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Marc Perrone Elected President of 1.3 Million Member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

Says by uniting together, we can give workers the opportunities they deserve

UFCWnewsCHICAGO, IL—Today, Marc Perrone, a labor leader who has committed four decades to fighting for hard working families, was elected International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

As a proud leader and member of the UFCW, Perrone has long fought to organize more members, bargain the best contracts possible, and hold irresponsible corporations accountable. His values as a labor leader have been defined by the belief that every worker has the right to a decent living, a reliable schedule, quality affordable health care, and respect on the job.

“The choice we face today is whether we will stand together and build an economy that lifts up all families, or watch as even more workers fall further behind and struggle to make ends meet,” Perrone said. “Cynics may believe that these divisions and inequities are irreversible. I do not. We, as a union, do not. I strongly believe that by uniting together we can give workers across North America the opportunities they deserve.”

Beginning today, Perrone will spend the coming weeks and months meeting with UFCW members throughout the United States and Canada. As part of this listening tour, Perrone will have one on one conversations, visit worksites, and utilize digital and social media platforms to engage with union members and hear their thoughts and ideas on how the UFCW can grow even stronger.

“The ideas to build a stronger union do not lie within any one individual,” Perrone said. “They lie within all of us. They lie in the collective wisdom and strength of 1.3 million UFCW members who work hard every day to support their families. I want to hear their ideas. I want to hear their vision. I want to hear what we can all do to become an even greater and stronger union for the decades ahead.”

Perrone will be succeeding retiring International President Joe Hansen.

Hansen started as a meatcutter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1962 and used his experience as a rank and file union activist to help lift up UFCW members and all workers. Hansen was elected International President in 2004 and helped steer the UFCW through a Great Recession, the flood of corporate money into politics, the single greatest legislative attack on labor in history, and the rise of income inequality.

“Even in the face of unprecedented challenges, Joe Hansen never lost sight of our members,” Perrone said. “His commitment and dedication to the hard-working men and women we represent will never be forgotten.”

During his tenure, Hansen increased union density in meatpacking and processing, formed important global labor alliances, and helped lead the labor movement’s positions on comprehensive immigration reform.

* For Perrone’s biography, and the announcement of new UFCW officers, please see below:

Biography of International President Marc Perrone:

Marc Perrone joined the Retail Clerks—which later became the UFCW—in 1971 while working as a courtesy clerk at Weingarten’s food store in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.  Since that time, he has held various positions within the UFCW, including Region 1-Eastern Director and National Director of Strategic Programs, Collective Bargaining and Organizing. For the last decade, he has served as International Secretary-Treasurer, keeping the UFCW on sound fiscal footing in a challenging climate.

New UFCW Officers Elected:

Under the UFCW International Constitution, the International Executive Board is charged with electing a replacement for a vacancy in the office of International President. The UFCW Executive Board consists of 50 International Vice Presidents, primarily local union leaders, and 5 Executive Committee members.

The UFCW International Executive Board also elected former Executive Vice President Pat O’Neill as International Secretary-Treasurer, Esther Lopez as Executive Vice President, and Stuart Appelbaum as Executive Vice President. Paul Meinema currently serves as Executive Vice President and National President of UFCW Canada. Executive Vice President Bill McDonough retired on October 31.

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

 

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Final NLRB Rule to Modernize Union Elections

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) adopting a final rule to modernize union elections.

“When a majority of workers want to form a union, they should be able to do so in a fair and timely fashion. The rule adopted by the NLRB today is an important step in that direction. Too often, anti-worker employers use every trick in the book—including filing frivolous litigation—to delay union elections as they work behind the scenes to sabotage the outcome. This is simply wrong and by adopting this rule, the NLRB is taking a strong stand for workers’ rights. As the nation grapples with record income inequality, more workers need and deserve the protection of a collective bargaining agreement. This rule will help level the playing field and give workers who want to join together in a union a better opportunity to do so.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

FEDERAL LABOR BOARD JUDGE: Walmart Violated Workers’ Rights

20141128 OURWALMART Milpitas CA-9National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge Orders Walmart to Stop its Illegal Threats to Workers in One of Many Expected Decisions against Walmart

Workers, Supporters Say Walmart Must End Its Abuse of Power and Improve Jobs

WASHINGTON — A National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge issued a sweeping decision yesterday against Walmart for its illegal actions against workers at two California stores. The judge is ordering Walmart to immediately stop making intimidating comments to workers who are part of OUR Walmart, the national organization of Walmart workers calling for better jobs at the company.  Six workers will also have illegal disciplinary actions removed from their records for time that they were on strike.

“Walmart cannot continue its abuse of power any longer,” said Raymond Bravo who will have his record cleared of illegal disciplinary action for the time that he was on strike in 2012. “Our families and our communities cannot thrive when companies like Walmart create an economy of low pay, erratic scheduling and illegal threats.”

In reaction to the first strikes in Walmart’s history in 2012, Walmart managers and a top spokesperson began to illegally threaten workers for coming together and calling for better wages, schedules and an end to the illegal treatment of workers. Yesterday’s decision reverses the disciplinary action taken against six striking workers at the Richmond store and addresses threats made by a Walmart manager in the Placerville store that the store would close if too many workers became part of OUR Walmart and the threat made by a manager in the Richmond store that he would “shoot the union.”

In the decision, the Administrative Law Judge notes that “some associates were offended when [Walmart store manager] Van Riper stated ‘if it was up to me, I would put that rope around your neck’ when associate Markeith Washington put a rope around his (Washington’s) to assist with moving a heavy counter.” Workers at the Richmond store sent a letter to the company about this store manager which stated, “By using racist remarks and threats of physical violence towards Associates he has created a work environment that is threatening, harassing and intimidating.”

The decision is the result of one of several local complaints that the Board has prosecuted against the company.  Recently, after OUR Walmart filed a charge on behalf of a fired worker in Texas, Walmart settled the case rather than have it brought to trial.

Additionally, the Board is in the process of prosecuting Walmart in a national complaint that includes counts of illegal firings and disciplinary actions involving more than 70 workers. According to the complaint, managers and the company’s national spokesperson illegally threatened striking workers and took illegal disciplinary actions against workers who were on legally protected strikes.

“The judge’s decision confirms what Walmart workers have known for a long time – the company is illegally trying to silence and intimidate employees who speak out for better jobs,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice. “Walmart is facing increasing outrage from customers, community members and clergy who are standing with Walmart workers bravely calling for an end to abuse of power and for a stronger economy that supports all working families.”

BACKGROUND ON THE NATIONAL COMPLAINT AGAINST WALMART

The Board is in the process of prosecuting Walmart on charges filed just after Black Friday 2012, when Walmart managers escalated their efforts to threaten and discourage workers from going on legally protected strikes. David Tovar, a spokesperson for the company at that time, even went so far as to threaten workers on national television, saying “there would be consequences” for workers who did not come in for scheduled shifts on Black Friday.

Additionally, the complaint covers the illegal firings and disciplinary actions that occurred after 100 striking Walmart workers took their concerns to the company’s June shareholder meeting in Bentonville.

In 2013, American Rights at Work/Jobs with Justice released a white paper documenting Walmart’s extensive and systematic efforts to silence associates. At that time, there were more than 150 incidents in stores across the country, with few signs that Walmart would soon stop targeting those who speak out and act collectively.

 

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.