• Background Image

    UFCW Blog

August 28, 2018

Member Spotlight: Susan Beaver, Local 876

So many of the hard-working men and women of our union have spent their careers as UFCW members, and have become valued and irreplaceable fixtures of the workplaces they have helped make successful over the years. One such member is Susan Beaver of UFCW Local 876.

Susan Beaver has been a UFCW member for the past 33 years. In 1985, Susan began her career at Farmer Jack. This month, she celebrated a well-earned retirement from Kroger in RichlandMS. 

Please join us in wishing Susan a happy retirement, and thank you to all of our long-serving members who have helped keep our union family strong through the years!

UFCW Local 876 member Susan Beaver stands with Local 876 Membership Representative Elaine Hill (l) and Executive Board Member Aaron Squeo (r).

 

August 27, 2018

Don’t miss your chance to enter the August $1000 sweepstakes

LifeMart, one of the UFCW’s discount programs, is holding a sweepstakes exclusively for UFCW members this August. If you are a UFCW member, you can win a $1000 gift card just for registering for UFCW LifeMart discounts, or by signing into an existing account.

Even if you don’t win, you’ll still have access to the amazing savings and discounts your UFCW membership gives you access to, including important life costs like education, child care, your cell phone bill and foreign language classes, as well as cosmetics, concert tickets, jewelry and movie tickets.

You can register for the UFCW LifeMart Sweepstakes here. You can get more information about all the ways you can take advantage of your UFCW value here.

August 24, 2018

Member Spotlight: Chief Steward Rob Patterson follows his passion for BBQ to victory

Rob Patterson, a member of UFCW Local 227, is the Chief Steward at Carhartt in Hanson, KY. When he’s not working his union job, you can find him posting on social media about where in the community he’ll be cooking BBQ that day – everyone knows to find Rob early, or else his delicious food will be gone by the time you get to him.

Rob holds up his awardsIn 2000, two weeks after graduating high school, Rob began working at Carhartt, where he became a UFCW union steward three years later. Since 2011, he’s been the chief steward there, and is well known for taking great care of the members who works with .

During his time at Carhartt, Rob has done just about every job at the facility, including working as a picker and special handler. After their latest contract negotiations, Rob and the other hardworking members there were able to win a better pay scale based on seniority, as well as more flexibility regarding positions worked. On top of that, Rob and his fellow steward Matt Henderson helped win the biggest grievance settlement in Carhartt history, in the amount of almost $500,000.

With his job flexibility and great union benefits, Rob is able to not only succeed at Carhartt

and take care of his young family, but also to pursue his passion: Barbecue.

Rob’s interest in grilling began as he was growing up, and as he entered adulthood. Since he began working right after graduating high school, he moved out on his own a lot sooner than most of his peers. Cooking for himself and for friends at home, on lake trips, and out camping, he got a lot of experience using a charcoal grill. He was also getting a lot of compliments on how good his food was.

All of this, paired with inspiration from his favorite TV show, BBQ Pit Masters, led Rob to build his own smoker out of a 55-gallon drum, and start his own company, called Tru Blu BBQ. He became an expert at grilling ribs, pork, butts, and making his own sauce – writing down each iteration of his recipe and tweaking it until it was just right.

Taking his skills on the road, he entered his first grilling competition in 2009, accompanied by 9 other teams, who all had big trailers that dwarfed his small smoker. He encountered some good-natured ribbing from the other competitors, who’d clearly been in the game for a while. But Rob and his girlfriend stayed up barbecuing all night through the chilly October weather, and come judging time, Rob won the competition, “hook, line, and sinker.”

He certainly was hooked on competing, because since that time, Rob has become and 18-time grand champion, including at the renowned Owensboro International BBQ Festival. And his little smoker has become a 24-foot concession trailer. He’s also a member of the Kansas City BBQ Society, and regularly competes against reality tv contestants, including grill-masters who have competed on the show that began his culinary quest – BBQ Pitmasters. He’s also been interviewed to compete on the show two times, and hopes to get the chance to do so in the near future.

Grilling isn’t just a hobby for Rob, it’s his life. In 2014, after winning one of his many competitions, Rob proposed to his girlfriend on stage, accompanied by the couple’s two-year old daughter. The ring was engraved with the number 180 – which is a perfect score in the grilling competitions. Rob had never received a 180 from the judges, but this was his way of telling his girlfriend he had a perfect score all along. He also had his bride-to-be’s Maid of Honor waiting in their BBQ trailer with a bouquet of parsley, a popular grilling herb.

Outside of working at Carhartt, these days you’ll find Rob cooking in the community, catering, or working festivals. His specialty is pulled pork ribs, chicken, and brisket, which he makes in one of his four jumbo BBQ kits. Where Rob is from, brisket is a bit of a rarity because it is more of a Texas-style meat, so he sells out quickly.

His biggest tip for others who want to master the grill, is all about “smoke management”.

“You need good airflow,” he says. “You’re looking for a faint blue smoke, not clouds of white smoke which is what you’ll see a lot of folks producing. It makes all the difference in the world.”

Rob also makes his own rubs, and says that whatever rub you use should be “real light.”

“Less is more – too much takes away from the meat’s natural flavors.”

Want to make the perfect ribs? Here’s Rob’s recommendation:

  • Smoke the ribs for 2 hours, until they are a mahogany color
  • Cover with tinfoil, turn them upside down, and put back in the smoker for another 2 hours, until the meat is pulling away, leaving an inch of bone sticking out
  • Sauce the ribs, and put them back on the smoker for five minutes. (this is called “setting the sauce”, which allows it to thicken)

Rob is thankful for a union job that gives him the flexibility and means to provide for his family and follow his dreams of taking over the BBQ world.

August 21, 2018

Safeway Stocker Reinstated with Back Pay After Wrongful Suspension

This post originally appeared on the UFCW Local 400 website:

“They threw me under the bus.”

Fortunately for Local 400 member Eric Jarrett, that wasn’t the end of the story.

Eric works as an overnight stocker at Safeway #1019 in Alexandria, Virginia. His store is one of the few locations that is supposed to be open 24 hours.

But one night, Eric was instructed to close the store when there was no cashier on duty. Even though he was following instructions, Eric’s manager suspended him and one of his coworkers.

“You have to have at least one checker in the store for it to stay open,” Eric said. “But the guy who normally does the job had hurt his shoulder and was home for two weeks. So the store had to be closed occasionally because we had no checker or because the floors had to be waxed. The store manager knew all about it. When customers started complaining, instead of accepting responsibility, they blamed it on another stocker and me. But I am in no position to close the store. I wasn’t the one who decided to do it.”

Eric didn’t take this sitting down. He worked with his union representative and immediately filed a grievance and pursued it aggressively.

“I was out of work for three and a half weeks,” Eric said. “Tom [Rogers, his Local 400 representative] spoke on my behalf and did a marvelous job of getting me reinstated as fast as he could. I was impatient and apprehensive, but Tom calmed me down. He knew what he was doing and reached a good settlement.”

Eric was reinstated and awarded full back pay for the time of his suspension and justice was served.

“I’m good where I’m at right now, but as far as I’m concerned, Safeway owes me [and my coworker] an apology for throwing us under the bus,” Eric said. “Safeway used to be a good company, but they don’t care about their employees, only the bottom line. They’re making lots of money in my store, but they keep cutting back hours and running on a skeleton crew. This company can’t run by itself — they need us. I’m just thankful our union’s got our backs.”

 

UFCW Local 400 member Eric Jarett holds up a check

August 16, 2018

Enter the $1000 LifeMart Sweepstakes

LifeMart, one of the UFCW’s discount programs, is holding a sweepstakes exclusively for UFCW members this August. If you are a UFCW member, you can win a $1000 gift card just for registering for UFCW LifeMart discounts, or by signing into an existing account.

Even if you don’t win, you’ll still have access to the amazing savings and discounts your UFCW membership gives you access to, including important life costs like education, child care, your cell phone bill and foreign language classes, as well as cosmetics, concert tickets, jewelry and movie tickets.

You can register for the UFCW LifeMart Sweepstakes here. You can get more information about all the ways you can take advantage of your UFCW value here.

August 13, 2018

To Protect America’s Food Supply and Families, UFCW Supports Better Meat Labeling

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement after submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in support of the pending Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and American Grassfed Association’s (AGA) Petition to Change the Food Safety and Inspection Services Standards and Labeling Policy Book on “Product of U.S.A.” FSIS-2018-0024.

“Allowing meat that comes from outside our country to be sold as a U.S. product is misleading, unsafe and wrong. American consumers deserve to know where their meat comes from. 

“Updating current labeling requirements will not only bring families more certainty about the meat they are serving or eating, it will create and protect sustainable jobs for hard-working communities across the country.  

“Our union family strongly supports this petition and encourages the USDA to do the same.”

BACKGROUND:

Currently, meat that is imported from other countries but further processed in the U.S. receives the “Product of U.S.A.” label. The pending OCM-AGA petition would revise “Product of the U.S.A.” label requirements so that it is limited only to domestically born, raised, slaughtered and processed meat.

UFCW supports the OCM-AGA petition because, like the now repealed Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) law, it would provide a crucial premium for cattle ranchers that would help facilitate the rebuilding of the U.S. cattle herd and bolster additional good, family-sustaining jobs in meat processing.

The droughts of 2011 and 2012 forced American ranchers to liquidate the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest level since 1941[1]. In the wake of the droughts, ranchers were faced with burned-up pastures and high feed prices, which forced them to send their female heifers to slaughter rather than to retain them for breeding and herd rebuilding. Consequently, the U.S. cattle herd fell to its lowest level since 1941, causing nine beef processing plants to shut down[2] and the loss of thousands of good beef packing jobs[3].

Studies have shown that consumers will pay more to know where their food comes from.

The recent Brazilian meat inspection scandal makes OCM-AGA Petition especially timely.

In June 2017, the Trump administration imposed a ban on Brazilian beef imports after USDA border inspections revealed that the meat was rotten and contaminated. USDA inspectors also rejected 1.9 million pounds or about 11% of Brazilian beef imports in the wake of 20 Brazilian meat inspectors being arrested for taking bribes.

Independent auditors had already documented the shortcomings of this FSIS program prior to this scandal, but this Brazilian scandal provides even more evidence of the dramatic failure of the USDA’s FSIS foreign plant equivalency program to protect food safety.

The failed program also poses an unprecedented threat to the entire U.S. beef sector, which could be further decimated should contamination from comingled Brazilian beef cause a loss of consumer confidence in the U.S. beef supplies.

As it stands now, consumers have no way of differentiating U.S. from Brazilian beef. If the U.S. beef supply were to be contaminated with comingled Brazilian beef, many consumers may simply stop buying beef all together.  This could cause irreparable harm to the beef sector and could result in more plant shutdowns and the loss of even more good-paying, sustainable jobs.

The OCM-AGA petition would allow consumers to purchase domestic U.S. beef clearly labeled from a U.S. supply chain, thus inoculating U.S. domestic beef from a catastrophic loss in consumer confidence.

###

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.


[1] NAFTA Negotiations and Its American Beef, R-CALF USA Website:  https://www.r-calfusa.com/nafta-negotiations-american-beef/

[2] Kay, S. (2015, October 5). Are packing plants on the endangered species list?  Beef Magazine. (Supplemented with additional UFCW research.) Available at:  http://www.beefmagazine.com/blog/are-packing-plants-endangered-species-list

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics. All employees, animal, except poultry, slaughtering, seasonally adjusted. Available at https://www.bls.gov/ces/

August 10, 2018

Member Spotlight: Geno Lis talks shop on grilling

Geno Lis is a UFCW Local 1776 member who works at Giant Eagle near Pittsburgh, PA in the bakery. Like many talented UFCW members, his passion for food doesn’t stop when he clocks out. Geno’s previous job in the restaurant industry gave him experience around the kitchen, and he carries those skills with him today.

Geno Lis's smoked watermelon, ribs, and bacon wrapped chicken thighs

Geno Lis’s smoked watermelon, ribs, and bacon wrapped chicken thighs

One thing he is particularly fond of is grilling and smoking. “I like grilling because it puts me in charge of the meal instead of having somebody else in charge,” says Geno. “I like to cook steaks and burgers. I like those big, thick steaks, like inch thick steaks. T-bones.”

“One thing I like to do is Bistecca alla Fiorentina, which is like an Italian rub. You take a little olive oil and lots of oregano, rosemary, garlic, and make it like a paste on top.”

“Another good seasoning is a coffee rub. I use I would say about 1/3 coffee, 1/3 Montreal steak seasoning, and 1/3 brown sugar.”

“I do a lot of cooking for people who are pretty conservative, so I like trying to open up their palette and get them to try different things. I am thinking next I might try smoked porkchops with orange marmalade and horseradish sauce.”

Geno says whenever he comes up with new recipes, he likes to share what worked and what didn’t with others. “A lot of people will ask me ‘how can you come up with these recipes?’ I worked in the restaurant business for 30 years. If I like something, I’ll try it out first and if it works I’ll pass it along.” Recently he tried smoking a watermelon. After putting the watermelon in the smoker for about ten minutes, he topped it with feta and a balsamic vinegar reduction.

Charcoal or propane?

“I have used charcoal, and I’ve gone as far as cave man style and used wood. I only use wood for my smoker now. Mostly I use propane because of the Ease of use. Charcoal adds a lot more flavor but is also temperamental and you have have to keep your eye on it more often.”

What is your ideal fat ratio for burgers?

“75-80%. 90% is better for you, but tends to come out really dry. If you want to be healthy, it’s better to buy ground turkey or ground chicken.”

What have you grilled so far this summer that you’re most excited about?

“There is a local smokehouse that I buy meat from at least once a year called Herb Britter’s where I got jalapeno hot dogs. They have the best smoked chops. Homemade hot dogs. It’s really good.”

Do you have any food you like to serve with what you’ve grilled?

“One thing I like to do, whatever the protein, is I like to have a starch and a side. Baby asparagus coated real lightly with olive oil and just sprinkle a little salt and pepper. You can also grill portabello mushroom caps. With those you can put the same seasonings you’d use on your steak.”

 

 

August 8, 2018

Huge Victory for Missouri’s Hard-Working Families

Voters Reject Work-For-Less Prop A, Support the Role of Unions to Improve the Lives of Workers and Their Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding the defeat of Proposition A, also known as “Right-to-Work,” in Missouri:

“This is a historic defeat for those corporate and political elites who believe workers should earn poverty wages and struggle with no benefits, and a major victory for every hard-working Missourian who believes that their right to affordable health care, better wages, and retirement security must be protected.

“Through their vote, Missourians have made their voices loud and clear by taking a stand for their right to negotiate together for a better life.

“It is time for those in political power to stop proposing legislation that needlessly hurts workers, their families, and destroys good jobs. It is time to put hard-working families first.”

BACKGROUND:

When union density is high, workers are empowered to earn better wages, solve problems, and improve their workplaces. Additional research shows:

  • Economic Policy Institute: “Union decline has exacerbated wage inequality in the United States by dampening the pay of nonunion workers as well as by eroding the share of workers directly benefitting from unionization.”
  • Nine of the 10 states with the highest poverty in this country are Work-for-Less states.
  • The median household income is $8,700 lower in Work-for-Less states.
  • In Work-for-Less states, CEOs make 361 times more than the average worker.

###

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 7, 2018

Black Women’s Equal Pay Day

August 7th is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day—the day when black women’s pay finally catches up to what Caucasian, non-Hispanic men were paid last year.

While black women make substantial contributions to the U.S. economy, they face considerable disparities in the labor market. On average, black women are paid less than Caucasian, non-Hispanic men, and are over-represented in jobs with little job security, few benefits, and limited opportunity for advancement. These poorer quality jobs, combined with restricted access to unions in the states in which black workers are concentrated, hinder access to economic security and overall well-being.

Leveling the playing field

According to a study by The Economic Policy Institute, union membership is one of the key factors that can help determine if black women are paid fairly for their work:

“Black women have traditionally faced a double pay gap—a gender pay gap and a racial wage gap. EPI research has shown that black women are paid only 65 cents of the dollar that their white male counterparts are paid. However, unions help reduce these pay gaps. Working black women in unions are paid 94.9 percent of what their black male counterparts make, while nonunion black women are paid just 91 percent of their counterparts.”

What UFCW members have to say about Black Women’s Equal Pay Day



Shanitla Price

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Local 1625 member

How do you feel knowing that it takes just so long for a woman of color to reach their male counterparts wages?

“It seem unfair and it makes me upset. If a woman has the same education and ability as a white male, they should be paid equally.”


Dorothy Starnes

Pilgrims Pride chicken plant, South Carolina
Voted to be representation by UFCW Local 1996 in April 2018 and is in the process of ratifying a first contract

“I want better pay and respect. I do not think it is fair that folks doing the same job get paid differently because of the color of their skin, their gender or both. Having equal pay is important to me , my family and my community because the cost of living keeps going up. In March, one of the plant managers called us roaches as if we were not human beings. I voted for union representation in April 2018 because I demand respect and to be treated equally. “


Yvonne Yearwood

Century 21 Department Store, Morristown, NY
A shop steward and member of UFCW Local 888

“The union has been extremely helpful as I have a contract and am treated better than those who do not have a union. As a black West Indian woman I have seen first had how gender pay inequity can impact not just your wallet but you morale as a worker. Finding out that a co-worker who was a white male was getting paid $2 more than I was for the same work was disheartening. Having a contract gives me a voice to fight against gender pay inequity. I am a proud member and shop steward of UFCW Local 888!”


Shantell Williams

Kroger, Indianapolis, IN
UFCW Local 700 member

“Thanks to UFCW and my union contract I don’t have to worry about not being my pay being equal to others. I work just as hard as everyone around me and get treated as such!”

– Shantell Williams, UFCW Local 700
Kroger, Indianapolis


June Flowers

MedMen, Los Angeles, CA
UFCW Local 700 member

“Unfair pay is wage theft as far as I am concerned. Its deplorable that it remains an accepted practice in any company today. As a black woman raising a black daughter AND a strong Union member, I fight for equal pay for women in my work place. Having a union contract means there’s no speculation of what a male counterpart makes. Same position and duties, same pay!”


Ann Klajda

Fry’s 69
UFCW Local 99 member

“There is disparity for all women but, if it wasn’t for a union it would be much worse. We have equal pay in our union shop. It is much worse for minority women that do not have union contracts. I have been a shop steward for many years and advocate for all women and very active in the community and local politics and my union.”

July 30, 2018

August blockbuster guide and discounts

Your UFCW membership gives you access to discount movies tickets and movie ticket packages. Don’t know what’s coming up this summer? We’ve got you covered. Check out the summer release schedule below and be a movie night hero with these discounted ticket packages.

Save up to 24% off at your choice of three national movie theater chains:
  • AMC Theaters — Save 22% on AMC® Green eTicket*. Order Online, Print & Redeem.
  • Regal Cinemas — Save 24% on Premiere Print-At-Home eTickets (Any Movie – Anytime) with No Expiration Date.
  • Cinemark Theaters — Save 10% on Cinemark’s Platinum e-Supersaver eTicket with No Expiration Date. Order Online, Print and Redeem.

>> ORDER YOUR TICKETS


FRIDAY, AUGUST 3


The Darkest Minds

Starring: Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Bradley Whitford, Harris Dickinson

Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson


Christopher Robin

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Jim Cummings, Chris O’Dowd, Hayley Atwell

Directed By: Marc Forster


Searching

Starring: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee (XXII) , Michelle La

Directed By: Aneesh Chaganty


The Spy Who Dumped Me

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson

Directed By: Susanna Fogel


FRIDAY, AUGUST 10


Dog Days

Starring: Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Adam Pally, Eva Longoria

Directed By: Ken Marino


The Meg

Starring: Jason Statham, Bingbing Li

Directed By: Jon Turteltaub


WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15


Crazy Rich Asians

Starring: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Harry Shum Jr.

Directed By: Jon M. Chu


FRIDAY, AUGUST 17


Mile 22

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Lauren Cohan, Iko Uwais, Ronda Rousey

Directed By: Peter Berg


Captive State

Starring: John Goodman, Ashton Sanders, Jonathan Majors, Vera Farmiga

Directed By: Rupert Wyatt


Three Seconds

Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Common

Directed By: Andrea Di Stefano


FRIDAY, AUGUST 24


A.X.L.

Starring: Becky G, Alex Neustaedter, Patricia De Leon, Dorian Kingi

Directed By: Oliver Daly


The Happytime Murders

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks

Directed By: Brian Henson


Replicas

Starring: Alice Eve, Keanu Reeves, Emily Alyn Lind, John Ortiz

Directed By: Jeffrey Nachmanoff


Slender Man

Starring: Joey King, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, Javier Botet

Directed By: Sylvain White


FRIDAY, AUGUST 31


Kin

Starring: James Franco, Zoë Kravitz, Carrie Coon, Dennis Quaid

Directed By: Jonathan Baker (XVII) , Josh Baker (XVI)