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August 15, 2017

A Trillion Dollar Problem UFCW Is Ready To Tackle

Imagine being able to earn a college degree without being stressed about the price tag – things like a car, a house, a wedding, or even a vacation would suddenly seem a lot easier to have.

Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. The average 2016 graduate walked off campus with a degree and over $37,000 in debt. We can’t build a stronger economy that works for all if hard-working Americans are graduating with such high amounts of debt.

When we talk about building better lives for our members and their families, we mean it. Which is why we’re providing our union family with the valuable benefits they need to advance their careers and realize their dreams. One of those valuable benefits is debt-free college.

Thanks to your UFCW membership, you don’t have to wait or worry any longer about paying for college. You can start earning your associate degree online from a public, accredited school – at no cost to you.

We understand that when the economy leaves behind too many people, it doesn’t work so well. That’s why we’re proud to offer members this support with school.

Best of all, this benefit is designed with members in mind. Online classes allow the flexibility you need to pursue the degree of your dreams, at a pace that makes sense for your busy schedule. And you’ll have the support of teachers and advisors to cheer you on along the way.

A college degree shouldn’t be a financial burden for people looking to enter the labor market. Whether you’re looking to begin a career in childcare, become a paralegal, or sharpen your business management skills – the UFCW’s Free College Benefit is here to get you started. No out-of-pocket costs, no stress about the price of books.

Enroll today and start earning your debt-free degree.

August 10, 2017

Throw Back Thursday: decades of partnership against cancer

The UFCW been a powerful voice for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) since the partnership began in 1982. Working togther,UFCW members have raised more than $82 million for LLS’s goal to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.

Here’s a look back at some of the amazing work our members have done over the past few years:

In 2016 alone, the UFCW generated $1.9 million in the United States and more than $2.4 million in Canada, through a variety of fundraising efforts ranging from golf outings to dinners.

“The UFCW union family prides itself on giving back to the communities we call home and doing our part to bring hard working families a better life,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “We are honored to help The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society lead the way to a world without blood cancers. Our partnership is proof that the best way to make a difference is to stand together.”

“LLS is very proud of our partnership with the UFCW, whose members have supported LLS relentlessly by raising essential funds needed to fight blood cancer,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS’s president and CEO. “The UFCW is helping LLS make it possible to accomplish more than any other cancer nonprofit to advance cutting-edge research and cures for patients.”

August 1, 2017

UFCW Local 365 member Jason Holland wins Mother Jones Award

Building Better Lives In Solidarity With Washington State Farm-Workers

Jason Holland, Local 365 member, wins Mother Jones Award for stepping up to help local farm-workers organizing for better wages

When we talk about building better lives, we’re also talking about working together to help make our workplaces safer places to be. That means showing up to support hard-working men and women in your community, because it’s the right thing to do. UFCW Local 365 member Jason Holland knows very well what it means to step up and do right by others – which is why he was recently honored with the Mother Jones Award from the Washington State Labor Council.

After four years of fighting for a fair labor contract through strikes and boycotts, the workers at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Washington were able to secure fair, living wages. The farm-workers, from Oaxaca, Mexico realized that there was strength in numbers – which is why they formed the first new farm-worker union in the country in over 20 years, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ).

Using his law degree from Vanderbilt University, Jason supported FUJ’s efforts by writing the contract the workers would bring to the negotiating table. He marched and protested alongside FUJ in solidarity, receiving no compensation for his work – besides knowing he stepped up to help fellow hard-working men and women in need of a strong union family.

FUJ team with their supporters – including Jason (in grey hoodie)

FUJ team with their supporters – including Jason (in grey hoodie) Photo Credit: FUJ Facebook

Congratulations, Jason. Cheers to a well-deserved award!

July 19, 2017

Fun in the sun with our UFCW family

At UFCW locals across the country, the sun is shining and the grill is hot this summer as members from all walks of life come together to have a little summer fun. What’s your favorite part about the summer? Let us know on our Facebook page.

UFCW 227 Local members enjoyed a day at the pool in Richmond, Ky. Over 120 members and their families came out to Paradise Cove Water Park to swim and enjoy food with their union family!


Sometimes having fun means helping out. UFCW Local 1006a member Rechev Browne brought together co-workers at Jim’s No Frills to donate food and UFCW Canada headphones for Youth Without Shelter (YWS).

Sometimes having fun means helping out. UFCW Local 1006a member Rechev Browne brought together co-workers at Jim's No Frills to donate food and UFCW Canada headphones for Youth Without Shelter (YWS). 


UFCW Local 401 celebrated their first annual Local 401 Calgary Stampede BBQ. Calgary is famous for it’s annual rodeo, which is one of the largest in the world and draws over a million visitors to the 10-day event that includes concerts, competitions, and a parade.

What fun have you been up to this summer? Let us know on our Facebook page.

June 22, 2017

Union contracts can provide stable protection for LGBT workers during uncertain times

Have you ever found yourself in a position where something happened on the job that you didn’t feel was right, but didn’t feel you could do anything about it because it wasn’t technically against the law?

In 2013, more than one in five LGBT Americans told Pew researchers that they’d been mistreated by an employer because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. What most people don’t know is that in many states in the U.S. it is perfectly legal to discriminate against certain workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Despite passage of legislation making same-sex marriage legal, progress on workplace discrimination laws has been slow. In many states, LGBT workers find themselves in the awkward position of having gained the right to marry the person they love, but can still be legally fired for their decision to do so.

In April, a long-overdue step forward came with a historic decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Seventh Circuit is now the highest court in the nation to have reached this conclusion, but the ruling only applies in the 7th Circuit states of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

The sluggish nature of the courts and the unpredictable political shifts in our elected leaders makes relying on laws alone an impractical solution to protecting the rights of all hard working men and women in any kind of lasting, meaningful way. So what are workers supposed to do?

“While this ruling is a huge step forward,” said Pride at Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, “It is still true that the strongest, most durable protections an LGBTQ working person can obtain is an inclusive collective bargaining agreement. Union contract protections are binding to all parties regardless of federal or state law and many contracts also provide the employee with representation, something no state or federal law does.”

Instead of having to wait around for the entire country to agree on what protections you should have at work, a union contract puts the decision-making power into the hands of you and your coworkers. This has always meant more control over things like wages, scheduling, and benefits, but it also means being able to extend additional protections to vulnerable workers in your workplace.


Sample Contract Language

 

Each contract is different depending on what has been collectively agreed on at a given workplace or group of workplaces. So if employees decided they would like to include language to protect LGBT workers, what does that actually look like?

Below are three examples of good contract language that can be included to help protect the rights of LGBT workers and other vulnerable hard working men and women on the job.

1.) Discrimination

“The Company agrees that it will not discriminate against or treat any worker differently because of Union membership, support or activity; race, national origin, color, gender, religion or age; disability, pregnancy, or physical or mental health condition; sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression; marital or veteran status; criminal record; criminal record; or English proficiency or speaking accent.”

2.) Harassment

“The Company agrees that it will not permit harassment in the workplace. Harassment means unwelcome comments or conduct. No one at the workplace, including managers, supervisors, workers or third-parties such as vendors, consultants and independent contractors, may make comments or engage in conduct that is known to be or should reasonably be known to be unwelcome. Examples of harassment (harassment is not limited to these examples):

  • If someone knows that a worker is sensitive to even mild “cuss” words, harassment would be using mild cuss words within hearing distance of the worker.
  • Groping or fondling anyone.
  • Showing pornographic or lewd photos, or making lewd comments.
  • Making racist, sexist or homophobic comments, or negative comments about a religion.
  • Making derogatory or offensive comments about someone’s appearance or background.
  • Asking a worker on a date after the worker indicated that the request invitation was unwelcome.
  • Deliberately or repeatedly using a name or pronoun when speaking or referring to a transgender worker other than the name the worker chose and the pronoun the worker identifies with.
  • Teasing, picking on, or treating, interacting or communicating with a worker differently because of the worker’s race, national origin, color, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, physical or mental health condition, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or gender questioning.”

3.) Transgender Workers

“If any worker is transgender, or intends to or is going through a transition in gender identity (with or without surgery or therapy):

(a) the Company and the Union will mutually agree on:

  • a way to notify co-workers of the worker’s status or transition (the parties’ discussions will include the worker);
  • creating safe work areas for the worker;
  • designating at least one restroom as gender neutral; and
  • if either party considers it advisable, developing a training for co-workers and managers, including the schedule for and frequency of the training.

(b) the Company will issue a rule:

(1) notifying all workers that transgender workers may use the restrooms and changing rooms designated for the gender they identify with; and

(2) requiring everyone at the workplace or engaged in the Company’s business to speak or refer to transgender workers by the names they choose and the pronouns they identify with.

(c) the Company will change all records so that all records use the names transgender workers choose and the pronouns they identify with, unless the worker requests the Company to refrain from changing its records. The Company will also update any photographs, including identification badges, unless the worker requests otherwise.

The Company will also administer the jointly-agreed on training for managers, supervisors and workers.”

May 24, 2017

UFCW Receives Elite Volunteer Award from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), recently awarded its longstanding partner, The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) with the National Corporate Leadership Award at LLS’s Volunteer Leadership Conference awards dinner held in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2017.

The UFCW is one of North America’s largest labor organizations with more than 1.3 million members, and has been a powerful voice for LLS since the partnership began in 1982. The organization has raised more than $82 million for LLS’s goal to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. In 2016 alone, the UFCW generated $1.9 million in the United States and more than $2.4 million in Canada, through a variety of fundraising efforts ranging from golf outings to dinners.

When Marc Perrone, UFCW’s International president, learned that the UFCW was the recipient of LLS’s National Corporate Leadership Award, he was humbled. “The UFCW union family prides itself on giving back to the communities we call home and doing our part to bring hard working families a better life. We are honored to help The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society lead the way to a world without blood cancers. Our partnership is proof that the best way to make a difference is to stand together.”

The National Corporate Leadership Award honors an organization with fundamental alignment to LLS’s goal to cure blood cancers and commitment to improving the lives of patients. Nominees for this award support and advance LLS through leadership, executive and employee involvement in various LLS volunteer driven initiatives, and through financially support for LLS’s research, patient services and advocacy initiatives.

“LLS is very proud of our partnership with the UFCW, whose members have supported LLS relentlessly by raising essential funds needed to fight blood cancer,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS’s president and CEO. “The UFCW is helping LLS make it possible to accomplish more than any other cancer nonprofit to advance cutting-edge research and cures for patients.”

Esther López, UFCW’s International Secretary-Treasurer, accepting the National Corporate Leadership Award from Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) president and CEO, at LLS’s Volunteer Leadership Conference awards dinner held in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2017.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

May 18, 2017

UFCW Members, Locals, and Volunteers Collect Thousands of Pounds of Food for 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

In the weeks and days leading up to Saturday, May 13, the day of the National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, UFCW members and locals volunteered at events and donated non-perishable food items to help America’s families put food on their tables.

Standing by our values and belief that no hard-working man or woman should struggle alone, UFCW members turned out in droves as part of our partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers on the day of the food drive as well, and helped collect thousands of pounds of food to help “stamp out hunger.”

Below is a photo collection of some of the many UFCW locals, members, and staff that played a role in the food drive this year:

May 8, 2017

Don’t forget to pick up groceries for the Stamp Out Hunger food drive

Fill a Bag on May 13th

More than 1 in 5 children go to bed hungry. Let’s make sure no family has to struggle to eat in America. Fill a bag and join your UFCW union family and National Association of Letter Carriers in the effort to Stamp Out Hunger.

April 14, 2017

UFCW Local 328 shop steward Al Garnett named a national “Produce Manager Of The Year”

Reposted from UFCW Local 328.org

We would like to congratulate Al Garnett, produce manager at Stop & Shop in Harwich, Massachusetts, for winning the 2017 Retail Produce Manager Award from the United Fresh Produce Association! This prestigious award is granted each year to twenty-five of the industry’s top retail produce managers from across the country and Canada.

This program, which is co-sponsored by Dole Food Co. and is currently in its thirteenth year, recognizes top retail produce managers for their commitment to fresh produce, innovative merchandising, increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, community service and customer satisfaction.

Al talks about his career and why it pays to belong

A first for Stop & Shop

Each year, hundreds of nominations are submitted by supermarket chains and independent retailers from throughout the industry and this marks the first time a produce manager from Stop & Shop has been selected.


A lifelong advocate for his coworkers

Al began his career over twenty-five years ago and has been a UFCW Local 328 shop steward for most of that time. In Harwich, Al is a recognizable face and enjoys building lasting relationships with both customers and co-workers. As a shop steward, Al has been a strong advocate and has taken a proud role in educating his co-workers about the importance of the union and making sure that the contract is enforced.

April 13, 2017

Let’s top 2016’s world record for the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive!

We know better than anyone how hard UFCW members work to put food on the table for America’s families – and our union family also believes that no hardworking man or woman should struggle alone. Which is why we work hard for those in need, supporting our brothers and sisters at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the food drive, and we want to make this a year for the history books. We hope to top last year’s Guinness World Record—80 million pounds of food collected for the largest single day food drive in world history. Together, we know we can do it, one bag at a time.

Here’s how:

  1. FILL A BAG with non-perishable food items. (See list below.)
  2. TAKE A PIC AND POST IT! Please Tweet it or put it on Facebook with the hashtag #StampOutHunger – and please tag @UFCW and @NALC.
  3. PUT OUT YOUR BAG on May 13th before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. 

That’s it! It’s so easy – please help us Stamp Out Hunger and put food on shelves in our local food banks.

What to Put in Your Bag 

Fill your UFCW-provided Stamp Out Hunger paper bag with*:

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta or spaghetti sauce
  • Rice
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Canned meals (soup, chili, pasta)
  • 100% juice
  • Peanut butter
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned protein (chicken, tuna, turkey)
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal

*NOTE: DO NOT put in frozen food, homemade food, expired food, or home canned items – or anything in glass containers.