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January 18, 2019

Member Spotlight: Jesus Hernandez

Jesus Hernandez, a UFCW/RWDSU L-1S member who works at Macy’s in Herald Square, NY recently was featured in The Union Label’s “Walk In My Shoes” series. Here’s his story in his words:

Jesus Hernandez at work at Macy'sI have been an associate at Macy’s in Herald Square for going on eight years now. I started out in the Bedding Department on the 6th floor and was later promoted to the Home and Electric Department on the 8th floor. Macy’s Herald Square is the flagship of the Macy’s department store chain; it is located in Herald Square in Manhattan, NY. The store covers an entire city block, with more than two million square feet of retail space, it’s one of the largest stores in the world. My union, RWDSU Local 1-S represents nearly 4,000 active employees in Herald Square and at the Queens, Parkchester and White Plains Stores.

I have been a Shop Steward for about  four years, helping the employees on my floor when they have issues with everything from scheduling to handling conflicts on the floor. I’ve worked non-union before. What I have found in a unionized store is that we have a voice on the job. In a busy department store like Macy’s, there are a lot of misunderstandings and disagreements. But, because of the union, workers know they are protected against unreasonable customer complaints. I’ve helped fellow members understand that they don’t have to tolerate abusive treatment to keep their jobs, because the union has their back. One of the main issues I see as a steward is scheduling. We have provisions in our contract with Macy’s that requires fair and set scheduling, but we see management violate that a lot. When that happens, we file a grievance on behalf of the employee. RWDSU Local 1-S has negotiated a fair contract, it is up to me and the other shop stewards to help enforce it. Our contract has required Macy’s to provide paid sick leave since before it was mandatory in New York State. I’ve seen Macy’s management try to avoid allowing employees to take their leave. And, I’ve been able to help those employees file grievances so they can receive the time off they are entitled to.

Being a union shop steward, for me, is like standing up to the classroom bully. I get to let them know that we won’t tolerate that kind of behavior. I like my job, and I like being able to help customers who come in to the store, but it makes me feel great to be able to help my coworkers.

Thank you, Jesus, for sharing your story and for everything you do to make our union family strong!

January 18, 2019

UFCW: Shutdown Threatens America’s 16 Million Retail Workers and Our Nation’s Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone, issued the following statement regarding the 28-day government shutdown and its impact on America’s 16 million retail workers and the broader economy.

“Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers continue to be locked out of their job or forced to work without pay. But this wasteful shutdown is also threatening the 16 million American workers who help power our country’s $2.6 trillion retail sector and the broader economy.

“When Republicans shut down the government in 2013, retail sales from furloughed workers dropped seven percent and the economy lost $2 billion in productivity. About 1 in 10 Americans are employed in the retail industry and the longer the current shutdown continues, the harder hit these workers and our economy will be.

“It’s high time for President Trump and Congress to stop playing politics with our economy and American workers and finally end this reckless government shutdown.”

Background: The last extended federal government shutdown in 2013 had a significant impact on the U.S. economy:

  • Annualized GDP growth for the quarter fell by 0.25 percent.
  • Private sector jobs decreased by 120,000.
  • Shopping by some 800,000 furloughed federal employees fell by 7 percent.
  • As income of furloughed workers shifted to later in the month, consumption habits shifted as well – including on gasoline – and bill payments were delayed.


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.

January 11, 2019

2019 Union Plus Scholarship Program Deadline is January 31

Last year, because of their or their family member’s UFCW membership, Anne Kealy won a $4,000, Matthew Penick was awarded $3,000, and Nicholas Taylor received $1,000 towards their education. In 2019, will you be next?

Since 1991, the Union Plus Scholarship Program has awarded more than $4.3 million to students of union families, including UFCW members. Over 2,900 union families have benefited from our commitment to higher education. This program is offered through the Union Plus Education Fou

ndation, which is sponsored by Union Privilege.

If you are going to college, be sure to apply for the Union Plus Scholarship program before the deadline passes this January 31.


Application deadline: 12:00pm (noon, Eastern Time), Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Award amounts: $500 to $4,000.  These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the Fall of 2019.  Students may re-apply each year.

Award date: May 31, 2019. During the first week of June 2019 award recipients will be notified by postal mail, and all applicants will be sent email notification.

Eligibility criteria:

  • Current and retired members of unions participating in any Union Plus program, their spouses and their dependent children (as defined by IRS regulations) are eligible. Grandchildren are not eligible unless a legal dependent (as defined by IRS regulations).  At least one year of continuous union membership by the applicant, applicant’s spouse or parent (if applicant is a dependent). The one year membership minimum must be satisfied by May 31, 2019.
  • Members of participating unions from the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada are eligible.
  • The applicant must be accepted into a U.S. accredited college, university, community college, technical or trade school at the time the award is issued.  Awards must be used for the 2019 – 2020 school year.
  • Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to apply.

Apply Now


January 8, 2019

Get your degree in 2019…for free!

Registration for the next semester of the UFCW’s Free College Benefit is open until January 11, so if you are a UFCW member, retired UFCW member, or a family member and one of your New Year’s resolutions was to go back to school and get your degree, make sure you don’t miss the deadline!




This amazing benefit  makes it possible for UFCW members and their families to earn an Associate Degree online through Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC) with no out-of-pocket costs or need for loans.

The UFCW’s Free College Benefit is designed to help UFCW members and their families balance work and home life. You can attend school part-time or full-time – whichever fits your schedule. All you need to get started is a high school degree or GED, and there are no entrance exams to worry about.

Learn More

New Year, New You! Get Your Degree in 2019

More about Eastern Gateway Community College

Eastern Gateway Community College is a public, open-access college located in Steubenville, Ohio, with sites in Youngstown and Warren. The college is part of the University System of Ohio and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. EGCC is committed to innovation and increasing quality educational opportunities for students in Ohio and across the country. The staff of EGCC is union represented.

EGCC is one the fastest growing colleges in Ohio. The school is a national Achieving the Dream Leader College, an American Association of Community Colleges School of Excellence, and recognized nationally for its efforts to prepare a diverse student population for career success. They are also transfer-friendly, which means they strive to accept previous college credits students may have earned elsewhere.

January 4, 2019

Kick off the New Year with wellness discounts

According to researchers, about 60 percent of us make New Year’s resolutions but only about 8 percent end up following through with them. Need a little help? Here’s a few benefits available to UFCW members that can help kickstart your journey to a new year, a new you.

So, what are we all wishing for in the New Year? Here are the top 6 New Year’s resolutions:


71% pledge to diet or eat healthier

Once you register for discounts in the UFCW’s discount portal, you can find discounts on programs to help you eat healthier, such as:


PlateJoy makes healthy eating easy! First take their lifestyle quiz to help them to get your know your tastes, health goals, and time constraints. Then receive custom meal plans to simplify your life.

South Beach Diet

Lose weight fast and get in the best shape of your life with South Beach Diet! Delicious, nutritious and healthy. Learn the way to maintain a healthy weight without hunger or deprivations!

Personal Trainer Food

Personal Trainer Food is the smart, easy, and convenient way to lose fat, get the body you want, and feel great in the process. All their meal plans feature hand-selected meats, eggs, vegetables, nuts, and cheeses to help you lose weight naturally. 28 days of restaurant-quality foods are flash-frozen and delivered right to your doorstep. Their experienced Weight Loss Coaches are there for you every step of the way at no additional charge!

65% hope to exercise more

Gym Memberships

In addition to discounts for eating healthier, UFCW members are also eligible for discounts at the following gyms:

  • Active & Fit
  • Gym Network 360
  • LA Fitness
  • 24 Hour Fitness
  • Planet Fitness
  • Anytime Fitness
  • Gold’s Gym
  • New York Sports Clubs
  • Curves
  • Boston Sports Clubs

54% want to lose weight

Weight Loss Plans

Get help losing weight with discounts on signing up for Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, and more. Get dedicated, personal consulting at 500 locations for $19/month. Jenny Craig clients lose 3x more weight than dieting on their own. Your consultant will find a program that fits your life while creating a menu of delicious, nutritionally-balanced meals to keep feeling full and satisfied every day.

32% plan to save more and spend less

Through the UFCW discount portal, you can clip and print coupons to save on groceries, pet care items, restaurants, and more.

26% resolve to learn a new skill or hobby

UFCW members have access to free online learning that can help you learn a new language or get your degree.

21% aim to quit smoking

American Lung Association
10% discount on Freedom From Smoking Plus!

Quit smoking with the click of a button through the new Freedom From Smoking Plus, whose user-friendly interface allows you to create a personal quit smoking plan on your desktop, tablet or smartphone. Through interactive features that include videos, quizzes and activities, Freedom From Smoking Plus walks you through the quitting process and has a surround sound of support from their Lung HelpLine counselors and other quitters through their online community.

To access these discounts, register here and log in.

Claim Your Discounts

December 24, 2018

UFCW members make the holidays happen

For those of us fortunate enough to be able to sit down and spend time with our loved ones, let’s pause to be thankful for the holiday heroes whose hard work and dedication help make possible the traditions and warm memories we make year after year.

UFCW members are the heart behind the holiday brands we’ve all come to love—brands like Butterball, Boar’s Head, Hanover, Reddi-Wip. For those who work in food processing, their knowledge and expertise help ensure the turkey that makes its way to your grocery store has been properly prepared and is safe to eat, and their skilled quality control makes sure Stove Top Stuffing and Marie Callender’s pies will taste just like you remembered.

UFCW members also sacrifice time with their families to keep Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Giant, and so many other union grocery stores open during the holidays. We know they’ve saved countless holiday feasts from disaster by making sure families across America can make that last minute run to the grocery store if they need to.

From our family to yours, we wish you happy holidays and all the best in the new year.

UFCW Local 1994 member stands in a building full of road salt

UFCW Local 1994 members in Maryland help keep the roads safe during icy conditions




December 21, 2018

UFCW Local 1473 slow-cooker cocktail smokies are perfect party food for the holidays

Cocktail Smokies in a bowl

UFCW members make many of the foods we enjoy throughout the holidays and we’re always eager to shine a spotlight on the the people behind the foods we all love.

Klement’s Cocktail Smokies are made by UFCW Local 1473 members in Milwaukee, WI. The cocktail smokies are fully cooked, don’t have any MSG, and are gluten free.  Klement’s has been around for 60 years and their products are still made in small batches by hard-working union members using premium ingredients and leaner cuts of meat.

According to the Klement company, the sausages re-create the old country flavor that goes back generations in the Klement family to their roots in central Europe.

UFCW Local 1473 Slow Cooker Cocktail Smokies

This recipe is made in a slow cooker, but you can also make them on the stove top, just be sure not to turn the heat up too high or else they’ll burn.

2 packages 14 oz. Klement’s Bratwurst Cocktail Smokies
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir to mix.  Cook in a slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low.  Make sure the smokies are hot before serving. 

Cocktail Smokies and other ingredients next to a crockpot

December 20, 2018

Winter weather safety tips to know before hitting the road

Part of staying safe on the road means being prepared. When the temperature drops, the safest thing to do is stay home during unsafe weather conditions. But knowing what to do in an emergency if you get stuck out on the roads could save your life.

UFCW Local 1996 member John Cunningham is a CDL driver at JBS/Pilgrim Pride of Athens with 26 years of professional commercial driving experience. With over 1.3 million miles of commercial driving during his career, John knows a thing or two about driving in adverse weather conditions.

Here are a few of his tips for a safer winter driving experience on snow or ice:

1) Stay home.

“First of all, if you don’t have to be out and about, DON’T go out. Stay home. Driving on ice and snow is treacherous for everybody, including those with experience driving on it.”

2) Pack an emergency kit.

“If you do decide to go out, make sure you have a few supplies in case something happens. This list can include but is not limited to: candy or peanuts, non perishable food, extra clothing, boots, a flash light, a full tank of gas if possible, at least a couple of blankets, and a bright piece of cloth or reflective cloth. This is just a partial list of things you may want to have on hand. There are more items that you could keep on hand. You can use your best judgment or look to the internet for suggestions.”

3) Take it slow.

“If you make it out on the road, drive slowly. During slick or icy conditions it does not pay to get in a hurry. Increase your following distance to at least twice, maybe three times, the distance it would be during ideal, dry conditions. Accelerate and decelerate slowly.”

4) Be extra careful on bridges.

“Bridges will inevitably freeze BEFORE the roadway. I start being wary when roads are wet and temperatures start getting around 34 degrees as I have seen bridges start to get slick around that temperature. If you can see ice forming on your mirrors, bridges are probably freezing with roadways not far behind.”

5) Don’t get cocky.

“Don’t get cocky in a 4 wheel drive or all wheel drive vehicle. They can give a driver a false sense of security when driving during these conditions.”

6) Keep your cool.

“If the rear of your car starts to slide, gently let off of your accelerator and turn your wheel in the direction of the slide to help correct the situation. Try not to panic as that can be one of the worst things you can do because you will not think clearly. Easy to say I know, but it can be done.”

In addition to John’s tips, AAA has a good list of safety precautions to take when winter weather hits:

AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

  • Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
  • Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
  • If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
  • Always look and steer where you want to go.
  • Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.

Tips for long-distance winter trips:

  • Watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in isolated areas. Delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you must leave, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • Keep at least half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times.
  • If you become snow-bound, stay with your vehicle. It provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don’t try to walk in a severe storm. It’s easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Don’t over exert yourself if you try to push or dig your vehicle out of the snow.
  • Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment with the engine running.
  • Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps.
  • If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

Tips for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.
December 19, 2018

Need last-minute gifts? Use your UFCW discounts!

Have a long-distance relative you still need to shop for? UFCW members receive 25% GiftTree gift baskets and Teleflora deliveries. More than just flowers and fruit, there’s a little something for everyone.

1.) Wish them good luck in the New Year with lucky bamboo

Because we can all use a little bit of luck sometimes.

Bamboo in a small wooden vase

2.) Send a little Yuletide spirit with a holiday wreath

Wreaths help brighten any doorstep. If you can’t be there in person, let your friends know you are thinking of them every time they come home.

3.) Help your loved one recover from the holiday hustle and bustle.

The winter holidays are a great time to gather together and celebrate, but sometimes we all need a little alone time to relax.

4.) Bring a little something to the table with a festive centerpiece.

Can’t make it to dinner? Show you appreciate the invitation with this silver and gold centerpiece.

5.) Remember, Santa isn’t the only one who likes cookies.

This tea and cookie gift box is perfect for warming up on those cold, wintry days. 

6.) Skip the partridge and the pears.

Know someone who isn’t able to have a full tree? Send them this mini version.

7.) Or maybe don’t skip the pears.

Because the classic fruit basket is always a winner.

December 18, 2018

Giving Back to Our Communities

This year, the UFCW made an impact on thousands of lives by addressing hunger in America, helping to find a cure for blood cancers and standing with members of our union family in the aftermath of a tornado, a fire and other disasters.

Once again, the UFCW served as a national partner of National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive—the largest single-day food drive in the world. In the weeks leading up to Saturday, May 13, our union family helped collect millions of pounds of non-perishable food made by union members for local food banks. The UFCW has served as a national sponsor of the NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive for the past three years. In that time, the food drive has collected more than 150 million pounds of food.

The UFCW continued to expand on last year’s launch of the Labor Against Cancer initiative in the battle to end blood cancers. This initiative builds on our 30-year partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to fund and support some of the world’s best and brightest blood cancer researchers to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. To date, we have raised over $86 million to help fund research that has advanced treatments such as chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation, and smart drugs, which have become the standard for many other cancers.

This year, our union family also helped out members who were affected by Camp Fire in California and the tornado in Iowa. In addition, we donated time, resources and money to spread a little cheer during the holiday season.

Here are a few examples of the ways the UFCW gave back to communities across the country this year:

Standing With Our Union Family in California


UFCW Members Celebrate Thanksgiving by Giving Back to Their Communities


Help Make Labor Against Cancer Donation Drive a Success


UFCW United Latinos Empower Workers in Puerto Rico


Helping Tornado-Stricken Workers in Iowa


UFCW Helps to Stamp Out Hunger in Communities Across the Country


Help Make This Year’s Stamp Out Hunger Campaign a Success


Locals 1189 and 653 Hold Labor Against Cancer Event With Union Retail Grocers in Minnesota


Local 1149 and JBS Donate to Local Schools in Iowa