War on Workers

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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/.

UFCW Announces Strong Opposition to Fast Track and the TPP

President Perrone calls for bipartisan opposition and says largest private sector union in the nation “will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers”

WASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today penned an op-ed in The Hill announcing his strong opposition to fast track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The UFCW supported the last major trade agreement with Korea because of its improved labor standards and potential to create 20,000 jobs in the meat sector. But in his op-ed, Perrone makes clear that this time is different.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement,” he writes. “It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.”

In the piece, Perrone ties unfair tpp-5trade deals directly to the declining standard of living for hard-working families. “Income and economic inequality has grown to historically high levels,” he writes. “Industry consolidation, fueled by unchecked global competition, has led to countless jobs being lost. Good union jobs have been decimated across nearly every state and replaced by either no job, or non-union jobs that barely pay above minimum wage.”

Perrone is also strongly critical of the TPP’s provisions to roll back labor, consumer, and environmental protections and the fact that it is being put together “with the advice and counsel of hundreds of corporate special interests with absolutely no input from labor or other groups that fight on behalf of the working and middle classes.”

“Given all that we know, how any elected official, Democrat or Republican, can support TPP is inexplicable,” he writes.

Perrone issues a warning to both political parties, calling on every member of Congress to oppose the TPP and the fast-track legislation that would make it possible to pass the TPP.

“In the end, while we may not be able to change every mind, we will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers by voting for jobs and against another destructive trade deal,” he writes. “More to the point, we join with the AFL-CIO and other unions that refuse to support any member of Congress that decides to put narrow self-interests above the interests of hard-working families.”

The full op-ed is linked here and pasted below.

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

 

April 15, 2015, 02:00 pm

Trans-Pacific Partnership will harm middle and working class Americans

By Marc Perrone

Four years ago, after careful consideration, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) decided to endorse the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, making us one of the only labor unions to do so. We viewed the Korea deal—which had improved labor standards and was estimated  to create over 20,000 jobs in the meat sector, as a small, but not insignificant, step forward on global trade policy. As the union that represents hundreds of thousands of meatpacking and food processing workers, we support fair trade agreements that open up new markets to sell UFCW-made products abroad.

This time it’s different. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement. It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.

The truth is as we’ve heard during past trade debates, many Republicans and even some Democrats, repeatedly say that the TPP won’t hurt families or communities, or devastate industries, unions, or the middle and working classes.

America’s families know from experience the brutal reality will be quite different.

Over the last three decades, in large part because of bad trade deals, Americans have worked harder than ever, while wages remain stagnant.  Income and economic inequality has grown to historically high levels. Industry consolidation, fueled by unchecked global competition, has led to countless jobs being lost. Good union jobs have been decimated across nearly every state and replaced by either no job, or non-union jobs that barely pay above minimum wage.

As for the TPP, while a bipartisan chorus will sing the praises of this trade deal, they choose to ignore the truth that it is America’s working men and women, not them, who will pay the price as irresponsible corporations justify future cuts to wages, hours, and jobs–all in the name of “international competition.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the TPP goes even further by rolling back regulations that could be construed as a “barrier to trade,” which includes environmental, consumer, and labor protections. And, if there were any remaining doubts, this massive trade deal, which will impact tens of millions of American jobs, has been put together in secret, with the advice and counsel of hundreds of corporate special interests with absolutely no input from labor or other groups that fight on behalf of the working and middle classes.

Given all that we know, how any elected official, Democrat or Republican, can support the TPP is inexplicable.

So, on behalf of the 1.3 million hard-working men and women of the UFCW, we are calling on every member of Congress to oppose the TPP and the fast-track legislation that would make it possible to pass the TPP.

Let me be very clear, no elected official, regardless of political party, who is truly interested in making the economy better and fairer, can responsibly support the TPP. Simply put, this trade deal, like so many others, is bad for our workers, families, and shared future.

In the end, while we may not be able to change every mind, we will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers by voting for jobs and against another destructive trade deal. More to the point, we join with the AFL-CIO and other unions that refuse to support any member of Congress that decides to put narrow self-interests above the interests of hard-working families.

Marc Perrone is International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).