even in times of war. To learn more, read the Women In Labor History Primer. 


All photos except the Local 183 photo are from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s collection “Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America records, 1903-1980.”