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Hillary Clinton Meets with Retail Workers at UFCW Conference

In sit down with Sec. Clinton, retail workers talk about organizing and their fight for fair work practices 

(LAS VEGAS, NV) Today, Secretary Hillary Clinton met with hard-working retail workers from across the industry to discuss the  issues impacting them, their families, and co-workers.  During the meeting, the workers talked about their day-to-day challenges, including workplace intimidation, scheduling and unpredictable hours. The emotional visit with Clinton included workers from Albertson’s, Macy’s, El Super and Stater Bros.

The meeting with Flora Castaneda and Yolanda Pivaral, both El Super workers, was especially powerful as they highlighted the company’s ongoing intimidation and failure to recognize their right to negotiate a better life and a contract providing better wages and benefits. They have both worked to organize their stores and join the UFCW.

Sherry Hamilton, who works as a union representative at Macy’s, discussed that while UFCW  provides people with higher wages and protection, the non-union retail industry is still defined by unpredictable scheduling that makes it impossible to go to school, spend time with family, or have control over one’s life.

“I wanted Secretary Clinton to know how important joining a union was for me and my family. It’s the opportunity for a better life,” said Flora Castaneda, a UFCW member and worker at El Super. “I wanted her to know that companies like El Super need to do what is right and recognize our right to higher wages and benefits.”

“I’m a working mom and I’m going to school,” said Yolanda Pivaral, a UFCW member and worker at El Super. “Without a predictable work schedule, it’s tough to coordinate child care and manage my classes. Secretary Clinton gets it. Workers in my store want a union contract so we can have the chance to shape our schedules. To have more control over my life would help me do my job better, manage my class work, and build a good life for my son.”

“Buying a wedding dress or a child’s first pair of shoes, these are big events and we work hard to make them special memories for customers,” said Sherry Hamilton, a Macy’s union representative. “I don’t think people realize how much havoc bad scheduling can have upon a worker’s life. By making work schedules in the retail industry more stable and reliable, we would be able to enjoy precious moments in our personal lives as well.”

Clinton also addressed the UFCW conference, and was introduced by International President Marc Perrone.

“Our members endorsed Hillary because she is the only candidate who truly cares about the issues that matter to them. Regardless of what job a person does, Secretary Clinton is committed to making sure that people who work hard get the brighter future they have earned and deserve,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “It speaks to Hillary’s character and her compassion that she doesn’t talk at our members, she listens to them.”

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BACKGROUND

In January 2016, after surveying its membership across the country, UFCW endorsed Sec. Clinton. This is the second time Sec. Clinton has personally spoken with retail workers who are part of the UFCW.

The retail sector is one of the fastest growing parts of the economy, but 40 million retail workers face challenges from erratic schedules, split shifts and part-time hours that make it difficult to live a stable life, manage a second job, or coordinate care for their families. These are common concerns throughout the industry and are a major reason why more and more retail workers are considering the benefits of joining a union. Earlier this year, UFCW announced it already had 100 organizing wins in 100 days, reflecting workers desire to work together to secure their lives and futures.

BIOS

Yolanda Pivaral is 23, works at El Super Store #13 located in Los Angeles, CA and has been a cashier there for 3.5 years. She is a single mother to a six year old boy. She and her son live in Los Angeles. Yolanda is also furthering her education and is studying Communications at the California State University, Los Angeles. Yolanda has currently been getting more involved in her union. She has become trained and is now helping to do workshops to help make fellow union members US Citizens, through the Union Citizen Action Network.

Flora Castaneda 44, has worked as cashier at El Super Store #17 located in Los Angeles, CA for 12 years as a cashier. She is a single mother of three children. She and her children live in Los Angeles. Flora is a member of the bargaining team. She and her fellow co-workers have been fighting for over two years for adequate paid sick days, better wages, better benefits, more affordable health care, a fair seniority system, and respect.

Sherry Hamilton is 50, and was a sales associate at Macy’s in the Bronx for 17 years. After joining Local 1-S while working at Macy’s, she later joined the Local 1-S team where she now serves other Macy’s employees for the union.

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UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

MCAW and UFCW OUTreach Respond to Walmart’s Silence on Bathroom Incident in Connecticut

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Last week, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) and UFCW OUTreach issued the following statement in response to reports that a Connecticut woman, who had just donated her hair to a cancer charity, was harassed in a Walmart bathroom by someone who mistook her as transgender:

“Across the country, stores are proudly showing their support for the transgender community by either providing unisex bathrooms or by publicly announcing that transgender people are free to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Yet, Walmart has not followed suit. Their silence is not only callous, it is dangerous. It allows bigotry, like the incident in Connecticut, to get a free pass. As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart has a responsibility to make sure all customers and employees, no matter their race, sex, religion, sexuality, or gender identity, feel welcome and safe in their stores.”

Members of Congress Join UFCW to Stamp Out Hunger

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Last week, members of Congress from across the country, together with members of the UFCW, joined together to help launch the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

“Stamp Out Hunger,” the largest single-day food drive, invited Americans to leave food by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14 for collection by their neighborhood letter carriers for delivery to local food pantries.

This year, the UFCW, as a national title sponsor, invited Congressional offices and members from both sides of the aisle to participate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and their staff participated in helping us to promote this worthy cause.

UFCW Locals from all across the country also hosted their own events, making this year’s food drive one of the biggest and best that anyone had ever seen.

UFCW members see the effects of hunger in America every single day. Every time someone has to turn back and put something away in one of our checkout lines because they don’t have enough money, we feel for them. For millions of families, this year’s food drive was a small, but important, step towards fixing that problem.