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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

August 31, 2017

Why Unions Matter to Millennials

Did you know that the UFCW is home to more people under the age of 30 than any other labor union? And for good reason – Millennials are the hardest hit generation when it comes to poor wages and benefits, making it difficult to earn a living.

Union membership is one of the most powerful forces in combating this trend, because it grants you a voice on the job, and the ability to negotiate for good pay, health insurance, hours that work with your schedule, and a plethora of other benefits that are good for the worker, the employer, and the economy.

 

ARE UNIONS STILL RELEVANT?

Younger workers who haven’t heard much about unions might assume they’re vintage, something over and done with  –  that only their parents or grandparents benefited from them. But that doesn’t mean young people don’t stand a lot to gain by joining a union.

 

In a recent New York Times article, Daily Show writer Kashana Cauley reflected about what it was like growing up in a union household, her father an auto worker whose union insurance covered his hospital trips to drain fluid from his knees from long days on the assembly line: “Each time he healed, he could go right back to the job he loved in order to provide for our family.” She goes on to talk about how unions could be the voice on the job that this next generation needs now, to care for their own families and make their own lives better.

Young people who belong to unions understand this. UFCW Local 1473 member Matt, from Outpost Natural Foods, joined the union in 2013.

“There’s a feeling like there’s a team and it’s not just management. The union is as strong as it is because of the involvement of members,” says Matt. “So, I encourage more people to get involved. Money doesn’t always flow in, and benefits can be taken away at any time, even at a co-op level. For us, the economy was down and everything was on the chopping block, but we sat down and were able to save all our benefits. I’m really proud to be a union member. I’m glad to be a part of what has been standing up for workers for decades and what will hopefully continue to do so for eons into the future.”

 

UNIONS = DIVERSITY AND EQUALITY

When you’re part of a union, you’re part of a family – a family that cares about ALL members. A family where women make 10 percent more in wages than their non-union counterparts, where people of color earn the same as their white counterparts, where LGBTQ workers have the same rights as the rest of their coworkers.

YOUR UNION OFFERS A LOT OF BENEFITS

Being a member of the UFCW also means help with your education and debt. It means you have access to free online college (link), and to discounts that make building a better life easier. It means you can be part of nationwide efforts like the National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, and fighting Blood Cancer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, making a real difference.

This Labor Day, we celebrate all our members, young and old, and continue our pledge to build a better life together.

August 31, 2017

Summer might be almost over, but heat still poses a threat

Does your workplace have a plan in place for how to safely respond to the risks associated with warmer temperatures? Don’t let the end of summer catch you off guard, as dangerously hot temperatures can continue well into September in many areas of the country. Does your workplaces have proper hot weather safety strategies in place?

1.) Train all management and hourly employees with an emphasis on how to recognize a medical emergency (heat stroke).

2.) Have a clearly written protocol on how to respond to a medical emergency.

This should include information for all shifts about who is authorized to call an ambulance, how to call for an ambulance, and what to do while waiting for emergency medical care. This protocol should be translated into the commonly spoken languages in the facility and posted throughout the workplace.

3.) Train  all management and hourly employees on workers’ right to access drinking water as needed and the right to access to bathrooms as needed.

This is important because some workers hold back on drinking water so that they can put off using the restroom. This is never a good idea and can have serious consequences during hot weather. 

4.) Monitor particularly hot and humid work areas.

This should be done with a device that measures both heat and humidity and combines these measurements to provide the Heat Index. The company should have a plan for additional rest breaks or means of cooling the work area whenever the heat index approaches the Extreme Caution zone.

Heat Index Risk Level Protective Measures
Less than 91°F Lower (Caution) Basic heat safety and planning
91°F to 103°F Moderate Implement precautions and heighten awareness
103°F to 115°F High Additional precautions to protect workers
Greater than 115°F Very High to Extreme Triggers even more aggressive protective measures

Work with your union rep and your local to make sure that you and your coworkers are protected in hot conditions. Meet with the company to ensure that all of the proper hot weather safety strategies are being used in your workplace.


Earlier this summer, the UFCW Occupational Safety and Health advisory addressed the issue of workplace safety during the upcoming hot summer months. The advisory can be found here. For more information about heat and heat-related illness, you can contact the UFCW Occupational Safety and Health Office in Washington, D.C. at 202-223-3111.

August 28, 2017

Simple, Easy Ideas for Back-to-School Lunches and Snacks

With most kids returning back to school now or in the next couple of weeks, busy parents are stressing about their long to-do lists for ensuring the year gets off to a good start.

Let us help! One of those daily to-do items for many parents is packing their children’s lunches or making sure the pantry is stocked with easy options for after school.

We’re America’s food union, and the hardworking men and women of the UFCW make, process, and package lots of great staples that are both tasty and easy to prepare. We’ve got a few UFCW-made lunch menu and snack ideas to help make your kids’ school year one of the best yet!

Breakfast:

  • various post cereals (Local 374)
  • Yoplait yogurts (Local 386)
  • Quaker foods: Life cereals, Oatmeal, Instant oats, Cap’n Crunch cereals, Aunt Jemima syrup (Local 110 )

Sandwiches:

Simple Sliced Chicken

  • French’s mustard (Local 2)
  • Heinz ketchup (Local 75)
  • Tyson chicken (Local 2008)
  • Heinz (Local 705) or Vlasic pickles (Local 87)

Classic Bologna or Turkey and Cheese

  • Oscar Mayer products (Local 17A)
  • Hoffman’s bologna, Honest John bologna/turkey and cheeses (Local 1)

Peanut butter and jelly

  • Peter Pan peanut butter – smooth, crunchy, and honey roasted (Local 1996 and Local 38)
  • Welch’s food jams and jellies (Local 1)

Heat and Go

  • Chef Boyardee products (Local 38)
  • Campbell’s Soup (Local 75)

Ready Made

  • Kraft Lunchables (Local 17A)

Applesauce

  • Knouse foods: Lucky Leaf applesauce and Musselman’s Applesauce (Local 1776)
  • Mott’s applesauce (Local 220)

Snacks and sides:

  • Wise Chips: Natural, Sour Cream and Onion, Jalapeno, BBQ, Honey BBQ, Dill , Salt and Vinegar, Onion and Garlic (Local 1776)
  • Wise Popcorn: Cheddar, White, Butter (Local 1776)
  • Orville Redenbacher products (Local 38)
  • Wise Onion Rings: Grilled Steak and Onion, Regular (Local 1776)
  • Wise Cheez Doodles (Local 1776)
  • Totinos pizza and pizza rolls (Local 1059)
  • Kelloggs Cheez-its Crackers (Local 184L)
  • Jell-o (Local 152 and Local 17A)
  • Breakstones cottage cheese (Local 1)

Drinks

  • Knouse juice, Speas Apple Juice (Local 1776)
  • Welch’s Fruit drinks (Local 825)
  • Snapple products (Local 220)
  • V8 juice (Local 75)
August 28, 2017

ICWUC Holds Officer Training and Steward Class

Earlier this month, 21 officers and stewards at UFCW Local 504T honed their skills at a training held by the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC) in Scottsboro, Ala.

Participants learned about the duties of officers and shop stewards, as well as the duties of the organizing and safety committees. The training session also provided participants with an overview of health and safety issues officers and stewards may face in the workplace.

The training session was hosted by UFCW Local 504T, and ICWUC Secretary-Treasurer and Regional Director Neal Dillard and ICWUC Recorder Chuck Denny served as the instructors.

The UFCW Local 504T officers and stewards are employed at Lozier Corporation in Scottsboro, and work in the maintenance, production and warehouse divisions producing metal and wood shelves and their braces. UFCW Local 504T’s current contract with Lozier Corporation covers 325 members.

 

August 27, 2017

CVS workers win workplace improvements

After months of negotiations with CVS, over 5,000 members of UFCW Locals 5, 135, 324, 648, 770, 1167, 1428, and 1442 who work at over 350 CVS stores in Southern California have achieved wage increases and better access to more affordable health care in the newly organized stores.

The new agreement also includes improved scheduling practices, more protections during layoffs, and a process for part-time employees to become full-time based on seniority.

UFCW members at CVS voted to approve and ratify the four-year contract last week.

August 23, 2017

Letter to Whole Foods Board of Directors: Amazon’s Acquisition Must Protect Hard-Working Employees

UFCW International President Marc Perrone releases letter calling on Whole Foods Board of Directors to protect Whole Foods Workers from Threat of Amazon. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, sent a letter to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and the entire Whole Foods Board of Directors, calling on them to take specific steps to protect the jobs, wages, and benefits of employees who may be negatively impacted by Amazon acquiring their company.

“Amazon’s acquisition is a threat to Whole Foods workers and their families,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “They deserve a clear commitment from the entire board that their jobs, wages, and benefits will be protected from Amazon’s automated business model. Whole Foods Board of Directors has a responsibility not only to shareholders or to Amazon, but to the hard-working Whole Foods employees who made this company a success.”

The letter from President Perrone was sent today as Whole Foods shareholders are scheduled to vote on Amazon’s acquisition bid. It calls on the company to make clear, publicly, the actions it will take to protect its employees, and their wages and benefits, from Amazon’s business model – which eliminates jobs through automation.

The letter states:

“Realistically, we expect shareholders to approve of your company’s merger with Amazon. Our union family’s only hope is that you will consider the well-being of every employee who works inside your stores. These hard-working men and women are not numbers on a balance sheet; rather, they have families to support and lives to build. They may not matter much to you or Amazon, but they matter to us.”

President Perrone also makes clear the risks for Whole Foods if they fail to do what is right:

“The question now is whether shareholders and the Board of Whole Foods will consider the loss of Whole Foods jobs and the brand impact once customers realize Amazon has sacrificed these workers – the very people who made Whole Foods stores so successful.”

The entire letter is attached below:

Dear Whole Foods Board of Directors,

Today we write to express our concerns about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods on behalf of our union family, which represents more than one million retail workers and their families – most of whom work inside grocery stores.

Amazon is well known for disrupting industries, but they are equally known for their preference of putting automation over real people. From piloting a store with zero cashiers to expanding its army of warehouse robots to testing drone delivery, Amazon is clearly determined to profit by creating a future where automation replaces good jobs – and many of the people who work at Whole Foods will be the latest to pay this steep price.

The question now is whether shareholders and the Board of Whole Foods will consider the loss of Whole Foods jobs and the brand impact once customers realize Amazon has sacrificed these workers – the very people who made Whole Foods stores so successful.

Realistically, we expect shareholders to approve of your company’s merger with Amazon. Our union family’s only hope is that you will consider the well-being of every employee who works inside your stores. These hard-working men and women are not numbers on a balance sheet; rather, they have families to support and lives to build. They may not matter much to you or Amazon, but they matter to us.

Given President Trump’s recent criticism about Amazon’s business practices, the regulatory approval process seems likely to raise several troubling questions. With that in mind, we ask you to take the following steps to better protect Whole Foods employees if this merger receives regulatory approval.

The steps we believe Whole Foods should take include:

Protect Whole Foods Employees. Public reports have referenced eliminating Whole Foods cashiers and other positions, and embracing automation to do an increasing number of tasks within stores and warehouses. If these reports are wrong, and these jobs are safe, Whole Foods should publicly commit to protecting them from Amazon automation.

Protect Wages and Benefits. Will Whole Foods employees be asked to take pay cuts or lose hours or benefits? In the past, Whole Foods has talked about its good wages and benefits, but in more recent comments, CEO John Mackey has seemingly blamed employees for the company’s loss of customers. Your employees deserve to know whether they will pay the ultimate price with lower wages, worse benefits, and lost hours.

In the coming weeks and months, Whole Foods employees will anxiously await to hear how this merger will benefit them. They deserve to hear more than platitudes. They deserve specifics about how Amazon’s actions will impact them. Moreover, loyal customers who regularly shop at Whole Foods deserve to know the truth about how their neighbors and friends who work at Whole Foods stores will be impacted.

Again, we urge you, as members of the board and shareholders, to take the right steps to protect the jobs of hard-working Whole Foods employees.

We hope you will take these concerns seriously, and that you realize hard-working Americans are watching closely to see whether Whole Foods and Amazon do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Marc Perrone

President, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union

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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 22, 2017

Perrone Makes Case for Amazon’s Growth to Face More Scrutiny

UFCW President calls on federal agencies and elected officials to stand up to Amazon in The Hill op-ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, wrote an op-ed for The Hill that details how Amazon’s growing monopoly over the retail sector has negative impacts for American workers.

EXCERPTS FROM THE OP-ED:

All of us, no matter what political leanings we have, will be impacted by Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation. This isn’t hyperbole.

In 2016, 43 percent of all online sales went through Amazon; the online retailer also accounted for more than half of all online sales growth last year.

Amazon controls a huge swath of the steadily growing online marketplace and it gives them a distinct advantage over regional and national competitors – which results in job cuts. Public filings show that Amazon played a large role in eliminating more than 50,000 jobs from Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy. And in March, MarketWatch estimated that Amazon’s dominant growth could remove as many as 1.5 million retail jobs within five years.

All of this begs the question, if Amazon forces millions of service and retail sector jobs to be lost, if they squeeze suppliers to the bone, if they devastate commercial construction because much fewer retail spaces are built, and if they make it impossible for grocery or retail workers to earn a better life because they can no longer find work, where do elected leaders think “good American jobs” are going to come from?

Click here to read the full op-ed.

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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 15, 2017

A Trillion Dollar Problem UFCW Is Ready To Tackle

Imagine being able to earn a college degree without being stressed about the price tag – things like a car, a house, a wedding, or even a vacation would suddenly seem a lot easier to have.

Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. The average 2016 graduate walked off campus with a degree and over $37,000 in debt. We can’t build a stronger economy that works for all if hard-working Americans are graduating with such high amounts of debt.

When we talk about building better lives for our members and their families, we mean it. Which is why we’re providing our union family with the valuable benefits they need to advance their careers and realize their dreams. One of those valuable benefits is debt-free college.

Thanks to your UFCW membership, you don’t have to wait or worry any longer about paying for college. You can start earning your associate degree online from a public, accredited school – at no cost to you.

We understand that when the economy leaves behind too many people, it doesn’t work so well. That’s why we’re proud to offer members this support with school.

Best of all, this benefit is designed with members in mind. Online classes allow the flexibility you need to pursue the degree of your dreams, at a pace that makes sense for your busy schedule. And you’ll have the support of teachers and advisors to cheer you on along the way.

A college degree shouldn’t be a financial burden for people looking to enter the labor market. Whether you’re looking to begin a career in childcare, become a paralegal, or sharpen your business management skills – the UFCW’s Free College Benefit is here to get you started. No out-of-pocket costs, no stress about the price of books.

Enroll today and start earning your debt-free degree.

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