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UFCW Grand Island JBS Beef Plant Members Ratify New Five-Year Contract

UFCWnewsGrand Island, Nebraska – Workers at the JBS beef slaughter and processing facility in Grand Island, Nebraska, who belong to United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 293 ratified a new contract on Thursday, July 17. The new five-year agreement will cover more than 2,600 workers and will go into effect today.

“This new contract is great for our members and the local economy,” said Dan Hoppes, President of UFCW Local 293. “Thanks to support and unity of UFCW union members from across the country, we were able to negotiate a contract that raises the bar for workers in this industry. Workers will earn higher wages and a healthcare plan that benefits workers, their families, and the company.”

The new contract will:

  • Provide a $1.80 hourly increase over the course of the contract.
  • A $0.60 per hour increase in the first year which will be paid retroactively to the original contract expiration date, April 27, 2014.
  • Maintain affordable health care costs for employees with only minor plan changes.
  • Establish a primary health care clinic in Grand Island which means flexible, easily accessible health care to JBS employees with no cost for primary care (checkups, some treatments, minor procedures, and lab work) and low cost prescriptions and immunizations.
  • Retain current vacation and 401k plan.

The UFCW represents JBS workers at several other locations around the country. Workers have ratified contracts in Worthington, Minnesota, and have reached a tentative agreement in Greeley, Colorado. Contract negotiations are ongoing in Souderton, Pennsylvania, and Louisville, Kentucky. Workers in Omaha, Nebraska will begin negotiations in the coming months.

 

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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.

 

The BPA Act: Fighting Breast Cancer among Women in Manufacturing

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance)

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance & UFCW)

Even today, women who work in middle-class jobs across America face pronounced barriers and gender discrimination in the workplace, as exemplified by the recent Demos report on gender inequality in retail wages. However, workplace inequality can manifest in other, more subtle ways – such as the manufacture of products containing Bisphenol-A, or BPA.

BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical, which alters hormone production and behavior, disrupting the body’s normal functions. In a 2012 six-year study, BPA was found to have a pronounced effect on women who work in the automotive plastics and the food packaging industries.

These women are five times more likely to have breast cancer than women who work in other industries.

BPA, which is found in the epoxy lining of the metal food can and released into the air during the food canning process, was banned by the FDA in the manufacture of baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging. Many private companies have taken further steps to remove BPA from products. However, BPA exposure is still a problem for thousands of manufacturing and packaging workers in America.

In order to address this problem, the UFCW has joined allies such as the Communications Workers of America, the United Steelworkers, and the United Automobile Workers in supporting the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, or the BPA Act.

The BPA Act would remove BPA from food packaging, encourage the development of safe alternatives, and ensure a thorough safety review of all currently used substances in food and beverage containers. It is currently in committee in the House, where it needs to be passed by the House and the Senate and approved by the President before it becomes a law.

This brochure, produced by the BlueGreen Alliance and UFCW, contains useful information about the growing problem of breast cancer among working women.

UFCW Local 538 Oscar Mayer Workers Ratify New Contract

UFCW Local 538 Oscar Mayer workers ratified a new four year contract that includes wage increases. Photo from Wisconsin State Journal.

UFCW Local 538 Oscar Mayer workers ratified a new four year contract that includes wage increases. Photo from Wisconsin State Journal.

UFCW Local 538 Oscar Mayer workers in Madison, Wis., voted to ratify a new four year agreement. The contract is set to take effect immediately and expire in December 2017.  Workers bargained a $1.40-an-hour increase over the next four years. The 650 members produce hot dogs, shaved deli meats, and cold cuts at the plant.