Barack Obama


UFCW President Perrone Challenges Members of Congress to Read the TPP in Op-Ed Published in The Hill

TPP Will Congress Pledge to Read_Dome ArtUFCW International President Marc Perrone, wrote an Op-Ed in The Hill that challenges every Member of Congress to pledge that they will read the entire Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) before they vote on it.

The following are excerpts from the Op-Ed:

“What does it take to bring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump together? One terrible trade deal – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The reasoning behind this diverse opposition is simple – the TPP is a massive giveaway to corporate special interests that will give hardworking Americans two things they can’t afford – lost jobs and lower wages.

“To any Member of Congress who truly believes that this trade pact is good for America, we only have one thing to say – read it.

“Members of Congress who support TPP should have the courage to publicly confirm to the people of this country that they have read every word of this massive 6,000 page trade deal before they vote for it.

“Unaccountable trade representatives negotiated the deal in nearly complete secrecy, and it’s clear that corporate lawyers stuffed it full of complicated, dense, legal language that benefits their special interest clients at the expense of everyone else.

“This deal might be good for corporate donors, but for a vast majority of Americans it spells disaster and must be stopped.

“We hazard to guess that not one supporter of TPP in Congress has ever read the full text, which naturally begs the question, why are they planning to vote for it?

“We urge anyone who believes in building a better America to join us in this effort. Simply asking Congress to read a trade bill before they vote on it shouldn’t be too much to ask for.”

UFCW Immigration Work will be Honored in September

imm awardThe UFCW’s immigration programs will be honored by the Center for Community Change at its annual “Change Champion Awards” ceremony on September 17 in Washington, D.C.

Under the leadership of UFCW International President Marc Perrone and UFCW Executive Vice President Esther López, the UFCW is proud to lead the fight for immigration reform through two signature immigration programs which reach all levels of the union and our nation.

The first, known as Union Citizenship Action Network (UCAN), provides members a platform to learn from seasoned immigrants’ rights advocates about the critical skills and tools needed to go through the naturalization process and become U.S. citizens. The second program is designed to help UFCW members get ready for Deferred Action for Parent Arrivals (DAPA).

Representing workers from all over the globe, the UFCW has seen the devastation caused by the broken immigration system in the United States. From ICE raids in meatpacking plants, to the endless threat of deportation, members and immigrant communities across the United States have been failed by the inaction of elected officials. Their deafening silence in the face of exploitative labor practices that have driven down wages, benefits, and the working conditions of all workers only serves to perpetuate a crisis that continues to grow.

Congress has yet to pass legislation, but the UFCW is not sitting back and waiting for politicians to act. Local unions are hosting workshops to help members determine whether they qualify, gather necessary documentation, prescreen their applications, and answer important legal questions. The UFCW is committed to ensuring that when a legal ruling on DAPA is finally rendered, UFCW members will either be ready to file for it or fight for it.

The UFCW is proud to accept this award and is committed to fighting for the rights of all hard-working men and women.

President Perrone in The Hill: Overtime Pay is Long Overdue

OT Rules are UnfairYesterday The Hill published UFCW International President Marc Perrone’s op-ed on the importance of expanding overtime pay to increase the threshold of salaried employees working more than 40 hours a week and not making time-and-a-half pay. You can read the op-ed below:

Every day, millions of hard-working Americans wake up to the realization that they will work more than 40 hours per week, but will not compensated for their hard work. Even though employers have to provide overtime pay to employees who work more than 40 hours per week under the Fair Labor Standards Act, many salaried workers are exempt. While it may be hard to believe that this is still possible, it may have to do with the simple fact that salary threshold for overtime pay has been raised only once since 1975.

How low is the threshold for these workers? The exact threshold is $23,660, which is lower – if you can believe – than the federal poverty level for a family of four. Even worse, because the overtime regulation has not been updated and adjusted for inflation, it has allowed employers to classify workers with salaries as low as $24,000. These are workers that have very low level supervisory authority, even though many will essentially perform the same work as their hourly coworkers. As a result, employers have used this overtime exemption to their advantage by requiring these low level supervisors to work for free after 40 hours. 

Under the new regulation, some workers will no longer be required to work long hours for no pay, and that means they can spend more time at home with their families or they can get paid for the work they do.  Others will get a pay increase in the form of time-and-a-half pay for overtime work. As to be expected, some workers will get a salary bump to exceed the new threshold. And in what could help spur the creation of countless of jobs, hard-working Americans who are struggling in low-wage, part-time jobs may see those jobs converted to full-time work, while some unemployed workers will get a new job when employers increase hiring to “spread the work.” 

While executive actions will not solve the fundamental economic challenges facing millions of families across this country, this new regulation is one of the most significant steps the Obama Administration can take on its own. It will also help cement a basic American value enshrined within the Fair Labor Standards Act that men and women who do the hard work would receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

While it is clear there are many areas our elected leaders must address to truly improve the lives of every hard-working American—such as paid leave, the minimum wage and fair scheduling—one would hope our elected leaders, especially Republican Members of Congress and leadership, would remember that no American in this day and age should ever be exploited simply because they want a job.

Those who oppose this rule change will have difficulty explaining why to their salaried workers in their districts and states, and that’s something to look for as we approach the 2016 election.