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UFCW Intl President Marc Perrone on Safeway Albertsons Merger

UFCWnews(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to Safeway’s merger with Albertsons:

“More than 250,000 Safeway and Albertsons workers are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). UFCW members also work for several other Cerberus Capital Management-operated supermarkets across the country, including Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s.

“UFCW members have a history of negotiating union contracts with Safeway, Albertsons and Cerberus Capital Management. Together in their union, these workers have been able to ensure that union grocery jobs are the best jobs in the industry with fair pay, decent benefits, and job security – all the while ensuring that their companies are able to be profitable and successful.

“UFCW members in California stores that were divested by Albertsons are pleased to learn that the grocery store chain Haggen will acquire many Albertsons stores in California. Haggen workers in the Pacific Northwest are also members of the UFCW. UFCW members across the country are looking forward to working with Safeway, Cerberus, and Haggen on issues that pertain to the members and industry. Our members plan to continue to serve their customers and their communities with pride.”

President Obama Urges Strengthening of Unions in His 6th State of the Union Address

 

10868211_10155114870460576_5166872089496852478_nLast night, UFCW members gathered around televisions, logged on to their computers, or followed along on their tablets and smart phones as President Obama delivered his State of the Union Address.

President Obama unveiled a number of proposals aimed at strengthening working and middle class Americans. They included:

  • Strengthening unions and building more worker protections, such as maternity leave and seven days of sick leave for all.
  • Two free years of community college.
  • A call for affordable high-speed internet access.
  • A plan that would provide tax breaks to working and middle class families, paid for by closing loopholes and deductions commonly used by the wealthiest Americans.
  • Providing affordable, high quality childcare for working parents.

As they consumed the speech, UFCW members reacted through texts and social media to what they were hearing, and what else they hoped to see the President mention:

“Raise the minimum wage. Give more tax breaks to households making under 100K a year.” –UFCW Local 8 member

“It’s important for everyone to have the freedom to bargain collectively!” –Pat Preston, Local 400 Member

“The backbone of a strong economy is the working families of the middle class.” –Donovan Jurss

“‘Right to work’ laws lower our standard of living.” –Andrew Meyers

“It’s time for working families to stop carrying the 1% on their backs! The wealthy and big business must pay their fair share!” –Shirley Bennet, Local 75

“Cap CEO salaries.” –Margaret Wolf, Local 75

“We need flexible schedules without penalty of pay loss.” –Maria Rose

“Why do working families need to work 2 to 3 jobs to survive? What happened to the ‘full-time’ job?” –Todd Walters

The economy has improved in six years, but UFCW members are still not feeling the full effects. Worker pay is not growing fast enough, income inequality is rampant, and a college education remains difficult to afford. These issues and more need to be addressed on Capitol Hill and inside State Houses before the state of our union can be considered truly strong.

 

Member Spotlight: Rob Robertson

20150115_164031For our first member spotlight of 2015, we chatted with Local 464-A member Rob Robertson. Rob has been a UFCW member for six years now, starting at Food Town and now working in the Food Service Department at Shoprite in Cliffwood, New Jersey.

Rob says he’s thankful to be a union member, because the benefits he receives at his UFCW shop enable him “to afford my own place and plan a future with my fiance.”

Those union benefits also helped him during a time when he was really in need. A while back, Rob was in a car accident, which left him with injuries, and his car totaled. But thanks to the medical insurance his UFCW job provided, 80% of his bills were covered, even as a part-time employee. Rob also notes that he wouldn’t be able to afford his two prescription medications at a non-union job.

Rob also says that he appreciates the stability and security that his union job provides him. “Food service is my career, and I’ve worked all over the place in the industry,” he says, “but at a restaurant or places like that, a manager can simply tell you to go home during your shift, and that’s that–you get no say or opinion in the matter. But when you have a union job, your manager or supervisor has to consider you, and treat you with respect. I wish that every business would treat the people who work for them with the respect that our union enables them.”

That respect doesn’t just come from management, Rob notes, but coworkers as well. He values the UFCW stewards in his workplace, who he says are there to answer questions and help fellow union members whenever they can.

For those considering working at a UFCW workplace, adds Rob, think about where you see yourself in a few years. “If you want to move up in your career, then join a union–they ensure you can do that,” concludes Rob.

If you want to share your UFCW story with us, visit http://www.ufcw.org/resources/members/share-your-story/

You can also send us a photo of yourself at work, wearing your UFCW gear, or just at home, with your name, store, local, and a quick quote about why you love being a UFCW member, to Submissions@ufcw.org and we may feature you on Instagram! Follow us at @ufcw_international to keep tabs on what else is happening around the union.