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UFCW President Hansen Statement on Senate Vote Blocking Paycheck Fairness Act

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C.Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would stiffen penalties for corporations that discriminate against women.

“The average woman still makes only 77 cents for every dollar a man does. Over the course of their working lives, this means women earn between $400,000 and $2 million less than if they received equal pay for equal work. This is not just a women’s issue–it’s a family issue. Women are now the primary or only breadwinner in 40 percent of households. When women bring home less money it makes it harder for families to afford groceries, rent, and other necessities. The UFCW has long had equal pay provisions in its contracts. But our members know that all workers deserve fair pay. Senate Republicans should stop blocking this common sense legislation.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

Walmart and the Food Stamp Economy

616466_10151288371180091_843792967_o“Walmart takes in about 18 percent of U.S. food stamp dollars, a share that amounted to more than $13 billion last year.” However, with cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Walmart is seeing a huge portion of its customer base drop off, no longer able to afford to shop there. Instead, many are now relying on charities and food pantries.

“It’s this cycle that keeps going around and around,” says Jason Elchert, deputy director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We need to take a deep breath and think about how can we move our country forward.”

Instead of relying on food stamp customers, Walmart could both improve its business and help struggling workers (many of whom are those on food stamps) by paying a living wage.

There of course is the argument–”Won’t that raise the prices at Walmart, essentially defeating the purpose?”

Well, according to a new video from Slate, if Walmart paid its employees a living wage of $13.00/hr, that .68 cent box of Great Value mac n’ cheese would increase to….69 cents.

When there are 40 Walmart associates per store, on average, that are on food stamps, and are actually beneficiaries of the food donation program that Walmart has pledged to “donate $2 billion in cash and food to fight hunger”, something is clearly wrong. Instead of cashing in on of the food stamp economy, or having employees scour the shelves for just-past sell-by dates to collect for those who can’t afford food, Walmart should and can afford to invest in its own business and in restoring the the middle class by paying a living wage. This would also save taxpayers–whose money funds government programs like food stamps–$300 million a year.

Watch the video to get the facts:

 

OUR Walmart Members and Making Change at Walmart Campaign in the News

OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart  campaigns highlighted in the media as workers push for better jobs and working conditions.

OUR Walmart and Making Change at Walmart
campaigns highlighted in the media as workers push for better jobs and working conditions.

Since its inception, former and current Walmart workers who are members of OUR Walmart have called on the retailer to publicly commit to raising wages and increasing access to full-time hours. OUR Walmart members have also asked the retailer to stop its practice of retaliating against workers who are simply exercising their right to speak out for a better life and improved working conditions. Over the course of the last few weeks, OUR Walmart members, Making Change at Walmart, and campaign allies have had some great stories in the news.

  • An op-ed by Robert Greenwald entitled “Walmart’s newest big lie: Another misleading ad campaign from a job-killing behemoth.” The op-ed is related to Walmart’s latest P.R. manufacturing push featuring Mike Rowe the host of the cancelled show Dirty Jobs. The op-ed on Salon can be read here.
  • An article about President Obama’s call to let more workers collect overtime pay. The article features a Walmart assistant manager who is also member of OUR Walmart. The manager is quoted as saying, “Walmart made $17 billion last year. They paid the CEO $18 million and a bonus. They can afford to pay me some overtime.” The article can be viewed here.
  • A Huffington Post article which features a quote from UFCW International President Joe Hansen about the Gap’s announcement that it is raising its wages. President Hansen is quoted as saying, “The time is now for Walmart to show leadership and responsibility to its workers and our communities [and] follow the Gap’s example and raise wages for every hourly worker.” The article can be read here.

 

Along with reading and sharing the articles, local unions can continue to support Walmart workers by downloading and sharing campaign infographics found on the Making Change at Walmart Facebook page .