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It’s Officially Fall! Jump on the Pumpkin-Flavored Bandwagon with Union-Made products!

Although grocery stores have been trying to convince us it’s been fall for weeks now, today marks the official start of fall, or the Autumnal Equinox.

You may have noticed that there’s been a craze for Pumpkin Spice this, and pumpkin-flavored that in stores everywhere–with new pumpkin and fall-flavored or scented products popping up left and right.

Why not embrace the trend by finding union-made stuff? Below, we’ve provided a fun fall list of ideas to help satisfy your pumpkin product cravings:

 

-Stop in you local Safeway and purchase a Pumpkin Spice Latte from the UFCW Safeway Starbucks baristas! Safeway-Starbucks-2

 

-Pick up some union made beer, like Mendocino Pumpkin Ale or Michelob Pumpkin Spice Ale

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-Indulge in some seasonal union-made chocolate, like Ghirardelli Pumpkin Spice Caramel Squares, or Hershey’s Candy Corn or Pumpkin Spice kisses

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-Use Food Club canned pumpkin (UFCW product) or buy Kroger brand pumpkin puree from PB010413 UFCW members at Kroger for all your fall baking needs!

 

-Relax with some UFCW-made Gonesh Fragrances incense sticks in seasonal scents, like “Spirit of Autumn” or “Halloween” halloween

 

-Bake a union-made pumpkin recipe, like Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake!

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages of Horizon or President Choice cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of Domino Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Kroger or other union lable vanilla extract
  • 2 union-label eggs, like Horizon
  • 9 in. prepared graham cracker crust from union-label grocery store
  • 1/2 cup Kroger brand pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Giant brand or other union-label frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

1) In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.

2) Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.

3) Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

 

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: An Interview with Esther R. Lopez, International Vice President and Director of the UFCW’s Civil Rights and Community Action Department   

Esther LopezAs part of the our ongoing celebration of Hispanic Heritage month, we sat down with UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department Esther Lopez to talk about the important relationship of the Labor movement and the achievements and contributions made by Hispanics.

 

What does your Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you? 

There are nearly 53 million Hispanics in America.  It is an opportunity to acknowledge, affirm and celebrate the contributions of Hispanic communities across America.   One of my favorite quotes is “diversity is a blessing not a burden,” and Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration of diversity.

 

How and why did you become involved with the labor movement?

If you have a vision for a future of opportunity and hope, then you see a future where all workers can join a union.  Unions are the difference between working families that thrive and working families that merely survive.   Unions are especially critical to Hispanic workers – workers earn more, are more likely to have health insurance, and less likely to get injured on the job.  Unions are essential to our future progress.

I connected with the labor movement as a volunteer in high school.  We were working to register and move Hispanic voters to the polls. Because I was bilingual, I did phone banking.  There was no turning back.

 

Immigration reform is an important issue for the Hispanic community.  What is the Civil Rights and Community Action Department doing in terms of helping workers get started on the pathway to civic participation and citizenship in preparation for the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill?

Nearly 9 million individuals are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.  The Union Citizen Action Network (UCAN) is a program to assist legal permanent residents to become U.S. citizens.  We are training members, stewards, union staff, and community and faith allies to assist UFCW members to apply for naturalization.   We are expanding access to affordable legal services by building strong partnerships with affordable legal providers.

Our goal is for UFCW members to see our union as the first place to get accurate and timely information about immigration issues.  I believe the workplace is the space where immigrant and refugees become fully integrated into our overall community.

 

As one of the highest ranking Hispanic leaders at the UFCW, what suggestions do you have for other Hispanics who want to become more involved in the labor movement?

Hispanic workers are the fastest growing sector of the workforce, and Hispanic members are over 25% of our union.  We have a very special responsibility to grow the labor movement and to grow our union.   There is something profoundly powerful about workers coming together to make decisions about their workplace.  In short, it means we become active members of our union.
How would you say union membership helps to narrow the income and equality gap—something that disproportionately affects Latinos and other minorities?

The evidence is indisputable.  If you are a member of a union, you earn more, have better benefits and more job stability.   Low-wage, non-union jobs are a sentence to poverty – and this is why we have to talk about the difference between union jobs and non-union jobs at our dinner tables and churches and to politicians and community leaders.  More importantly, we have to organize workers.

 

Finally, why is Hispanic Heritage Month so important to you and do you have any favorite union-made Hispanic heritage family recipes that you would like to share?

Let’s celebrate diversity in the workplace.  I invite UFCW members to use Hispanic Heritage Month to create opportunities to share our racial, ethnic and cultural richness with their coworkers. Organize an event where we can learn and share history and culture with each other.  Invite coworkers to community events.

And all cultures have their version of “fried dough” – and let’s face it – it is delicious.  So here goes mine.   We call them “sopapillas” (so-pa-pi-yas).

Union Made Sopapillas

1 pkg Red Star dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup milk (plenty of union-made choices, like President Choice)

4 tbsp Domino sugar

1 tbsp Morton salt

2 tbsp Land O’Lakes butter

3 c Gold Medal flour

About 2 inches of any cooking oil, like La Preferida

 

Soften yeast – set it aside.

Combine milk, sugar and salt – bring to boil

Remove from heat – stir in butter – cool to lukewarm.

Stir in beaten egg, add yeast, gradually add flour,

Cover dough with cloth – allow to rise to about double in size – about an hour.

On floured board knead until dough is smooth,

Let rest for 15 minutes.

 

Roll to about nearly 1/2 inch and cut into 2 inch squares,

Heat oil to about 350 – make sure oil is nice and hot.

Cook sopapillas a few at a time – browning on one side and turning once.  They will puff up.

 

Drain and serve with honey or powdered sugar. I like honey.

 

 

To share your own stories of Labor and Hispanic heritage, or your favorite union-made recipes, hit us up on facebook or tell us here: http://www.ufcw.org/resources/members/share-your-story/

 

Market Basket Workers Secure a Win For CEO – But The Best Guarantee For Workers Is a Union

10563144_10150570831129945_3415508911030324359_nFor the past few months, it’s been hard to escape news about the unprecedented actions of employees at the New England grocery chain Market Basket, who risked their jobs to stand up for their ousted CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas.

After feuding within the family-owned chain’s leadership, “Arthur T.” as he was known by Market Basket workers, was ousted from his position. This set off the chain of events in which workers demanded his return, saying that under his leadership, Market Basket provided good jobs.

Now, in what is being touted as a huge worker victory, Arthur T. has been reinstated as head of Market Basket.

However, upon closer look, Market Basket workers still may not be in the best position. A recent In These Times article points out that:

“Looking closer at much of the glowing press about Demoulas’ management style reveals that many of his most vocal supporters are managers, even senior management. The testimonials at We are Market Basket come almost entirely from management.

According to Dennis Desmond, a part-time night cleaner at Market Basket Store 48 in Haverhill—whose hours, like those of all the part-time workers, were cut to zero during the strike—management helped coordinate the action. ‘At my facility, and at the [New Hampshire] facility, employees were paid [by management] to hold protest signs,’ he told In These Times in an email.”

This information begs the question: If rank and file workers are being told not to report to work by their direct supervisors, are they really on strike? It also makes the outcome of the strike’s outcome a bit cloudier–who benefits from the worker action?

And UFCW member Jeff Goldhaber has worked for the Stop & Shop supermarket chain, also New England-based, for 21 years, and works full-time. He recently told Labor Notes about his experience talking with Market Basket workers:

“For the last week or so, I’ve been speaking with workers from Market Basket stores. What I heard from these hourly workers was very different than what you hear in the press from striking managers.

These workers are very dedicated to their customers and their jobs. However, they are also outright scared about what the future holds for them, their families, and the company they all seem to like working for.

The majority are part-time and have been laid off during this struggle. Without paychecks, some have had no money coming into their households.

Talking to these workers, I realized the movement to ‘Save Artie T.’ and the movement to ‘Save Market Basket’ were never quite the same thing.”  

To see Jeff’s full testimony, about why having a union has made his job at Stop and Shop, as well as 45,000 other brothers and sisters, a good job–and why it would do the same for Market Basket, click here.

The In These Times piece says that:

“These questions—as-yet unanswered by the media and the campaign’s most vocal employee representatives—are why it’s important for observers on the Left to take care when referring to Market Basket ‘workers.’ Normally, when progressives discuss labor disputes, those in charge are clearly labeled as management. In the case of Market Basket, managers’ decision to take industrial action has led the media to recast them as ‘workers,’ although they still wield power over rank-and-file workers and enjoy significantly higher compensation and benefits. And while laid-off managers and full-timers immediately got their jobs back from Arthur T., part-timers received no assurance that their hours would be fully restored.

The obvious counterbalance to managers who may or may not have the workers’ best interests at heart is a union.”

None of this undermines the fact that workers stood together, and achieved something huge when they stood up for their rights. As the UFCW said in an earlier statement, “Market Basket workers have an unassailable right to engage in collective action in defense of their benefits and working conditions. These workers deserve a guarantee that their livelihoods will not be jeopardized by a change in management.”

To truly guarantee those rights, Market Basket workers could stand together, just as they have been doing – this time to form a union at Market Basket. The UFCW has listened to the concerns of hundreds of Market Basket workers who have reached out to us through our local offices, our websites, and through social media. With the support of UFCW members at Stop and Shop, we have been helping workers weigh their options going forward. The UFCW will continue talking to any workers who are interested in bargaining to gain more meaningful assurances from Market Basket that their families will not suffer through another lay-off because of a future family feud.