• Microphone on stage

    Press Releases.

    For media inquiries, please contact Casey Hoag at press@ufcw.org, choag@ufcw.org or 202-721-8143.

February 15, 2018

UFCW Statement on White House Request to Test Harvest Box Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the White House asking Congress for $30 million this year to test the “America’s Harvest Box” proposal in President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget. This proposal would significantly change the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).

“Whether you are Republican or Democrat, pro-union or not, shop at a big grocery store or a small local co-op, ‘America’s Harvest Box’ is one of the worst policy proposals ever made to address hunger and poverty. It will further worsen the economic divide across the country and must be stopped for the sake of the better America we all believe in. 

“The harvest box proposal punishes the poor, removes significant sales from local grocery stores, and needlessly puts millions of good grocery store jobs at risk of being eliminated. 

“The grocery stores our members work in are often the largest employers in their communities, and provide the wages and benefits necessary for hard-working families to build and live better lives.”

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The 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.

 

January 30, 2018

UFCW Statement on USDA’s Decision to Reject Poultry Industry’s Push to End Line Speed Limits

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to deny the National Chicken Council’s (NCC) petition to eliminate line speed limits at poultry plants.

“This decision is a victory for hard-working poultry workers who hold one of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America, and the consumers who depend upon them to provide chicken that is safe to eat. However, we remain concerned that poultry companies can request line speed waivers for individual plants. 

“In addition to putting poultry workers at greater risk of injury, eliminating line speeds puts consumers at risk by making it more difficult for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination. 

“It was unbelievable to see major poultry industry groups ignore these well-known risks and lobby the USDA to eliminate line speeds.” 

Thousands of UFCW members who work in poultry plants sent comments to the USDA about the dangers of this petition. The UFCW also sent letters in October and December of 2017 to the USDA that highlighted how risky the NCC petition to eliminate line speeds would be for both workers and consumers. There are more than 250,000 poultry workers in America and 70,000 of them are members of the UFCW union family.

BACKGROUND

  • The Government Accountability Office released a report in December of 2017 that confirmed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry plants.

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The 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.

January 19, 2018

UFCW Statement on USDA Decision to Eliminate Line Speed Limits at Pork Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to eliminate line speed limits at pork plants.

“This desire to increase line speeds is being driven entirely by corporate greed and defies common sense.

“Jobs inside pork plants are some of the most dangerous and difficult in America. We’re only putting workers at greater risk of injury and consumers at greater risk of consuming unsafe meat by asking everyone who labors inside one to work faster.

“For the sake of keeping millions of hard-working families safe, this decision deserves immediate reconsideration.”

BACKGROUND

  • The UFCW union family represents hard-working men and women in pork plants that have already had their line speed limits eliminated as part of a trial program, as well as people who are in plants that run profitably with line speed limits in place.
  • According to a 2013 report from the USDA OIG, the existing trial program did not result in better food safety.
  • Injury rates in the meatpacking industry are already twice as high as the national average and workplace illness rates are 20 times as high.
  • This latest announcement follows the recent regulatory effort to remove line speed limits for the poultry industry.

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The 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.

January 15, 2018

UFCW Statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“This is a particularly important time to reflect on Dr. King’s pursuit of inclusivity and allow it to inspire our enthusiasm for the same ideals. He showed that change for the better and compassion for others starts with all of us. When we stand up for our values and become actively involved in positive action, we can build a better nation and a better life for the many, not just the few.” 

“It would be a fitting tribute to Dr. King and his legacy in 2018 if our country and those who lead us could begin moving beyond divisions, and towards an America that is defined by justice, dignity, and respect.”

 

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The 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.

 

December 21, 2017

UFCW: It’s Time for the Poultry Industry to Draw a Line on Forced and Exploited Labor

For Immediate Release

December 21, 2017 Contact: press@ufcw.org

UFCW: It’s Time for the Poultry Industry to Draw a Line on Forced and Exploited Labor

America’s Poultry Union Calls for Chicken Council to Make the Use of Underage and Incarcerated Workers Unacceptable in America’s Poultry Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union today called on the National Chicken Council (NCC), the voice of the poultry industry, to set higher industry standards and stop the use of forced and exploited labor by their member companies. In a letter to the NCC, Marc Perrone, international president of the UFCW, called on the NCC to take the lead in establishing a clear industry standard and give consumers confidence that their chicken is produced without these inhumane practices.

This is not responsible or moral behavior,” said Perrone in the letter, “and as a leading voice of the poultry industry, it would make a difference if the National Chicken Council condemned these practices publicly and insisted on all of your member companies to do the same by agreeing to a code of conduct that puts an end to this reprehensible behavior.”

While more than 70,000 hard-working members of the UFCW family work in the poultry industry and earn better wages and benefits, the conditions in nonunion plants are far worse. A recent Oxfam report highlighted the struggles faced by nonunion poultry workers, including wearing diapers at work because they are routinely denied bathroom breaks. In addition, the industry has repeated problems with the use of incarcerated labor, underage workers and workers with disabilities being paid less than a minimum wage.

The fact that some of your member companies have continued to operate in such an irresponsible manner is bringing shame upon the entire poultry industry and devaluing the skilled work of hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women,” said Perrone. “This disgraceful practice also damages the reputation of responsible companies and our members who have good jobs working in poultry plants.”

Read the complete letter online here.

Background:

  • Poultry work is dangerous with worker illness rates five times higher than the average worker.
  • Companies that have used incarcerated or prison labor include Koch Foods and Crider Foods.
  • Underage workers have been found at Case Farms and Agriprocessors.
  • Workers with disabilities were paid subminimum wages at West Liberty Foods for decades.
  • Simmons Foods continues to run a billion dollar “rehabilitation” program that offers no actual rehabilitation to those suffering from addiction or seeking to avoid recidivism, but requires them to work for free.
December 12, 2017

UFCW to USDA: GAO Report Proves Poultry Industry’s Push to End Line Speed Limits Is Dangerous

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, as well as leaders of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, that explains why a recent petition by the National Chicken Council to eliminate line speeds at poultry plants must be rejected. The letter cites last week’s report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on safety and health in the poultry industry as confirmation of the UFCW’s concerns.

An excerpt from President Perrone’s letter can be read below.

If this petition is accepted, poultry companies will be allowed to run their food processing lines as fast as they please. Allowing this to occur will put hard-working poultry workers at greater risk of being injured and consumers at greater risk of becoming ill from eating improperly inspected chicken.

Read the full letter here.

BACKGROUND

  • The GAO report confirmed that America’s meat and poultry industry is forcing workers to endure dangerous conditions, including amputation hazards, exposure to harmful chemicals, and fast-paced repetitive tasks that often lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
  • The report supported findings by Oxfam that poultry workers struggle to get adequate bathroom breaks at current line speed limits, even to the point of endangering their health.
  • Other GAO reports in 2005 and 2016 also found significant problems with safety and health in the poultry industry.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry plants.

 

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The 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

December 7, 2017

GAO Report Confirms Dangers in the Poultry Industry

As Chicken Council Pushes for Fewer Regulations, Investigation Reveals Lax Enforcement of Existing Rules 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on safety and health in the poultry industry:

“The hard-working people who work in poultry plants have some of the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in America. This report sadly confirms that many of these skilled professionals who keep our food safe are struggling to keep themselves safe at work. They have earned and deserve better. 

“The dangers endured by poultry workers that are highlighted in this report also underscore why a recent request by the National Chicken Council to increase line speeds defies common sense and is being clearly driven by greed. We urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take this report seriously and reject that request so that poultry workers and the food we all consume can be kept safe.” 

BACKGROUND

  • This GAO report confirms the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t consider worker safety when allowing new and dangerous chemicals to be used in poultry plants, and that OSHA can’t or won’t adequately protect poultry workers from injury.
  • The GAO also found a pattern of poultry companies repeatedly denying access to federal safety and health inspectors, leaving workers in at least 15 plants across the South working in potentially dangerous environments.
  • This report supports findings by Oxfam that poultry workers struggle to get adequate bathroom breaks, even to the point of endangering their health.
  • Other GAO reports in 2005 and 2016 also found significant problems with safety and health in the poultry industry.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry plants.

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The 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

 

November 1, 2017

UFCW Statement on Senate Democrats’ Better Deal Proposal on Collective Bargaining

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, made the following statement regarding Senate Democrats’ Better Deal Proposal on Collective Bargaining.

“We must build an economy that works for all – not just those at the top. By strengthening the collective voice and negotiating rights of workers, the better deal proposal on collective bargaining begins to do just that.

“Our hope is that every member of Congress will support these more modern workplace policies because this is about more than unions, this is about helping their constituents and all hard-working men and women who have earned the right to a better life.”

The Better Deal Proposal on Collective Bargaining seeks to:

  • Create a mandatory mediation and arbitration process to ensure corporations and newly formed unions reach a first contract.
  • Strengthen penalties on predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights, and combat misclassification of workers as supervisors and independent contractors.
  • Strengthen workers’ right to strike for basic workplace improvements, including higher wages and better working conditions.
  • Ban state laws that undermine worker freedoms to join together and negotiate.
  • Provide millions of public employees with the freedom to join a union and collectively bargain with their employers.
  • Streamline the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB) procedures to secure worker freedoms and effectively prevent violations.
  • Protect the integrity of union elections against coercive captive audience meetings.
  • Use federal purchasing power and policy to help expand opportunities to negotiate.

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The 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

October 26, 2017

UFCW Statement on the Agricultural Guestworker Act

Bill would cut food processing wages by 50 percent and put the safety of our food at risk 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, released the following statement regarding the Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 4092), which passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 17-16 on October 25.

“The Agricultural Guestworker Act is a direct threat to American jobs, wages, and food safety. 

“It will flood the meat processing sector with hundreds of thousands of untrained visa holders, effectively destroying middle class jobs that are currently held by hard-working American families who play a critical role in the safety of our food. 

“This bill will also make it easier for guestworkers to be exploited and encourages them to take on work that is demonstrably unsafe without years of training. 

“Any member of the House who cares about protecting good American jobs and wages will do the right thing and oppose the Agricultural Guestworker Act.”

Background:

  • The Agricultural Guestworker Act (H.R. 4092) will bring 450,000 visa holders to work in agriculture and meat processing jobs that are currently held by hard-working American families.
  • The bill had bipartisan opposition when it passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, with Republicans Steve King (IA-4) and Louie Gohmert (TX-1) joining Democrats to vote no. Five other Republicans refrained from voting.
  • The impacts of this bill on the meat and poultry industry, and the U.S. workers employed within them, would be devastating. Food processing workers are highly trained professionals who not only perform a very difficult and highly skilled job, but also serve as a much-needed layer of protection for consumers when it comes to food safety.
  • Rather than require that new H-2C workers be paid at similar rates so that they cannot be used to displace workers and drive down wages, the bill simply requires that employers attempt to recruit workers at $10.88 per hour. If U.S. workers don’t apply at that wage rate, the employer would be authorized to bring in hundreds, or even thousands, of guestworkers at the $10.88 figure—a fraction of what meat and poultry workers in America currently earn.
  • This bill encourages irresponsible employers to displace American workers by bringing in hundreds of thousands of guestworkers across multiple sectors of our economy – effectively forcing U.S. workers out of currently good-paying jobs.

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The 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

 

October 23, 2017

UFCW Joins with NAACP and AFT in Defense of DACA 

Joint Legal Action Cites Trump Administration’s Disregard of Due Process for DACA Recipients 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Citing a disregard for the due process rights of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union announced that it has joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in a lawsuit against President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security for the Trump administration’s termination of DACA.

The joint legal action makes clear that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA disregarded the due process rights of the DACA registrants, and failed to engage in the required analysis or rulemaking procedures required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, both of which are laws put into place to safeguard the public against this very type of impulsiveness by leaders in powerful positions.

Marc Perrone, president of the UFCW International Union, issued the following statement about joining the lawsuit: 

“While we support the effort to find a bipartisan solution to protect the rights of DACA recipients, ending DACA without regard to due process or proper rulemaking is not only a betrayal of the 800,000 individuals who have always and only called the United States their home, it needlessly jeopardizes the rights and procedures that protect every American citizen.  

 “No matter one’s politics or the administration, every person in this country deserves due process. Moreover, our government can’t function without adhering to certain rules and procedures. Ignoring them jeopardizes the rights and freedoms of us all.  

“With respect to DACA recipients, these young men and women love this country, and it is their home. They work side by side with us, live in our communities, and are dedicated members of our union family and countless others. They, like all of us, want nothing more than to build a better life for themselves and their families.

 “The legal action we have taken with the NAACP and AFT is critical to protecting and ensuring the rights and freedoms of DACA recipients, and every person who calls this nation their home.”

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The 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