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UFCW Local 400 Decries Attack on Working Families in West Virginia

L400 RTW LettersLast week, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted 54-46 to approve the Workplace Freedom Act, commonly known as “right to work.”

Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400, issued the following statement in response to the vote:

“Today’s partisan vote by the West Virginia state legislature is a major step backward for working families in West Virginia.

“Our members spent weeks placing calls to delegates and lobbying legislators in both chambers to oppose the bill. We even delivered more than 500 handwritten letters to legislators gathered from members in Kroger stores across the state urging them to oppose ‘right to work.’

“But instead of listening to hard-working men and women that live, work, and vote in West Virginia, the legislature instead chose to bow to pressure from outside special interest groups backed by the infamous, billionaire Koch brothers.

“As a union with members in ‘right-to-work’ states, we know all too well the harm of this anti-worker legislation. Just over the mountains in Virginia, our members already suffer the everyday consequences of ‘right to work’ legislation.

“Our members in Virginia earn as much as $2 less per hour, pay up to five times more out-of-pocket for benefits, and earn up to one week less vacation each year than their brothers and sisters in West Virginia – even working for the same company, doing the same job, with the same experience. The difference? Virginia is a ‘right-to-work’ state.

“This bill has nothing to do with ‘workplace freedom’ and everything to do with diminishing the power of working people to negotiate for a better life. The bottom line is “right to work” will make it much more difficult for hard-working men and women to earn better wages, secure family-supporting benefits, or ensure proper safety in the workplace.

“We look forward to Governor Tomblin’s veto of this dangerous, deceptive legislation, and we will continue to hold our elected leaders accountable to voters and uphold the veto when the bill inevitably returns to the legislature.”

Grocery Worker Retention Act Becomes Law

The following was originally posted by RWDSU

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Mayor Bill de Blasio (at desk) signs Grocery Worker Retention Act as RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum (de Blasio’s right) and UFCW/RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso (far right) look on.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday signed the Grocery Worker Retention Act (GWRA) into law. The GWRA provides for a 90-day transition period to eligible employees following a change in ownership of a grocery store.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the city council for passing this important legislation,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “It provides protection for the 50,000 Supermarket workers in New York City – who until now faced a sudden loss of income and benefits when their stores were purchased by new operators. This law provides stability within the grocery industry, protecting workers’ rights and promoting retention while providing for a workforce experienced and knowledgeable in food preparation, health regulations and sanitation procedures. That means that this law will help maintain safe and reliable service to families that depend on their local supermarkets for dietary and nutritional needs.”

The grocery industry makes up a significant portion of New York City’s retail workforce with over 50,000 employees and roughly two-thirds of this workforce coming from immigrant labor. This industry, however, currently suffers from a volatile condition with the eminent merger, closing or the establishment of new ownership of our supermarkets jeopardizing the future of workers and the quality of life of countless communities.

The recent A&P bankruptcy has provided a vivid example of this, rippling through the city with 52 stores impacted throughout the five boroughs including subsidiary brands such as Pathmark, Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium, and Food Basics. Some stores have been closed, others sold or auctioned, or even transformed into non-supermarket entities.

“New owners can’t just discard workers, some of whom may have worked for years at the store, in an effort to lower wages.  The bill also protects our communities by maintaining experienced staff that understand proper sanitation procedures and can maintain health standards.   It’s a common sense approach to bring some stability for workers, consumers and businesses. We thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member I. Daneek Miller for their leadership and the City Council for supporting this important piece of legislation,” Appelbaum added.

From Campaign Trail, Secretary Clinton Calls Into UFCW Event and Thanks Members


Clinton: “The issues your members fight for are my fights.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Secretary Hillary Clinton called into the 2016 meeting of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) International Executive Board and Advisory Council to thank its members for their efforts in Iowa and to highlight her commitment to hard-working families across the nation.

The UFCW, the largest private sector union in the nation with 1.3 million members, announced its endorsement of Clinton for President of the United States last month and was proud to be a key part of her victory in Iowa.

During her remarks, Secretary Clinton pointed to how UFCW members and their families were vital to her close victory in Iowa, and that she was determined to fight for the issues that matter to tens of millions of working and middle class people.

Specifically, Clinton emphasized her commitment to raising wages, guaranteeing equal pay, providing paid leave, and protecting the rights of hard-working families to negotiate better lives.

The following are excerpts from Clinton’s remarks to the UFCW Executive board and Advisory Council:

On Iowa:

“It’s just meant the world to me to have your support…And I want you to know that you made a difference for me in Iowa. This was a very tight race and your members were critical votes in several precincts across the state. That helped us end up on top. And I appreciated your work on the ground, knocking on doors, talking to voters, making phone calls. And here’s something I want you to know — exit polling shows that in Iowa, union household voters made up 21% of all caucus goers. So more than one fifth of everybody who turned out on Monday night was part of a union household and I was supported by a 9 point advantage among union household voters. You made that possible.”

On issues that matter to working families:

“The issues you and your members are fighting for are my fights too…I will be your partner in the fight to raise wages, provide opportunity for paid sick time, fair scheduling for workers. I will stand up and fight for the right to organize and bargain collectively, for good wages and good working conditions and benefits. And I have a plan to make college affordable, to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.”

Clinton also took time to answer a question from the audience about what she will do to help workers balance work and family. She said:

“I’ve said before that we’ve got to do more to help families balance work and their families. That’s why I support twelve weeks of paid family leave, seven day of paid sick time…I am making the strength of our family, opportunities for our families, specifically those that working women have, the centerpiece of my campaign. And you’ll hear a lot about this in the months ahead.”

Clinton also took a question about whether she believes collective bargaining is a means to ending wage inequality. She said:

“I believe it. I think the evidence supports it. There’s no doubt in my mind that the labor movement and particularly collective bargaining led to the growth of the American middle class…Republicans and their special interest groups have tried to undermine organizing, undermine collective bargaining. There’s no doubt in my mind they try to diminish our standard of living and growth of the American middle class.”

Photos of UFCW members caucusing for Clinton in Iowa are attached.

iowa1 crowd2 Tish group crowd3 crowd 1 bill

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org.

 

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family earns and deserves.

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