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University Food Service Workers Vote to Join UFCW Local 1000

Texas Christian University food service workers voted to join UFCW Local 1000.

Texas Christian University food service workers voted to join UFCW Local 1000.

More than 150 Sodexo food service workers at Texas Christian University (TCU) voted to have a union voice on the job Monday night and join UFCW Local 1000. According to the workers, the vote was motivated by a change in Sodexo company policy that resulted in roughly 70 percent of TCU dining employees losing benefits such as health care coverage, vacation time, and sick leave.

Sodexo redefined full-time employment terms for workers last fall. When the change took effect, many full-time Sodexo workers at TCU became or were reclassified as part-time workers, effectively losing benefits they previously had as full-time employees.

During the campaign, Sodexo workers had support not only from UFCW Local 1000 members, but TCU students as well. Some students and student groups on campus actively voiced support for the workers’ right to join a union, including the campus chapter of the NAACP.

Negotiations for the workers are set to begin soon.

UFCW Locals 1500 Members and Community Allies Rally in Support of Fired Grocery Workers

UFCW Local 1500 members and community allies protest in  support of fired Mrs. Green’s Natural Market grocery workers.

UFCW Local 1500 members and community allies protest in
support of fired Mrs. Green’s Natural Market grocery workers.

Nine grocery workers were abruptly fired from Mrs. Green’s Natural Market in Mt. Kisco, New York, for what was cited as “poor customer service.”  All of the terminated workers supported joining UFCW Local 1500 in an election last year, and some recently met with politicians and UFCW Local 1500 regarding working conditions at the store.

“We want to tell the community how Mrs. Green’s treated us,” said David Rameriez, who worked for Mrs. Green’s for over eight years, “They pride themselves on good food and good health, and as a neighborhood store… but they’ve shown no commitment to us, they’ve disrespected us.”

Since the firings, Mrs. Green’s workers, local elected officials, members of UFCW Local 1500, and other community allies have been protesting daily at the store calling for the fired workers to be reinstated and for the fair treatment of all Mrs. Green’s workers.

“We’re standing together not backing down, we’re letting the community members know what we’ve served over the last decade. Most of them know us and once they’ve heard how Mrs. Green’s treated us, they told us they support us and will tell management they support us,” Rameriez said.

UFCW Local 1500, the nine fired workers, and community allies have been working together in alerting the public and putting Mrs. Green’s on notice.  UFCW Local 1500 has filed federal charges against Mrs. Green’s for the firings, calling them “retaliation” for supporting the union.

Members can show support for the fired Mrs. Green’s workers by:

Tweeting to @MrsGreensMarket and demand workers are reinstated, use hashtags #GreenisMean
#greenisGreed #MrsGreed;

Calling Mrs. Green’s management and tell them you support the nine fired workers at (914) 242-9292.

Dream Defenders Draw on Peaceful Protest Methods of MLK to Create Social Change

There are only a few days left in Black History Month, but we continue to celebrate those who fight for civil rights throughout the year. The Dream Defenders, a group dedicated to  social change, does so by “training and organizing youth and students in nonviolent civil disobedience, civic engagement, and direct action while creating a sustainable network of youth and student leaders to take action and create real change in their communities.”

credit: dreamdefenders.tumblr.com

The Dream Defenders work to directly confront the sources, sponsors, and supporters of racism and the criminalization of “our generation.” The mission of the Dream Defenders is carried out using peaceful methods, like those carried out by Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement. Listed under “Pledge” on their website, the Dream Defenders organization says “We defend the right of all to a quality education and to live lives free of police brutality, racial profiling, and mass incarceration. We defend the right of all to happiness with whomever they choose. We believe that nonviolence, love & unity will always triumph over racism and hate. We will not rest, until victory is won.”

These values directly correlate with what union members fight for every day, and will continue to do so, because workers rights are civil rights. The Dream Defenders also note that a huge part of the crisis they are trying to combat is the economic disparity more and more people are living in. Together, unions and our allies, such as the Dream Defenders, are working to create change like raising the minimum wage that will reverse increasing poverty rates. Through their many campaigns, like “The World is Ours: Voter Mobilization and Civic Engagement”, Dream Defenders also works on economic, social, and political issues that The UFCW actively works toward as well.

Learn more about the Dream Defenders and their quest to end inequality by following them on Twitter @Dreamdefenders

Check them out at last year’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington here.