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February 23, 2018

UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship winners: where are they now?

The UFCW Charity Foundation is currently accepting applications for it’s 2018 scholarship, and we wanted to take the opportunity to report back on where a few of our past year’s winners are and all the exciting things they have going on in their lives. Last August, we spoke with Jennifer Archuleta, scholarship winner from 2010.

“The UFCW scholarship made it possible for me to attend my preferred college even though it was located hundreds of miles away from home.  It also allowed me to spend more time studying and less time working.”

– 2010 Scholarship Winner Jennifer Archuleta

The scholarships are open to both UFCW members and their families. Was it you or a family member that was a UFCW member? 

My dad is a UFCW member who has worked at Albertson’s for over two decades. He recently became a union representative.

Did you find the UFCW scholarship helpful?

Yes.  The UFCW scholarship made it possible for me to attend my preferred college even though it was located hundreds of miles away from home.  It also allowed me to spend more time studying and less time working.

Do you remember how you found out about the scholarship?

My older siblings received the UFCW scholarship.  When it was my turn to apply I looked for information in the UFCW newsletters as well as the website.

What did you end up studying? 

My degree is in Music Education with a concentration in violin.

What do you think was the most valuable thing personally to you about going to school? 

The university provided an intellectually stimulating setting that challenged me on an academic and personal level.  I learned a lot about my major, but I learned more about life, and even more about myself.

What do you do now?

I am a kindergarten through fifth grade music teacher.

What’s your favorite part about your job? 

I love singing and playing with children.  I love nurturing a child’s musical, academic, and emotional growth from their first day of elementary school until their last.

What type of music do you like and what instruments you play?

I am a violinist.  While attending the University of North Texas I had the opportunity to perform in their orchestra, choir, jazz ensembles, and opera pit. 

What’s one fun thing you’ve learned or been able to experience recently?

I recently became certified in the Kodály teaching method, and celebrated by road tripping across the California coast with my sister.  We went hiking, swimming in the ocean, and watched a dog surfing competition.

If you are a past year scholarship winner, let us know what you are up to! We’d love to feature you and your accomplishments.

February 15, 2018

Black History Month: Addie Wyatt

Earlier this Black History Month, we wrote about Russell Lasley of United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), one of the most progressive champions for civil rights in the labor movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Lasley was instrumental in the development and implementation of the anti-discrimination programs of the UPWA. This week, we pay tribute to Addie Wyatt, another leader who got her start through union activism at the UPWA and continued her fight for workers’ rights during the height of the American Feminist Movement.

Early Life

Addie Loraine Cameron, better known as Addie L. Wyatt (1924 –2012), was born in Mississippi and moved to Chicago with her family in 1930.  When she was 17 years old, she began working in the meatpacking industry.  Although she applied for a job as a typist for Armour and Company, African American women were barred from holding clerical positions at the time. Instead, she was sent to the canning department to pack stew in cans for the army.

Due to a contract between Armour and the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), she ending up earned more working on the packinghouse floor canning stew than she would have made working as a typist, and joined the UPWA after learning that the union did not discriminate against its members.

“I was impressed,” said Wyatt in an interview with Alice Bernstein in 2005.  “How could two young black women meet with two white bosses and achieve the success that we had achieved at that time? I was told that it was because of the union. It was a violation of the union contract…I was really moved to the extent that I wanted to do something to help this union. I didn’t know what the union was. But I know that I needed help and here was the place that I could get that help. I knew that I wanted to help other workers, and I found out that I could help them by joining with them and making the union strong and powerful enough to bring about change.”

Rising Through the Ranks

In 1953, she was elected vice president of UPWA Local 56. In 1954, she became the first woman president of the local, and was soon tapped to serve as an international representative. She held this position through the 1968 merger of UPWA and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen until 1974, when she became director of the newly formed Women’s Affairs Department.

Addie Wyatt, of the United Packinghouse Worker’s Association, is shown seated at a desk speaking during the Merger Talks.

In 1970s, she became the first female international vice president in the history of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen and later served as director of its Human Rights and Women’s Affairs and Civil Rights Departments. She served as the first female African American international vice president of the UFCW after Amalgamated and the Retail Clerks International Union merged in 1979.

A Leader in the Civil Rights Movement

Addie Wyatt appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1975 as one of the “Women of the Year”

Wyatt and her husband were ordained ministers and founded the Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago.  She played an integral role in the civil rights movement, and joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in major civil rights marches, including the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the demonstration in Chicago. She was one of the founders of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the country’s only national organization for union women. She was also a founding member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the National Organization of Women.

In honor of her work, she was named one of Time magazine′s Women of the Year in 1975, and one of Ebony magazine′s 100 most influential black Americans from 1980 to 1984. The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists established the Addie L. Wyatt Award in 1987. In 1984, Addie Wyatt retired from the labor movement as one of its highest ranked and most prominent African American and female officials. She was inducted into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor in 2012.

February 13, 2018

Welcome to the family, Severance Food workers!

Congratulations and welcome to some of our newest UFCW members,  the hardworking men and women at Severance Foods, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. The roughly 50 workers at Severance Foods manufacture a large variety of tortilla chips that are distributed worldwide.

“We voted to unionize to get better benefits, sick days, better safety equipment and raises,” said Jan Paul Calo, who works for Severance Foods and was among those who wanted to improve their jobs and help everyone who works there on the path to a better life and a better future for their families.

On Jan. 31, members of UFCW Local 371, along with elected officials and community allies, stood in solidarity with the Severance Foods workers as they prepared to cast their votes in a secret ballot election to join our union. Organizers used Hustle, the innovative texting app, to reach out to workers at Severance Foods, as well as to coordinate the rally before the vote.

February 8, 2018

UFCW Members Make Valentine’s Day Happen

Becky, a UFCW Local 5 member, displays a box of See’s Valentine’s candies

As with many holidays, the members of our hard-working union family help make Valentine’s Day happen for members of their communities and people across the country.

One example is Rob Peters, a member of UFCW Local 1776 and a Wine Specialist at Fine Wine & Good Spirits store 4646 in Ardmore, Pa.

“When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I always recommend sparkling wine because it is popular, versatile and celebratory, i.e. ‘pop the cork,’” he said.  “Sparkling wine can be used at any time before, during or after dinner.”

There are many varieties of sparkling wine, but Rob recommends sparkling wines from California, Prosecco from Italy, or the classic: champagne from France.

On the West Coast, Becky S. at See’s candy has been a member of UFCW Local 5 since 2002. Now an assistant store manager, Becky’s experience is put to good use during one of her store’s busiest times of year–Valentine’s Day.

“We serve anywhere from 200 to 600 people a day,” she said.

Despite the hectic work day, Becky always has a smile on her face. For folks looking to buy a sweet treat for a special someone this Valentine’s Day, Becky recommends getting one of See’s pre-filled 1-pound heart boxes if you’re in a hurry, or using their handy candy menu (also found at sees.com) to hand select each individual chocolate inside.

“It’s a great idea to purchase one of our beautiful 1-pound boxes because they are reusable and you can bring them in again next year,” she said.

UFCW members also have access to exclusive discounts for Valentine’s Day. You can save 25 percent on flowers and gifts from Teleflora. Get more information here and make someone’s Valentine’s Day special.
February 6, 2018

Black History Month: Remembering Russell R. Lasley and the UPWA

This Black History month, we celebrate the life and legacy of United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA) Vice-President Russell R. Lasley (1914-1989). Lasley was an officer in UPWA Local 46 in Waterloo, Iowa. He got his start working at The Rath Packing Co. and rose to become one of the central figures in the American civil rights movement.  Lasley was a vice president of the international union for more than 20 years, remaining after the UPWA merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen where he became director of the merged union’s civil rights department.

The United Packinghouse Workers of America was one of the most progressive champions for civil rights in the labor movement during the 1950s and 1960s. Formed in 1943, the union began pursuing anti-discrimination activities in 1949 and formed an anti-discrimination department in 1950. The UPWA required every union local to have an anti-discrimination department, and the national union headquarters made certain that the local departments had their own programs in the meatpacking plants and communities.

UPWA (United Packinghouse Workers of America) delegates at 1957 convention with Herbert Hill. From left to right are Ollie Webb, Richard Miller, Charles Hayes, Addie Wyatt, Herbert Hill, Phil Weightman, and Russell Lasley.

UPWA (United Packinghouse Workers of America) delegates at 1957 convention with Herbert Hill. From left to right are Ollie Webb, Richard Miller, Charles Hayes, Addie Wyatt, Herbert Hill, Phil Weightman, and Russell Lasley.

Together with the union, Lasley fought against housing discrimination in Chicago, according to labor historian Michael Honey of the University of Washington-Tacoma. “He was trying to open up housing for black families in white neighborhoods,” Honey said. “When one home was surrounded and fire bombed, the union brought people out to try to defend the black homeowner. The Packinghouse Workers union was extraordinary. It probably was one of the few unions where whites would really come out and support black civil rights.”

In addition to helping organize a march for voting rights on the nation’s capital in 1957 and forming defense committees to provide protection for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he came under attack, the UPWA also played a key role in the formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was a group of southern churches and clergy who together coordinated protests and demonstrations in the wake of the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Martin Luther King, Jr., during his appearance at the United Packinghouse Workers of American Wage-Policy Conference. With him are Russell Lasley (left), a UPWA vice-president, and president Ralph Helstein. A poster at the head table calls attention to the boycott supporting workers on strike against the Kohler Company since 1954.

Lasley attended the founding meeting of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in January 1957, calling it ‘‘an extreme honor and privilege to represent UPWA in a conference of leaders who have dedicated their lives to the cause of freedom and the establishment of a society free of racial injustice and second class citizenship.”

In addition to continually organizing conferences and legislative actions in support of equal rights for women and minorities, the UPWA donated 80 percent of the cost of SCLC’s first year budget and held regular drives to raise money for sit ins and freedom rides.  “I guess the Southern Christian Leadership Conference would not have existed without the Packinghouse Workers union,” said King scholar Clayborne Carson, professor of history and director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University in California.

Ever a visionary, in his address to the members of the UPWA at their 1962 convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, King warned that the advances of technology were outpacing government’s ability to find creative solutions to the threats to workers they posed. His warnings were prophetic- facing enormous job losses in the packinghouses after automation shook the foundations of the meat-packing industry, the UPWA’s remaining membership merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen in 1968. The Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen would later go on to merge with the Retail Clerks International Union in 1979 and form what today is the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

 

 

Excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King’s Address to the United Packinghouse Workers of America

May 21, 1962

The United Packinghouse Workers of America has set an example for every democratic organization in the nation. Indeed, if labor as a whole, if the administration in Washington, matched your concern and your deeds, the civil rights problem would not be a burning national shame, but a problem long solved and in its solution a luminous accomplishment in the best tradition of American principles.

In the early days of organization of our Southern Christian Leadership Conference, you employed the shop collection to raise significant funds for us. As we continued our struggles for human dignity, you remained a constant supporter in some of our darkest hours when the most savage elements among our adversaries took control.

Your dependable help was like a mighty fortress protecting us. Your aid, however, went beyond money. When various city and state officials of the state of Alabama, in abuse of legitimate judicial process, instituted a series of libel suits against us in an attempt to wreck our leadership, you provided brilliant legal aid through your union council to strengthen our defense.

The debt we owe you is great, and we cannot repay you today, but our memory is long and our gratitude is lasting, and when the day comes when we have won victories enough to have some surplus strength, it will be yours to command.

Another proud distinction your union possesses is its record of dealing with discrimination internally. In the last analysis, this is an acid test. It is not easy and it is rarely accomplished completely because the whole of our society is pulsing with racism, but the steps you have taken are longer and more decisive than others can boast. Indeed, though I am no historian of labor, I feel safe in saying that even within the CIO tradition where discrimination was fought with conscious purpose your record is the best. In America today this is the highest expression of patriotism and moral responsibility.

It is never easy to pioneer, but you did it while organizing a powerful industry whose abuses of public welfare were so extreme that they became a legend recorded in our literature by Upton Sinclair in his book The Jungle. That jungle was finally cleared and civilized by legislation and the adoption of socially responsible practices.

However, today a new jungle is creeping back, swallowing up and nullifying the achievements of the past, and this new jungle is not a wilderness of nature. It has the shining glittering face of science. It consists of the negative effects of automation and the runaway shop.

Both of these are destroying your jobs, changing your lives, while plays to counteract their destructive effects are either inadequate or nonexistent….


As machines replace men, we must again question whether the depth of our social thinking matches the growth of technological creativity. We cannot create machines which revolutionize industry unless we simultaneously create ideas commensurate with social and economic reorganization, which harness the power of such machines for the benefit of man….The new age will not be an era of hope but of fear and emptiness unless we master this problem….


Like you, we are deeply concerned with minimum wages, with social security, with health measures. We, along with you, want housing fit for families to live in happily and comfortably. Like you, we want job certainty in our working days and retirement security when we grow old. A society as dynamic as ours can provide these things if it is as flexible and inventive as the science which is such a vital part of it….


Years ago, it became a proud boast of the packing industry that by the application of science no part of the animal was wasted. “Everything but the squeal of the pig” was converted into a socially useful product. It is fair to say that if this could be done by one industry with pigs, all of society should seem capable of progress without wasting any people! This is the achievable test of the new age.

We will have no fear of the future if we master together the task of the present. So much that we have already done together proves that in going further and strengthening our ties we will inevitably enrich the lives of all of us, bringing democratic dynamism into the political bloodstream of the nation. Lest we forget, the men who established our country were in the main ordinary people – but they had an extraordinary dream that all problems could be solved by united action; by participation of all upon an equal basis.

They called their dream democracy. Nearly two hundred years later, if we now faithfully develop and practice democracy, transforming it into living reality for all of our citizens, it will fashion a new era of abundance in material and moral riches.

 

Members of a Des Moines United Packinghouse Workers of America local picket outside a Woolworth’s store to demonstrate their opposition to segregation of Woolworth stores in the South.

Two members of United Packinghouse Workers Local 1124 in New Orleans on strike against the Colonial Sugar Company.

Two members of United Packinghouse Workers Local 1124 in New Orleans on strike against the Colonial Sugar Company.

Private security guards hired by the Colonial Sugar Company photograph striking members of the United Packinghouse Union. As the result of a court restraining order the strikers were “walking” along a public street.

February 2, 2018

Most popular Super Bowl recipes by state

Most popular Super Bowl foods by state

Aside from Thanksgiving, Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day. UFCW members in grocery stores and in food processing plants across the country have been working hard to prep the meats, cheese trays, deli sandwiches, veggie platters and other great game day snacks we all love.

“This is one of the busiest times of the year for my store,” said Earl Greenlawn, a member of UFCW Local 367 who works at Kroger. “Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, my co-workers and I put in long hours preparing food and helping customers plan their menus. We love knowing that our hard work makes it easy for people to enjoy the game with their friends and family.”

So what exactly is everyone eating during the Big Game?

According to Google Trends, the top recipes searched for by state are:

ALABAMA: Porchetta
ALASKA: Spinach quiche
ARIZONA: Corn bread cake
ARKANSAS: Cheese dip
CALIFORNIA: Cupcakes
COLORADO: Queso dip
CONNECTICUT: Cupcakes
DELAWARE: Chili
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Italian meatballs
FLORIDA: Spinach artichoke dip
GEORGIA: Pico De Gallo
HAWAII: Grilled liempo
IDAHO: Mac and cheese
ILLINOIS: Buffalo chicken dip
INDIANA: Pulled pork
IOWA: Artichoke dip
KANSAS: S’mores dessert
KENTUCKY: Bean salsa
LOUISIANA: Creamy shrimp, crabmeat, and spinach dip
MAINE: Spinach Caesar salad
MARYLAND: Chickpea soup
MASSACHUSETTS: Buffalo chicken dip
MICHIGAN: Hamburger sliders
MINNESOTA: Chili
MISSISSIPPI: Sweet potato shepherd’s pie
MISSOURI: Chili

MONTANA: Buttermilk biscuits
NEBRASKA: Chicken wings
NEVADA: Cake pops
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Tacos
NEW JERSEY: Buffalo wings
NEW MEXICO: Fried jalapeño poppers
NEW YORK: Jalapeño poppers
NORTH CAROLINA: Buffalo wings
NORTH DAKOTA: Jalapeño poppers
OHIO: Pulled pork pita nachos
OKLAHOMA: Oven mac and cheese
OREGON: Tater Tot casserole
PENNSYLVANIA: Buffalo chicken dip
RHODE ISLAND: Bean dip
SOUTH CAROLINA: Pepperoni dip
SOUTH DAKOTA: Creamy chicken casserole
TENNESSEE: Buffalo chicken appetizer
TEXAS: Football cupcakes
UTAH: Cheesy chicken broccoli casserole
VERMONT: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
VIRGINIA: Buffalo chicken dip
WASHINGTON: Baked chicken wings
WEST VIRGINIA: Bacon cheese ball
WISCONSIN: Buffalo chicken dip
WYOMING: Homemade Oreo cookies

Whatever you’re eating this weekend, there’s a good chance a UFCW member somewhere along the line helped it reach your home. Enjoy the game and let us know your favorite recipes on our Facebook page. 

January 30, 2018

Take a peek inside the 113-year old tannery where UFCW members make the leather for every NFL football

Did you know the leather for every single NFL football, including the ones that will be used in Sunday’s Super Bowl, is crafted in Chicago by members of UFCW Local 1546 at the Horween Leather Company? The hard-working men and women of Horween have been making the leather for every official National Football League ball since the early 1940s. Almost every leather football you see — Wilson, Spalding, Nike, Rawlings, Adidas — began its journey to the field in the hands of a UFCW Local 1546 member.

The company takes pride in the talented workers whose skills are evident in the quality of the final product. Despite the leather’s sheen, which can give the appearance of being slippery, the proprietary “tanned in tack” finish actually means the ball gets stickier after being buffed a few times, making it easier to grip. A 1,000-ton press with special German-made embossing plates gives the leather its distinctive pebbling.

Horween Leather Company was founded in 1905 in Chicago and for five generations has been producing a wide range of top quality leathers ever since. During World War II, it was Horween who supplied Chromexcel for shoes worn by the Marine Corps. Chromexcel is a labor-intensive leather that undergoes at least 89 separate processes, taking 28 working days and utilizing all five floors of the facility. The formula has had very few changes since it was developed, with a few minor necessary exceptions like swapping out whale oil for a more modern-day equivalent.

Horween is also one of the world’s last remaining producers of shell cordovan, a durable equine leather. Shell cordovan is unique for its durability and tendency to form attractive rolls in the leather as it ages rather than creasing. Allen Edmonds, a 92-year-old shoemaker based in Wisconsin, uses this leather in its Park Avenue Cordovan Oxfords, which Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush wore for their inaugurations. The leather in a properly maintained pair of shell cordovan shoes can last 20 years to a lifetime.

To take a peek inside the over 100-year old facility and see some of the pros hard at work, check out the slideshow:

January 23, 2018

As American as apple pie: happy National Pie Day

To celebrate National Pie Day (Jan 23), here’s some fun facts we learned from The American Pie Council about one of America’s favorite desserts:

1.) Pie crust was originally not intended to be eaten.

Pie has been around since the ancient Egyptians. The first pies were made by early Romans who may have learned about it through the Greeks. These pies were sometimes made in “reeds” which were used for the sole purpose of holding the filling and not for eating with the filling.

Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The early colonists cooked their pies in long narrow pans calling them “coffins” like the crust in England. As in the Roman times, the early American pie crusts often were not eaten, but simply designed to hold the filling during baking. It was during the American Revolution that the term crust was used instead of coffyn.

Baker Preparing Pies by Italian painter Bartolomeo Passarotti (1529-1592)

2.) The Romans published the first pie recipe, and it sounds delicious.

The Romans must have spread the word about pies around Europe as the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the word pie was a popular word in the 14th century. The first pie recipe was published by the Romans and was for a rye-crusted goat cheese and honey pie.

3.) Cherry pie is said to have royal origins (but it’s probably not true).

The early pies were predominately meat pies. Pyes (pies) originally appeared in England as early as the twelfth century. The crust of the pie was referred to as “coffyn”. There was actually more crust than filling. Often these pies were made using fowl and the legs were left to hang over the side of the dish and used as handles. Fruit pies or tarts (pasties) were probably first made in the 1500s. English tradition credits making the first cherry pie to Queen Elizabeth I.

4.) For the best pie, keep it cold and keep it simple.

Cold ingredients are essential to making a great pie crust It even helps to have cold bowls and utensils. In addition, be sure to chill the dough for at least an hour before rolling it out. Keeping the shortening cold ensures a nice flaky crust!

Don’t overwork or overhandle the dough. Your shortening/butter should be coated with flour mixture, not blended with it. Over-processing causes gluten to form, a substance that toughens the dough. It’s even a good idea to have cold hands before handling.

5.) You can make a tasty pie entirely from UFCW-made ingredients.

Butter, flour, eggs, sugar, whipped topping, and pie filling – UFCW members at a number of different local unions across the country help make sure you have quality ingredients for your family recipes. Here’s a sample of just a few of the pie-related ingredients the men and women of the UFCW are hard at work making:

January 17, 2018

Behind the scenes of keeping our roads safe

When winter weather hits, UFCW Local 1994 members in Maryland help keep the roads safe during icy conditions. While everyone else is trying to stay off the roads, that’s when Local 1994 members spring into action. Thank you for all that you do!

January 15, 2018

UFCW celebrates the legacy of Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.

About two weeks before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed a massive crowd of sanitation workers who had gone on strike. He know the value of hardworking people, and championed their cause. We continue to fight for a better life in his name today.

“This is a particularly important time to reflect on Dr. King’s pursuit of inclusivity and allow it to inspire our enthusiasm for the same ideals,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “He showed that change for the better and compassion for others starts with all of us. When we stand up for our values and become actively involved in positive action, we can build a better nation and a better life for the many, not just the few.”