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UFCW President Hansen Statement on the Mother of Michael Brown

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement regarding UFCW member Lesley McSpadden whose son Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri.

“At the UFCW, we are a family.  When tragedy strikes one of us, it is felt by all of us.

Our sister Lesley McSpadden, a member of UFCW Local 88, is dealing with the loss of her son Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

We have watched the unfolding events in Ferguson—from Michael Brown’s death to the police response that has targeted peaceful protestors and journalists for exercising their first amendment rights. This entire episode highlights systemic problems that still plague our nation—abject poverty, the lack of good jobs, an absence of racial diversity in the halls of power.

We need to address these challenges head on—and labor has a role to play by offering workers the opportunity for a better life.  In the meantime, we stand in solidarity with our sister Lesley McSpadden and join her calls for a fair investigation and justice under the law.”

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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.

OUR Walmart Member and UFCW Attend CBTU Convention to Discuss Issues that Affect African American Working Families

Town Hall entitled “Overworked and Underpaid: The plight of low-wage workers”

Town Hall entitled “Overworked and Underpaid: The plight of low-wage workers”

Last week, OUR Walmart member Brandon Garrett traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend The Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) 43rd International Convention. Attendees came to gain information, education, and tools for creating change within local communities. Brandon, who was an associate at Walmart until he was fired, joined many other allies from progressive organizations to take part in discussions and workshops on issues that impact African American workers including wages, on-the-job health and safety, mass incarceration, public education, voter suppression, the Affordable Care Act, and wage inequality. Brandon was also a panelist in a Town Hall entitled “Overworked and Underpaid: The plight of low-wage workers” which focused on the uprise of workers that are trapped in low-wage jobs.

Robin Williams, the associate director of the UFCW’s Civil Rights and Community Action Department, and member of NAACP’s National Board of Directors facilitated the Town Hall, which fit the them of the Convention: Working Together—It Shall Come to Pass. 

Additionally, International Vice President (retiree) Mary Finger and UFCW Local 1000 Executive Board Member and Kroger worker Angela Johnson attended the CBTU Women Luncheon where a panel discussion took place regarding the social and economic impact of Black women throughout the world.

Associate director of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Robin Williams (center)

Associate director of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Robin Williams (center)

The UFCW Minority Coalition also held its Summer Board meeting during the CBTU Convention.

Among manyof the ally organizations that participated in the convention were: the Black Women’s Roundtable, Center for Community Change, Working Families, and Emily’s List.

Retiree Mary Finger and local 100 Executive Board Member Angela Johnson show support for #BringBackOurGirls

Retiree Mary Finger and local 100 Executive Board Member Angela Johnson show support for #BringBackOurGirls

 

 

UFCW Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

Lyndon B. Johnson, flanked by Martin Luther King, Jr., signs the Civil Rights Act

Lyndon B. Johnson, flanked by Martin Luther King, Jr., signs the Civil Rights Act

This week, President Obama paid tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act during a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin and paved the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In spite of the advances we have made over the last 50 years—including the election of our first African American president—the fight for social and economic justice continues.  Our economy’s increasing reliance on low-wage, part-time work has widened the gap between the rich and poor, and the desperation of so many Americans who just need a job has emboldened many businesses to exploit their workers, cut wages and benefits, and punish those who speak out and try to better their lives.

In the retail sector alone, which is one of the fastest growing sectors in the United States and an important employer of minorities and women, too many workers are struggling to survive in low-wage, part-time jobs with little to no benefits.  That’s why it’s critically important that employers in the retail sector lead the way in providing good jobs with benefits so that workers in this growing industry can make enough to support their families and contribute to their local economies and communities.  Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—is a good place to start.

As the largest private employer in the country, Walmart’s low-wage, part-time business model has had a detrimental impact on our country’s labor, business, and employment climate.  The retail giant’s drive to lower wages has influenced other retailers to do the same and lowered the standard of living for millions of retail workers across the country.

The need to mobilize for social and economic equality has never been stronger, and the UFCW is honored to carry on the work of President Johnson and civil rights leaders by fighting for social and economic justice in the retail industry and in our communities.