War on Workers


UFCW Local 400 Decries Attack on Working Families in West Virginia

L400 RTW LettersLast week, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted 54-46 to approve the Workplace Freedom Act, commonly known as “right to work.”

Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400, issued the following statement in response to the vote:

“Today’s partisan vote by the West Virginia state legislature is a major step backward for working families in West Virginia.

“Our members spent weeks placing calls to delegates and lobbying legislators in both chambers to oppose the bill. We even delivered more than 500 handwritten letters to legislators gathered from members in Kroger stores across the state urging them to oppose ‘right to work.’

“But instead of listening to hard-working men and women that live, work, and vote in West Virginia, the legislature instead chose to bow to pressure from outside special interest groups backed by the infamous, billionaire Koch brothers.

“As a union with members in ‘right-to-work’ states, we know all too well the harm of this anti-worker legislation. Just over the mountains in Virginia, our members already suffer the everyday consequences of ‘right to work’ legislation.

“Our members in Virginia earn as much as $2 less per hour, pay up to five times more out-of-pocket for benefits, and earn up to one week less vacation each year than their brothers and sisters in West Virginia – even working for the same company, doing the same job, with the same experience. The difference? Virginia is a ‘right-to-work’ state.

“This bill has nothing to do with ‘workplace freedom’ and everything to do with diminishing the power of working people to negotiate for a better life. The bottom line is “right to work” will make it much more difficult for hard-working men and women to earn better wages, secure family-supporting benefits, or ensure proper safety in the workplace.

“We look forward to Governor Tomblin’s veto of this dangerous, deceptive legislation, and we will continue to hold our elected leaders accountable to voters and uphold the veto when the bill inevitably returns to the legislature.”

Grocery Worker Retention Act Becomes Law

The following was originally posted by RWDSU


Mayor Bill de Blasio (at desk) signs Grocery Worker Retention Act as RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum (de Blasio’s right) and UFCW/RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso (far right) look on.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday signed the Grocery Worker Retention Act (GWRA) into law. The GWRA provides for a 90-day transition period to eligible employees following a change in ownership of a grocery store.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the city council for passing this important legislation,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “It provides protection for the 50,000 Supermarket workers in New York City – who until now faced a sudden loss of income and benefits when their stores were purchased by new operators. This law provides stability within the grocery industry, protecting workers’ rights and promoting retention while providing for a workforce experienced and knowledgeable in food preparation, health regulations and sanitation procedures. That means that this law will help maintain safe and reliable service to families that depend on their local supermarkets for dietary and nutritional needs.”

The grocery industry makes up a significant portion of New York City’s retail workforce with over 50,000 employees and roughly two-thirds of this workforce coming from immigrant labor. This industry, however, currently suffers from a volatile condition with the eminent merger, closing or the establishment of new ownership of our supermarkets jeopardizing the future of workers and the quality of life of countless communities.

The recent A&P bankruptcy has provided a vivid example of this, rippling through the city with 52 stores impacted throughout the five boroughs including subsidiary brands such as Pathmark, Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium, and Food Basics. Some stores have been closed, others sold or auctioned, or even transformed into non-supermarket entities.

“New owners can’t just discard workers, some of whom may have worked for years at the store, in an effort to lower wages.  The bill also protects our communities by maintaining experienced staff that understand proper sanitation procedures and can maintain health standards.   It’s a common sense approach to bring some stability for workers, consumers and businesses. We thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member I. Daneek Miller for their leadership and the City Council for supporting this important piece of legislation,” Appelbaum added.

UFCW 227 Members Advocate for Workers During “We Are Kentuckians Rally”

UFCW 227 members joined allies and friends in the Kentucky State Capitol on January 5 at the “We Are Kentuckians Rally” for the first day of the legislative session. During the rally, members joined activists from the faith, racial justice, voting rights, environmental rights and LGBTQ communities to share their ideas and visions to help create a better future for working Kentuckians and their families. Kentucky’s new Tea Party Governor Matt Bevin has already made national news by reducing the minimum wage for state workers. He is also revoking the voting rights of almost 200,000 Kentuckians who are convicted felons, but have served their time and are looking to be productive members of society.  227 Rally Group Statue