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UFCW and JBS Partner Together for Joint Safety Trainings

JBSTraining 3The UFCW has initiated a new health and safety program for workers in UFCW JBS plants. The program is a new joint effort with JBS to establish a uniform safety program for workers and management throughout the chain. This is the first time JBS and the UFCW have come together to create a program that is specific to keeping workers safe.

The first part of the program focuses on training union reps, workers, staff, and JBS management to learn about identifying the underlying causes of workplace injuries, illness, and fatalities. The second part trains participants on how to correct, control, and prevent those workplace hazards. The ultimate goal is to develop a sustainable system where people in the plant know how to prevent hazards, how to identify them, and how to follow the correct procedures to efficiently correct hazards.

The health and safety program came about when UFCW staff initiated a meeting with JBS corporate safety staff out of concern for the safety and well-being of workers. During the meeting, both sides agreed that there was room for improvement in the health and safety protocols at the plants. A year later, UFCW and JBS finalized a plan to work jointly to address safety issues and develop the new health and safety program.

“The joint training has been a very positive experience for all parties involved. It has provided some different ways of looking at the hazards in the workplace that most people overlook. I am excited to continue with this training in our facilities and providing our employees a safer environment to work in,” said Marvin Spidle, corporate safety manager from the Federal Business Unit at JBS.

The program began in January, and JBS workers at UFCW Locals 540, 1161, 293, and 435 have already gone through the first phase of the training. During the first phase of the program, workers and staff learned how to identify workplace hazards in their plant. Following the classroom training, participants then walked together through their plant to apply their new knowledge and identify any hazards that they learned about in the training. Some common safety hazards that workers are trained to spot include unguarded shafts and belts, slippery floors, narrow aisles, and unlabeled exposed pipes and electrical wires.

“It was great to see everybody working together in the setting to make our plant safer. During our walk-through, it was good to have a new set of eyes to help spot hazards that might have otherwise been overlooked,” said Darin Rehnelt, a representative for UFCW Local 1161.

The trainings last about six hours and are conducted in English and Spanish. Following the JBS plant trainings, the plan is to take the health and safety program to workers in the poultry industry, including those who work in JBS’s Pilgrim’s Pride plants.

If you are interested in having a health and safety training in your local plant contact Kurt Brandt at kbrandt@ufcw.org.

JBS Training 1JBS Training 2JBS Training Slide

 

 

 

Support #UFCWDads by Shopping Union-Made This Father’s Day!

IMG_0184Haven’t got a gift for dad yet? No worries! We’ve put together some great UFCW-made ideas for your Father’s Day shopping list!

When you buy union, you’re supporting the men and women who work hard every day to make and sell these quality goods. You’re also supporting good union jobs, that enable working parents to support their families with good pay and benefits. Unions are also on the forefront of legislative pushes for policies that benefit working families, like parental leave. Together, union families are working to make jobs work for all families.

Spirits:

Jim Beam

Knob Creek Whiskey

Personal Care:

Old Spice products

Pierre Cardin Cologne

Shoes:

Naturalizer Shoes

Red Wing Shoes

The Union Boot Pro Boots

Workers Win Impending Settlement Against Gourmet Boutique West with Support of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99

10346101_787562584652581_2968960592761418361_n(PHOENIX, Arizona) – Workers at the Gourmet Boutique West food processing plant are celebrating a tentative settlement agreement with the company. Along with the workers securing their right to freely pursue joining a union without the fear of retaliation, the tentative settlement also includes the reinstatement of two unjustly-terminated workers along with back pay. The pending settlement has been signed off by the company’s attorney and is awaiting approval by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“It has been rough for us here at the plant. We stuck together though and with the help of the great people at UFCW Local 99, not only do I have my job back, but my coworkers and I can now work toward being part of a union and making all of our jobs better,” said Yolanda Luna, one of the reinstated workers at the plant.

Workers contacted UFCW Local 99 about joining the union to help them improve working conditions, address safety concerns, and also calling to be treated with respect and dignity on the job. When workers and the UFCW began to work together to help workers join the union, the company responded by, according to NLRB General Counsel’s complaint, retaliating against pro-union workers and terminating two of them for union activity.

UFCW Local 99 then filed a series of unfair labor practice charges against Gourmet Boutique West with the NLRB. Complaints issued by the NLRB General Counsel alleged more than 70 unfair labor practice violations. Some of these were very serious including:

  • Threatening employees with discharge and various punishments for engaging in union activities,
  • Promising employees special benefits if they told the company about the union activity of other workers,
  • Calling the police to remove union representatives and employees from public property near the worksite while they were engaged in lawful handbilling,
  • Interfering with the formation and administration of a company union in an effort to keep UFCW Local 99 out of the plant.

After the charges were filed, Gourmet Boutique West then agreed to enter into the tentative settlement agreement that is waiting for approval by the NLRB. Workers at the plant and UFCW Local 99 will continue to work toward securing a union voice on the job, and a union contract that secures wages, benefits and respect and dignity on the job.

There are 50 workers at the Gourmet Boutique West food processing plant where workers prepare ready-made meals to be shipped to grocery stores. More than 18,000 workers who work in the grocery and several other industries are members of UFCW Local 99.