• Background Image

    UFCW Blog


March 14, 2018

UFCW’s Work to “Bring Value to Retailers and Customers” Highlighted on DealCrunch

UFCW Featured on DealCrunch.com:

UFCW Fights to Improve the Pay and Quality of Life for the Workers Who Bring Value to Retailers and Customers

By: Chris Curry

The Crunch: The United Food & Commercial Workers International Union works daily to improve pay, benefits, and working conditions for its 1.3 million members. The UFCW is America’s largest private sector labor union and represents the grocery, retail, and packing house workers who help the economy run. As technology threatens to automate many jobs, the UFCW is working to show the value that knowledgeable and professional associates bring to customers and businesses. The organization also helps members advance their careers through free college tuition and GED courses. In the modern labor movement, the UFCW stands up for working conditions — and work-life balance — that result in better jobs and a stronger labor force.

The members of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union play an often-overlooked role in our daily lives.

Take Super Bowl Sunday for instance. UFCW members work in the industries that provide some of the most popular items on the menus at parties across the country: Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, the Heinz Ketchup for those hot dogs, the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing for the chicken wings, and they even sell the avocados for the guacamole. The Jim Beam for the whiskey and Cokes came from a distillery whose workers are represented by the UFCW, and members made the leather for the footballs used in the game.

“Our members are behind the scenes in all these daily interactions and moments in people’s lives, from the Super Bowl to Christmas,” UFCW Communications Director Erikka Knuti said.

In addition to featuring the hard work UFCW members do and the value they have to offer, DealCrunch also highlighted a number of the education opportunities available to UFCW members and their family members:

Programs Help Prepare Members Through Education & Skills Training

In the modern workplace, businesses and employees both face a significant challenge in managing rapid change. And while companies allocate resources for change in the form of equipment or technology, preparing workers for an evolving workplace is often an afterthought.

The UFCW has introduced multiple programs to help members adapt to changes and progress in their careers and personal lives.

Free College for Career Advancement Opportunities

UFCW members and their families — spouses, domestic partners, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren — receive free tuition toward an online associate’s degree from Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio. The arrangement covers all fees and ebooks for courses.

The free tuition program initially started with local labor unions in Ohio that recognized cost was the single biggest barrier to finishing college.

Collage of UFCW free college benefits

Finance, marketing, early childhood education, criminal justice, and accounting are among the degree programs available.

Erikka said in one particular case, the opportunity to pursue an early childhood education degree benefited both a UFCW member and the retail store where she works.

“She is taking early childhood development classes and gaining expertise while working in the baby aisle at her store,” Erikka said.

GED Courses to Help Workers Finish High School

Across the country, many frontline retail and grocery store workers drop out of high school to get a job and help support their families. Erikka said a new UFCW initiative is designed to help them.

“We’re about to roll out a program for people who didn’t finish high school to get their GED,” she said.

A GED will help workers meet qualifications for additional positions and open the door to pursuing an associate’s degree through the free tuition program at Eastern Gateway Community College.

Language Training to Improve Customer Service

English as a second language programs are also available to help UFCW workers better serve customers and advance in their careers. The UFCW will soon offer Spanish as a second language programs as well.

The skills that members learn through language courses will only add to their value in a retail setting, Erikka said.

“It all goes back to the value our members can offer a company,” she said. “The fact that they are taking early childhood development classes to better work in the baby products aisle and are interested in taking Spanish as a second language to better help customers, that is something that should be valued.”

 Are you a UFCW member interested in learning more about these discounts and educational opportunities?

Learn More About:

Language Training GED Courses Discounts Free College Degree

February 27, 2018

UFCW cake decorator shows how to make shamrock cupcakes

Just in time for St.Patrick’s Day, UFCW Local 23 member and expert cake decorator Carolyn shows you how to create easy shamrock cupcakes. All you need are some basic decorating tools, icing, and food coloring!

What you’ll need:

  • A pastry bag with #805 tip
  • White buttercream frosting
  • Green buttercream frosting
  • Cupcakes

“With the proper tips, you can make these in no time at all!”
– Carolyn 

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 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 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
COLORADO: Queso dip
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
MISSISSIPPI: Sweet potato shepherd’s pie

MONTANA: Buttermilk biscuits
NEBRASKA: Chicken wings
NEVADA: Cake pops
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
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 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.”

December 25, 2017

Thank you for your hard work this holiday season

For those of us fortunate enough to be able to sit down and spend time with our loved ones, let’s pause to be thankful for the holiday heroes whose hard work and dedication help make possible the traditions and warm memories we make year after year.

UFCW members are the heart behind the holiday brands we’ve all come to love—brands like Butterball, Boar’s Head, Hanover, Reddi-Wip. For those who work in food processing, their knowledge and expertise help ensure the turkey that makes its way to your grocery store has been properly prepared and is safe to eat, and their skilled quality control makes sure Stove Top Stuffing and Marie Callender’s pies will taste just like you remembered.

UFCW members also sacrifice time with their families to keep Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Giant, and so many other union grocery stores open during the holidays. We know they’ve saved countless holiday feasts from disaster by making sure families across America can make that last minute run to the grocery store if they need to.

For those of us fortunate enough to be able to sit down and spend time with our loved ones, let’s pause to be thankful for the holiday heroes whose hard work and dedication help make possible the traditions and warm memories we make year after year.

From our family to yours, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.



December 4, 2017

UFCW members make the holidays happen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! For the hardworking men and women in our union family, it’s also a super busy time.

They’re serving customers and families in their communities–not just in grocery stores but across all our industries–to make the holidays happen.

Are you a member making the holidays happen? Share with us on our Facebook page.

UFCW members make the holidays happen

October 16, 2017

UFCW member spotlight: Amy Rozny, pharmacy technician at Jewel Osco

“I started in high school. I applied and did a training course through Jewel Osco to become certified to become a pharmacy tech.

I love my job. I get to work with people every day and you always learn something new.

My advice to anyone who wants to become a pharmacy tech is to ask a lot of questions. No question is a dumb question. Before here, I worked at a pet store, because I’m an animal lover, and a garden center, because I love plants. When I started, I didn’t know anything about pharmacy. You learn through asking questions. “

Amy Rozny, UFCW Local 881
Pharmacy technician for 8 months
Jewel Osco #3296 in Chicago, IL

July 21, 2017

Twelve lawmakers call for review of Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition


If you’ve been following retail news over the past month, you know the industry has been buzzing with concerns about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods since their announcement in June. Now a dozen members of congress are calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in a letter sent on July 20th:

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Chairwoman Ohlhausen:

We are writing to express our concerns regarding the proposed merger between Whole Foods and Amazon. While we do not oppose the merger at this time, we are concerned about what this merger could mean for African-American communities across the country already suffering from a lack of affordable healthy food choices from grocers.

This merger should be scrutinized beyond the normal antitrust review process that only examines the competitive impact. It should also include a careful review of the impact further consolidation will have on the communities representing many of the “food deserts” across the nation. As you know, the USDA defines Food Deserts as “parts of the country void of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthy whole foods, and usually found in impoverished areas.” Many of these areas are populations we represent. Therefore, we hope you consider whether this merger will contribute to increasing rather than reducing the number of food deserts, and potentially increasing health disparities for African-Americans and the poor.

Good nutrition is critical for good health, and the purpose of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is to “provide nutrition for those who

can’t afford it.” Increasing retail food availability is a key element in changing the social conditions of low-income Americans. We are concerned that the proposed merger potentially may exacerbate the food divide among vulnerable populations, including the 41 million SNAP recipients, particularly those in low-income and rural communities.

SNAP recipients currently are unable to use their benefits to buy groceries online, but they may be able to do so in the not-too-distant future. The Department of Agriculture is preparing to roll out ten pilots that will allow some SNAP customers to use their electronic benefit transfer, or EBT cards, with online retailers – a trial called for in the 2014 farm bill. In January, Amazon was selected as one of the companies to conduct a pilot across three states: New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. Amazon’s current grocery delivery service, Fresh, requires a monthly fee of $14.99 and is only available to Amazon Prime members.

Another concern is the declining presence of retail stores due to the growth of online shopping. Amazon wields considerable power in online retailing with its platform capturing nearly 45% of all online spending. In the past few months, several major retailers have announced the closure of hundreds of stores nationwide. Many of the communities we represent may feel the impact of these announced closures.

While Whole Foods may have a limited presence in many of our districts, further consolidation may force grocers may who have a strong brick-and-mortar presence in our communities to respond to this merger. As a result, it is possible these grocers will consolidate further and close stores that offer any, or the only, option to low-income communities.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you to address these concerns and others as your agency evaluates the benefits and challenges a Whole Foods/Amazon national footprint could bring to the food retailing industry and communities across the nation.

Marcia L. Fudge
Member of Congress

Additional Signatures on File: Rep. Donald Payne (NJ); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ); Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY); Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (MS); Sen. Corey Booker (NJ); Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL); Rep. Val Demings (FL); Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver II (MO); and, Rep. Barbara Lee (CA).

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.


The letter echoed concerns voiced three days earlier by UFCW International President Marc Perrone, who also called on the FTC to review the acquisition:

Dear Commissioners:

Because of the impact of online shopping, technology, and automation, our economy and the retail grocery landscape is changing dramatically. As such, the very definition of how mergers, such as the proposed Amazon and Whole Foods merger, would impact grocery competition, customer choice, the price of goods, and, especially hard-working retail workers must be rethought. While traditional analysis may discount the threats that would arise from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is not a traditional retailer or grocer.

By any and every reasonable measure, Amazon is an online retail monopoly. The scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores. More significantly, the scope of Amazon’s reach and the very nature of our economy today, does not limit their impact to the digital retail landscape. The fact is that Amazon is more than a digital retail monopoly; rather, it is a retail monopoly that threatens every corner of our nation’s economy.

We urge you to consider, for example, the facts of Amazon’s growing unfair scope and reach:

According to a 2016 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, half of all online shopping searches start directly on Amazon.

That same report states that within five years, 20 percent of the U.S.’s $3.6 trillion retail market will have shifted online, and Amazon is on track to capture two-thirds of that share.

Additionally, a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners last week estimated total U.S. Prime membership at 85 million, which is up 35 percent from the year-ago quarter and double from two years ago. CIRP also noted that 63 percent of U.S.-based Amazon customers are Prime members.

In terms of impact, Amazon arguably poses a greater threat to our retail economy than any other online or traditional brick and mortar grocer. Again, we urge each commissioner to consider the following impacts:

  • Hurts Consumers: Amazon’s proposed merger of Whole Foods will hurt consumers by allowing their national economic power to gain unfair advantage with suppliers. As a result, not only may consumer prices increase, the quality and scope of products may be impacted. While Whole Foods may have 460 stores worldwide, the reality is that the very nature of Amazon’s size allows them to unfairly compete against small and medium-sized grocers when it comes to the purchase of goods.
  • Hurts Choice: Amazon’s reach will ultimately reduce the number of grocery competitors that consumers can choose from. Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.
  • Hurts Hard-Working Men and Women: The FTC is a public agency, and it must consider the impact that any merger will have on consumers and workers. Amazon’s online business model is built on a brutal foundation of automation to cut costs. If this merger proceeds, it could impact thousands of Whole Foods workers’ jobs simply for the sake of enriching one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals – Jeff Bezos.
  • Job Destroying Automation: Amazon has made its competitive vision clear with the introduction of its Amazon Go format, which eliminates nearly every grocery worker in its stores, and replaces them with automation and automated check stands.  Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. 

We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.


Marc Perrone