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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.

April 12 Is Equal Pay Day

Equal-Pay-Thumbs-UpApril 12 marks Equal Pay Day, which was established by the National Committee on Pay Equity to shed light on the gender pay gap, and encourage equal pay for equal work.

Decades after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women are still lagging behind in terms of wages. In the United States, women are paid approximately 79 percent of what men are paid, and for women of color, the wage gap is even more pronounced. According a recent report by the American Association of University Women, Hispanic and Latina women earned just 54 percent of what white men earned in 2014. African American women earned 63 percent of what men earned in 2014, and American Indian and Alaska Native women earned 59 percent.

According to the U.S. Joint Economic Committee, the gender pay gap will not close until 2059 under the current rate of change. Until that happens, a woman working a full-time, year-round job will earn $10,800 less per year than a man—adding up to nearly a half million dollars over a career.

Although President Obama’s Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 makes it easier for women to sue employers for pay discrimination, more must be done to level the playing field. President Obama’s Paycheck Fairness Act Bill, which would guarantee that no woman is ever paid less than a man who is doing the same job, has been stalled in Senate and House committees.

Lower wages hamper the ability of women to pay for college, buy homes, and contribute to savings and pension plans. Lower wages also impact the financial security of families, many of which are dependent on a woman’s paycheck to make ends meet.

It’s time to call on Congress to get the Paycheck Fairness Act out of committee and on to the floor for a vote.

Black History Month Member Profile: Local 1208 Steward Daniel Garescher


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As our UFCW family continues to celebrate Black History Month, we’re asking members why it’s important to them. Daniel Garescher, who is Haitian/Caribbean-American, is a Local 1208 steward at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel, North Carolina.

To Daniel, Black History Month is important because it sheds light on the history of black Americans, something that “schools and textbooks do not always cover.”

“When the history and culture of black people in America is excluded, African-Americans can feel oppressed–we want to have pride about who we are,” Daniel says. “Without education about all that people of color are and can be–and what contributions they have made–we are reinforcing racism. Black History Month is a small effort to resolve this and counter negative images of black people that were perpetuated in the media and society for so much of our country’s history, and still persist today.”

Daniel got involved in the union because he saw first-hand how being part of a union family improved people’s quality of life, and fought for the rights of all workers, including people of color.

“My mother was working at Smithfield when I was in high school, and I was working as an interpreter for both Smithfield and the union. I started working at the plant myself after high school.  I had already seen the value of having a voice at the plant through the union,” he says.

As a steward, Daniel fights every day for his coworkers and urges them to get more involved. His advice to his other union brothers and sisters is to “Sign up! Become a steward. Learn as much as you can and go to any trainings that you can go to. It will help you both at work and outside of work in your future. The union has helped me, a Haitian man, become more of a leader, more of a man.”

Daniel notes that the labor movement has a unique responsibility and is in the position to fight inequalities that extend beyond the workplace: “Workplace education and power is the best way to reduce the income divide. The labor movement can always do more to highlight and promote leaders of color to reduce discrimination–that’s why it’s so important that we not just continue to celebrate Black History Month, but continue to fight for civil rights in our daily work and lives.”

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