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    UFCW Blog

September 21, 2017

Safety in mind: rebuilding after natural disasters

Over the past few weeks, our nation’s communities have been battered by multiple hurricanes and natural disasters, but while Texas, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and beyond have worked to recover, tragedy has also brought out the strength and spirit of our communities as strangers and neighbors alike pull together to help out those in need.

Our union family has also activated to help our fellow members return to their workplaces and homes. As millions of people, including thousands of hard-working UFCW members, return to damaged homes and property, our responsibility to keep each other safe continues.

Rain or shine, the safety of our union family is a top priority. Here are some safety hazards to be aware of to help stay safe even after the storm is over:

Contaminated Floodwaters

Catastrophic flooding can introduce sewage from external sources into indoor environments. This sewage can pose serious health threats to building occupants and to cleanup and restoration workers. In any flood cleanup, assume that pathogens are present. Keep the following in mind to prevent further harm.

When you are directly exposed to floodwater…

  • Avoid direct skin contact with floodwaters to minimize the chance for infection. Be especially careful of the face and eyes.
  • Protect all cuts, scrapes, and sores.
  • Immediately wash and disinfect any wound that comes in contact with sewage.
  • If skin contact with floodwaters does occur, use soap and water to clean exposed areas. Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs can be used when soap or clean water is not available.
  • Hands should be washed after removal of gloves. Gloves that will be reused should be cleaned with soap and water and dried between uses.

Discard the following…

  • Food
  • Cosmetics
  • Medicines and medical supplies
  • Stuffed animals and toys
  • Mattresses and pillows
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Large carpets and carpet padding
  • Cardboard
  • Impacted sheet rock, ceiling tiles, and similar porous materials

When disinfecting other items…

  • Make a household bleach solution by combining 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
  • Bleach should never be used in concentrated form because it can cause severe skin and respiratory harm.
  • Never use bleach with any product that contains ammonia.

Mold

Sheetrock, carpets, and other building materials and furnishings that have been damaged by water, are likely to now be contaminated with mold. Breathing in or touching mold can cause health problems. Killing mold (for example, with bleach) does not get rid of all the health hazards.

When cleaning up your home…

  • Always assume that water-damaged buildings, materials, and furnishings are contaminated with mold.
  • Non-porous materials (metals, glass, hard plastics, etc.) can usually be cleaned.
  • Semi-porous and porous structural materials, such as wood and concrete, can be cleaned if they are structurally sound.
  • Porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and insulation, and wallboards (with more than a small area of mold growth) should be removed and discarded.
  • Disinfectants are usually not needed because physical removal of fungal growth is the most effective way to prevent exposure. Clean with a soap or detergent solution.

While it is your employer’s responsibility to ensure your workplace is safe, being aware of and knowing how to recognize dangerous conditions, can help you stay protected at home as well.

As always, if there is anything we can do to help answer your questions about rebuilding and recovery, or if you’d like to know how you can help, don’t hesitate to let us know at 202-466-1502 or ftapia@ufcw.org.

Sources: NYCOSH

 

September 14, 2017

How well do you know your chicken?

September is National Chicken Month. How much do you know about America’s most popular meat?

1. There are more chickens alive today that there are cats, dogs, pigs, cows and rats—combined. 

2. Though chickens were brought along with the early American colonists, by the George Washington’s time, turkey, goose, pigeon, and duck were more popular than chicken.

Slaves, who were barred from raising cattle, horses, or hogs, were often only allowed to raise chickens. As a result, raising chickens was one of the ways slaves had to earn money.

3. The only continent without chickens is Antarctica.

There is an international treaty in place barring the birds from Antarctica in order to protect the local penguins from disease.

4. Women and minorities were fundamental in growing poultry in the US into an industry.

Farm women in the early 20th century found that they were able to profit from selling eggs, and small scale egg-laying operations grew into large-scale, women-owned hatcheries.

"Poultrywoman and poultry specialist going ove rrecords. Mrs.Bunch&Mr.Parrish, North Carolina, May 1930s." (S-13723-C, Record Group 16-G, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Box 59, Aminals-Chickens-Marketing folder, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

“Poultrywoman and poultry specialist going ove rrecords. Mrs.Bunch&Mr.Parrish, North Carolina, May 1930s.” (S-13723-C, Record Group 16-G, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Box 59, Aminals-Chickens-Marketing folder, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Md.)

5. Working in poultry is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US.

Poultry has more injuries than the construction industry, the auto industry, the steel industry, saw mills, and many other high-risk industries, but the UFCW is working to change that. 

September 13, 2017

Getting kids involved in the kitchen

Looking for a way to get your kids involved with cooking but don’t like the idea of cleaning up a giant mess? Why not start with lunch sandwiches? Having a variety of meats, cheese, and condiments to choose from can help your budding chef feel like they are making their own unique masterpiece, and getting involved in making their own food can capture the enthusiasm of picky eaters.

Pinwheels are a lunch-friendly, kid-friendly food that also works great as appetizers at parties and special events. Get your kids started making their own lunches, and soon they’ll be ready to help prep for that potluck or family get together.

 

September 8, 2017

Cereal icon Diana Hunter retires after proud, union career

Does this woman look familiar? You’ve probably seen her over the years in TV commercials for Honey Bunches of Oats cereal! But did you know that Diana Hunter is also a member of RWDSU/UFCW District Council Local 374?

Diana will be officially retiring in October. Like the author of this Buzzfeed article, we’ve loved watching her hilariously share about the joys of making this tasty cereal. We wish her the best of luck in her retirement, and thank her for all of her service to our union family!

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.

 

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