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Aurora Products Workers Win Election for Union Representation at Plant

Aricela-Theo-AlbaOrange, Conn. – On Wednesday, October 8, 175 workers at Aurora Products, a natural food processing company in Orange, Conn. voted to join the 9,000 member strong United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 371 (UFCW Local 371) based in Westport, Conn.

“Our votes were hard fought and won by Aurora workers who are on the line each day and concerned about the livelihoods of their coworkers. I’m happy that we can finally move forward, together,” said Ariceli Martinez, a production line worker who works at the plant.

Workers reached out to UFCW Local 371 wanting to address longstanding issues at the plant without fear of being intimidated or retaliated against.

“We are proud of the hard work and determination workers at the plant have shown throughout the past few months,” said Thomas A. Wilkinson, UFCW Local 371 President. “They reached out to us to make this happen and they saw this effort through Election Day. We have more work to do ahead and are confident that we can help workers win a contract they deserve at Aurora Products.”

Aurora Products, headquartered in Orange, Connecticut is a growing natural and organic processing plant, specializing in dried fruits, nuts, trail mixes, salad toppings, and granolas. Workers will now work with the company to come to an agreement that addresses worker concerns at the plant while helping the company grow.

“We need a chance and a voice,” said Troy Stephenson, a production line worker. “Voting together was just a first step towards making things better for our work environment, for our communities, and for our families.”

UFCW Local 371 is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.

 

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: UFCW Steward Idalid Guerrero

It’s now the third week of Hispanic Heritage Month, and we’re celebrating by showcasing the story of a UFCW steward named Idalid Guerrero. Read her story about making a difference in one’s union and community, below:

Idalid GuerreroUFCW stewards play a special role in their plants. They are leaders who protect their co-workers and ensure that our plants and workplaces are safe, everyone is treated with respect, and our jobs stay good jobs. Stewards are also not just leaders in our plants, though. Stewards also play important roles in our communities.

Many stewards take their leadership skills and apply them to fight for people and causes that extend outside the plants. As part of the UFCW union, stewards know workers have strength in numbers and a voice on the job. Because stewards and union workers are united and have a strong voice, they can take our numbers and voices beyond the plants to help fight for those who do not have one.

As a UFCW steward, you are part of a proud tradition of fighting for issues important to workers and working families. From fighting to raise the minimum wage, to combating right-to-work legislation, to pushing for comprehensive immigration reform, stewards use their union voices to fight for all working people.

“As stewards, we know that we are there to be leaders and to help solve problems for our co-workers in our plants. But there are also problems for those who work outside of our plants. They need help too,” said Idalid Guerrero, steward at the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant in Lufkin Texas, and UFCW Local 540 member. “Getting involved in campaigns and actions outside of the plant gives us a chance to help other workers who might be afraid to speak up for change or might not have a voice on the job. With the support of our union, we can be their voice and bring attention to important issues for all workers.”

Last year, Guerrero joined other UFCW Pilgrim’s Pride workers from across the country in a national lobby day in Washington, D.C. Guerrero and her co-workers met with U.S. representatives and senators and asked them to raise the standards for workers in the poultry industry. “It was a great opportunity to meet other Pilgrim’s Pride workers and share our stories about the nature of our jobs, and how the industry impacts our families, and communities. It was an opportunity for us to come together as union workers and let our political leaders know we have a voice. We are fighting not just for Pilgrim’s Pride workers, but for poultry workers all across America,” Guerrero continued.

Guerrero also participated in a protest held outside of the U.S. Capitol in response to House Republican leaders failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. She and other UFCW stewards and activists joined thousands of people from across the country to march in Washington, D.C. She was just one of the many arrested in an action of civil disobedience to draw attention to the need for comprehensive immigration reform. “I went to Washington as both a worker and a mother. We deserve reform that is humane and just and keeps families together. I was arrested in solidarity with all immigrants who are calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”

UFCW stewards are leaders who stand together to protect workers in their plants and also across the country. To become involved in issues important to workers contact your local union representative or your legislative & political representative (LPR).

“Getting involved in campaigns and actions outside of the plant gives us a chance to help other workers who might be afraid to speak up for change or might not have a voice on the job. With the support of our union, we can be their voice and bring attention to important issues for all workers.”–Idalid Guerrero, UFCW Local 540 member and Pilgrim’s Pride plant steward, Lufkin Texas

Justice for Jen

JenA UFCW Local 1473 Steward and advocate for her coworkers was unjustly fired by Hormel last week. Jen Pulaski, a steward at the Beloit, Wisconsin, Hormel plant and a 12 year veteran of the plant was fired in retaliation for her advocacy on behalf of her coworkers. Jen has been an active steward this year, and almost every time Jen took action to make work a better place for her coworkers, she was disciplined on the job. Eventually, she was fired on a trumped-up “misconduct” charge.

Back in March, Jen testified on behalf of a co-worker in an arbitration, and her testimony made the Human Resources manager at her plant look bad. The next day, she was disciplined. In early May, she attended a union meeting. She was disciplined the day she returned to work. At the end of May, she was named as a plaintiff in a state wage and hour complaint because she and other workers weren’t being properly paid while they were donning and doffing required equipment. She was disciplined again. Finally, while representing a co-worker in a grievance, the discussion got heated. The next day, she was fired on a trumped-up “misconduct” charge.

The pattern of action met with discipline and termination makes it clear that her firing was unjust retaliation for her work as a union steward and advocacy on behalf of her co-workers. This is just the latest in of a string of company attempts to silence Jen and other stewards, and weaken workers’ union voice. That’s why UFCW Local 1473 has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Hormel.

Hormel workers in plants across the country are standing up for this unjust firing and the attack on their collective voice and right to speak out to make their jobs better. They’re confronting their HR directors and plant managers and telling them that this kind of retaliation won’t be tolerated – and they won’t rest until there’s “Justice for Jen.”

Demand justice for Jen and show your support for all Hormel union workers by sending an email to:

Tell them that Jen’s unjust firing and retaliation against union workers is wrong and that you stand with Jen and union Hormel workers and support their right to stick together and speak out.