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Working Together to Keep Our Union Strong – A Word from UFCW International President Marc Perrone

wTomPriceMartinRosasL2When I think of what makes our union family strong, there are a lot of people who make an incredible difference every single day in the lives of our members, but dare I say that, you, our stewards, are truly an amazing and special part of this family.

It is not easy to capture in words the critical role you all play for the UFCW. You are truly the heart and soul of this union. You are our face and voice not just in the workplace, but also in your communities. Every single day, you make our union better, our employers better, and you improve the lives of countless of hard-working families.

You not only do your own job, you embrace the higher responsibility of caring for the concerns of your coworkers and the community. You sacrifice time away from friends or from your own family – all to help others. Again and again, you stand up for what is right and fight to make a difference.

The truth is we ask a lot of you, more than I wish we had to, but every single day and night, you stand up and deliver. I want you to know that I will never forget that. We will never forget that. And, most importantly, you should never forget that!

We may judge our lives by many ways, but when our dawn comes, and we must ask ourselves what difference we made in our lives, and the lives of others, you can proudly stand up and say with one loud voice that I was a member of the UFCW; I made a difference; and, I made people’s lives better!

No matter the plant or the store, it is because of what you do that our union family has the opportunity to negotiate better contracts, organize more members, improve safety, fight discrimination, and provide justice across the workplace

Looking ahead, no matter the challenge we may face, we will face as great family does – standing together.

Be proud of what you do and the impact you have. Share your positive stories with family and friends, whether they are union members or not. Post them on your Facebook page or on social media. Let your community know the good you and the UFCW does every single day.

Finally, if there is anything that I, or the International, can be doing better, if you have an idea on how we can organize or negotiate better, please share your ideas at ideas@ufcw.org. I truly want to hear your ideas and opinions because the simple truth is that only by working together we will make the UFCW even stronger.

Again, my sincere thank-you for what you do for our union family.

Marc

Marc Perrone is the International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

 

After Serving Our Country in the Marines, Local 227 Member Continues to Serve in His Union

Jeff, center, pictured with fellow Local 227 members and UFCW 227's 2015 endorsed candidate for Governor Jack Conway

Jeff, center, pictured with fellow Local 227 members and UFCW 227’s 2015 endorsed candidate for Governor Jack Conway

This week, as Memorial Day approaches, we are honoring the memory of those who have fallen defending our country and its freedom. By spotlighting UFCW members who have served in our country’s military or who give their time to help those who have, we hope to continue the legacy of the heroes who have passed on.

Below is the story of Local 227 member Jeff Pleasant:

Jeff Pleasant always looked up to his uncle who was a marine. So, when he turned 16 he signed the papers to join and went to boot camp at 17 years old. Looking back on his 12 years of service to our country, Jeff explains, “The marines taught me to look after one another. Even though we always strived for success, it was important to reach back and pull someone else along too.”

After the marines Jeff had various law enforcement jobs where he had a union, but he never really got involved. Jeff became a member of UFCW 227 in 2006 when he went to work for JBS in Louisville, KY.

One day, frustrated with a co-worker, Jeff brought his complaint to the Chief Union Steward Kevin Diale. Jeff remembers Kevin explaining to him that as union members we look out for each other and if we have a problem we resolve it together. Jeff remembers, “That was the day I made the connection. The values that I learned in the marines were the same values of the labor movement. We’re always looking out for each other.”

After being a member for 4 years, Jeff decided he wanted to become a Steward because of his shared values with our union. He served as a Steward for 3 years before being elected by his fellow union member to become Assistant Chief Steward. A year later he was elected Chief Steward.

During his time as a Steward, Jeff got involved in his local union’s political program and signed hundreds of members up for the Active Ballot Club. He also traveled across the state of Kentucky supporting Wal-mart workers in their courageous fight to stand up for their rights. No matter what Jeff was doing he was always looking out for not just union members, but everyone around him in general.

Around 18 months ago, Jeff became a Union Representative for UFCW 227. Now, he uses the values the marines taught him to make our union strong, “For our union to be stronger we have to band together.”

 

Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Training Program Provides Great Opportunity for Union Leaders and Staff, Community Activists

Adapted from the AFL-CIO

photo from AFL-CIO

photo from AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO Bonnie Ladin Union Skills Training Program (BLUS) 2015 classes are now open for registration.

The program is designed for union leaders, staff and community activists and offers intensive hands-on training around the areas of collective bargaining; organizing; arbitration and grievance handling; leadership for new union officers; strategic campaigns for contracts; teaching techniques; and best financial practices.

Taught by a group of experienced instructors, the BLUS program brings together rising union activists and community allies with the end goal of helping participants to better serve their unions and communities.

The classes cover many aspects of union training, such as writing contract language, arbitration, and organizing.

Most classes are held at the MITAGS training center in Linthicum, MD. MITAGS is close to BWI Airport, Amtrak, and I-95. Free shuttle service is offered to and from the airport and train station.

For more information, visit aflcio.org/union-skills.

This is a great opportunity for UFCW Locals and members to get more involved in their union, workplace, and community.