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November 9, 2018

UFCW Charity Foundation announces 2018 winners

It’s that time of year again! The UFCW Charity Foundation has announced the winners of their annual scholarship. We are so happy to wish each of these ambitious dreamers good luck on the next steps in their life journey as they head off to college.

Every year, the UFCW Charity Foundation scholarship program offers scholarships to UFCW members or their immediate family members who want to further their education and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and to UFCW values.  The fund has distributed more than $2 million in scholarships since 1958.

To read more about this year’s winners, go to The UFCW Charity Foundation website.

Here are this year’s winners:

Walter Henry, Local 2D
Satta Samura, Local 400
Dakota Birchara, Local 880
Gabriel Harris, Local 1996
Casey Vileta, Local 881
Katera Moberg, Local 7R
Andy Song, Local 770
Erin McDonagh, Local 1518
November 5, 2018

Are you ready to head to the polls?

Only four out of every ten Americans voted in the last midterm elections. Don’t be one of the ones who stays home this year. Get the information you need to make your voice heard on election day.


Where to Go

Note sure where to go to cast your vote? Check your polling place online.

Find your polling place


What’s on Your Ballot

Ever gotten your ballot and realized you hadn’t heard of half the people on it? Make an informed decision by knowing what’s on your ballot ahead of time.

Ballot Information


UFCW Endorsements

The UFCW endorses some political candidates who have shown themselves to represent the interests of working men and women. To find out if the UFCW has endorsed a candidate in your area, click here. 

Endorsements


Getting Registered

If you still aren’t registered to vote, there some states that still allow you to register on election day. Only North Dakota does not require voter registration. For everyone else, if you know you aren’t registered and you live in the following states, you’re not too late to vote this year, but be sure to check what the rules for your area are:

DETAILS FOR SAME DAY AND ELECTION DAY REGISTRATION STATES

from The National Conference of State Legislatures

 

State Year Enacted Timeframe Locations Verification Process
California

CA Elec Code § 2170

Conditional Voter Registration

2012 “Conditional voter registration” (CVR) is 14 days before an election through Election Day. County election official offices and satellite locations (not at precinct polling places). The ballot is considered provisional until county election officials check through the statewide voter registration database (VoteCal) if the voter was registered and voted elsewhere that election. This may be through an e-poll book or by connecting to VoteCal back at the office. If CVR occurs on Election Day, wherever it takes place, the elections official will wait until all polling place ballots are logged before counting a CVR provisional ballot. An elections official has until the close of the canvass to count or reject a CVR provisional ballot.
Colorado

C.R.S.A. § 1-2-217.7

Voter Registration FAQs

2013 Early voting period through Election Day. Statewide vote centers. Any eligible voter can register or update voter registration from any county in the state. However, the voter’s unique ballot style will only be available within his/her county. A registered voter from an outside county will only receive a ballot for statewide races. Voters are required to show a Colorado state driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Revenue, and complete and sign a self-affirmation and affidavit. Colorado developed its own e-poll book system that is networked to communicate with the statewide voter registration database in real time. All jurisdictions have access to the system to check that a new registrant has not registered or voted in a different county in the same election.
Connecticut

C.G.S.A. § 9-19j

Election Day Registration

2012 Election Day (not offered for primary elections) Designated locations in each town (not at precinct polling places). Proof of identity and residency is required.

The applicant must appear in person at the location. Applicant must, under oath, declare they have not voted previously in the election. Registrars check the state-wide centralized voter registration system. The applicant will also sign the ballot envelope confirming they are eligible to vote in the election.

District of Columbia

DC ST § 1-1001.07

DC Board of Elections Registration FAQ

2010 Election Day. Individuals may register after the 30th day preceding an election including on Election Day. They may only register and vote on Election Day. Any voting location during the early voting period, and precinct polling place on Election Day. Applicant must appear in person at the Board of Elections’ office. Applicant makes an oath and provides proof of residence and may provide any identification as required by federal, district, or board law/regulation including valid government ID, copy of current utility bill, bank statement, government check, pay check, or other documents specified by the board. E-poll books are networked and synchronized, and indicate if a voter has previously registered or voted. Voters who register on Election Day and cannot provide proof of residence must vote provisionally.
Hawaii

HRS § 11-15.2

Registration in Hawaii

2014 Early voting period through Election Day. Precinct polling place or absentee polling place established in the county associated with a voter’s residence. To register, applicants must provide their Hawaii Driver License, state I.D., last four digits of their social security number, or voter I.D., which will be confirmed when received by the clerk’s office. Applicant makes a sworn affirmation that they have not voted and are qualified to vote. Any applicant providing false information may be guilty of a Class C felony pursuant to state law.
Idaho

I.C. § 34-408A

Voter Registration FAQ

1994 Election Day Precinct polling place where voter resides. Voters doing same day registration are required to show a photo ID and proof of residence, i.e. a bill, bank statement, check stub, or any other document with their name and residence address within the precinct printed on it. Voters also complete an oath as prescribed by the secretary of state.
Illinois

10 ILCS 5/5-50

Registering to Vote in Illinois

2015 “Grace period registration” is from the 27th day prior to the election through Election Day Office of the election authority, at a permanent polling place, at any other early voting site beginning 15 days prior to the election, at a polling place on election day, or at a voter registration location specifically designated for this purpose by the election authority. Two forms of identification with at least one showing current address. Driver’s license and university or collage ID can be one of the two, as can current utility bill, bank statement, pay check, government check, or other government document that shows name and address. Local election officials verify information of same-day registrants, usually after the election. If duplicate registrations and voting history are found, it would be up to each local official to provide that information to their local state’s attorney. If a voter is unable to provide the required identification would vote provisionally.
Iowa

Iowa Code Ann. §39A.2,

§48A.7a

Election Day Registration

2007 In-person absentee period through Election Day. At the county auditor’s office or satellite voting location during in-person absentee period, and precinct polling place where voter resides on Election Day. In order to register and vote on election day voters must show a current photo ID as well as current proof of residency. The applicant also completes a written oath. Counties do use e-poll books, but they are not connected to the statewide voter registration database. If a voter did register and vote at more than one location on election day it would be caught when vote credit is applied through the statewide voter registration database. Voting more than once is election misconduct in the first degree.
Maine

21-A M.R.S.A.

§112-A, §121-A, §122

Voter Registration in Maine

1973 Election Day, however there is no registration deadline when registering to vote in person at the town office or city hall. The deadline for mail registrations and voter registration drives is the 21st day before the election. In person at the town office or city hall prior to the election, and precinct polling place where voter resides on Election Day. If a voter registers to vote on Election Day, and can show proof of identity and residency, then they vote a regular ballot. If they don’t show satisfactory proof, then they vote a provisional ballot. Real-time registration is not available, but if a voter attempts to register and vote in more than one location, the local election official would be alerted when trying to enter voting history after the election in the statewide voter registration database. The voter would be referred for prosecution for dual voting if applicable (Note that Maine has had election day registration since 1975 and has only had four prosecutions for double voting).
Maryland

MD Code, Election Law, § 3-305

Voter Registration in Maryland

2013 Early voting period only. Early voting locations. Maryland partners with the Motor Vehicle Administration to obtain the drivers licenses of those who are eligible to register, but aren’t in the statewide voter registration database. An individual would supply their driver’s license to register and vote. If the individual doesn’t have a driver’s license they would vote via provisional ballot. E-poll books are networked together during the early voting period, but not on Election Day.
Minnesota

M.S.A. §201.061

Register on Election Day

1974 Election Day. Precinct polling place where voter resides, county offices, and in-person absentee voting centers. Election Day registrants must provide proof of residence. Voting history and election day registrants are input simultaneously into the statewide voter registration database after the election. The system provides notifications if there is an indication that an individual voted before an election day registration, or if more than one Election Day registrations were input for the same individual. Data provided by an Election Day registrant is verified with the Division of Vehicle Services and/or the Social Security Administration, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety.
Montana

MCA 13-2-110

MCA 13-2-304

MCA 13-2-514

How to Register to Vote

2005 Late registration (after the registration deadline 30 days before an election) is available through Election Day (except between noon and 5:00 p.m. the day before the election) at county election offices. County election office. Local Election officials verify signatures and identification of voters. Anyone who transfers their registration on election day must do so at a central location and must vote a provisional ballot that is counted only if it is confirmed that the individual did not vote previously.
New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. §654:7, §654:7-a

Registration in New Hampshire

1996 Election Day. Town or city ward where the voter resides. Voters must provide sufficient identification and proof of residency in order to receive a ballot. Those who present insufficient photo identification to get their picture taken at the polls and sign an affidavit. New Hampshire sends letters with return post cards to all who sign affidavits on election day, and submits to the attorney general all who fail to return signed post cards or whose letters are returned marked “undeliverable.” After the election, New Hampshire runs a variety of checks to identify potential double voters. A check is conducted against the statewide voter registration database to identify those that may have voted elsewhere in the state, and the Interstate Crosscheck to identify those that may have voted out-of-state. If found, double voters are referred to the attorney general for enforcement.
North Carolina

N.C.G.S.A. § 163-865

One-Stop Early Voting and Same Day Registration

2007 Early voting period only. Early voting locations determined by county. Voters must attest to their eligibility and provide proof of residences. Within two business days of the person’s registration, the county board of elections will verify the registrant’s driver license or social security number, update the voter registration database, search for possible duplicate registrations, and proceed to verify the registrant’s address by mail. The registrant’s vote will be counted unless the county board of elections determines that he or she is not qualified to vote.
Utah

UCA 20A-2-207

2018 Early voting period and Election Day. Early voting locations and polling places. Voters may register to vote and vote via provisional ballot. Voters must provide valid voter identification and proof of residency, and the provisional ballot is counted at canvass if the voter has met the required qualifications. The ballot is not counted if the county clerk finds that the voter is not eligible for registration or not legally entitled to vote the ballot.
Vermont

17 V.S.A. §2144

Registration in Vermont

2015 Up to and including Election Day. Town or city clerk’s office before the election, and precinct polling place where voter resides on Election Day. Vermont has the ability to conduct a post-election audit that would identify any individual who registered and voted in more than one town in the same election. The results of that report would be sent to the Attorney General’s office for investigation and prosecution.
Washington

RCW 29A.08.140

*Effective June 30, 2019.

 

2018 Up to and including Election Day. County auditor’s office, a voting center, or other location designated by the county auditor
Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. §6.29

Voter Registration Guide

1975 Election Day. Precinct polling place where voter resides. All individuals must provide both a proof of residency document and proof of identification document to register on Election Day. The statewide voter registration system provides notification to local election officials to prevent duplicate registration records, although that process happens only after the registration is entered into the system which is usually after Election Day. Voting at two locations on Election Day is a felony offense.
Wyoming

Wy. Stat. §22-3-104

Registering to Vote

1994 Election Day. Polling place or vote center, if vote centers are available in the county, or other location designated by the county clerk. Applicants may vote a regular ballot if they are able to provide proof of identity and residency. Otherwise they are required to cast a provisional ballot. Every county that utilizes vote centers has its e-pollbooks networked securely through a VPN and several layers of encryption. E-poll books are used to check whether or not a potential registrant has already voted elsewhere.

Table Notes:

  • The table above was compiled from information provided by State Election Directors or State Election Offices, and additional research conducted by NCSL staff.
  • In Rhode Island, voters who missed the voter registration deadline may vote on Election Day for the offices of President and Vice President only. This is done at the office of the Board of Canvassers, not at the polling place. Rhode Island is not included in the table above.
November 1, 2018

Stepping Up and Speaking Out: UFCW Local 1245 Staff Member Talks About Latina Equal Pay Day

Every year, the UFCW joins a coalition of organizations that highlights Equal Pay Day, which marks the day of the year in which women would have to work in order to make the same amount as men. Our union also highlights the subsequent equal pay days that mark when non-white women would make the same amount.

To commemorate today’s benchmark, Latina Equal Pay Day, we talked to UFCW Local 1245 staff member Nereyda Curiel about how she creates change by getting active and inspires others to, as well.

An elected councilwoman in her hometown of Haledon, New Jersey Nereyda is an involved member of her community. In addition to her job at serving UFCW Local 1245 members, much of her work as a councilwoman involves coordinating special events that benefit children and senior citizens.

Growing up in a union household, Nereyda is very familiar with the role unions play in helping hard-working people build a better life, including when it comes to equal pay for men and women: “My mother was a seamstress, and both my parents are immigrants from the Dominican Republic,” she said. “I know how important it is for a working family to have those union benefits. I love what our union represents, and I love being a voice for working people—both through the union and as a councilwoman.”

Nereyda also came from a nonunion job before working at UFCW, where she is a union member. “It’s very different,” she said. “I see firsthand how we being part of a union helps people secure good benefits, job security, and so much more. I’ve experienced what it’s like when no one represents you. The union is here—and I’m here to help.”

Although Nereyda says unequal pay for men and women is “ridiculous”, she’s well aware of how much it still exists. “We each do the same job—all that should matter is that it’s getting done—not who’s doing it.” She notes that even members of her family who live in the same household and have the same workplace do not take home the same pay. “We need to continue to work hard to fix this. If we stick together, we can,” she said.

Aside from being in a union, Nereyda believes the other best way to ensure equal pay is to get more politically involved, specifically getting registered to vote and voting in the November elections. “Our vote is our voice,” said Nereyda.

“We have to be heard not just as Hispanics but as Hispanic women, and I know that my vote counts. I’m concerned about immigration and family separations—we need to unite people. Right now, anyone who is affected by our current immigration laws—Dreamers included—are pretty much living on standby. My parents came to this country with a dream and a goal to build a better life here; everyone comes here with a dream, even if that’s all they have. That’s why I get involved, and why I’m so passionate. I know that I can make a difference by voting to elect people who represent us and our concerns.”

Nereyda hopes to continue helping other Latina women get more involved in both their union and communities this year. “I live in a very diverse area that includes a large Latino population. I want all of them to know that anyone can run for office on some level. “If we want to make change, we need to vote and change the voter turnout.”

October 31, 2018

Member Spotlight: Lisa Colon

When Lisa Colon’s daughter had to have three emergency surgeries in a week, she did what any good parent would do—prioritize the health of her child and do her best to take care of her while she recovered.

As a single mom balancing family and a career as a CNA at Chapin Center Nursing Home, Lisa had to put in for FMLA leave to take time off from work, but was horrified to find her request for the urgently needed time off denied by her employer.

Wanting to shift their workplace culture to one that prioritized the needs of the staff and respected the hard work nursing home employees put in to provide quality care for the residents, Lisa and her coworkers decided to take matters into their own hands and join the UFCW to make sure no one felt left out to dry in times of need.

“They helped me out 100%,” Lisa says. “It still brings tears to my eyes,” she says of that trying time, “but thanks to my union I still am able to have a job, and my family is healthy now.”

Being a single mom and balancing work was still hard, but knowing the union would be there for her helped provide peace of mind and a sense of security. Before becoming a union member, for instance, Lisa was no stranger to pay inequity. “It hurts,” she says about knowing how much longer it takes for some women to reach the wages of their white male counterparts. “I work just as hard, or even harder than a male co-worker. Especially when I was a single parent—I had to work just as hard and take care of my children.”

She explains that her union contract guarantees good wages and fair treatment. “Being part of a union ensures I receive the equal pay I’ve earned. Equal pay, and equality at work, allow me achieve my goals, and go further in life.”

In addition to organizing her workplace, Lisa went on to become a shop steward, where she worked to help fellow members get pay issues and other problems they encountered resolved.

UFCW stewards are members who volunteer or are elected to take on a more active role protecting the rights of their coworkers on the job. They are knowledgeable about what benefits and policies the union negotiates with their employer and they help keep an eye out to make sure everyone is getting treated fairly.

These days, Lisa works as a union representative at UFCW Local 1459 and serves on their Executive Board. She hopes her story helps inspire others to get involved and take action when they see a change that needs to be made.

Lisa is half Puerto Rican and was born in the continental U.S, but moved to Puerto Rico as a young child, and returned not knowing any English. Before her involvement with the union, she’d never voted or registered to vote. Now she helps get the word out about how vital voting is to protecting the rights of working people.

“We need more push and shove, more education,” she says, frustrated that more of her peers don’t have a plan to vote in the upcoming election. “If more people knew that their vote counts, and used it, we could win.”

Her message for people going through a hard time in this political climate—experiencing things like unfair wages and more—is to stay strong, because you’re not alone.

October 31, 2018

Minnesota pork processing workers successfully negotiate raises, continued free health care, and more vacation

UFCW Local 663 members who work at JBS in Worthington, Minnesota, ratified a new agreement last month that raises wages and improves benefits. JBS is the largest pork production processor in Minnesota, and UFCW Local 663 represents over 1,900 members at the facility.

The three-year agreement, which was ratified by an overwhelming margin, includes raises and higher base rates; an extra day of vacation; continued free primary health care at Sanford; and an additional walking steward for the second shift paid for by the company.

“I’m happy with the raises we have negotiated for everyone at work,” said Yolanda Martinez, who works the day shift in the cryovac food packaging division at JBS and served on the bargaining committee. Martinez has worked for JBS for 28 years.

“I’m looking forward to not only our raises, but also continuing our free health care at Sanford,” said Melina Martinez, who has worked for JBS for 20 years and is employed in the trim department. “While health care costs are skyrocketing, it’s good to know my union has our backs.”

October 26, 2018

Leading Up to the Midterms, UFCW Retirees Make a Difference

UFCW retirees are working hard to change the political environment for the better and encourage active citizenship—whether it’s helping to overturn work for less laws or getting out the vote leading up to the midterm elections.

“With a stroke of a pen, we may not have retirement.”

Don Cash retired from his position as executive assistant to the president at UFCW Local 400 in 2007. He has always kept himself engaged during his retirement years and currently serves as president of the UFCW Minority Coalition. He is also working on the Ben Jealous for Governor of Maryland campaign. He has known Jealous, who is the former president and chief executive officer of the NAACP, for years and has worked with him on civil rights and social justice issues.

Cash encourages other retirees to get involved in the midterm elections. “As a retiree, you can’t let your guard down,” he said. “With a stroke of a pen, we may not have retirement. “I started out 50 years ago, and 50 years later we’re fighting for the same things. As long as there is a struggle, I’ll keep on going.”


“There’s a lot to lose.”

Mary Finger retired from her position as International Vice President and Civil Rights Director at the UFCW International office in 2005 and moved to San Antonio to be near her children.

She’s been helping the Beto O’Rourke for Senate campaign in Texas with voter registration and get out the vote efforts since O’Rourke announced his candidacy last March. Over the past few weeks, she has been encouraging Texas voters in underserved neighborhoods to vote early because she believes that benefits for seniors and future generations are in danger.

“Medicare and Social Security are vulnerable,” Finger said. “There’s a lot to lose.”

“Younger people look at people who are running our country and don’t have faith,” Finger added. “We have to convince them that there’s someone who will represent their interests. I’m hoping that we see some new faces in 2020. We need some new blood. We need some new choices.”


“If you care about your family, you have to get involved.”

UFCW Local 655 retirees Ray Wenzelburger and Cathy Johnston recently helped to defeat work for less Prop A in Missouri. Even though Missouri became the 28th work for less state in February of 2017, Wenzelburger, Johnston and hundreds of others fought back by collecting signatures and placing a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot to reverse the law. On August 7, voters rejected work for less by a 2 to 1 margin and the anti-worker law was immediately overturned.

Wenzelburger was a member of UFCW Local 655 for 40 years and retired two years ago. He used to work in a magazine distribution business in St. Louis that provided magazine racks for Dierbergs, Schnucks and Shop ‘n Save, and served as a shop steward for 36 years. He has always been involved politically and encourages other retirees to do the same.

“The fight still goes on. Don’t forget where your benefits come from,” he said. “People have children and grandchildren. If you care about your family, you have to get involved.”


“Younger voters need to get out and vote.”

Johnston worked for 29 years at a Dierbergs store in St. Louis and served as a shop steward for 27 years. She retired three years ago, and helped to collect signatures to defeat work for less. She encourages younger voters to get involved in campaigns and exercise their right to vote.

“Pensions are at stake and so is our way of living. There’s a lot to lose,” she said. “Younger voters need to get out and vote,” she added. “It’s a right. These issues will affect them, too, when they retire.”

October 19, 2018

October is National Ergonomics Month

Earlier this year, the UFCW and Tyson commemorated 30 years of working together for safer workplaces by expanding our collaborative efforts to make workplace safety improvements at the company’s food processing plants. The innovative program broke ground by training and involving hourly production workers in identifying safety and ergonomics problems at their worksites. While the primary focus had been Tyson Foods’ beef and pork operations, it is now being expanded to the company’s poultry business.

Ergonomics, which is the science of designing the workplace to fit the worker, had not been extensively used in the meat industry until the UFCW and Tyson reached an agreement after an historic OSHA citation and settlement in late November 1988 followed up with the joint Tyson-UFCW program to develop a comprehensive ergonomics research program.

The program got underway in early 1989, with the company’s Dakota City, Nebraska, beef complex serving as the pilot plant, and production workers represented by UFCW Local 222, were actively involved.  Due to the success of the pilot, the program was quickly expanded to all of the company’s beef and pork plants.

Some of the key elements of the program include ongoing ergonomics training for production workers; the involvement of hourly workers as ‘ergonomic monitors;’ worksite analysis and the redesign of work stations and equipment; and a medical management program focused on early detection and treatment of workplace injuries and illnesses.

Using ergonomic principles, properly designed jobs, tasks, equipment and tools as well as good job organization can help to fit the job to the workers.

Ergonomics includes:

  • Designing equipment that is easy to use
  • Investing new equipment that will take the strain out of the job
  • Organizing work in different ways
  • Changing how tasks are done

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made through our collaboration with the UFCW, and especially the active involvement of frontline team members,” said Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “We know that all of us must remain diligent if we’re to achieve additional improvements.”

“We value the progress we’ve made at Tyson and are looking forward to expanding our partnership to create safer workplaces for all of their hard-working men and women,” said Mark Lauritsen, director of the UFCW’s Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division. “Working together with Tyson has meant empowering workers and their union to make a better, safer workplace.”


Early warning signs of repetitive stress may include: hand pain or numbness; stiff fingers; swelling in the hand, wrist, or forearm; and back or shoulder pain.


What are CTDs, RSIs, and MSDs?

Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and United Auto Workers, Ergonomics Awareness Manuel.

Cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) are disorders of the muscles, tendons, or nerves. CTDs are caused by repeated stress or exposure to forceful exertions, repetitive motions, awkward body postures, nerve compression and vibration. CTDs typically affect the arms, shoulders, hands or wrists.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) is a general term like (CTD) used to describe a range of symptoms associated with repetitive motion work.

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage, or spinal disks. Examples of jobs likely to cause MSDs are those requiring:

  • Forceful or prolonged exertions of the hands
  • Heavy lifting
  • Pushing, pulling g or carrying of heavy objects
  • Prolonged awkward postures

CTDs, RSIs, and MSDs are often used to mean the same thing.


The Three Stages of MSD Symptoms

MSD symptoms can range from mild aches to disabling pain. Symptoms often appear gradually and become more sever over time. Generally symptoms progress through three stages.

Stage 1

Symptoms may appear during periods of activity and may disappear during periods of rest. Symptoms are relatively mild. Early symptoms of MSDs often are mistaken for muscle fatigue.

Stage 2

Symptoms are most persistent. They do not disappear completely during periods of rest. Increasingly severe symptoms may interfere with performance of usual work activities.

Stage 3

Symptoms are constant. Sleep is often disturbed. Sever pain, limited mobility, loss of sensation or muscle weakness makes it impossible to perform most job tasks.


Symptoms of MSDs

  • Soreness
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Tingling
  • Aching
  • Stiffness
  • Skin Discoloration (blanched or white) – skin discoloration of the fingers is an indication of Hand-Arm Vibrations Syndrome (HAVS) and it is the result of long-term exposure to vibration.

MSD Risk Factors

Many jobs that poultry workers do are associated with ergonomic risk fact that include:

  • Repetition – performing the same motion or series of motions continually of frequently.
  • Forceful exertion – the amount of physical effort to perform a demanding task or to maintain control of equipment or tools
  • Awkward and static postures – assuming positions that place stress on the body, such as reaching above shoulder height, kneeling, squatting, leaning over a worktable, twisting, the torso while lifting, maintaining a sustained posture for a long period of time, as well as holding or using tools in a non-neutral or fixed position.
  • Vibration – using vibrating hand-held power tools can increase the stress on the hands and arms.
  • Cold temperatures
October 16, 2018

Member Spotlight: UFCW member Kitty Janusz investigates paranormal activities

This profile was originally published in the UFCW Local 1428 Fall 2018 newsletter:

“I grew up in a paranormal house,” recalls Kitty Janusz, who works in the produce department of Vons 3086 in Hacienda Heights. “That’s where it all started.”

UFCW Local 1428 member Kitty Janusz’s book on the paranormal won 1st place at the 2016 Los Angeles Festival of Books

It was a brand-new house when her parents moved into the Whittier residence in 1954, but strange things started happening right away, Janusz said. And they kept on happening.

For example: “We would hear footsteps on wood, but our floors were carpeted.”

Her family would come home to water running in the house — all the faucets would be turned on. Items would disappear and then reappear. With windows completely closed the curtains would blow in all at once.

“I was a little kid when all this was going on and we only had one ‘creepy’ area,” Janusz said. “It was a small hallway where we would walk through and totally feel a presence behind us, but we’d turn around and no one would be there.”

“The presence only got aggressive once,” she continued. “I thought our cat was on the corner of my bed one night and I could feel the weight on the foot of the bed, but I looked and there was nothing there. I could see the bed getting a depression like something was there and it got bigger and bigger. I told it to go away… and it did.”

Capturing spirits on camera

Janusz grew up with curiosity about spirit activity, rather than fear. As an adult, she researched historic locations and conducted investigations on her own.

During this time, she realized she had a gift for capturing what is known as EVPs, or Electronic Voice Phenomena. It seemed she was able to capture “spirit voices” through the use of digital recorders.

“It’s a skill set more than a talent,” she said. “For some it comes easy, but all need to be wary of the effects investigating can have on you.”

UFCW Local 1428 member Kitty Janusz investigates paranormal activity on the Queen Mary

“I could feel sadness and pain,” she said. “I wanted to know, why are these places haunted?”

Her favorite paranormal site is aboard the Queen Mary.

“I was in the infirmary recording for EVPs and I felt a presence, so I simply asked, ‘Can you tell me what year it is?’ I didn’t hear anything, but when I played back the recorder I could clearly hear ‘1943’ … and I was hooked. Love that place!”

Janusz realized she needed to use her gifts as a psychic medium to help her communicate more directly with spirits, who she believes are calling for help. She said she uses these gifts to guide lost souls to the light and let them know they are not alone.

“That’s part of what we do as investigators,” Janusz said. “We help the spirits move on.”

“Usually, the spirit is unhappy and lingering for a reason,” she said. “In my experience energy can become imprinted within a location. It can come from traumatic events such as war, violence, murder, domestic abuse, or the pain of losing a loved one.

Energy can also linger as benign energies that may result in residual hauntings. These imprinted energetic anomalies are different than an intelligent haunting from a spirit who may remain at a location. Paranormal investigators need to be cognizant of these energetic influences and maintain healthy personal boundaries. It’s not just about walking around in dark, scary places with a flashlight!”

Janusz emphasized that people need to set boundaries when investigating. “All the energy one takes on when investigating the paranormal can affect a person physically and mentally,” she said.

She has authored two books on the subject.

The first, When the Dead Speak: The Art and Science of Paranormal Investigation, won first place in the 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the largest book festival in the United States. The second, Secrets Buried in the Lemon Grove, is a novel based on paranormal events.

Janusz also hosts a weekly radio show, Into the Light Paranormal, where she interviews psychics, authors, investigators, crypto-zoologists and other guests.

Union career

In addition, she is a proud member of UFCW Local 1428. “I’m so glad I have this union job,” Janusz said. “I like the work, but I stayed because of the great health benefits, which allow me the freedom to do the things I love to do.”

Janusz started working for Vons 23 years ago in the floral department. Three years later, when a position opened in produce, her manager was reluctant to lose such a good florist, but Janusz suggested that the floral job be given to her sister.

The arrangement worked, and Janusz’ sister has been working in floral ever since, currently with Pavilions.

Over the years, Kitty Janusz’ health benefits helped her through four surgeries, including replacements of both knees.

“The surgeries left me some awesome scars.” she said. “And the hospital is great for paranormal activity!” she said.

“Right before one of my surgeries I saw two little girls talking to each other. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I could see their lips moving. Then they looked at me, saw I could see them, and left.

“I guess they figured they wouldn’t have much fun with me. I knew this was going to be a good night!”

“During my rehabilitation, there were 17 steps I had to walk before they’d let me go,” she continued. “I could hear voices everywhere. I found out later the steps were located in what used to be the psychiatric ward. Those were fun nights in rehabilitation!”

Janusz has a few more years to reach her “Golden 85,” the moment when her age plus her years of service in the industry add up to 85. At that time, she will be able to retire with full benefits.

When retirement does come, you might be able to find her at her favorite paranormal location.

“My goal when I retire is to be a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary,” she said.

“They’re still union, I believe!”

Both of her books are available on Amazon and Kindle. Members may also purchase signed copies of her books, download episodes of her podcast and even hear audio evidence from her investigations on her website: www.kittyjanusz.com.

October 11, 2018

Winterizing your vehicle? Take advantage of winter tire discounts

Discount Goodyear Tires & Car Services – Treat your car well and save with a Union Plus Goodyear Coupon!

Regular auto maintenance and new tire purchases from Goodyear help stretch the longevity and value of your vehicle. Use the Union Plus Goodyear Discount Coupon for tires and services, to keep your car in good shape and save money – while also supporting your fellow labor union members.

Through an agreement with the company-owned Goodyear Auto Service or Just Tires, Union Plus Goodyear discount Goodyear tire deals and car service savings are now available exclusively to union members – call the store to make sure they will honor the Goodyear discount. Not every store that sells Goodyear tires is a company-owned store. You will need to provide Union Member ID and a copy of the coupon to get the discount.

Valid forms of ID

  • Union member card
  • Paycheck showing dues deduction
  • Union Plus MasterCard

Print this Goodyear coupon (PDF)* and take it to a participating store below.

Click on the following links to find a participating tire center near you:

Before going to the dealer, call to make sure they will honor the Goodyear coupon. Non-company-owned Goodyear stores are not required to honor the coupon.

*The Goodyear coupon is a PDF file. If you do not already have Acrobat installed, you can download a free copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

October 9, 2018

UFCW OUTreach Offers Member Scholarships to attend the Creating Change Conference in Detroit, MI on January 23-27, 2019

OUTreach, the UFCW constituency group for LGBTQ+ and allies, is offering five scholarships to our union members to attend the 2019 Creating Change Conference in Detroit, Michigan from January 23-27.  Creating Change Conference is organized by the National LGBTQ Task Force. It is the foremost political, leadership and skills-building conference for thousands of committed people to develop and hone their skills and share victories.  Scholarship recipients will learn from a broad range of social justice issues and develop skills to bring back to their workplaces and local unions.  Past session topics include labor, gender equality, community organizing, criminal justice, immigration and more.

OUTreach Executive Board members have participated as one of the leading workshop presenters, putting our union, UFCW, as a key advocate for the working class and a key voice on labor issues at this conference.  In a time where the labor movement and everything we have fought for is under attack, OUTreach’s dedication to organizing social and economic justice for all workers and ensuring full equality for LGBTQ+ workers at work and in their union reflects our union’s commitment to building a resilient working class that is not divided by hate.

Providing these scholarships to UFCW members is a crucial step in recruiting and developing our own rank-and-file leadership within our union and in the broader movement.  It is with this vision in mind that OUTreach offers five scholarships to UFCW members to join our contingent at next year’s conference.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about OUTreach, please contact Michele Kessler at 610-513-9927 or Jean Tong at 213-590-7177.


OUTreach Scholarship Application
Details and Instructions

What: Creating Change Conference
When: January 23-27, 2019
Where: Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

Scholarship includes:

  • Conference Registration Fee
  • Hotel and Meals
  • Transportation

Eligibility and Requirements:

  1. Applicant must be an active UFCW member.
  2. Applicant must be able to take time off to attend the conference in its entirety.
    1. Arriving at the Marriott Renaissance Center in Detroit, MI, no later than 9am on January 23 and leaving the hotel no sooner than 12pm on January 27.
  3. Applicant must submit a short paragraph to answer the following:
    1. What does being a union member/activist/shop steward mean to you?
    2. Why are you interested in attending this conference, what do you hope to get from this experience?
    3. Please share an example of you standing up for yourself or others.
  4. Applicant must submit a letter of recommendation from his/her/their local union. (Please see attached form)
  5. Deadline to submit: Wednesday, November 7th 2018 to Michele Kessler at MKessler@ufcw1776.org and Jean Tong at tong@ufcw770.org
  6. Scholarship Announcement: Wednesday, November 21st 2018

To apply, download the application here:

UFCW OUTreach Creating Change Conference Scholarships 2019 (English)
La solicitud de beca de Outreach 2019 (español)