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July 21, 2017

Concern About Amazon Acquiring Whole Foods Grows

12 members of Congress call on DOJ and FTC to review Amazon deal, citing concern for low-income communities and food deserts 

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement in response to a letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

“Political concerns about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods are growing for good reason,” said Marc Perrone, president of the UFCW. “Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation is not only a direct threat to the hard-working men and women at Whole Foods, it’s also a direct threat to our economy and consumers. Every member of Congress, regardless of party, must now decide whether they stand for an America with jobs, or Amazon’s America where millions struggle to find meaningful work.”

Earlier this week, on July 17, Perrone sent a letter to the FTC that explained why this acquisition is a threat to workers and should be reviewed.

In their letter to the FTC and DOJ, the 12 members of Congress called for Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods to be reviewed, saying: “This merger should be scrutinized beyond the normal antitrust review process that only examines the competitive impact. It should also include a careful review of the impact further consolidation will have on the communities representing many of the ‘food deserts’ across the nation.” The letter also cites, among other concerns, “the declining presence of retail stores due to Amazon’s growth.”

In recent weeks, several other policymakers and advocacy groups have voiced concerns about the acquisition, including:

  • Ranking member of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee David Cicilline (D-RI) called for a hearing on the proposed merger on July 13, saying It is essential that Americans have a meaningful choice about the products we buy, the businesses we support, and where and how we work.”
  • Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), who represents part of the Silicon Valley area, called for the FTC and DOJ to review Amazon’s plan on June 16, saying “I am concerned about what this deal means for suppliers and neighborhood grocery stores. We need to reorient antitrust policy to factor in the harm that economic concentration causes for American workers.”
  • Consumer Watchdog called on the FTC to block the Amazon deal in a July 6 letter, detailing numerous instances where Amazon “persistently engaged in unfair and deceptive practices” that misled customers into thinking they were getting a steep discount.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

July 19, 2017

Fun in the sun with our UFCW family

At UFCW locals across the country, the sun is shining and the grill is hot this summer as members from all walks of life come together to have a little summer fun. What’s your favorite part about the summer? Let us know on our Facebook page.

UFCW 227 Local members enjoyed a day at the pool in Richmond, Ky. Over 120 members and their families came out to Paradise Cove Water Park to swim and enjoy food with their union family!


Sometimes having fun means helping out. UFCW Local 1006a member Rechev Browne brought together co-workers at Jim’s No Frills to donate food and UFCW Canada headphones for Youth Without Shelter (YWS).

Sometimes having fun means helping out. UFCW Local 1006a member Rechev Browne brought together co-workers at Jim's No Frills to donate food and UFCW Canada headphones for Youth Without Shelter (YWS). 


UFCW Local 401 celebrated their first annual Local 401 Calgary Stampede BBQ. Calgary is famous for it’s annual rodeo, which is one of the largest in the world and draws over a million visitors to the 10-day event that includes concerts, competitions, and a parade.

What fun have you been up to this summer? Let us know on our Facebook page.

July 17, 2017

UFCW Calls On FTC To Review Amazon Whole Foods Merger

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), a union representing over one million retail workers, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for a thorough investigation of Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods.

Following Amazon’s announcement, UFCW International President Marc Perrone wrote in a CNN op-ed that “the hard-working men and women who work at Whole Foods now face an uncertain future” due to the Amazon model for grocery stores. His letter to the FTC expands on that theme, saying, in part:

“Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.”

UFCW is not the only one with concerns about the merger.

  • Rep. David Cicilline, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee called for a hearing on the proposed merger, saying: “I respectfully urge that the Subcommittee hold a hearing on this proposed acquisition to carefully consider whether it will harm consumers, workers, and small businesses in our communities. It is essential that Americans have meaningful choice about the products we buy, the businesses we support, and where and how we work.”
  • Rep. Ro Khanna ,who represents part of the Silicon Valley area, has said he is “deeply worried” about the Amazon-Whole Foods deal and has called for a “reorientation” of antitrust decision making to include concerns like how a merger will effect jobs, wages, innovation, and small businesses.
  • Consumer Watchdog sent a letter calling on the FTC to block the merger and detailing the numerous instances where Amazon “persistently engaged in unfair and deceptive practices” that misled customers into thinking they were getting a steep discount.

The full text of Perrone’s letter reads:

Dear Commissioners:

Because of the impact of online shopping, technology, and automation, our economy and the retail grocery landscape is changing dramatically. As such, the very definition of how mergers, such as the proposed Amazon and Whole Foods merger, would impact grocery competition, customer choice, the price of goods, and, especially hard-working retail workers must be rethought. While traditional analysis may discount the threats that would arise from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is not a traditional retailer or grocer.

By any and every reasonable measure, Amazon is an online retail monopoly. The scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores. More significantly, the scope of Amazon’s reach and the very nature of our economy today, does not limit their impact to the digital retail landscape. The fact is that Amazon is more than a digital retail monopoly; rather, it is a retail monopoly that threatens every corner of our nation’s economy.

We urge you to consider, for example, the facts of Amazon’s growing unfair scope and reach:

  • According to a 2016 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, half of all online shopping searches start directly on Amazon.
  • That same report states that within five years, 20 percent of the U.S.’s $3.6 trillion retail market will have shifted online, and Amazon is on track to capture two-thirds of that share.
  • Additionally, a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners last week estimated total U.S. Prime membership at 85 million, which is up 35 percent from the year-ago quarter and double from two years ago. CIRP also noted that 63 percent of U.S.-based Amazon customers are Prime members.

In terms of impact, Amazon arguably poses a greater threat to our retail economy than any other online or traditional brick and mortar grocer. Again, we urge each commissioner to consider the following impacts:

  • Hurts Consumers: Amazon’s proposed merger of Whole Foods will hurt consumers by allowing their national economic power to gain unfair advantage with suppliers. As a result, not only may consumer prices increase, the quality and scope of products may be impacted. While Whole Foods may have 460 stores worldwide, the reality is that the very nature of Amazon’s size allows them to unfairly compete against small and medium-sized grocers when it comes to the purchase of goods.
  • Hurts Choice: Amazon’s reach will ultimately reduce the number of grocery competitors that consumers can choose from. Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.
  • Hurts Hard-Working Men and Women: The FTC is a public agency, and it must consider the impact that any merger will have on consumers and workers. Amazon’s online business model is built on a brutal foundation of automation to cut costs. If this merger proceeds, it could impact thousands of Whole Foods workers’ jobs simply for the sake of enriching one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals – Jeff Bezos.
  • Job Destroying Automation: Amazon has made its competitive vision clear with the introduction of its Amazon Go format, which eliminates nearly every grocery worker in its stores, and replaces them with automation and automated check stands.  Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. 

We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.

Sincerely,

Marc Perrone


Download the letter to Commissioner McSweeny

Download the letter to Acting Chairman Ohlhausen

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

July 14, 2017

Building a better life at Tyson, one contract at a time

Contract negotiations, on first glance, don’t really sound like the most exciting part of being a union member, but the hard-working men and women of Tyson Foods in Logansport, Indiana recently demonstrated the value of being able to negotiate with your employer and how it is possible through negotiating good contracts to make your vision for how to improve your workplace a reality.

UFCW Local 700 members at Tyson Foods submitted contract proposals with their ideas for improvements, and after union negotiations with the company, voted to accept a final agreement that locks in many improvements for the next five years.

The five-year contract includes wage increases, upgrades classifications for several jobs, provides a health care review to ensure that affordable, quality care is protected for members and their families, and offers greater protection for the rights of immigrant workers. The new contract also increases vacation leave after 10 years of service, adds a summer floating holiday, improves the funeral leave policy for employees working shifts longer than eight hours, and provides workers with additional gear.

“Members at Tyson stuck together and won a contract that includes significant raises, increases the amount of paid time off, and improves job protection,” said UFCW Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning. “This agreement provides more opportunity for a better life for Tyson workers and their families.”

July 11, 2017

“Prime Day” for America to Consider Impact of Amazon’s Business Model

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement on Amazon Prime Day:

“While Amazon touts its sales, today is a ‘prime day’ for America to examine the high cost of Amazon’s business model.

“Amazon’s brutal vision for retail is one where automation needlessly replaces good people and good jobs. With the proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, workers will undoubtedly lose jobs and their families will pay the price to enrich Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is already one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

“Today we should have a real debate about Amazon’s business practices. We need to confront this undeniable truth – what is good for Amazon, is bad for America’s hard-working men and women.” 

Over 800,000 members of the UFCW work in food retail. Perrone, wrote an op-ed for CNN explaining why Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their jobs.

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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.

July 10, 2017

Make Taco Night New Again

Watch United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s (UFCW) Chardonnay Starr show you how to make a festive taco ring-great for Taco Tuesday or a meal for the kids.

Related

July 7, 2017

Fun Facts for World Chocolate Day

1.) Chocolate comes from the fruit of the cacao tree

The fruit is about the size of a large mango and has a sweet, white pulp with large seeds. Similar to coffee, the seeds must be fermented, dried, and then roasted to get the rich flavor we know of as chocolate.

Cacao trees are notoriously tricky to grow and are threatened by a number of pests and fungal diseases.

2.) Chocolate doesn’t start off shiny, it has to be “tempered”

When melted chocolate cools, the cocoa butter forms several different types of crystals. When you heat chocolate, cool it, and then heat it again, it encourages the formation of uniform crystals, which is why the surface changes from dull to glossy.

3.) Chocolate is poisonous to dogs

The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.

Technically, humans could consume a lethal quantity of chocolate, too, but you’d need to eat at least 22lbs of chocolate first in a sitting. So don’t do that.

4.) It takes 400 cacao seeds to make 1 lb of chocolate

Each cacao tree yields about 2,500 seeds, meaning you can get about 6.25 lbs of chocolate from each tree. It takes a almost a full year for a cocoa tree to produce enough pods to make 10 standard-sized Hershey bars.

5.) UFCW members make Hershey’s, Ghirardelli, See’s and other iconic chocolate candies

The hardworking men and women of Hershey’s produce 70 million Kisses every day, and enough annually to make a 300,000-mile-long line of Kisses. That means if you lined them up, you’d likely need a new car (or at least some heavy repairs) by the time you drove far enough to reach the end.

6.) The first chocolate bar was invented in 1847 by Joseph Fry

Together with his sons, Fry formed the British chocolate company, J. S. Fry & Sons, Ltd. They would also invent the first cream filled chocolate Easter egg in 1873. The company merged with Cadbury in 1919 and the original plant continued to operate until 2010.

7.) Thousands of Canadian children orchestrated a chocolate boycott in 1947

In 1947 hundreds of Canadian kids went on strike and boycotted chocolate after the price of a chocolate bar jumped from 5 to 8 cents. Within days, Canadian chocolate sales dropped by 80%.

Support for the boycott waned when the conservative paper The Toronto Evening Telegraph accused the children’s activities as being part of a Communist plot and a front for Moscow, and the price of chocolate remained at 8 cents.

July 5, 2017

Whether you own or rent, get 15% off insurance to protect your home

Your UFCW membership makes you eligible for up to 15% homeowner and renters insurance

Ninety five percent of homeowners have homeowners insurance, but when it comes to renting, many people never sign up for coverage. Only a little over one in three people who rent have renters insurance, leaving them vulnerable to theft or other disasters.

“Renters insurance provides a very important financial safety net when there is a disaster,” points out Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) “And, renters insurance is relatively inexpensive—the average cost of a renter’s policy is only $187 per year, or less than four dollars per week.”

So if renters insurance is such a good idea, why do so few people have it?

“Many renters are under the misperception that their landlord’s insurance policy will reimburse them if their personal property is damaged or destroyed, but that’s just not the case,” says Salvatore.

Renters insurance provides financial protection against damage to or loss of personal possessions due to hurricanes, fire, lightning, theft, explosion and other disasters listed in the policy. There is even coverage for water damage caused by burst pipes or a neighbor who forgets to shut off the water in the tub. Coverage is available on either an actual cash value basis (depreciated value) or for its replacement cost (no deduction for depreciation).

Renters insurance also provides coverage for additional living expenses, in the event you are unable to live in your home due to a fire or other insured disaster. It also includes liability insurance if you, a family member (or even your pet) accidently injure someone and they sue you.

For more information: What You Need to Know about Renters InsuranceRenters Insurance Checklist.*


Safeguard the Place you Call Home with Affordable Renters Insurance

  • Union member discount of up to 15%
  • Renters Insurance Specialty Coverage Packages1
  • Coverage for the contents of your home, such as furniture, clothes, and TVs
  • Flexible payment plans
  • Superior 24/7/365 claim service from U.S.-based call center
  • Provided by MetLife Auto & Home, one of the nation’s leading personal lines property and casualty insurance providers.

Special Savings on Homeowners Insurance

Save hundreds of dollars with competitive rates and special discounts just by being a union member.

Savings Include:
  • Union member discount of up to 15%
  • Homeowners, condo, and mobile home insurance available
  • Unique Coverage A Plus program that pays for damage to your home even if the cost exceeds your policy’s limit
  • Superior 24/7/365 claim service from U.S.-based call center
  • Provided by MetLife Auto & Home, one of the nation’s leading personal lines property and casualty insurance providers.

*Renters insurance information adapted from The Insurance Information Institute.
June 29, 2017

Perrone Warns Workers that Amazon Purchase of Whole Foods will Destroy Jobs

UFCW President calls out Amazon’s goal to eliminate retail workers in CNN op-ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, wrote an op-ed for CNN that explains why Amazon buying Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their jobs.

Excerpts from the op-ed below: 

“As Wall Street celebrates the news of Amazon buying Whole Foods, thousands of workers at Whole Foods stores across the country must now worry about losing their jobs. 

They have good reason to be concerned.

The Amazon-Whole Foods merger is not about improving customer service, products or choice, it is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation.

Amazon’s very business model is to remove as many humans from all facets of production and service as possible. Just as Walmart’s big-box model destroyed small businesses when it spread across the country, Amazon’s automation model, if widely adopted, potentially poses a huge threat to America’s 16-million-strong service and retail workforce.

If anyone doubts this vision, and what Amazon likely has in store for Whole Foods and the people who work there, observe that Amazon has already showed its hand by announcing its no-employees Amazon Go model.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

You can also read the op-ed in Spanish on Univision.com

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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

 

June 29, 2017

UFCW’s family of co-op workers continues to grow

On June 22, workers at three Seward Co-op stores in south Minneapolis voted to join UFCW Local 653 by an overwhelming margin. Earlier in June, the workers at the three stores, including the Creamery Café, the Seward Franklin store on Franklin Ave., and the Seward Friendship store at 38th St. and Clinton Ave., held a rally for a voice in the workplace after submitting cards authorizing representation by UFCW Local 653 to the National Labor Relations Board. This victory comes on the heels of employees at Eastside Food Co-op and Linden Hills Co-op also voting to join UFCW Local 653.

“We are happy to be moving forward together, workers and management, because we’re committed to making the co-op a better place for both customers and the dedicated people who work at Seward,” said Amber Young, who works at the Seward Franklin store.

“Workers have come together to say yes to UFCW 653, yes to fair wages, yes to negotiating better benefits, and yes to respect and dignity in the workplace,” said Max Storey, who works at the Seward Friendship store.

“I appreciate the diverse perspectives and experiences that everyone brings to the work we do in the co-op. Most importantly, I’m looking forward to protecting and supporting all of my co-workers through a collective bargaining agreement,” said Bailey Lutz who works at The Creamery.

“We welcome everyone who works at Seward Co-op to the UFCW Local 653 union family. We’re looking forward to helping them negotiate a better life for themselves and their families. Co-op values are union values, so we feel this new partnership will only make Seward Co-op and our local community stronger,” said UFCW Local 653 President Matt Utecht.

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