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UFCW International Vice President Pat O’Neill Honored for Efforts to Help Walmart Workers

imageLast week, UFCW International Executive Vice President Pat O’Neill was honored by the UMass Dartmouth Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center during their annual awards banquet.

For 35 years, the center has served “as a bridge between working people, their communities, organizations, and UMass Dartmouth.” Their awards and dinner banquet are one of the largest gatherings of labor leaders and activists in the area.

The Southeastern Massachusetts labor movement joined the center in honoring UFCW Executive Vice President and Director of Organizing Pat O’Neill for his work with the UFCW’s Walmart campaigns.

“I am honored to accept it on behalf of the 1.3 million members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union,” said Pat as he accepted his award.

He continued:

Brothers and sisters, we are at crossroads in the labor movement. There is no sugarcoating it.Workers are struggling to make ends meet. More and more families are falling behind. Income inequality is getting worse. Minimum wage workers are living in poverty. Hard working immigrants are still living in the shadows.

But in too many corners of our movement, labor is trying to address 21st century challenges with 20th century solutions. It is not working. Some will tell you we need more time—that things will get back to normal eventually.

I say if you’re heading toward a cliff at 100 miles an hour, you don’t need more time. You need a change in direction. That is why I am so proud of our dynamic and forward-looking Walmart campaign.

There are those who say Walmart is too big, too entrenched, and too powerful. That we don’t stand a chance against the world’s largest retailer.

Every important battle for justice has had its share of naysayers. It is always easier to analyze than to mobilize.

Here is what I believe—when we stand together and work together and fight together and dream together—there is nothing we cannot achieve. Last week, Walmart workers and their allies sent shockwaves across the country. They shut down Park Avenue in front of Alice Walton’s $25 million penthouse. They set up a blockade of K Street in front of the Walton Family Foundation in Washington, DC. And they delivered thousands of petitions to the Phoenix home of Walmart Chair Rob Walton calling on the company to give workers $15 dollars and full-time hours. The media coverage surrounding these events was substantial and a clear message was sent to the Walton family and Walmart executives: workers will not be pushed around.”

UFCW Locals 1455 and  328 were in attendance to support Pat as well.

 

UFCW Members Sound Off on Why Voting in This Election Is So Important!

1836618_10150621440574945_8676524051162735750_oWe asked UFCW members from all around the country why they took a pledge to vote this Novemeber 4th in the mid-term elections. Here’s what some of you said:

“To elect candidates who want to protect the middle class, not destroy it.” --Andrew Myers; Swanton, Ohio

“Too many people died to give me this right and it dishonors their legacy for me not to vote.” –Ericka Ferrell; Oxon Hill, Maryland

“Because we need to oust these career corrupt politicians who don’t listen to what we want or need!” –Anthony Giordano; Hamden, Connecticut

“I am voting to protect women’s rights, to protect unions, elderly, students, the environment, voters, the economy and all of the 99%.” –Member from Chillicothe, Ohio

“To stop anti-union candidates!” –Andrew Carillo; Denver, Colorado

“I’m voting this year because I want a governor that is not going to decimate the private sector unions by introducing right to work.” –Donovan Jurss, UFCW Local 1473

“To exercise my right to have my opinion heard and get rid of Mitch” –Jeanelle Fuson; Covington, Kentucky

“I vote every year!!! We need keep Democrats in office!!!!” –Karen; Dalton, Georgia

“Because it’s the right thing to do.” –Leinaala Furtado; Santee, California

“Because it is time to get all the officials elected that care about working people.” –Mary Spicher

“For a better future for my children” –Nikki Rich; House Springs, Montana

“To try to move this country forward–we have been at this road block way too long” –Pam; Spring, Texas

“To make America a better place, and to help the American worker any way I can…go union–keep fighting for America…” –Prisco; Guilford, Connecticut

“To keep the super-rich from completely taking over this country.” –Tom; Feasterville, Pennsylvania

“It takes the entire community to make a change. As a society, if we don’t start picking our leaders more carefully, we will never progress past the sorry state we are in.” –Member from Indianapolis, Indiana

“I’m voting to insure a Democratic victory for this country and the people who are pushed aside and ignored. It’s time to push back.”

“Yes I am [voting]–also doing door knocking and phone-banking.”

“I’m voting because my vote might help to make a difference in the middle class and the lower class in reference to jobs, economy and education.”

 

We couldn’t be more proud of all of our engaged members who will be voting to make a difference in their communities, and standing up for working people! Make sure you cast your vote on November 4th if you haven’t already voted early. You can make sure you have everything you need by heading to our voter information hub!

 

UFCW Local 227 Members Get Out The Vote in Kentucky

Local 227 onpointMembers of UFCW Local 227 are knocking on doors, making phone calls, and visiting worksites in an effort to get out the vote in Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State is home to one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the country. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who introduced national right to work, is facing a fierce challenge from Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes. Local 227 members Chuck Duckworth, Chawan Morgan, and Abigail Shake—all employees of Kroger—have been working hard to get Grimes across the finish line.

“McConnell has sucked the life out of Kentucky,” said Morgan. “We need a fresh face, some new ideas, and a different direction.”

“Alison Grimes understands our struggles,” Shake agreed. “She’s not Washington—she’s Kentucky.”

McConnell’s support for right to work and the close battle for control of Kentucky House of Representatives has brought the issue of workers’ rights front and center.

“We’re the only southern state that’s not right to work,” Duckworth said. “I think this election is very important to keep it that way.”

“I have job security, health insurance, annual raises, equal pay and so many other benefits,” Shake added. “Right to work would take that away.”

The Local 227 members all talked about the importance of reaching out to their coworkers. “For me to go to a door and see a single mom raising three kids on her own, working a job and doing everything she can to get by, for me to help educate her about how to make life a little easier, that’s what is important,” Shake said.

Or as Morgan put it: “It’s about solidarity—being united and strong.”