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    UFCW Blog

May 27, 2018

8 insider steak tips from a UFCW butcher

Awhile back, UFCW’s own Jon Viner, star of some of our “How To” videos, took to Reddit to help answer everyone’s questions about meat.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Reddit AMAs, they stand for “Ask Me Anything.” They are sort of like an online press conference where anyone can post and ask questions and have them answered real time.

Jon Viner


Here’s a few of the best steak-related questions that came up during the live session:

1.) “What do you think is the most underrated/misunderstood cut of meat?”

Oh, boy. I’d say…underrated, maybe a pork shoulder blade, maybe. It’s versatile. That’s a good question. Oh, and chuckeye! It’s so close to a prime rib – you’re actually buying a rib eye steak. We’re not cutting as many chucks in the summer as we do in the summer as in the winter because it’s seasonal, but you’re buying an almost 14 cut of meat for half the price – underrated cut.

2.) “Follow up question, how can certain cuts be seasonal? Also I am not sure I have ever seen ‘chuckeye,’ does it go by any different names? Basically, how can I find this :)”

Well, we cut things according to our season and what the consumer wants. A cross rib roast, in Minnesota, is called a Boston butt roast out east. So we cut everything according to season. If you have a cut you like in summer, remember what it is, and just order it special from your butcher. You should be able to get anything you want anytime of year.

In the summer you don’t get a lot of chuck eyes because you don’t process a lot of chucks – people don’t want as many becasue they don’t want to use their oven.

3.) “I’ve heard from kitchen co-workers that flat iron steaks are pretty great. Cheaper than most cuts, but similar tenderness. Thoughts?”

That’s true, prepared properly. They have a lot of nice flavor. Marinate or season it, it’s a great steak.

4.) “What’s your favorite way to cook a good steak (Pan searing, reverse searing, grilling, etc.) and why?”

I like the grill myself, and what I’ve been experimenting with lately is, I’ve got a little smoker, and I’ll smoke it at like 160 degrees with woodchips before I grill it, and finish it on the grill. And know your grill – certain grills have different hot spots – know your equipment, too.

5.) “How should I go about ageing steak? And what cut should I go for?”

Controlled refrigeration. In a dry cool area. No moisture, keep it dry and cool, below 42 degrees. You’re letting that muscle tissue break down, and so you want to cut off the bad and get down into your center. We do it mostly in a primal form at the store, rather than steak – age a big cut because you’re going to have waste.

6.) “Hey Jon, big fan of your union. I’ve been thinking about getting a small 2nd fridge for dry aging, but I’m really reluctant to OWN A SECOND FRIDGE just to dry age meat. I’m just one person and THAT’S ALOT OF STEAK. Can I freeze dry aged meat after dry aging it and cutting it, or would that harm the taste?”

I think you could freeze it, but why not use that second fridge as a beer fridge? I mean everybody has to have a beer fridge!

If you’re going to freeze it, you should invest in a vacuum sealer. The modern freezers have constantly running fans that seek out moisture and cause freezer burn.


7.) “Do you have to wash meat before cooking? I know it’s pointless, but many people think otherwise.”

No, you don’t – you’ll do more harm than good, because now you’re taking bacteria from a piece of meat, especially poultry, and spreading it around. Just put it in and prepare it – and always prepare fruits and veggies beforehand if you can, to avoid bacteria and cross-contamination on that surface.

8.) “What is the best way to heat up leftover steak? I’ve heard various things but I really enjoy my steak rare. Is it possible to heat it up without overcooking it to death?”

I would broil it at a low heat – I don’t like the microwave – I’d broil it or pan fry it lightly. Just warm it, you don’t want to lose that redness, that rareness – low heat, broil low.Make sure the broiler has been going for five minutes – preheat to broil low. And watch it, make sure you don’t overcook. You just want to bring it back up. But don’t microwave or put it in a skillet.

May 24, 2018

Union health insurance: a better value

Mike Watts lives with his family in Kentucky, where he has been a Kroger employee for over 30 years. When his son was born with special needs, Mike’s union health insurance allowed him to provide the high quality care his son needed when he was born.

“I have both of my children on the union insurance since they’ve been born. Me and their mother have quite our options. She also works for Kroger in management and we decided the union insurance was definitely the far better value.

In management, she basically had insurance also and then with the insurance that I had which was through the union we found out there was a better premium on that, we also found it paid for more and there was less out of pocket, the copays were better.

Landon, he was born with special needs. This is where we found out we really got a great value with the union insurance because we’ve had to deal with a lot of doctors appointments.

His medical outlook is good. He’s as normal as any other child. We’re just super excited that we’ve got the insurance to have him have the care that he needs and clearly we feel like it’s given him a better life because of it.”

May 23, 2018

Applications for upcoming semester of UFCW’s free college benefit due 5/25

Planning on making use of UFCW’s Free College benefit or have someone in your family who is? Don’t forget, we are currently accepting applications for the upcoming semester of the UFCW’s free college benefit until Friday, May 25, so hurry and get those applications in!

The UFCW Free College Benefit ensures that UFCW members and their families do not have to pay out of pocket for any tuition, fees or e-books at Eastern Gateway Community College—resulting in cost savings of thousands of dollars!

“I love the fact that the union offers education programs like Free College and the Foreign Language Program. I was worried it was going to be complicated, but it was so easy to sign up for Free College. I’ll have 30 years at the plant come January and I’m in the paralegal program now. I tell everybody I can ‘just go for it.’”
– Pam Collins, UFCW Local 1473 member

The Free College Benefit covers any amount for tuition, fees or books that is not covered by federal or employer education grants.

Children (or stepchildren), grandchildren (or step-grandchildren), spouses, domestic partners, and financial dependents of UFCW members are eligible for the UFCW Free College Benefit. Retired UFCW members are also eligible.

Find Out More

May 22, 2018

UFCW Local 27 members craft the flowers blankets for the Preakness

Talented UFCW members at Giant Food Store #108 in Baltimore, Maryland carefully weave together the yellow flowers that are awarded to the winning horses at The Preakness Stakes held each year on the third Sunday in May. Nicknamed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans,” the Preakness was first held in 1873 and second only to the Kentucky Derby in North American equestrian events.

UFCW Local 27 members: Julie Hoshor, Jen Gobble, Veronica Worsley, Mary Pat Walbrecher, Kathleen Marvel, Joann Heil

At both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, it’s UFCW members who work at neighborhood grocery stores who do the highly-detailed work of constructing the elaborate blankets. While the Kentucky Derby blanket is traditionally made from roses, the Preakness is made from yellow flowers made to look like the state flower of Maryland, the black-eyed Susan.

Why not use real black-eyed Susans? The summer-blooming flower isn’t in season until June, so instead yellow flowers such as mums are used as a substitute.

Though smaller than the blankets awarded at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness blankets use ten times the number of flowers. Each flower is individually wired and attached to felt-backed matting so as not to injure the horse.


May 21, 2018

UFCW Statement on Bipartisan Defeat of Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), released the following statement regarding the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2), also known as the Farm Bill, failing to pass the U.S. House of Representatives.

“This Farm Bill was flawed and deserved to be defeated.

“The most common jobs in our country are retail jobs where work schedules are uncertain and vary widely from week to week. If this bill had become law, someone who works hard could have lost access to food simply because their employer cut their hours.

“We urge members of Congress to go back to the drawing board, and work together to craft a Farm Bill that doesn’t punish hard-working families, protects jobs, and actually makes life better in the communities we call home.”


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.

May 18, 2018

Time to Save and Splash at America’s Favorite Theme Parks

For many amusement parks around the country, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the start to the full season. If you’re planning your family’s next adventure, don’t forget your UFCW membership gives you discounts on some of the most popular parks in the country, such as:



















May 16, 2018

UFCW Endorses Poor People’s Campaign Revival

Week two of the Poor People’s Campaign (5/21 – 5/26) is themed “Linking Systemic Racism and Poverty: Voting Rights and Immigration.” UFCW members around the country, from Washington state to Boston and Harrisburg, joined allies to bring attention to these issues that are affecting Americans from all corners of the U.S.

Founded by Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis, the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, and hundreds of local and national grassroots groups, The Poor People’s Campaign is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation’s distorted morality.

“The Poor People’s Campaign believes, as our union family does, that our economy can and should work better for everyone,” said Marc Perrone, president of the UFCW International, in a statement of support he made in April.

“Telling the millions of people who are struggling alone, to work harder, complain less, or pray more won’t work.

“Wage inequality, the assault on voting rights, underemployment, and the attacks on immigrant and refugee communities are all part of a systemic effort to disenfranchise poor communities.

“We’re proud to support The Poor People’s Campaign because, if successful, it will bring hard-working families more power to build better lives.”

Over the last few months, the Revs. Barber and Theoharis have traveled across the country, shining a spotlight on both America’s harsh, persistent poverty and the powerful organizers working to combat it. They’ve visited Lowndes County, Ala.; Detroit and Highland Park, Mich.Marks, Miss.Harlan County, Kent.; and South Charleston, W. Va. 

The trips have also helped prepare organizers in the states for the 40 days of action, which will conclude with a mass mobilization at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, June 23.

On Tuesday, April 10, 2019, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) released The Souls of Poor Folk, an audit of America 50 years after Dr. King and many others launched the original Poor People’s Campaign to challenge racism, poverty, and a host of other intersected issues.

The report, which was presented at the National Press Club by IPS with support from the Urban Institute, shows that, in many ways, we are worse off than in 1968. Legislative actions and legal decisions have gutted the Voting Rights Act and severely restricted the ability of people of color, women, and young people to vote. There are 15 million more people living in poverty and nearly eight times as many inmates in state and federal prisons.



May 16, 2018

UFCW Statement on Amazon Expanding Cashierless Stores

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), released the following statement regarding news that Amazon Go stores, which replace cashiers with technology, would be opening in Chicago and San Francisco.

“This isn’t about technology or convenience, this is about Amazon’s and Jeff Bezos’ greed.

“Amazon’s unchecked expansion of this job-killing store concept should be of great concern to everyone who lives and works in America.

“It is time for elected leaders to stop being fooled by Amazon’s HQ2 search and see this company for what it really is – a monopoly that threatens millions of American jobs and hard-working families.”


According to Bloomberg, the Amazon Go store concept saves customers just 50 seconds and employs up to three fewer people compared with the average U.S. convenience store.


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.


May 14, 2018

UFCW Helps to Stamp Out Hunger in Communities Across the Country

On May 12, the UFCW once again partnered with the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) to sponsor the 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive—the largest single-day food drive in the world—and helped to collect millions of pounds of non-perishable food made by union members for local food banks. The UFCW has served as a national sponsor of the NALC’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive for the past three years. In that time, the food drive has collected more than 150 million pounds of food.

Nationally, an estimated 42 million Americans, or one in six, struggle with food insecurity, which is defined as not knowing where the next meal is coming from. Over 13 million children are living in a food insecure household, and 5.4 million seniors currently face hunger in our country. The consequences of food insecurity are profound, and contribute to developmental problems for children, and depression among adults, especially seniors.

This food drive has been a way for our union family to address food insecurity in our country and show our friends, neighbors and community members that we care and they are not alone.

Here are a few images from this year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive:

May 10, 2018

UFCW Statement on White House AI Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement regarding the White House bringing major U.S. companies together for a summit about artificial intelligence (AI).

“The threat of joblessness due to increased automation is massive and it is beyond time we all came together to discuss solutions.

To most companies, the desire to automate jobs is not about increasing productivity or improving the service experience; it’s about maximizing profit by eliminating labor costs.

A strong and functioning society does not exist unless there are jobs for people to earn a living, support a family and build a better life.

We hope today’s summit is a start towards harnessing technology so that it creates better jobs and an economy that enriches us all, rather than a chosen few.”


  • A report by McKinsey Global Institute predicts that automation could eliminate up to 73 million jobs by 2030.
  • A report by Cornerstone Capital Group found that nearly 50 percent of today’s 16 million retail jobs could be replaced by automation in the coming decade.
  • A report by PwC concluded that automated robots could replace four in ten U.S. jobs.


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.