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October 11, 2017

UFCW to USDA: Keep Line Speed Limits at Poultry Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, sent a letter to the Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Carmen Rottenberg, explaining why a recent petition by the National Chicken Council to eliminate line speeds at poultry plants poses a dangerous risk to American families. 

President Perrone’s letter can be read below.

Dear Madam Acting Deputy Undersecretary Rottenberg:

With the health and safety of over 250,000 thousand hard-working poultry workers in mind, 70,000 of whom are members of our union family, we write to urge you to reject a petition submitted by the National Chicken Council (NCC) to run food processing lines with no speed limits.

This petition, submitted to you in early September, would allow select poultry plants to run their lines with no speed limits, endangering both workers and consumers. Even more troubling is that this petition essentially requests that USDA create this new “no speed limit” rule behind closed doors with no opportunity for notice and comment by the public as the regulatory process requires.

As you must know, poultry workers hold some of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America. The implications of this rule change are striking, for example:

  • Industry statistics show poultry workers are at twice the risk of being injured on the job compared to other workers and suffer illnesses at a rate that is seven times as high.
  • A 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office showed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.
  • Increased line speeds will also make it harder for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination that could make consumers sick.

Given the facts noted above, the petition from the NCC clearly poses a dangerous risk to American families.

When the USDA chose not to raise line speed limits for poultry plants in 2014, there was large public interest in the open and transparent process (which we participated in) that ensured all perspectives on this proposed modification were heard – including those of the NCC. A wide array of people and interests, from workers on poultry lines to experts across the country, agreed then as they do now that faster line speeds will make this industry dramatically less safe, both for workers and consumers.

For the sake of keeping hard-working families safe – whether they’re preparing, buying, or eating chicken – the USDA must reject this petition.

Sincerely,

Anthony “Marc” Perrone

International President

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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

 

October 5, 2017

UFCW Member Spotlight: Cameron Dyar, Shorewood Metro Market

“I’m a cashier. I really like this job. It’s my second job. The pay was $7.50 at my old store, so I thought ‘let’s try Metro Market.'”

Cameron is leaving the job to finish his last year of high school. He hopes to take a year off and travel after high school and figure out what it is he wants to do.

“Here and with the union, people treat me with respect and talk to me like an adult. I know I’m young, but I’m not stupid. That can be a problem some places and people will talk to like you’re a kid. But not here.  All the people I’ve met from the union are really nice and treat me like an equal.”

Cameron Dyar, UFCW Local 1473
Cashier at Shorewood Metro Market for 3 months
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

October 2, 2017

Tips from the pros: what to do with that spiky melon in the grocery store

Maia Dubar, a UFCW Local 919 member and Stop & Shop produce clerk in Connecticut, is back again with tips about how to pick out and enjoy kiwano melon, starfruit, and kiwi in the UFCW’s’ new “how to” video.

Related

September 26, 2017

UFCW Local 770 helps members navigate DACA renewal process

On Sept. 23, UFCW Local 770, in partnership with the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department, Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights in Los Angeles, and Central American Resource Center, held a workshop to assist members with the application process for the two-year Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals.

The workshop, which was held at the Ricardo F. Icaza Workers Center in Huntington Park, California, is part of UFCW Local 770’s effort to provide financial assistance so that qualified union members can renew their DACA applications before the October 5, 2017 deadline.

“I feel very happy and very appreciative for this opportunity,” said Silvia, a young DACA recipient and daughter of a UFCW Local 770 member, who attended the workshop. “It relieves me of a lot of stress because the renewal was pretty expensive.”

“They helped us with the immigration fee and completing the application process. They pretty much helped with everything,” she added.

Once renewing her work permit through DACA, Silvia plans to attend medical school. “I’m very excited about being able to renew my status, to continue working and try to go back to school,” she said.

According to President Trump’s announcement made on Sept. 5, the Department of Homeland Security will stop accepting new DACA applications from people who don’t already have DACA. People who already have DACA, and whose work permits expire between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018, will be able to apply for a two-year renewal if their application is received by October 5, 2017.

Additional information about UFCW Local 770’s DACA program is available here.

September 21, 2017

Safety in mind: rebuilding after natural disasters

Over the past few weeks, our nation’s communities have been battered by multiple hurricanes and natural disasters, but while Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and beyond have worked to recover, tragedy has also brought out the strength and spirit of our communities as strangers and neighbors alike pull together to help out those in need.

Our union family has also activated to help our fellow members return to their workplaces and homes. As millions of people, including thousands of hard-working UFCW members, return to damaged homes and property, our responsibility to keep each other safe continues.

Rain or shine, the safety of our union family is a top priority. Here are some safety hazards to be aware of to help stay safe even after the storm is over:

Contaminated Floodwaters

Catastrophic flooding can introduce sewage from external sources into indoor environments. This sewage can pose serious health threats to building occupants and to cleanup and restoration workers. In any flood cleanup, assume that pathogens are present. Keep the following in mind to prevent further harm.

When you are directly exposed to floodwater…

  • Avoid direct skin contact with floodwaters to minimize the chance for infection. Be especially careful of the face and eyes.
  • Protect all cuts, scrapes, and sores.
  • Immediately wash and disinfect any wound that comes in contact with sewage.
  • If skin contact with floodwaters does occur, use soap and water to clean exposed areas. Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs can be used when soap or clean water is not available.
  • Hands should be washed after removal of gloves. Gloves that will be reused should be cleaned with soap and water and dried between uses.

Discard the following…

  • Food
  • Cosmetics
  • Medicines and medical supplies
  • Stuffed animals and toys
  • Mattresses and pillows
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Large carpets and carpet padding
  • Cardboard
  • Impacted sheet rock, ceiling tiles, and similar porous materials

When disinfecting other items…

  • Make a household bleach solution by combining 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Bleach should never be used in concentrated form because it can cause severe skin and respiratory harm.
  • Never use bleach with any product that contains ammonia.

Mold

Sheetrock, carpets, and other building materials and furnishings that have been damaged by water, are likely to now be contaminated with mold. Breathing in or touching mold can cause health problems. Killing mold (for example, with bleach) does not get rid of all the health hazards.

When cleaning up your home…

  • Always assume that water-damaged buildings, materials, and furnishings are contaminated with mold.
  • Non-porous materials (metals, glass, hard plastics, etc.) can usually be cleaned.
  • Semi-porous and porous structural materials, such as wood and concrete, can be cleaned if they are structurally sound.
  • Porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and insulation, and wallboards (with more than a small area of mold growth) should be removed and discarded.
  • Disinfectants are usually not needed because physical removal of fungal growth is the most effective way to prevent exposure. Clean with a soap or detergent solution.

While it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure your workplace is safe, being aware of and knowing how to recognize dangerous conditions, can help you stay protected at home as well.

As always, if there is anything we can do to help answer your questions about rebuilding and recovery, or if you’d like to know how you can help, don’t hesitate to let us know at 202-466-1502 or ftapia@ufcw.org.

Sources: NYCOSH

 

September 14, 2017

How well do you know your chicken?

September is National Chicken Month. How much do you know about America’s most popular meat?

1. There are more chickens alive today that there are cats, dogs, pigs, cows and rats—combined. 

2. Though chickens were brought along with the early American colonists, by the George Washington’s time, turkey, goose, pigeon, and duck were more popular than chicken.

Slaves, who were barred from raising cattle, horses, or hogs, were often only allowed to raise chickens. As a result, raising chickens was one of the ways slaves had to earn money.

3. The only continent without chickens is Antarctica.

There is an international treaty in place barring the birds from Antarctica in order to protect the local penguins from disease.

4. Women and minorities were fundamental in growing poultry in the US into an industry.

Farm women in the early 20th century found that they were able to profit from selling eggs, and small scale egg-laying operations grew into large-scale, women-owned hatcheries.

"Poultrywoman and poultry specialist going ove rrecords. Mrs.Bunch&Mr.Parrish, North Carolina, May 1930s." (S-13723-C, Record Group 16-G, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Box 59, Aminals-Chickens-Marketing folder, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

“Poultrywoman and poultry specialist going ove rrecords. Mrs.Bunch&Mr.Parrish, North Carolina, May 1930s.” (S-13723-C, Record Group 16-G, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Box 59, Aminals-Chickens-Marketing folder, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

5. Working in poultry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US.

Poultry has more injuries than the construction industry, the auto industry, the steel industry, saw mills, and many other high-risk industries, but the UFCW is working to change that. 

September 13, 2017

Getting kids involved in the kitchen

Looking for a way to get your kids involved with cooking but don’t like the idea of cleaning up a giant mess? Why not start with lunch sandwiches? Having a variety of meats, cheese, and condiments to choose from can help your budding chef feel like they are making their own unique masterpiece, and getting involved in making their own food can capture the enthusiasm of picky eaters.

Pinwheels are a lunch-friendly, kid-friendly food that also works great as appetizers at parties and special events. Get your kids started making their own lunches, and soon they’ll be ready to help prep for that potluck or family get together.

 

September 8, 2017

Cereal icon Diana Hunter retires after proud, union career

Does this woman look familiar? You’ve probably seen her over the years in TV commercials for Honey Bunches of Oats cereal! But did you know that Diana Hunter is also a member of RWDSU/UFCW District Council Local 374?

Diana will be officially retiring in October. Like the author of this Buzzfeed article, we’ve loved watching her hilariously share about the joys of making this tasty cereal. We wish her the best of luck in her retirement, and thank her for all of her service to our union family!

September 5, 2017

UFCW Condemns White House Decision to End DACA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is cold-hearted, cruel, and a betrayal of what America stands for. 

“Hundreds of thousands of young, hard-working men and women who love America will now be needlessly punished for childhood circumstances. These young people have grown up in this country, passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school, and have worked hard to build a better America. They have earned and deserve fair treatment, but instead their lives are being thrown into chaos with this announcement. 

“President Trump’s decision will not make America great again; rather, it will tear families apart, damage communities, and further fuel a terrible divide that is already hurting the nation we all love. 

“On behalf of the 1.3 million members of our union family, we urge all Members of Congress to immediately do what is right and protect these Dreamers.” 

Background:
  • Terminating DACA needlessly removes 800,000 hard-working men and women from our workforce.
  • It will cost $433.4 billion in GDP loss over a decade.
  • It will cost employers $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs.
  • Contributions to Medicare and Social Security will be cut by $24.6 billion over a decade.
  • Some 6% of DACA recipients have launched businesses that employ American citizens.
  • Almost 55% of DACA recipients have purchased a vehicle, and more than one in ten have purchased their first home.
  • Source: ILRC, The Economic Cost of Ending DACA

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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

 

August 31, 2017

Message From UFCW Local 455 President Bill Hopkins About Members Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Dear Members,

Over 15 thousand hard-working UFCW members and their families have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. They are in urgent need of temporary shelter, clothes, fresh food, and other daily essentials. To help them through this critical time, UFCW Local 455 has set up a Membership Assistance Fund. Donations can be made to this fund directly from this page.

Everything raised will be used to provide vital financial assistance to all UFCW members impacted by this disaster.

Moments like this show us the real value of belonging to a union family like ours. Together, we can and will come together to ensure no members or their families struggle through this devastation alone.

Thank you for helping fellow UFCW members in this time of great need.

Sincerely,

Bill Hopkins
President, UFCW Local 455