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UFCW President Hansen Statement on Arizona Discrimination Bill

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement opposing Arizona Senate Bill 1062.

“I urge Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB 1062. It is nothing more than a hate bill passed under the guise of protecting religious freedom. The legislation was drafted so broadly as to allow discrimination against nearly any Arizonan on religious grounds. But make no mistake—its target is members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. At a time when LGBT equality is advancing on several fronts, the Arizona legislature is seeking to relegate some of its citizens to second-class status. This is both shameful and unconstitutional. There is significant and growing momentum for equality across America on everything from employment nondiscrimination to the freedom to marry. Those who want to stop this momentum and protect the status quo are desperately trying to fight back. That is what SB 1062 and similar efforts are all about. At the UFCW, we have always been on the side of equality, both in our contracts and the law. We stand with business, labor, Republicans, and Democrats in calling for SB 1062 to be vetoed.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

Executive Director at Color Of Change Fights for Civil Rights by Utilizing Pop Culture

Rashad Robertson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, is yet another great role model in the fight for civil rights today. For over a decade Robertson has been working to mobilize communities to make change through new avenues.

rashad robinson

Rashad Robertson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org

Color of Change, which is said to be the nation’s largest online civil rights organization, is dedicated to strengthening the political voice of Black America–to empower black Americans and allies, make “government more responsive to the concerns of black Americans, and bring about positive political and social change for everyone.”

Robertson uses his position at Color of Change as well as his expertise on civil rights issues, and their relation to popular culture, to advocate for real change. The focus of his public speeches and other work is to urge politicians and other change-makers to utilize different media and storytelling in order to create positive shifts in public opinion on issues that create more inclusive political and cultural institutions for all.  He is known for calling for more diversity in advertising and in popular shows like Saturday Night Live.

Robertson’s work at Color of Change and elsewhere has influenced many issues that are important to the UFCW, including combating voter suppression, and advocating for the LGBT community regarding the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and  supporting marriage equality.

You can follow Robertson on Twitter at @rashadrobinson to learn more!

UFCW Locals Take Part in Massive Moral March

This past Saturday, to kick off this years Moral Monday rally attended by over 80,ooo people was held in Raleigh, North Carolina to protest the extremist right-wing policies of the current government in the state.

Local 1208 members at Raleigh's Moral March

Local 1208 members at Raleigh’s Moral March

Members and staff from UFCW Locals 1208 and 400 took part in this march for social justice and workers rights.

An article from The Nation explained the march’s historical significance:

On February 1, 1960, four black students at North Carolina A&T kicked off the 1960s civil rights movement by trying to eat at a segregated lunch counter at Woolworth’s in downtown Greensboro. Two months later, young activists founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee  at Shaw University in Raleigh, which would transform the South through sit-ins, Freedom Rides and voter registration drives.

So it was fitting that North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement held a massive “Moral March” in Raleigh…which began at Shaw University, exactly fifty-four years after North Carolina’s trailblazing role in the civil rights movement.

These thousands of activists from all races and backgrounds made their way to the state capitol, to protest such injustices as the elimination of the earned-income tax credit for 900,000 North Carolinians, “refused Medicaid coverage for 500,000, ended federal unemployment benefits for 170,000; cut pre-K for 30,000 kids while shifting $90 million from public education to voucher schools; slashed taxes for the top 5 percent while raising taxes on the bottom 95 percent; axed public financing of judicial races; prohibited death row inmates from challenging racially discriminatory verdicts; passed one of the country’s most draconian anti-choice laws; and enacted the country’s worst voter suppression law, which mandates strict voter ID, cuts early voting and eliminates same-day registration, among other things.”

All of these violations are what began the Moral Monday movement. Outraged, the people of North Carolina have been fighting to reinstate their rights and overturn laws that threaten equality for all. According to The Nation, “when nearly 1,000 activists were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience inside the North Carolina General Assembly… rallies were held in more than thirty cities across the state and the approval ratings of North Carolina Republicans fell into the toilet.”

At last weekends Moral March, the activists rallied in full force, with a sampling of signs that read: “OMG, GOP, WTF. It’s 2014, not 1954!!!” and “Welcome to North Carolina. Turn Your Watch Back 50 Years!” referring to a pre-Civil Rights era state.

The movement has prompted similar actions in cities across the country, and is being touted as part of the next civil rights movement. The thousands of people who have come together against these extreme policies has transformed the state’s politics, as well as  built “a multiracial, multi-issue movement centered around social justice such as the South hadn’t seen since the 1960s.”

The Moral March proves that the movement will only continue to grow, the rallies will only swell in number, and will rest only when justice is restored.