Packing and Processing


UFCW Local 538 Retirees Take Stand Against Kraft-Heinz Benefit Cuts

538 Kraft-HeinzRetirees from the Kraft-Heinz company in Wisconsin became concerned when they began receiving letters telling them that their health care was changing to give them more “flexibility, choice and control.” Because they had a union while they worked, they reached out to UFCW Local 538 in Madison, Wis., which confirmed that the “choice and control” were really cuts and complications to their health plans.

“What Kraft-Heinz is trying to do is break a promise,” said Doug Leikness, president of UFCW Local 538. “We’d fought hard for retiree health care over the years, and now they are trying to walk back from that commitment and leave their most loyal employees in the lurch.”

UFCW Local 538 immediately began raising the alarm. Kraft-Heinz faced an avalanche of bad press from both local and national publications revealing that more than 15,000 retired workers and their families had been affected by these cuts. However, only former UFCW members had somebody fighting for them.

Rhonda Hansen had worked at the Oscar Mayer plant in Madison for 19 years as a member of UFCW Local 538 before retiring two years ago. Her family depends on the health insurance she earned through years of hard work – especially her husband Dale, who has Alzheimer’s and has suffered from both skin cancer and heart problems.

“Kraft-Heinz is owed by some of the richest people in the world, including Warren Buffet,” said Hansen. “But when they’re looking to cut costs, they pull the rug out under loyal workers like me. I’m just grateful I still part of a union that’s still out there fighting for me.”

While they haven’t rolled back the cuts yet, and the fight still continues. Leikness says UFCW Local 538 is looking for new ways to pursue the struggle to ensure former UFCW members get the benefits they deserve.

CTI Foods Employees Overwhelmingly Vote YES to Become UFCW Local 1776 Members

CTIOn August 26, CTI Foods employees became the newest members of UFCW Local 1776 as they overwhelmingly voted “Yes” to have Local 1776 represent them for the purposes of collective bargaining.  The official vote tally from this secret ballot election, run by the National Labor Relations Board, was 50 Yes to 19 No.  CTI Foods is a beef processing facility located in King of Prussia, PA that currently employs approximately 80 people including regular and temporary employees.  This CTI Foods facility’s largest clients include Burger King and most recently the Sonic fast food chain.

CTI Foods employees wanted UFCW Local 1776 representation to secure better wages, more affordable benefits, a safer work environment, respect, and a real voice in the workplace.  During this campaign the employees alleged threats, illegal scare tactics, and intense pressure from management to vote No in the days leading up to the August 26 election.  Local 1776 even filed unfair labor practices with the NLRB regarding the most serious allegations.  However, in spite of management’s anti-union scare tactics, the majority of CTI Foods workers stood their ground and overwhelmingly voted to become part of the Local 1776 family.  This latest organizing victory truly proves that workers are indeed stronger together!  On behalf of the officers, staff, and entire membership of Local 1776, we welcome our newest UFCW brothers and sisters working at CTI Foods.

Workers at Ledbetter Foods’ Denver Processing Meat Plant Ratify New Contract

Members of UFCW Local 7 win wage increases, better benefits and a safer workplace

20150905_102432Wheat Ridge, Colo. – Around 300 workers at Denver Processing, a meatpacking facility owned by Ledbetter Foods, have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new four-year contract with their employer. The workers are members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7, one of Colorado’s largest private sector unions. The contract includes real improvements in their workplace – including wage increases, improved working conditions, family-friendly benefit improvements and continued union security and stability.

“When workers across the country are being forced to accept less, workers at Denver Processing have been able to stand together for real improvements at their workplace,” said Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7. “It’s a testament to the power of united workers and a union voice that their jobs are getting better while so many others have jobs that are getting worse.”

Workers took on issues both big and small through the negotiating process. While negotiations were headlined by a fight for family-supporting wages and benefits, they also were able to make work rule changes allowing them to get the equipment they need and form a safety committee to make sure none of their coworkers gets hurt at work.

“We want to do our job efficiently and safely so our company can succeed,” said Richard Garcia, a five year veteran of the plant, “but we also want to support our families. Our new contract ensures that we can do both and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Workers at the plant process meat from carcasses into the consumer-ready products that you see on the shelves of your neighborhood grocery store. They used to be employees of Kroger, until their plant was sold to Ledbetter Foods. Now that they’ve achieved a better contract, they’re focusing on supporting their former coworkers at Kroger who are still negotiating for their improvements.

More than 17,000 Kroger (King Soopers and City Market), Safeway and Albertson’s who are members of Local 7 have been simultaneously negotiating their contract. Their contracts also expire September 12, and negotiations continue this week.


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, or join our online community at and