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Upgrading Malaysia’s Status: Bad for Human Rights and American Workers

“It’s a shame President Obama and his administration will go to such lengths to impose another free trade agreement on American workers.”

via The Diplomat

via The Diplomat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s decision to upgrade Malaysia’s position in its annual Trafficking in Persons report.

“We are greatly disappointed by the State Department’s decision to upgrade Malaysia in its annual human trafficking report. Removing Malaysia from its tier 3 status is a clear and premeditated political decision by the Obama Administration to eliminate any possible stumbling block for the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement.

“At a time when American workers are grappling with increasing uncertainty, income inequality and stagnating wages, this administration and this Congress have shown they would rather protect corporate interests over the concerns of everyday American workers. Hard-working men and women will now lose their jobs or struggle to earn a good income because of a trade deal negotiated in secret by for-hire special interest henchmen.

“Labor and human rights cannot, and should not, be negotiated to appease the economic interests of a few. The workers of Malaysia and of America deserve better. Shame on you for prioritizing a trade agreement over the well-being of America’s hardworking families.”

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UFCW and JBS Partner Together for Joint Safety Trainings

JBSTraining 3The UFCW has initiated a new health and safety program for workers in UFCW JBS plants. The program is a new joint effort with JBS to establish a uniform safety program for workers and management throughout the chain. This is the first time JBS and the UFCW have come together to create a program that is specific to keeping workers safe.

The first part of the program focuses on training union reps, workers, staff, and JBS management to learn about identifying the underlying causes of workplace injuries, illness, and fatalities. The second part trains participants on how to correct, control, and prevent those workplace hazards. The ultimate goal is to develop a sustainable system where people in the plant know how to prevent hazards, how to identify them, and how to follow the correct procedures to efficiently correct hazards.

The health and safety program came about when UFCW staff initiated a meeting with JBS corporate safety staff out of concern for the safety and well-being of workers. During the meeting, both sides agreed that there was room for improvement in the health and safety protocols at the plants. A year later, UFCW and JBS finalized a plan to work jointly to address safety issues and develop the new health and safety program.

“The joint training has been a very positive experience for all parties involved. It has provided some different ways of looking at the hazards in the workplace that most people overlook. I am excited to continue with this training in our facilities and providing our employees a safer environment to work in,” said Marvin Spidle, corporate safety manager from the Federal Business Unit at JBS.

The program began in January, and JBS workers at UFCW Locals 540, 1161, 293, and 435 have already gone through the first phase of the training. During the first phase of the program, workers and staff learned how to identify workplace hazards in their plant. Following the classroom training, participants then walked together through their plant to apply their new knowledge and identify any hazards that they learned about in the training. Some common safety hazards that workers are trained to spot include unguarded shafts and belts, slippery floors, narrow aisles, and unlabeled exposed pipes and electrical wires.

“It was great to see everybody working together in the setting to make our plant safer. During our walk-through, it was good to have a new set of eyes to help spot hazards that might have otherwise been overlooked,” said Darin Rehnelt, a representative for UFCW Local 1161.

The trainings last about six hours and are conducted in English and Spanish. Following the JBS plant trainings, the plan is to take the health and safety program to workers in the poultry industry, including those who work in JBS’s Pilgrim’s Pride plants.

If you are interested in having a health and safety training in your local plant contact Kurt Brandt at kbrandt@ufcw.org.

JBS Training 1JBS Training 2JBS Training Slide

 

 

 

Mexican Workers Protest Against Chedraui in Mexico City in Support of El Super Workers in the U.S.

workers_ElSuperBoycottFermin2_EmailGraphicMore than 150 members of Mexican trade unions participated last week in a demonstration against Grupo Comercial Chedraui in Mexico City to protest unfair working conditions at El Super stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. This protest was part of the International Day of Action in Solidarity with El Super employees.

Members of the National Workers Union (UNT), with more than 50 worker organizations, the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), the Miners Union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros), and the National Autonomous University of Mexico Workers Union (STUNAM), were some of the unions who are part of the Tri-national Solidarity Alliance that showed their support with the El Super workers.

The demonstration took place on June 4, in front of a Chedraui store near Paseo de la Reforma Avenue. Rigo Valdez, organizing director from Local 770 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) explained to the Mexican union members that “the boycott of El Super will continue until the company gets back to the bargaining table and comes to an agreement with the union.”

At the same time, thousands of allies of El Super workers in the United States and Canada signed an online petition, which was launched in English and Spanish by the Justice for El Super Workers campaign. Within the first three hours, the petition reached its goal of 10,000 signatures.  At the time of this report, the online action had gathered 22,815 signatures.

El Super workers need your support. Click on the link below to add your name to the petition.

http://act.couragecampaign.org/sign/BoycottElSuper/