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April 26, 2017

UFCW and Tyson Foods Collaborate on Creating a Better and Safer Workplace

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the primary union for 70,000 poultry workers in the United States, applauded Tyson Foods for pledging to create a better workplace at its production facilities with new and expanded initiatives on safety, transparency, and compensation.

“Tyson Foods’ commitment to worker safety and workers’ rights should not just be applauded — it should serve as a model for the rest of the industry,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Through our ongoing partnership with Tyson Foods, we have already made valuable progress.  We look forward to these new and expanded initiatives and to continuing to work together to provide a better, safer workplace for the hard-working men and women at Tyson Foods.” 

Tyson Foods worked in collaboration with the UFCW on its efforts. In its announcement, Tyson committed to continuing its collaboration with the UFCW on a workplace safety and illness and injury prevention initiative that will be rolled out to all plants and be released publicly. Other highlights in the company’s announcement include:

  • A new initiative on transparency stating that the company will begin publicly sharing results of its third party social compliance audits.
  • A new initiative on compensation stating that Tyson Foods will make sure it’s providing competitive wages and benefits.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to allowing regularly scheduled breaks, as well as restroom breaks, as needed.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to running its processes at a speed according to the number of people available to work.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to a policy allowing workers to stop the line at any time for worker or food safety issues.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to having Team Member safety councils in place at all plants.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

 

 

 

April 24, 2017

Make your kitchen knives as sharp as new

Watch UFCW member Jon Viner, Cub Foods (Minneapolis) butcher and member of Local 653, show you how to sharpen your kitchen knives at home—just in time for Mother’s Day and BBQ season.

Related

April 20, 2017

Minnesota UFCW Locals express support for union cannabis jobs

Earlier today, Matthew Utecht, President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 653 and Jennifer Christensen, President of UFCW Local 1189, released a statement in support of union cannabis jobs in Minnesota:

“It’s time for every community in Minnesota to realize the incredible benefits that unions bring to this emerging sector. In the past year, we’ve negotiated contracts that brought strong wages, affordable health care and the retirement security of a pension to everyone who works at Minnesota Medical Solutions, the only union provider of cannabis medicine in our state.

“Most importantly, UFCW members who work in Minnesota’s cannabis industry have a voice and can speak up at every level, from seed to sale, to improve their lives. We encourage every patient to choose Minnesota Medical Solutions so that we can continue spreading the great benefits of union cannabis jobs to every corner of our state.”

Better Jobs

Multiple UFCW members who work at Minnesota Medical Solutions shared how being a part of a union made their cannabis jobs better.

“This 4/20, I’m lucky that I’ll be able to spend my day working amongst Minnesota’s finest medical cannabis,” said Nate Noel, a cultivator at Minnesota Medical Solutions. “Thanks to the UFCW and their partnership with Minnesota Medical Solutions, I’ll be working safely, treated fairly and growing cannabis in a compassionate, responsible and sustainable way. Our cannabis is grown under the light of the sun!”

Quality, Professional Care

“Our patients like knowing the dispensaries at Minnesota Medical Solutions are union,” said Christine Dallaire and Kari Ellingson, who work as Pharmacy Technicians at Minnesota Medical Solutions in Minneapolis. “People appreciate that our employer takes input from us and believes in our ability to improve the quality of our medicine and patient care.”

For the full release, please visit UFCW1189.org. 

April 20, 2017

There’s still time to apply for the 2017 UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship

“The collective voice and legal support provided by unions create better incomes, better benefit plans, more experienced employees and safer workplaces than non-unionized workforces.  The improved work situations of union employees create job opportunities for American people and an improved business climate for the United States.”

-Veronica Brandt, past UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship winner

The 2017 online application process closes on May 8.

The UFCW is about workers coming together to build better lives for themselves. It is about creating opportunity. That is why each year the UFCW Charity Foundation awards several scholarships of up to $8 ,000 each to UFCW members or their unmarried dependents under the age of 20. UFCW employed officers, staff and their immediate families are not eligible.

  1. The scholarships are limited to any UFCW member who has been active since January 1, 2016.
    • The children and/or dependents of active members are also eligible to apply if they are unmarried and under the age of 20 on May 31, 2017.
    • The scholarship application and essay must be completed by the eligible student to receive the scholarship.
  2. The scholarship recipients will be selected and awards made on the basis of several factors including scholastic achievements, community involvement and an essay which shows an understanding of the principles of the labor movement.
  3. The UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship Application Form is completed when the scholarship committee receives your Official Grades Transcript and Part B Form (which is provided after you complete the application online). Both must be mailed with a postmark date no later than May 22, 2017. Keep in mind the time frame needed to receive the information from your school.
  4. Scholarship recipients will receive annual payments of $2,000 for each year they are enrolled in an accredited college or university as a non-probationary student for up to four years.
    • Payment is dependent on written evidence of graduation from high school or equivalent and enrollment in an accredited college or university, or institute of higher learning.
    • Payment of subsequent stipends is dependent on the recipient’s continued eligibility as outlined in the Scholarship Acceptance Agreement.

Process for Applying

1. Read the Procedures thoroughly.

2. Complete the UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship Application online. The application requires you to fill out a family profile, list school activities, awards, and your work experience, and
completion of an essay. If you are unable to apply online, you may request an application by writing to:

UFCW Charity Foundation, Attn: Scholarship Program
1775 K Street, N.W.,
Washington, DC 20006.

3. You and a parent (for students under the age of 18) must sign and date the application before submitting it to you your high school officials. Your signatures will authorize your school to release
information about you as well as verify that the information you provided is true. It will also allow your local union to release your membership information to the UFCW Charity Foundation for the purposes of verifying your eligibility.

4. Give the application to your academic counselor who will complete it and mail it along with your grade transcript as well as proof of graduation, intent to graduate or receive your GED.

5. Please do not submit any material other than requested.

Receiving the Scholarship

Payment of the Scholarship is dependent on written evidence of enrollment in an accredited college or university and maintaining continued eligibility.

This award has a maximum renewal of four ( 4} years of disbursements, is contingent on the recipient submitting to the UFCW Charity Foundation written evidence of Registration from the
college or university that the student is or will be attending, and the recipient must be registered in such school as a non-probationary student.

The recipient must agree to maintain a satisfactory grade level and will forward to the UFCW Charity Foundation either a copy of his or her grades each quarter or semester, whichever is applicable, or a transcript of grades for the year at the end of each school year.

Payment of the benefits to scholarship recipients may be temporarily suspended upon written request of the winner under certain circumstances.

In the event that the recipient’s education should be interrupted for some reason, he or she must notify the UFCW Charity Foundation in writing of such expected interruption and advise the UFCW Charity Foundation as to the cause for the interruption and the estimated date upon which the recipient expects to resume their studies.

Other Information

NOTES:

The UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship Program is maintained and administered by the UFCW Charity Foundation, which has full discretion to make all final decisions concerning the number of scholarships awarded each year, the amounts awarded and the recipients of each of the scholarships. The UFCW Charity Foundation shall also have full discretion in deciding whether a scholarship is to be continued or deferred for any period of time.

The procedures for the UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship Program are printed in both French and Spanish on this website. If you need help with understanding the scholarship rules and application in another language, please call 800-551-4010 and we will obtain assistance for you.

Only Scholarship recipients will be notified via mail.

Recipients’ names will be posted on the UFCW Charity Foundation Website.

Email cfscholarship@ufcw.org with questions.

 

>>> APPLY ONLINE <<<

April 14, 2017

UFCW Local 328 shop steward Al Garnett named a national “Produce Manager Of The Year”

Reposted from UFCW Local 328.org

We would like to congratulate Al Garnett, produce manager at Stop & Shop in Harwich, Massachusetts, for winning the 2017 Retail Produce Manager Award from the United Fresh Produce Association! This prestigious award is granted each year to twenty-five of the industry’s top retail produce managers from across the country and Canada.

This program, which is co-sponsored by Dole Food Co. and is currently in its thirteenth year, recognizes top retail produce managers for their commitment to fresh produce, innovative merchandising, increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, community service and customer satisfaction.

Al talks about his career and why it pays to belong

A first for Stop & Shop

Each year, hundreds of nominations are submitted by supermarket chains and independent retailers from throughout the industry and this marks the first time a produce manager from Stop & Shop has been selected.


A lifelong advocate for his coworkers

Al began his career over twenty-five years ago and has been a UFCW Local 328 shop steward for most of that time. In Harwich, Al is a recognizable face and enjoys building lasting relationships with both customers and co-workers. As a shop steward, Al has been a strong advocate and has taken a proud role in educating his co-workers about the importance of the union and making sure that the contract is enforced.

April 13, 2017

Let’s top 2016’s world record for the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive!

We know better than anyone how hard UFCW members work to put food on the table for America’s families – and our union family also believes that no hardworking man or woman should struggle alone. Which is why we work hard for those in need, supporting our brothers and sisters at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the food drive, and we want to make this a year for the history books. We hope to top last year’s Guinness World Record—80 million pounds of food collected for the largest single day food drive in world history. Together, we know we can do it, one bag at a time.

Here’s how:

  1. FILL A BAG with non-perishable food items. (See list below.)
  2. TAKE A PIC AND POST IT! Please Tweet it or put it on Facebook with the hashtag #StampOutHunger – and please tag @UFCW and @NALC.
  3. PUT OUT YOUR BAG on May 13th before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. 

That’s it! It’s so easy – please help us Stamp Out Hunger and put food on shelves in our local food banks.

What to Put in Your Bag 

Fill your UFCW-provided Stamp Out Hunger paper bag with*:

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta or spaghetti sauce
  • Rice
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Canned meals (soup, chili, pasta)
  • 100% juice
  • Peanut butter
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned protein (chicken, tuna, turkey)
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal

*NOTE: DO NOT put in frozen food, homemade food, expired food, or home canned items – or anything in glass containers.

April 10, 2017

Create a beautiful floral crown with fresh flowers

Watch United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) member Michelle Garrett, Local 1000 Kroger florist, show you how to create a gorgeous flower crown – perfect for weddings or music festivals.

You’ll need:

  • 20 gauge wire
  • Raffia-wrapped wire
  • Floral tape [AKA corsage tape]
  • Shears with wire cutters
  • Flowers
April 6, 2017

Happy National Burrito Day!

Did you know UFCW members make many of the ingredients that go into a tasty burrito? Mission Foods Tortillas, Hanover black beans and vegetables, and many of our favorite chicken, beef, and pork brands are all made by UFCW members around the country. Thanks, guys!

What are some of your favorite burrito fillings?

Burritos are incredibly versatile and can take you from breakfast, lunch, and dinner depending on what you put in them. Experiment with using leftovers as burrito filling to take to work the next day, or try out burritos for breakfast as  a protein-packed way to get your day started on the right foot.

Breakfast Burritos

Want to save time in the morning? Dice your onions and green peppers the night before and store in the fridge until you need them.

Makes: 4 Servings

4 eggs (large )

1/8 cup canned corn (drained, or 2 tablespoons frozen corn)
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 cup green peppers (or about 2 tablespoons, diced)
1/4 cup onions (chopped)
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
nonstick cooking spray
4 flour tortillas (large size)
1/4 cup salsa

Directions

1. In a large mixing bowl, blend eggs, corn, milk, green peppers, onions, mustard, and garlic for 1 minute with a fork until eggs are smooth.
2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Coat with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Cook egg mixture, stirring from time to time, until eggs are firm and cooked through.
4. Wrap tortillas in a paper towel and microwave for 20 seconds until warm. Be careful when unwrapping the tortillas since they may be hot. Tortillas can also be placed in a skillet over low heat for 20-30 seconds or until warmed.
5. Spoon cooked eggs evenly into the tortillas.
6. Serve each burrito topped with 2 tablespoons of salsa.

Recipe source: https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/

April 5, 2017

Filing taxes? Don’t forget to deduct your UFCW membership

Tax tips for UFCW Members

The following article is presented for informational purposes only. If you have tax questions, please consult with a qualified tax professional.


It’s that time of year again. If you are one of the roughly one-third of Americans who wait until the last two weeks to file your taxes, don’t let the impending deadline cause you to rush and miss out on cash back you are owed.

Should You Itemize? Maybe.

In many cases, it is fine to go with the standard deduction, but set aside some time to make sure you aren’t missing out. Go through all of your possible deductions, especially if you are a homeowner with a mortgage or had substantial medical or school-related expenses the previous year. You can also deduct state and local taxes, which can make a big difference, especially if you live in an area with higher than average income tax rates.

UFCW Membership is Tax Deductible

Your membership contributions to the UFCW are tax deductible. The IRS categorizes “union dues” and “initiation fees” under miscellaneous itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 21.

What’s Nondeductible?

Be careful not to confuse your pension contributions with your membership, because pension contributions are not tax deductible. Also, if you have chosen to be an Active Ballot Club (ABC) member, those donations are separate from your membership and go to a special fund for the UFCW’s political advocacy and to passing pro-worker legislation. Not all UFCW members choose to donate to ABC. Those kinds of political activities are not considered tax deductible by the IRS, unlike other non-political donations to charities the UFCW supports like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or Faces of Our Children.

The 2% Rule

You can only deduct the amount of combined miscellaneous expenses that exceeds 2% of your adjusted gross income  (AGI). That means if you want to deduct your dues, you probably need to take a look at any other miscellaneous expenses you might have. A good first place to look is if you had any work-related expenses in 2016 that were not reimbursed by your employer.

Miscellaneous expenses that might count towards the 2% rule include:

  • Job search expenses, even if you didn’t necessarily get the job.
  • Work Clothes and Uniforms.
    You can deduct the cost and upkeep of work clothes if the following two requirements are met:

    • You must wear them as a condition of your employment.
    • The clothes aren’t suitable for everyday wear.
  • Protective clothing.
    You can deduct the cost of protective clothing required in your work, such as safety shoes or boots, safety glasses, hard hats, and work gloves.
  • Repayment of Income Aid Payment
    An “income aid payment” is one that is received under an employer’s plan to aid employees who lose their jobs because of lack of work. If you repay a lump-sum income aid payment that you received and included in income in an earlier year, you can deduct the repayment.
  • Tools Used in Your Work
    Generally, you can deduct amounts you spend for tools used in your work if the tools wear out and are thrown away within 1 year from the date of purchase. You can depreciate the cost of tools that have a useful life substantially beyond the tax year. For more information about depreciation, see IRS Publication 946.
  • Tax Preparation Fees that you paid during 2016, even it they were for an earlier tax year.

You can find a full list of eligible miscellaneous itemized deductions in IRS Publication 529 on the IRS website.

Example:

For example, if your adjusted gross income in 2016 was $40,000 and your combined miscellaneous expenses totaled $1,300, you can deduct $500 of that, because the other $800 equals 2% of $40,000.

Take Full Advantage of Credits and Tax Breaks

Did you know that only about 20% of those who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit actual claim it? That’s a big deal given that it can be worth up to $6,242 for those who qualify.  Check out this list from CNBC of the ten most popular tax credits to see if there’s one you may qualify for.

And don’t forget if you have already filed your taxes and forgot to take deductions or credits you should have, you can still file an amendment as long as it’s within  the past three years.

March 31, 2017

National Nutrition Month: UFCW Member and Published Book Author

Looking for ways to eat healthy the rest of the year? Registered Dietitian and UFCW Local 400 member Mary Lynn Farivari shares her tips for preparing nutritious, flavorful meals in her cookbook, Healthy Palate. 

Farivari published the cookbook in 2010 after her patients urged her to share her healthy and delicious recipes with others who would benefits from them. She works at Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill Medical Center where she provides individual nutrition counseling and teaches classes for those who want to lose weight, manage their diabetes, or lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. She was recognized at Kaiser Permanente with a Thrive Award for sharing her passion for nutrition.

You can order Farivari’s book online and learn for yourself how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet in a way that is both delicious and nutritious.