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“Battleground 2014” Is Underway

Battlegrounds-Photo-2UFCW members must be prepared for the November 4thmidterm elections – 2014 cannot be a repeat of 2010. To help make it easier for members to engage politically, we have launched Battleground 2014.

Battleground 2014 provides information about the most important Congressional and Gubernatorial races. UFCW members will be able to use this site to find out more about the candidates and access important voting information and deadlines.

There is a lot at stake on Election Day this year. At the federal level, control of the U.S. Senate is on the line.

Republicans are only six seats away from controlling the Senate and seven of the most vulnerable seats up for election this year are currently held by Democrats. We must work hard to ensure the Senate does not fall into anti-worker hands.

Gubernatorial elections are just as important. Governors from Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, all of which spent the last four years attacking workers, are now up for reelection. They need to be shown that when you hurt workers, you lose elections.

The BPA Act: Fighting Breast Cancer among Women in Manufacturing

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance)

BPA is a toxic chemical that has been linked to increased rates of breast cancer among women in many job sectors, including food packing. (Infographic by the BlueGreen Alliance & UFCW)

Even today, women who work in middle-class jobs across America face pronounced barriers and gender discrimination in the workplace, as exemplified by the recent Demos report on gender inequality in retail wages. However, workplace inequality can manifest in other, more subtle ways – such as the manufacture of products containing Bisphenol-A, or BPA.

BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical, which alters hormone production and behavior, disrupting the body’s normal functions. In a 2012 six-year study, BPA was found to have a pronounced effect on women who work in the automotive plastics and the food packaging industries.

These women are five times more likely to have breast cancer than women who work in other industries.

BPA, which is found in the epoxy lining of the metal food can and released into the air during the food canning process, was banned by the FDA in the manufacture of baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula packaging. Many private companies have taken further steps to remove BPA from products. However, BPA exposure is still a problem for thousands of manufacturing and packaging workers in America.

In order to address this problem, the UFCW has joined allies such as the Communications Workers of America, the United Steelworkers, and the United Automobile Workers in supporting the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, or the BPA Act.

The BPA Act would remove BPA from food packaging, encourage the development of safe alternatives, and ensure a thorough safety review of all currently used substances in food and beverage containers. It is currently in committee in the House, where it needs to be passed by the House and the Senate and approved by the President before it becomes a law.

This brochure, produced by the BlueGreen Alliance and UFCW, contains useful information about the growing problem of breast cancer among working women.

Local 400 Joins Community, Other Labor Groups at AFL-CIO Citizenship Clinic to Help Those with Greencards Become Citizens

Rosa, a Local 400 organizer, helps a green card holder apply for citizenship.

Rosa, a Local 400 organizer, helps a green card holder apply for citizenship.

On Saturday, June 28th, Local 400 joined other labor and immigration groups and community organizers such as DC Labor and Working America at the AFL-CIO’s international headquarters in Washington, D.C. to put on a workshop that assisted green card-holders in applying for citizenship.

The workshop was designed for workers who are legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship as well as young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as kids who want to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.  Attendees were given information on how to apply and volunteers and lawyers assisted them as they filled out the correct paperwork.

The event was put on as part of an ongoing effort to move immigration reform forward–legislation for which has been stalled in the House ever since passing in the Senate over a year ago.

Some green card holders don’t apply for citizenship when they become eligible, and may eventually face deportation. But for many,  becoming a citizen means that they can more actively participate in their communities, their union, and their democracy. Citizenship enables immigrants to have a stronger voice, whether its through voting, speaking out for workplace rights, or being able to stand up for a living wage.

The AFL-CIO’s executive vice president Tefere Gebre, a naturalized citizen himself, said the group hopes to educate immigrants about the benefits of being citizens.