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UFCW Members in Ohio Lobby Against Right to Work

Over 100 UFCW members traveled to Columbus to lobby their state legislators against possible right to work legislation.

Over 100 UFCW members traveled to Columbus to lobby their state legislators against possible right to work legislation.

More than 100 members from UFCW Locals 17A, 75, 1059, and RWDSU traveled to Columbus last Wednesday to lobby their state legislators against possible right to work legislation.

“I’m here because I’m afraid that they’re going to pass right to work and take so much away from working people,” said Anne Bauer, a seven-year UFCW member from Local 75 who works at the Anderson Township Kroger. “The lower wages, the lack of safety, having no voice on the job – it’s horrible. I have to be here to fight for my coworkers, my friends, and my family.”

Many members spoke about the importance of ensuring the people they elected followed through on campaign promises.

“We have to be here to hold politicians accountable,” said Terry Payne, a Local 1059 member who has been at Kroger for 10 years. “We elect them and by being here we’re able to ensure that they’re supporting us. The legislators I’ve talked with have been very receptive. I was encouraged.”

One of the most important reasons for members to lobby is to share their personal stories with legislators which always make a more lasting impact. Roberta Greaver, a UFCW Local 75 member who has worked at Kroger for 35 years, told the legislators she spoke with about her experience visiting one of the company’s stores in the right to work state of Tennessee.

“These legislators don’t fully understand right to work and I’m happy to be here explaining it to them. I’ve seen what this law has done in Tennessee – there is a tremendous difference between their stores and ours here in Ohio. Their benefits are about half and their pay scale is less. After visiting Tennessee, I was so happy to be in Ohio. The Ohio legislature has to understand how much right to work will hurt workers.”

David Becker, a UFCW Local 1059 member who has worked at Meijer in Toledo for five years, said the lobby day motivated him to become more involved in his union and politics.

“When it comes to right to work, everyone should be here. We’re squeezed enough trying to buy food and pay our rent – legislators have to understand that right to work will only make that more difficult. I plan on coming to lobby days as often as I can.”

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Senate Vote Blocking Paycheck Fairness Act

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C.Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would stiffen penalties for corporations that discriminate against women.

“The average woman still makes only 77 cents for every dollar a man does. Over the course of their working lives, this means women earn between $400,000 and $2 million less than if they received equal pay for equal work. This is not just a women’s issue–it’s a family issue. Women are now the primary or only breadwinner in 40 percent of households. When women bring home less money it makes it harder for families to afford groceries, rent, and other necessities. The UFCW has long had equal pay provisions in its contracts. But our members know that all workers deserve fair pay. Senate Republicans should stop blocking this common sense legislation.”

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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.

UFCW JBS Workers Lobby to Protect Workers in the Beef and Pork Industries

UFCW JBS workers met with USDA/GIPSA Administrator Larry Mitchell along with numerous members of Congress to lobby for meatpacking workers.

UFCW JBS workers met with USDA/GIPSA Administrator Larry Mitchell along with numerous members of Congress to lobby for meatpacking workers.

Last week, UFCW JBS beef and pork workers traveled to Washington, D.C. for a series of lobby days to advocate for workers who are facing hardships in the meatpacking industry. Members from UFCW Locals 7R, 227, 293, 435, 540, 951, 1149, 1161, 1473, and 1776 visited with White House staff, numerous members of Congress, the DOL, and also the USDA.

During their sessions with congressmen and department officials, workers shared their stories of how they are negatively impacted by cattle shortages due to the severe drought, and hog shortages because of the PED virus.

“We’re used to working 50-60 hours a week. Now because of the drought we’re seeing a lot less work because there just aren’t enough cattle to slaughter,” said Tim Gavaldon, a JBS beef plant worker from Greeley, Colo., and member of UFCW Local 7R. “It’s really taking a toll on workers and our communities are hurting financially.”

Workers lobbied for members of Congress to support a new drought relief bill. The California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 (S. 2016) was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and includes a section covering emergency supplemental agriculture disaster appropriations for agricultural and migrant farm workers. The bill would provide funds for food, rental assistance, and utilities. UFCW members advocated for similar legislation to be introduced so it includes not just farm workers, but meatpackers and food processors as well.

Workers also expressed their concern about a new healthcare plan that JBS is proposing. At a time when workers are already struggling because of reduced hours, JBS is proposing a substandard health plan that will double, or even triple the health costs for workers. If the new plan goes into effect, the costs are so high that a family could become bankrupt if they decide to have a baby or if there is a medical emergency.

“We came to Washington, D.C., to stand together and tell people on Capitol Hill that the new plan is unacceptable. This new health plan could mean financial ruin for workers and their families. We work hard to help make JBS a profitable company and now they are trying to push this on us for extra profits,” said Ramon Sanchez, a JBS beef plant worker form Cactus, Texas and member of UFCW Local 540.

UFCW JBS workers from across the country will continue to stand together and support each other until they are back to operating at full time and also fight for a fair health plan that protects workers.