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Member Spotlight: Towanda Carter

towandaTowanda Carter was recently recognized by UFCW Region 1 for her outstanding service as a union member and for helping her fellow workers, both at her own workplace and elsewhere.

After noticing unfair treatment of workers at her job working at Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens Inc. in 2005, Towanda and her coworkers filed to unionize with the UFCW Local 888. Her strong morale and sense of member engagement among her colleagues helped them win their first union contract in 2006.

Towanda says that working in a metroarea at a non-profit revealed to her how people are often mistreated at work, especially when they are vulnerable. Although she works for a charitable faith-based organization, management had a very anti-union stance.  The Workers were under-paid, demoralized and lacking adequate company health care–leaving many to seek charity care. Many could not provide for their families without assistance from social welfare programs. That’s why Towanda was so adamant about spreading the word about the benefits of being a union member.

Years later, Towanda is a Chief Shop Steward, representing her fellow union members on both the Bargaining and Labor Management Committees. She has also expanded her efforts to help working people throughout her community, not just her own workplace.

As a Medical Coordinator serving the less fortunate for twenty years, Towanda has been a voice of justice for her fellow union members since the beginning. She has seen her coworkers through countless grievances and group grievances, and mediations and arbitrations–all as part of their ongoing struggle to keep their employer accountable to the collective bargaining agreement they all worked so hard for.

Towanda says she was surprised to learn she had been picked to be recognized for a member award, but honored as well. Her advice for other members trying to ensure that workers have respect on the job and at the bargaining table? “Be proactive. Be active!”

Union members and activists like Towanda make our union strong. Standing together, we can all make a difference.

Sign the Petition to Support Bloomingfoods Workers and Their Right to Organize!

Sign the Petition Here to Take Action!

Bloomingfoods Shift Supervisor Natascha Buehnerkemper via https://www.facebook.com/unite.bloomingfoods

Bloomingfoods Shift Supervisor Natascha Buehnerkemper via https://www.facebook.com/unite.bloomingfoods

Workers at Bloomingfoods Market & Deli co-op grocery store in Indiana have been standing together, calling for a recognition and neutrality agreement while they exercise their right to organize, as well as for their employer to stop consulting with anti-union law firms in order to interfere with the workers’ basic rights.

The right of workers to engage in concerted activities in order to try to improve working conditions is a keystone of labor relations, and is guaranteed by the National Labor Relations Act.

The workers at Bloomingfoods are aiming to ensure that their basic worker rights are protected and upheld, so that Bloomingfoods can remain an important part of the community, and reflects the residents’ values of commitment to social justice, equal rights, and sustainability.

One worker at Bloomingfoods has said that she supports the union movement at her workplace because she wants Bloomingfoods to return to its mission of valuing workers–which means fair wages, improved access to benefits, safer working conditions, and “a bit of security in an incredibly insecure environment.”
Jordan, another employee at Bloomingfoods, has been working there for four years. “In my job,” he says, “I see a lot of people working very hard with pride in the things that they do. Many people with families to support. I feel as though a lot of these people are unrecognized throughout the company. After my years spent with this company, I finally feel as though a union is necessary. I have personal reasons, as well as reasons that other people have confided in me, that have led me to believe that this cannot be done alone. These reasons have been confided to me, and not put out in the open, because job security is not something that can be promised without a union backing us up. It is our legal right to unionize, so that should be reason enough to support employees making this decision. But more than that, now is YOUR chance to speak up. My coworkers and I need the community’s support now more than ever. It cannot be done alone, and it cannot be done in silence.”

You can help them by signing a petition, started by a concerned customer, here.

Some of the many people who have signed have expressed why they feel it was important to do so. One signer said:

“Bloomingfoods believes that it has an obligation to ‘educate the community to the economic, social and other beneficial values inherent in organizing community services…’ In that spirit, it would be counter to their mission to obstruct union organization efforts in any way.”

Another agreed that, “Employees anywhere should be able to exercise their right to organize without opposition.”

You can find more information about the Bloomingfoods workers standing up for a voice on the job by checking out their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/unite.bloomingfoods

Community supporters have voiced their concerns on the facebook page as well, noting that they are willing to take their business elsewhere if they employees are not respected. Other co-op workers who have fought to unionize their workplaces have shown support too.

According to an article in the Indiana Daily Student, “Solidarity Forever!” has become the unofficial motto of the workers of Bloomingfoods. It is only through solidarity that the employees and community members that support them can ensure they have a protected voice on the job. 

In an expression of this solidarity, workers of Bloomingfoods have hosted rallies to garner more community awareness and support, with great turnout. We support the employees of Bloomingfoods as they stand together to can make a difference in their workplace!

 


				

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.