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August 28, 2020

“The Time For Change Is Now!”

UFCW Statement on the 2020 March on Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest food and retail union, stood with the 1.3 million workers it represents in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and many other essential industries to honor the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event commemorates the August 28, 1963 march where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. In a video address to the 2020 March on Washington, UFCW reiterated its commitment to equality, justice, and police reform.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“As one of America’s most diverse union families, the UFCW is proud to stand with its members and millions of Americans who are joining the call for equality, justice, and police reform.

“It is clear that the time for change is now. It must be led by us – all of us. Now, more than ever, everyone must stand together to build a more just and equal America where one’s human rights are not determined by the color of their skin.”

Background:

UFCW is a strong advocate for the racial and economic justice in and outside the workplace for all people of color. UFCW and its 1.3 million members are committed to equality, justice and police reform and strongly support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and the John Lewis Voter Rights Advancement Act.

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

August 27, 2020

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Demands CEOs End Gag Rules Endangering Public Health, Calls For National Registry of Frontline Worker COVID- 19 Infections

Union for Grocery, Retail, and Meatpacking Workers Demand Transparency from Top Companies As COVID-19 Cases Continue to Spike

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, meatpacking, and other industries on the frontlines of the pandemic – condemned the CEOs of Amazon, Target, McDonald’s, and other top companies for instituting “gag rules” that prevent workers from disclosing COVID-19 infections in the workplace. A new report exposing the COVID-19 gag rules at top companies highlights the stunning effort to silence workers, and intimidate whistleblowers seeking to raise awareness about the threats to their workplace and public safety. 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:  

“All Americans should be outraged by this report about COVID-19 gag rules at Amazon, Target, McDonald’s, and other top companies. It is outrageous that these CEOs would deliberately keep Americans in the dark about COVID-19 infections at their companies, directly threatening public health and worker safety in the middle of a pandemic that has already cost nearly 200,000 American lives.

“This new report exposes what UFCW has long warned the public about – that many of our nation’s largest corporations are purposely trying to hide the full extent of COVID-19 infections among their employees. Even worse, these actions by Amazon and other top companies are part of a ruthless attempt to silence whistleblowers at a time when transparency is more important than ever to keeping Americans safe from COVID-19.

“For the sake of all of our families’ safety, UFCW is once more calling for the immediate creation of a national public registry of COVID-19 worker infections to ensure that our elected leaders and the American people have all the facts about how many workers have died, been infected, or exposed to this deadly virus. We cannot afford to wait for the next outbreak or for more lives to be needlessly lost. Americans need and deserve answers now.”

Background:

UFCW has been a leading national voice in calling for action to strengthen transparency in tracking COVID-19 infections among America’s frontline workers.

On a June 25 national press call, UFCW called for the creation of a new national public registry to track COVID-19 worker infections. As proposed by UFCW, the public registry would require all companies with 1,000 employees or more to publicly disclose the number of COVID-19 deaths, infections, and exposures among their employees.

This week, UFCW confirmed that COVID-19 continues to threaten frontline food workers across the country, with more than 250 food worker deaths and over 36,000 food workers infected or exposed. This includes at least 103 grocery worker deaths and over 14,300 grocery workers infected or exposed to COVID-19.

Additionally, UFCW confirmed that there have been at least 115 meatpacking worker deaths and over 17,700 meatpacking workers infected or exposed to the virus. And in food processing plants, the union confirmed there have been at least 35 food processing worker deaths and more than 4,900 food processing workers infected or exposed.

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org

August 27, 2020

Join the Virtual March on Washington

On August 27 to 28, the UFCW will participate in the virtual March on Washington in support of the ongoing call for racial and social justice.

This march marks the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd of thousands in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

This week’s March on Washington will feature civil rights leaders, activists, and families of people who have lost loved ones at the hands of police. Stacey Abrams, voting rights activist and founder of Fair Fight and Fair Count, and Rev. William Barber III, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and president of Repairers of the Breach, are scheduled to speak, and virtual events and music performances will also take place on the nights of August 27 and 28.

These inclusive days of action will build on the recent peaceful protests for racial and social justice that took place nationwide after the death of George Floyd, and call for reforms of the systems, structures, policies, and attitudes that enable police brutality and racial discrimination.

Organizers at the march will also implement a robust civic engagement effort, including registering participants to vote and encouraging them to participate and be counted in the 2020 Census.
Please join us in supporting this important movement for racial and social justice reform. You can learn more information about this important event and register to participate here.

Learn More

 

August 24, 2020

America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Calls for Action to Prioritize Safety of Frontline Workers Essential to Food Supply Chain During COVID-19

Following President Trump’s North Carolina Visit, UFCW Calls on Elected Leaders for Action on Hazard Pay, National Mask Mandate, Workplace Safety Union Confirms Over 250 Food Worker Deaths, With Over 36,000 Food Workers Infected or Exposed to COVID-19 

WASHINGTON, DC – Following today’s President Trump visit to a produce facility in North Carolina, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) – which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, meatpacking, food processing, and other industries essential to the U.S. food supply during the pandemic – called for the White House and all elected leaders to support these frontline workers with action on hazard pay, a national mask mandate, and stronger workplace safety standards.  

Since the pandemic began, there have been over 250 food worker deaths and over 36,000 food workers infected or exposed to COVID-19 in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and food processing facilities. 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:  

“America’s food workers have been on the frontlines of this public health crisis, and their safety must come first. Frontline workers across the food supply chain have been putting themselves in harm’s way to help put food on the plates of all Americans every day of this pandemic. This is not about politics. This is about the safety of millions of American food workers who are essential to our country’s food supply. 

“President Trump and all of our elected leaders have a responsibility to stand up for these brave American workers. A strong national agenda for America’s food workers must include hazard pay for the risks these workers are facing, a national mask mandate to slow the spread of COVID-19, increased access to COVID-19 testing and personal protective equipment, and enforcement of clear safety standards for all essential frontline workers for as long as this pandemic continues.

 “Every day, more of our country’s frontline food workers are getting sick and dying from this terrible virus. Our elected leaders must act to protect these workers and keep our food supply chain secure. We cannot wait any longer.”

 Background:

 UFCW has been a leading national voice in calling for action to support and protect grocery and meatpacking workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic.  

Today, UFCW confirmed that among the union’s members there have been at least 103 grocery worker deaths and over 14,300 grocery workers infected or exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, UFCW confirmed that there have been at least 115 meatpacking worker deaths and over 17,700 meatpacking workers infected or exposed to the virus.  

In food processing plants, the union confirmed there have been at least 35 food processing worker deaths and more than 4,900 food processing workers infected or exposed.

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org

August 21, 2020

Washington Grocery Workers Join Local 21 for a Better Life

Over 200 grocery store workers at Metropolitan Market and PCC Community Markets in Washington recently joined UFCW Local 21 for the better wages and benefits that come with being a member of our union family.

The workers, who are employed at Metropolitan Market in Mercer Island and PCC Community Markets in Seattle, joined UFCW Local 21 because they wanted the same benefits as their unionized colleagues at the stores. This organizing win is part of UFCW Local 21’s New Seasons Market campaign, a four-year effort by the local and community partners in the Good Jobs Coalition to support workers challenging New Season Market’s use of union-busting consultants, punitive attendance policy, management favoritism, and disparate discipline. UFCW Local 21 and community partners also challenged the company’s ties to an investor with a history of funding extreme anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-women’s rights groups, as well as its complicity in gentrification and displacement in the historically African American Central District neighborhood in Seattle.

All along, UFCW Local 21’s message to the company was that New Seasons could succeed in the Seattle market – but only if it respected workers’ rights and community values. Ultimately, New Seasons Market’s private equity owners decided to leave the Seattle market, and sold its two stores to Metropolitan Market and PCC Community Markets, which are union employers. Many of the new members include former New Seasons Market employees.

“I experienced racism and discrimination on the job. I wanted to be treated better,” said Apraisjah Gee, who works as a pizza and deli helper clerk at PCC Community Markets in Seattle. “I’m excited to now be working at PCC in the Central District since I grew up here in this community my entire life! This is my home and I love that I’m working at a UFCW Local 21 represented store. I already see the union difference. It feels like family.”

August 18, 2020

UFCW Local 770 Overhill Farms Workers Improve Workplace Safety Protocols

Members of UFCW Local 770 who work at Overhill Farms in Vernon, Calif., are leading the effort to make their workplace safer during this pandemic.

Members at the two food processing plants formed a COVID-19 Safety Committee to address and find solutions to workplace safety concerns about protecting workers from contracting the coronavirus. The committee was formed in July, and the 200 members now have gained the authority to implement safety and health precautions, including stopping the line during a shift if they see safety and health violations.

The COVID-19 Safety Committee members will ensure that everyone entering the two Overhill Farms food processing plants follow health and safety measures, such as social distancing throughout the worksite, including in the parking lot, restrooms, at the time clock, walking to their lines and even at their workstation. They will also monitor compliance regarding hand washing and appropriate personal protective equipment.

“We’ve won improved protocols and we have established a reporting process to make sure that everyone in the plant is safe. The COVID-19 committee gives us the authority to refuse to start the lines until all the health and safety measures are in place,” said Gloria Lopez, a weight checker at Plant 1.

“We must ensure that our members at Overhill Farms are healthy and the company abides by all public health measures,” said UFCW 770 Packinghouse Division Union Representative Armando Espinoza. “Food processing workers know the operations of their plants. They know how to make them safe. With health and safety committees based at their workplaces, essential workers can ensure that their voice and knowledge are part of the safety protocol. This committee will help protect the workers and local communities.”

Overhill Farms employees produce frozen food items such as plated meals, soups, pastas, sauces and other specialties. These workers ratified a strong contract in 2019 and the COVID-19 committee is a separate extension of that agreement in the contract. Overhill Farms is owned by CPF, a Thailand based conglomerate.

August 14, 2020

Trump Admin. Meat Industry Deal Threatens Safety of Thousands of American Workers on Frontlines of COVID-19

America’s Largest Meatpacking Union Condemns New OSHA Pact, Calling it Shameless Corporate Giveaway Exploiting Pandemic to Give Industry Even More Power to Police Itself on Worker Safety   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in meatpacking plants across North America, condemned a new agreement just announced by the U.S. Department of Labor and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), the lobbying arm of the meat and poultry industry. UFCW called the pact a shameless corporate giveaway giving the industry even more power to police itself and ignore safety measures essential to protecting meatpacking workers who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone​ released the following statement:

“This deal is an outrage, and it makes it clear that the Trump Administration does not care at all about protecting the brave meatpacking workers helping feed American families. Throughout the pandemic, employers have continued to keep workers and the general public in the dark about illness in the plants while trying to shield themselves from any liability for the role they played in the loss of life. It is shocking that the Department of Labor is now giving the meat industry even more power to police itself on worker safety.

“This is a shameless attempt to silence worker voices and give giant corporations direct access to the federal agency that is supposed to be in charge of oversight and accountability. Allowing the meat industry to conduct safety oversight of itself is dangerous for both workers and the safety of the food we eat.

“At a time when thousands of American workers in meatpacking plants have gotten sick and over 100 workers have already died, the White House can no longer ignore the severity of this problem. Americans know our food supply is safe when the workers who produce it are safe and UFCW continues to demand clear, enforceable standards that would prevent plant shutdowns and, most importantly, protect workers before even more get sick and die.”

Background:

As the largest North American meatpacking union, UFCW has been a leading voice in the push to strengthen protections for meatpacking workers throughout the industry who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one.

UFCW confirmed today that there have already been at least 113 meatpacking worker deaths and over 17,000 meatpacking workers infected or exposed to COVID-19. These numbers only include workers represented by UFCW, and with many meatpacking companies refusing to release internal numbers, it is likely that meatpacking worker deaths and infections are much higher.

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UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.

August 13, 2020

Biden Call for National Mask Mandate Highlights Push by America’s Largest Food & Retail Union to Protect Workers on Frontlines of COVID-19 

Union for Grocery and Meatpacking Workers Facing Daily Risks in Pandemic Urges Governors to Mandate Masks Nationwide to Combat Spread of COVID-19 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other essential businesses, welcomed Vice President Joe Biden’s call for a national mask mandate for the next three months to protect workers and combat the spread of COVID-19. Biden cited health expert estimates that a national mask mandate would save over 40,000 lives. UFCW has made public mask mandates a priority since the beginning of the pandemic. 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone​ released the following statement: 

“Vice President Biden’s call for a national mask mandate underscores the need for immediate action to protect millions of America’s frontline workers. As COVID-19 spikes across the country continue to put our communities at risk, it is time for governors to step up and make a public mask mandate the law in all 50 states.  

“In every grocery store in America, frontline workers are continuing to put themselves in harm’s way to make sure our families have the food we need. Every day that governors hesitate to enact mask mandates that are fully enforced, millions of American workers and shoppers will continue to be needlessly put in danger of being infected by COVID-19.  

“It’s time for our nation’s leaders to put the safety of the American people first by enforcing public mask mandates nationwide. Our country’s workers and families cannot wait any longer.” 

Background 

UFCW has been a leading national voice in the push for public mask mandates to combat the spread of COVID-19 and protect millions of America’s frontline workers. In July 2020, UFCW joined over 100 health experts to call for a national mask mandate in a full-page New York Times advertisement. 

A recent USA Today report shows that over 40 percent of governors still refuse to enact public mask mandates, including in states like Arizona, Florida, and Georgia which have seen COVID-19 cases continue to increase at alarming rates. 

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UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org

 

August 11, 2020

Kamala Harris As Biden Running Mate Applauded by America’s Largest Food & Retail Union

UFCW Praises Harris As National Voice for COVID-19 Hazard Pay, Unbreakable Champion for Millions of American Workers on Frontlines of Pandemic  

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents 1.3 million workers, announced its support for U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (California) as the running mate for Vice President Joe Biden. From fighting for hazard pay for grocery workers to her championing of the bread and butter issues that matter most to hardworking families, UFCW said that Senator Harris has proven her unbreakable support for all those who work at America’s grocery stores, meatpacking plants, pharmacies, hospitals and other essential businesses on the frontlines of COVID-19. 

UFCW International President Marc Perrone​ released the following statement: 

“This historic ticket will bring the real change our country needs. Senator Kamala Harris’ record and actions prove that she is a strong champion for America’s hardworking men and women. During this pandemic, both Vice President Biden and Senator Harris have highlighted the dangers our country’s frontline workers continue to face. Together, they have made clear that our nation’s CEOs and elected leaders must put these workers first by reinstating hazard pay, expanding COVID testing, and strengthening access to the protective gear these brave workers need to do these essential jobs.  

“As millions of America’s frontline workers continue to put themselves in harm’s way during this pandemic, Vice President Biden and Senator Harris will bring the strong and moral leadership that our nation desperately needs. Most importantly, they will put politics aside, and will do what is necessary to protect all workers, and rebuild our economy so that every hardworking family has the opportunity to succeed.” 

Background: 

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris has been a strong partner for UFCW and a champion for its 1.3 million workers in grocery stores, meatpacking plants, and other essential businesses who have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one.

 In a recent CNN op-ed, Senator Harris joined UFCW in calling for restoring hazard pay for America’s 3 million grocery workers who continue to put themselves in harm’s way during the pandemic to ensure families have the food they need.

 In October 2019, Senator Harris joined UFCW members in Iowa to speak about the challenges facing workers across the country. Senator Harris told UFCW members that she would increase accountability for companies that rely heavily on automation and want to do business with the federal government, pledging that she would hold public hearings outlining the impact of automation on the workforce.

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UFCW International is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org

August 10, 2020

Pennsylvania nursing home workers join UFCW Local 262

Nursing home workers at Genesis Abington Manor in Clarks Summit, Pa., recently joined RWDSU/UFCW Local 262 for the better wages and benefits that come with a union contract, as well as the ability to ensure the best possible care for their patients.

The 57 licensed practical nGenesis Abington Manor workers join RWDSUurses and certified nursing assistants won their union voice via an NLRB election, and join hundreds of their Genesis colleagues in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who are RWDSU/UFCW members.

The workers at Abington Manor began organizing after years of losing benefits, stagnant wages, and unaffordable health care coverage.

“When I started the union campaign, it was because I saw where the facility had weaknesses and how this was affecting the floor staff,” said Kacey Walsh, a licensed practical nurse at Genesis Abington Manor. “The workers here do an amazing job together and truly love the residents, and it shows in the care they receive. In order to best serve the residents, we knew we needed a voice on the job, and the dignity and respect that comes with joining a union.”

“The organizing committee of workers at Abington Manor truly did an amazing job,” said RWDSU/UFCW Organizer Paul Bazemore. “They organized in a matter of weeks during the difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve a strong contract, and that’s what they are going to get.”