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UFCW President Hansen Statement on Executive Order Protecting LGBT Workers from Discrimination

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. — Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to reports that President Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Denying someone a job or a promotion because of who they are runs counter to the American values of equality and opportunity. Yet in more than half of all states, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) workers can be targeted based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“An executive order banning federal contractors from this type of discrimination is a step in the right direction and could benefit as many as 16 million workers. But tens of millions of others still need the protections that can only come with adoption of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan basis.

“At the UFCW, we have long been proud to have nondiscrimination language in our contracts. It is time for the law to catch up. The President is poised to act. The House should follow suit.”

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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.

Celebrate LGBT Pride Month with UFCW!

UFCW Pride OUTreach FBOn June 28, 1969, members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community fought back against police brutality at a New York City gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. Known as the Stonewall riots, this marked the beginning of the modern day LGBT rights movement.

In commemoration of the historic Stonewall riots, June is now commonly recognized as LGBT Pride Month. Keep an eye out throughout the month for locals who will be holding events to celebrate the LGBT community.

This LGBT Pride Month, there is much to celebrate. Oregon and Pennsylvania recently became the 18th and 19th states to recognize marriage equality. The U.S. Senate passed legislation banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by a wide, bipartisan margin. Finally, the UFCW formed its first ever LGBT constituency group—OUTreach. OUTreach will have a presence at World Pride in Toronto, Canada from June 27-29, 2014.

Still, there is much more to be done. It remains too easy to fire an LGBT worker without cause. Millions of same-sex couples do not have the legal rights as their opposite-sex counterparts. Transgender equality is lagging behind. Our broken immigration system is failing the LGBT community and tearing families apart. And the bullying epidemic is putting too many young people at risk.

Working in partnership with OUTreach, UFCW Locals are committed to leveling the playing field in our contracts and our laws. More than that, we are dedicated to winning hearts and minds. Let’s celebrate LGBT Pride Month by doing what we do best—fighting for fairness, justice, and equality.

For more information: www.ufcwoutreach.org, www.ufcw.ca/pride.

UFCW Meatpacking and Food Processing Workers Attend National Chain and Safety and Health Meetings

UFCW meatpacking and food processing workers attended national chain and safety and health meetings in Omaha, Neb., last week.

UFCW meatpacking and food processing workers attended national chain and safety and health meetings in Omaha, Neb., last week.

Early last week, over 200 UFCW meatpacking and food processing workers from 35 locals attended national chain meetings and the UFCW Safety and Health Conference in Omaha, Neb. Local union leaders, stewards, and rank and file members gathered from various beef, pork, poultry, and food processing plants. At the meetings, members discussed industry trends, unity bargaining, contracts, organizing, and resolving problems in their plants.

The week started off with a meeting for the female packing and processing workers committee called the UFCW Solidarity Sisters. Throughout the week, members also attended workshops on how to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered workers in plants and also in contracts, legal advice on workers’ rights and contracts, and a communication workshop on best practices and strategies with few resources and funding.

For the second half of the week, members attended the Safety and Health Conference, which is held every two years. Some of the goals for the conference included:

  • Emphasizing that every worker has the right to a safe and healthy workplace.
  • Having the opportunity to talk about the successes and challenges members face in their fight for a safe workplace.
  • Empowering members to be the watchdogs for workplace safety by providing information about the impact of unsafe conditions.
  • Exploring solutions that eliminate or reduce workplace hazards.

Workshops at the conference included Understanding OSHA Standards; Stewards’ Roles Around Safety and Health; Advanced Process Safety Management; and Advanced Ergonomics.

A new UFCW safety and health website was launched at the conference. The new website, http://safetyandhealth.ufcw.org/, includes information on trainings, OSHA guidelines in a range of languages, and a safety committee guide, among other resources.