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    UFCW Blog

January 31, 2019

Customers shifting to fresher options for most popular Super Bowl snack

Aside from Thanksgiving, Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day. UFCW members in grocery stores and in food processing plants across the country have been working hard to prep the meats, cheese trays, deli sandwiches, veggie platters and other great game day snacks we all love.

“This is one of the busiest times of the year for my store,” said Earl Greenlaw, a member of UFCW Local 367 who works at Fred Meyer. “Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, my co-workers and I put in long hours preparing food and helping customers plan their menus. We love knowing that our hard work makes it easy for people to enjoy the game with their friends and family.”


The Unofficial Super Bowl Snack

The most popular food for Super Bowl Sunday? Chicken Wings. While the amount of wings projected to be eaten this weekend is enough to circle the earth three times, there are some shifts in customers’ preferences. According to Nielsen, more and more customers are turning to fresher wings, opting either to pick them up fully cooked at the deli or buy them uncooked and make them themselves. Fresh meat wings sales have gone up 31 percent in the past year, and deli cooked wings saw an increase of 15 percent.

Many of those wings will have either been processed by UFCW members at unionized poultry processing facilities or cooked and served by UFCW members at unionized grocery stores. Thanks for all your hard work, guys!

January 29, 2019

Plan your next getaway with discounts for UFCW members

As a member of our UFCW family, you not only get a strong contract and someone fighting for you at work, you also get remarkable benefits that can save you and your loved ones thousands of dollars this year.


International Travel

Collette has been showing the world to people just like you for over 100 years. In addition to visiting iconic must-see sites around the globe, Collette’s 170-plus tours take travelers off the beaten path to allow you to get to know and appreciate each unique destination. A partnership between Union Plus and Collette opens up exclusive offers and union member benefits to make your travel dreams come true!

Book now and enjoy savings of up to
$600 per person*!
Use offer code UNIONSAVE
and mention your Union member benefit

For reservations, call Collette at 844.868.2685
or contact your travel professional.

★ For group travel, call 877.685.8687 for assistance. ★

Plan the trip of a lifetime


Fun Destinations

Travelling to an exciting destination spot or just looking forwards to a staycation where you live? You can save money on admission to all kinds of fun museums, cruises, parks, resorts and more, including:

  • Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
  • Chicago Children’s Museum
  • The Met
  • Museum of Science and Industry – Chicago
  • MoMa
  • International Spy Museum
  • Empire State Building Observatory
  • Madame Tussaud’s
  • Skydeck – Chicago
  • Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Graceland
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum
  • Newseum
  • Exploratorium
  • San Diego Safari Park
  • CityPass

Register for Destination Discounts


Amusement Parks

Whether you are a roller coaster enthusiast or just like an excuse to eat funnel cake, your UFCW membership gives you discounts on some of the most popular parks in the country, such as:

  • Disney
  • Six Flags (Multiple locations)
  • Adventureland Park
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Crayola Experience
  • Dollywood
  • Dorney Park
  • Funtown Splashtown USA
  • Hersheypark
  • Kings Dominion
  • LEGOLAND (Multiple locations)
  • SeaWorld
  • Sesame Place
  • Universal Studios

Access Your Water and Theme Park Discounts

Accessing your discounts does require setting up an account on the Union Plus website, which is free for UFCW members. From there, you’ll not only get access to discounts on theme parks, but discounts on movie tickets, hotels, car rental, and more that can help you squeeze a little more fun out of your wallet.

Register for Water and Theme Park Discounts


Planning a Road Trip?

Before you hit the road this summer, make sure your car is in good, safe condition to drive. 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.

  • Save 10% off all Goodyear tires or 5% off sale tires at company-owned Goodyear and Just Tires.
  • Save 5% off sale tires at company-owned Goodyear and Just Tires.
  • Save 10% off car service, including auto maintenance, auto parts, or 5% off preventative maintenance.

Many Goodyear tires are made by members of the United Steelworkers of America (USW) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), so you can support you fellow labor union members and service your car at the same time.


Renting a Car?

Going out of town and need to rent a car? Car rental can get expensive, so you’ll want to be sure to take advantage of your UFCW member discounts. Check out the car rental companies below and be sure to give them the reference ID and mention you are a union member.

 


Avis Car Rental

Call for Quote: 800-698-5685

Be sure to reference AWD #B723700

Budget Car Rental

Call for Quote: 800-455-2848

Be sure to reference BCD #V816100

Hertz Car Rental

Call for Quote: 800-654-2200

Be sure to reference CDP #205666

Dollar Car Rental

Call for Quote: 800-800-4000

Be sure to reference CDP #3042236

Thrifty Car Rental

Call for Quote: 800-847-4389

Be sure to reference CDP #3042238

Payless Car Rental

Call for Quote: 800-729-5377

Be sure to reference PDN #A071900
January 25, 2019

Beyond TSA: how is the shutdown impacting our national food security?

There have been a number of recent articles highlighting the air-travel safety issues caused by the government shutdown as more and more TSA agents are forced to call out from work. TSA agents are a visible reminder of the work that federal employees do, but some of the most damaging and dangerous impacts from the government shutdown are ones that are also out of sight of the average American. After all, many people pass through the airport, but not that many people regularly visit food processing facilities.

Food Safety


The FDA oversees 80 percent of our food supply and has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities (Washington Post) and canceled more than 50 high-risk inspections. (Washington Post) The FDA halted many inspections on January 9th, though the agency also resumed the most high-risk ones on January 15th, when FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that furloughed food inspectors would be recalled to carry on their work without pay.

40% of FDA workers are furloughed

40 percent of the FDA’s employee’s remain furloughed and it is important to recognize that just because inspections may not be considered “high risk” does not mean they are “no risk” and should be left without inspectors. These decisions about what merits inspection or not are also being made without the informed consent of the American people, who trust that the food they are eating has been held to certain agreed upon standards and guidelines.

 

Risk of recalls has increased

Since the last extended federal shutdown in 2013, the number of meat and poultry products recalled in the US for potentially life-threatening health hazards has nearly doubled.  A new report shows the number of meat and poultry products recalled in the United States for potentially life-threatening health hazards has nearly doubled since 2013, raising new concerns about food safety. A recent report by TIME highlighted that if shutdown-caused furloughs continue to impede FDA operations, “federal regulators might not even realize outbreaks are happening” in the first place.

Long term impacts

Workers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees meat and poultry, have all continued to perform inspections without pay. It is important to recognize that much of the work inspectors do requires a high level of training and experience, and filling vacant positions with qualified employees can be challenging. Though the dedication shown by the inspectors working without pay because of their commitment to the common good is inspiring, the longer this shutdown continues, the more we are asking those workers to sacrifice. If a number of inspectors are forced to take other work in order to support their families, there is a potential for long-term consequences that will be felt beyond when the federal government resumes its responsibilities.

Grocery Sales and Food Access


This week, nearly 40 million low-income Americans received their February Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (or food stamps). Beyond the hardships endured by families who reply on SNAP, the program makes up a significant percentage of grocery sales and the harmful impact of the shutdown threatens not only families, but businesses up and down the supply chain.

SNAP represents a large portion of grocery sales

SNAP accounts for about 10 percent of the food that U.S. families buy for their homes.  Disruption to the SNAP program can cause reduced revenue for grocery stores, disruption to food supply chains, reduced hours and even job cuts for workers, and significant consequences for local economies.

Uncertainty triggering food shortages

Due to the federal government shutdown, the benefit’s release is occurring weeks earlier than scheduled. It is being reported that recipients may have to wait 40 days or longer before additional assistance is available causing state agencies to warn recipients to ration their benefits.

Shutdown induced uncertainty is anticipated to cause worried hardworking families using food stamps, to stock up on food for the weeks ahead and triggering food shortages at local supermarkets.

Out of touch leadership

In addition to damage done by the disruption of the SNAP program, many federal workers are wondering how to feed their families when they are not receiving a paycheck. This is especially troubling as Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently expressed confusion over why federal employees would be turning to food banks instead of just taking out loans to get through the shutdown. Donald Trump reacted to the comments by suggested grocery stores need to “work along” with federal employees.

Food access is both a humanitarian issue and bad for business

When you consider that the potential loss of sales in the grocery industry is not only a threat to business, but represents every day Americans who cannot afford to eat right now, the depth of the crisis we are in as a country becomes clear. Grocery workers and grocery stores are united in calling for an end to the shutdown before further disruptions occur in our food stores and on our nation’s kitchen tables.

A partial federal government shutdown started on December 22, 2018 after President Donald Trump demanded a $5.7 billion appropriation for border wall construction be included in the federal budget, something Democrats refused to agree to. The impasse has resulted in the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Today, many Federal workers will miss their second paycheck in a row.

January 18, 2019

Member Spotlight: Jesus Hernandez

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


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

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

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

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

January 18, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

January 11, 2019

2019 Union Plus Scholarship Program Deadline is January 31

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

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

ndation, which is sponsored by Union Privilege.

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


Details:

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

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

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


Eligibility criteria:

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

Apply Now

 

January 8, 2019

Get your degree in 2019…for free!

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


NEW CLASSES COMING SPRING 2019

• TEACHER EDUCATION DEGREE • CYBER SECURITY • DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING • ADVERTISING • PROGRAMMING AND DEVELOPMENT

 • DATA SCIENCE • HOSPITALITY – EVENT MANAGEMENT • HOSPITALITY – HOTEL AND CONVENTION MANAGEMENT


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

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

Learn More

New Year, New You! Get Your Degree in 2019

More about Eastern Gateway Community College


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

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

January 4, 2019

Kick off the New Year with wellness discounts

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

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

Betterment


71% pledge to diet or eat healthier

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

PlateJoy

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

South Beach Diet

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

Personal Trainer Food

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


65% hope to exercise more

Gym Memberships

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

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

54% want to lose weight

Weight Loss Plans

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


32% plan to save more and spend less

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


26% resolve to learn a new skill or hobby

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


21% aim to quit smoking

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

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

To access these discounts, register here and log in.

Claim Your Discounts

December 24, 2018

UFCW members make the holidays happen

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

December 21, 2018

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

Cocktail Smokies in a bowl

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

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

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


UFCW Local 1473 Slow Cooker Cocktail Smokies

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

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

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

Cocktail Smokies and other ingredients next to a crockpot