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UFCW Local 555 President Dan Clay: This trade deal may help Nike, but it won’t help workers in Oregon

TPP-6Portland, OR—Today, Dan Clay, President of UFCW Local 555, the largest private sector union in Oregon, released the following statement concerning President Obama pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal in a speech at Nike headquarters in Beaverton.

“It is very disappointing to see President Obama push a trade deal that will hurt hard-working Oregonian families. To do so by visiting Nike, a company with a long history of sending jobs overseas and exploiting workers is a complete insult. Support from companies like Nike and Wal-Mart shows how terribly flawed this trade deal really is.

At a time when we need good jobs and growing income, we are being told to believe in another flawed trade deal, and ignore the self-centered agendas of politicians and irresponsible corporations.

Given the current economic struggles so many men and women in Oregon face, I can’t imagine a worse thing for President Obama to be prioritizing than a fast track trade deal that will widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

We will lose more jobs. We will see more of our businesses close. And, worst of all, working and middle class families in Oregon, whether they are union members or not, will pay the price.

Enough is enough. People in Oregon deserve better than this, and we must all work together to put our hard-working families first.

Every member of the Oregon Congressional delegation should show their commitment to good jobs in Oregon by opposing this bad deal for workers.”

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 online at www.ufcw555.com

We are over 20,000 workers standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family in Oregon and Southwest Washington deserves.

 https://www.facebook.com/UFCWLocal555    @UFCW555

Celebrating UFCW Moms: Local 655 Member Fights Right To Work; Stands Up for Union Rights that Gave Her and Her Daughter Better Life

theresaWith Mother’s Day right around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better time to celebrate the great work that UFCW mothers do, each and every day!

One such union mom, Theresa Hester of UFCW Local 655, recently shared her story of how the union has changed her life in a testimony before the Missouri State Senate to explain why Right to Work laws are wrong:

In 1998, Theresa moved to St. Louis after graduating from high school. That year, she established three goals her herself: continue her education, provide a better living for herself and her young daughter, and get off government assistance.

For a few years, she moved from job to job, but none allowed her to be able to support her daughter the way she wanted – until 2003 when she started working at Shop ‘n Save and became a member of UFCW Local 655.

Unfortunately, that same year, she and her co-workers were forced to go on strike in order to save their healthcare and benefits.  Theresa experienced union solidarity first-hand, saying “we were out there, walking day and night, fighting for the things we needed to support our families. The thing that stood out to me was how united we were on our common issues during that period. I realized the real power of a union is how people come together.”

Theresa has come a long way since that first eye-opening experience and has now been a Local 655 member for 12 years. She says that being a union member has allowed her to raise her daughter in a good environment, and have the flexible scheduling she needs to attend PTA meetings or participate in after school activities with her daughter. “There’s no greater feeling than knowing you can tell your child that you’ll be at their performance, or Christmas party, or whatever the case may be,” she says.

Additionally, Theresa’s union job has enabled her to meet the goals she set for herself years ago. She now lives in North St. Louis in a home she owns and is able to afford. Not only does she no longer need government assistance, she was able to pay for and attend accounting school.

“I know personally the benefits of having a union job and what it does for hardworking families,” Theresa told the state Senate during her testimony. “I’m free to work any place I choose.”

That’s why Theresa has been speaking out about Right to Work laws in her state. When she talks to her co-workers and friends about the legislation, they are very concerned because the proposed law is so confusing, deceptive, and has such potential to hurt hard-working families.

Theresa argues that legislators should be discussing raising the minimum wage, creating jobs that pay living wages, and investing in education and infrastructure. She knows that Right to Work laws create unsafe workplaces, weaken worker power, and diminish the likelihood of workers having a pension or healthcare.

“Because I have a union job, I sleep easier at night knowing I have great benefits, better working conditions, great healthcare, and a voice that someone will hear,” Theresa says. She gives credit to her local union (UFCW Local 655) and the contract she and her co-workers help to negotiate for making that possible.

Our union family wouldn’t be what it is without your brave, strong, and united voices. Are you a UFCW mom, or a member with a story to share? Tell us at http://www.ufcw.org/resources/members/share-your-story/.

New City Ordinance Protects Grocery Workers

L5 Grocery

Last week, the City Council in Alameda, Calif., signed a new ordinance requiring companies purchasing large grocery stores to retain workers for at least 90 days if the stores’ ownership changes. The ordinance will protect the jobs of grocery workers after a sale or transfer takes place for stores that are more than 15,000 square feet. Alameda is home to a dozen grocery stores, and the new rules would cover five of those. As written, the ordinance covers Alameda’s Safeway, Lucky’s, and Nob Hill grocery stores. The ordinance is modeled on a 2005 ordinance passed by Los Angeles lawmakers that survived a state Supreme Court challenge and has also been adopted by San Francisco, Santa Monica and Gardena.

UFCW Local 5 provided testimony during hearings in support of the ordinance and stressed the importance of grocery workers not having to live in fear that they are going to immediately lose their jobs if the stores’ ownership changes.

“Stores change hands frequently in the grocery industry. This ordinance will give us the opportunity to stay on staff with a new employer and continue to provide the public with the quality service and products they are accustomed to and deserve. And it will give us peace of mind that our jobs are safe following a store ownership change,” said Joe McAdams, a Safeway meat cutter and member of UFCW Local 5.

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