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UFCW Members Sound Off on Why Voting in This Election Is So Important!

1836618_10150621440574945_8676524051162735750_oWe asked UFCW members from all around the country why they took a pledge to vote this November 4th in the mid-term elections. Here’s what some of you said:

“To elect candidates who want to protect the middle class, not destroy it.” --Andrew Myers; Swanton, Ohio

“Too many people died to give me this right and it dishonors their legacy for me not to vote.” –Ericka Ferrell; Oxon Hill, Maryland

“Because we need to oust these career corrupt politicians who don’t listen to what we want or need!” –Anthony Giordano; Hamden, Connecticut

“I am voting to protect women’s rights, to protect unions, elderly, students, the environment, voters, the economy and all of the 99%.” –Member from Chillicothe, Ohio

“To stop anti-union candidates!” –Andrew Carillo; Denver, Colorado

“I’m voting this year because I want a governor that is not going to decimate the private sector unions by introducing right to work.” –Donovan Jurss, UFCW Local 1473

“To exercise my right to have my opinion heard and get rid of Mitch” –Jeanelle Fuson; Covington, Kentucky

“I vote every year!!! We need keep Democrats in office!!!!” –Karen; Dalton, Georgia

“Because it’s the right thing to do.” –Leinaala Furtado; Santee, California

“Because it is time to get all the officials elected that care about working people.” –Mary Spicher

“For a better future for my children” –Nikki Rich; House Springs, Montana

“To try to move this country forward–we have been at this road block way too long” –Pam; Spring, Texas

“To make America a better place, and to help the American worker any way I can…go union–keep fighting for America…” –Prisco; Guilford, Connecticut

“To keep the super-rich from completely taking over this country.” –Tom; Feasterville, Pennsylvania

“It takes the entire community to make a change. As a society, if we don’t start picking our leaders more carefully, we will never progress past the sorry state we are in.” –Member from Indianapolis, Indiana

“I’m voting to insure a Democratic victory for this country and the people who are pushed aside and ignored. It’s time to push back.”

“Yes I am [voting]–also doing door knocking and phone-banking.”

“I’m voting because my vote might help to make a difference in the middle class and the lower class in reference to jobs, economy and education.”

 

We couldn’t be more proud of all of our engaged members who will be voting to make a difference in their communities, and standing up for working people! Make sure you cast your vote on November 4th if you haven’t already voted early. You can make sure you have everything you need by heading to our voter information hub!

 

UFCW Local 227 Members Get Out The Vote in Kentucky

Local 227 onpointMembers of UFCW Local 227 are knocking on doors, making phone calls, and visiting worksites in an effort to get out the vote in Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State is home to one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who introduced national right to work, is facing a fierce challenge from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes. Local 227 members Chuck Duckworth, Chawan Morgan, and Abigail Shake—all employees of Kroger—have been working hard to get Grimes across the finish line.

“McConnell has sucked the life out of Kentucky,” said Morgan. “We need a fresh face, some new ideas, and a different direction.”

“Alison Grimes understands our struggles,” Shake agreed. “She’s not Washington—she’s Kentucky.”

McConnell’s support for right to work and the close battle for control of Kentucky House of Representatives has brought the issue of workers’ rights front and center.

“We’re the only southern state that’s not right to work,” Duckworth said. “I think this election is very important to keep it that way.”

“I have job security, health insurance, annual raises, equal pay and so many other benefits,” Shake added. “Right to work would take that away.”

The Local 227 members all talked about the importance of reaching out to their coworkers. “For me to go to a door and see a single mom raising three kids on her own, working a job and doing everything she can to get by, for me to help educate her about how to make life a little easier, that’s what is important,” Shake said.

Or as Morgan put it: “It’s about solidarity—being united and strong.”

Member Spotlight: Jerry Knapp

IMG_7253Recently, long-time UFCW Local 1500 member Jerry Knapp was recognized for his years of active service to his union and fellow union members by Region 1, and was awarded with a member award along with several other members who have made a difference in their workplaces. He was taken aback when he learned he was being recognized, Jerry said, but it was nice to know someone knew he existed. After talking with Jerry, it was clear to us why someone would take notice of Jerry and his time in the UFCW:

Since 1966, Jerry has worked as a union member at Shoprite in Fishkill, New York. Working as a department manager at one time, he is now happily employed as a clerk as he nears retirement. In 1994, Jerry was named the Primary Shop Steward at his store–a role in which he still has today. Jerry says that his job “is a good job because of the union,” and that as UFCW members, he and his coworkers aren’t abused or taken advantage of, and they earn good pay and benefits.

But Jerry knows that these things that make a good union job good are only obtainable when people are active in their unions. Jerry has attended countless area meetings, participated in the negotiating process, and been there to advise fellow members on their rights and responsibilities. Being active and engaged, says Jerry, enables union members to have a say in what happens on the job, to choose your lifestyle, and have your career needs and desires heard, as opposed to working for a non-union company that can make promises and change their minds about policies at the drop of a hat. With a union, he notes, you have the right to go back to the bargaining table.

Not only is Jerry involved in his workplace, but in the wider community and Local as well. Jerry has helped other folks achieve the union difference through his organizing efforts, and he has worked to help elect politicians who will represent and look out for the working people in his area. Jerry’s peers have noted that his work has not only earned him the respect of his coworkers, but of management as well. It’s clear that at the end of this year when Jerry goes into retirement, which will be his 49th year of service in the union, he will be dearly missed at work by all.

His advice for others that want to get more involved in the union is to ask themselves what they think they need or want out of their job or in the workplace, and then go after it. If you don’t take advantage of the power you have as a union member by negotiating or working together, notes Jerry, then you don’t have the right to complain.

“Don’t sit back,” he says. “The union starts with ‘U’!”