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UFCW Joins Immigrant Rights Groups at the Supreme Court to Demand Justice for Immigrant Workers

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In the midst of an ongoing legal battle that has suspended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the UFCW joined labor leaders and immigrant families as they gathered at the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday to demand the implementation of the president’s immigration programs. The deferred action programs, known as DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), would have provided immigration relief for over five million aspiring Americans. Unfortunately, the implementation of this program has been held up in the courts by an anti-immigrant lawsuit that has made its way to the Supreme Court.

Under strong pressure from the UFCW, the Obama Administration gave hard-working men and women the ability to apply for legal work status and some piece of mind. While these programs are temporary and not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, the UFCW knows that they are necessary and long overdue for our members.

Yesterday’s rally at the Supreme Court sent a strong message that the UFCW will continue pushing forward with our efforts to build worker power for immigrants and ensure that when the legal ruling on DAPA and expanded DACA are rendered, UFCW members are first in line when the application process begins.

One Thousand March Through South Los Angeles in Support of Respect and a Fair Union Contract for El Super Grocery Workers

—March coincides with El Super’s parent company -Grupo Comercial Chedraui- Board of Directors meeting in Mexico—

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PHOTO 4Los Angeles—
On Monday, April 4, El Super grocery workers represented by the UFCW marched together with more than 1,000 supporters -through the streets of South Los Angeles- to demand respect and a fair contract. The march coincided with El Super’s parent company – Grupo Comercial Chedraui’s – Annual Meeting of its Board of Directors in Xalapa, Mexico.

“We need a fair contract so we can take care of ourselves and our families,” said Lydia Flores, an El Super cashier. “Sometimes, my coworkers have to work two jobs to get by. I have a son who is ill. I can’t do that because I have to take care of him as well. We need fair pay and enough paid sick days so we can take care of our families” Flores said.

El Super union members have been fighting to win a fair contract since September 2013. El Super/ dba Bodega Latina is a Latino-focused grocery chain with 54 stores in the U.S. It is a subsidiary of Chedraui – Mexico’s third largest retailer.

“El Super needs to respect the will of its workers and negotiate a fair agreement that rewards our members for their hard work,” said Ricardo F. Icaza, President of UFCW Local 770.

In December of 2014 the unions commenced a national consumer boycott in protest of the Company’s unfair labor practices and treatment of its workers. The boycott has had a significant impact. It has reached over 2 million shoppers and contributed to negative same store sales at El Super markets during 2015 – its first annual negative same store sales since it began reporting financial results in 2010.

Huntington Park Mayor Graciela Ortiz voiced her support for El Super workers at a rally held outside an El Super store in Huntington Park. “Our community supported El Super workers when they called for a consumer boycott. Last April, the City of Huntington Park passed a resolution endorsing the El Super boycott. As residents and leaders in our community we will continue to hold companies responsible in providing adequate living wages to the workers that serve our community,” Mayor Graciela added.

El Super workers are asking to share in the company’s prosperity, which they helped create. Indeed, although Chedraui reported $4.5 billion in net sales in 2015, much of drawn from U.S. sales, it does not pay its workers a fair wage, offer affordable health insurance or provide sufficient hours to support a family.  The El Super workers and their union, the UFCW, are seeking just that – fair pay, adequate paid sick days, stronger seniority protections, and a 40-hour guarantee for full-time workers.

Women’s History Month: UFCW Celebrates the Life of Addie Wyatt

addie-wyatt-twoWomen’s History Month gives us an opportunity to pay tribute to Addie Wyatt, who fought for workers’ rights during the height of the American Feminist Movement and changed the face of organized labor.

Addie Loraine Cameron, better known as Addie L. Wyatt (1924 –2012), was born in Mississippi and moved to Chicago with her family in 1930.  When she was 17 years old, she married Claude S. Wyatt, Jr.

She began working in the meatpacking industry in 1941.  Although she applied for a job as a typist for Armour and Company, African American women were barred from holding clerical positions and she was sent to the canning department to pack stew in cans for the army. Due to a contract between Armour and the United Packinghouse Workers of America (UPWA), she earned more working on the packinghouse floor canning stew than she would have made working as a typist, and joined the UPWA after learning that the union did not discriminate against its members.

In 1953, she was elected vice president of UPWA Local 56. In 1954, she became the first woman president of the local, and was soon tapped to serve as an international representative. She held this position through the 1968 merger of UPWA and the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen until 1974, when she became director of the newly formed Women’s Affairs Department. In 1970s, she became the first female international vice president in the history of the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen and later served as director of its Human Rights and Women’s Affairs and Civil Rights Departments. She served as the first female African American international vice president of the UFCW after Amalgamated and the Retail Clerks International Union merged in 1979.

She and her husband were ordained ministers and founded the Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago.  She played an integral role in the civil rights movement, and joined Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in major civil rights marches, including the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the demonstration in Chicago. She was one of the founders of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, the country’s only national organization for union women. She was also a founding member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the National Organization of Women.

In 1984, Addie Wyatt retired from the labor movement as one of its highest ranked and most prominent African American and female officials. In honor of her work, she was named one of Time magazine′s Women of the Year in 1975, and one of Ebony magazine′s 100 most influential black Americans from 1980 to 1984. The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists established the Addie L. Wyatt Award in 1987. She was inducted into the Department of Labor’s Hall of Honor in 2012.