• Microphone on stage

    Press Releases.

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

October 11, 2017

UFCW to USDA: Keep Line Speed Limits at Poultry Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, sent a letter to the Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Carmen Rottenberg, explaining why a recent petition by the National Chicken Council to eliminate line speeds at poultry plants poses a dangerous risk to American families. 

President Perrone’s letter can be read below.

Dear Madam Acting Deputy Undersecretary Rottenberg:

With the health and safety of over 250,000 thousand hard-working poultry workers in mind, 70,000 of whom are members of our union family, we write to urge you to reject a petition submitted by the National Chicken Council (NCC) to run food processing lines with no speed limits.

This petition, submitted to you in early September, would allow select poultry plants to run their lines with no speed limits, endangering both workers and consumers. Even more troubling is that this petition essentially requests that USDA create this new “no speed limit” rule behind closed doors with no opportunity for notice and comment by the public as the regulatory process requires.

As you must know, poultry workers hold some of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America. The implications of this rule change are striking, for example:

  • Industry statistics show poultry workers are at twice the risk of being injured on the job compared to other workers and suffer illnesses at a rate that is seven times as high.
  • A 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office showed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.
  • Increased line speeds will also make it harder for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination that could make consumers sick.

Given the facts noted above, the petition from the NCC clearly poses a dangerous risk to American families.

When the USDA chose not to raise line speed limits for poultry plants in 2014, there was large public interest in the open and transparent process (which we participated in) that ensured all perspectives on this proposed modification were heard – including those of the NCC. A wide array of people and interests, from workers on poultry lines to experts across the country, agreed then as they do now that faster line speeds will make this industry dramatically less safe, both for workers and consumers.

For the sake of keeping hard-working families safe – whether they’re preparing, buying, or eating chicken – the USDA must reject this petition.

Sincerely,

Anthony “Marc” Perrone

International President

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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

 

September 5, 2017

UFCW Condemns White House Decision to End DACA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

“President Trump’s decision to end DACA is cold-hearted, cruel, and a betrayal of what America stands for. 

“Hundreds of thousands of young, hard-working men and women who love America will now be needlessly punished for childhood circumstances. These young people have grown up in this country, passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school, and have worked hard to build a better America. They have earned and deserve fair treatment, but instead their lives are being thrown into chaos with this announcement. 

“President Trump’s decision will not make America great again; rather, it will tear families apart, damage communities, and further fuel a terrible divide that is already hurting the nation we all love. 

“On behalf of the 1.3 million members of our union family, we urge all Members of Congress to immediately do what is right and protect these Dreamers.” 

Background:
  • Terminating DACA needlessly removes 800,000 hard-working men and women from our workforce.
  • It will cost $433.4 billion in GDP loss over a decade.
  • It will cost employers $3.4 billion in unnecessary turnover costs.
  • Contributions to Medicare and Social Security will be cut by $24.6 billion over a decade.
  • Some 6% of DACA recipients have launched businesses that employ American citizens.
  • Almost 55% of DACA recipients have purchased a vehicle, and more than one in ten have purchased their first home.
  • Source: ILRC, The Economic Cost of Ending DACA

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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

 

August 23, 2017

Letter to Whole Foods Board of Directors: Amazon’s Acquisition Must Protect Hard-Working Employees

UFCW International President Marc Perrone releases letter calling on Whole Foods Board of Directors to protect Whole Foods Workers from Threat of Amazon. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, sent a letter to Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and the entire Whole Foods Board of Directors, calling on them to take specific steps to protect the jobs, wages, and benefits of employees who may be negatively impacted by Amazon acquiring their company.

“Amazon’s acquisition is a threat to Whole Foods workers and their families,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “They deserve a clear commitment from the entire board that their jobs, wages, and benefits will be protected from Amazon’s automated business model. Whole Foods Board of Directors has a responsibility not only to shareholders or to Amazon, but to the hard-working Whole Foods employees who made this company a success.”

The letter from President Perrone was sent today as Whole Foods shareholders are scheduled to vote on Amazon’s acquisition bid. It calls on the company to make clear, publicly, the actions it will take to protect its employees, and their wages and benefits, from Amazon’s business model – which eliminates jobs through automation.

The letter states:

“Realistically, we expect shareholders to approve of your company’s merger with Amazon. Our union family’s only hope is that you will consider the well-being of every employee who works inside your stores. These hard-working men and women are not numbers on a balance sheet; rather, they have families to support and lives to build. They may not matter much to you or Amazon, but they matter to us.”

President Perrone also makes clear the risks for Whole Foods if they fail to do what is right:

“The question now is whether shareholders and the Board of Whole Foods will consider the loss of Whole Foods jobs and the brand impact once customers realize Amazon has sacrificed these workers – the very people who made Whole Foods stores so successful.”

The entire letter is attached below:

Dear Whole Foods Board of Directors,

Today we write to express our concerns about Amazon acquiring Whole Foods on behalf of our union family, which represents more than one million retail workers and their families – most of whom work inside grocery stores.

Amazon is well known for disrupting industries, but they are equally known for their preference of putting automation over real people. From piloting a store with zero cashiers to expanding its army of warehouse robots to testing drone delivery, Amazon is clearly determined to profit by creating a future where automation replaces good jobs – and many of the people who work at Whole Foods will be the latest to pay this steep price.

The question now is whether shareholders and the Board of Whole Foods will consider the loss of Whole Foods jobs and the brand impact once customers realize Amazon has sacrificed these workers – the very people who made Whole Foods stores so successful.

Realistically, we expect shareholders to approve of your company’s merger with Amazon. Our union family’s only hope is that you will consider the well-being of every employee who works inside your stores. These hard-working men and women are not numbers on a balance sheet; rather, they have families to support and lives to build. They may not matter much to you or Amazon, but they matter to us.

Given President Trump’s recent criticism about Amazon’s business practices, the regulatory approval process seems likely to raise several troubling questions. With that in mind, we ask you to take the following steps to better protect Whole Foods employees if this merger receives regulatory approval.

The steps we believe Whole Foods should take include:

Protect Whole Foods Employees. Public reports have referenced eliminating Whole Foods cashiers and other positions, and embracing automation to do an increasing number of tasks within stores and warehouses. If these reports are wrong, and these jobs are safe, Whole Foods should publicly commit to protecting them from Amazon automation.

Protect Wages and Benefits. Will Whole Foods employees be asked to take pay cuts or lose hours or benefits? In the past, Whole Foods has talked about its good wages and benefits, but in more recent comments, CEO John Mackey has seemingly blamed employees for the company’s loss of customers. Your employees deserve to know whether they will pay the ultimate price with lower wages, worse benefits, and lost hours.

In the coming weeks and months, Whole Foods employees will anxiously await to hear how this merger will benefit them. They deserve to hear more than platitudes. They deserve specifics about how Amazon’s actions will impact them. Moreover, loyal customers who regularly shop at Whole Foods deserve to know the truth about how their neighbors and friends who work at Whole Foods stores will be impacted.

Again, we urge you, as members of the board and shareholders, to take the right steps to protect the jobs of hard-working Whole Foods employees.

We hope you will take these concerns seriously, and that you realize hard-working Americans are watching closely to see whether Whole Foods and Amazon do the right thing.

Sincerely,

Marc Perrone

President, United Food & Commercial Workers International Union

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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

August 22, 2017

Perrone Makes Case for Amazon’s Growth to Face More Scrutiny

UFCW President calls on federal agencies and elected officials to stand up to Amazon in The Hill op-ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, wrote an op-ed for The Hill that details how Amazon’s growing monopoly over the retail sector has negative impacts for American workers.

EXCERPTS FROM THE OP-ED:

All of us, no matter what political leanings we have, will be impacted by Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation. This isn’t hyperbole.

In 2016, 43 percent of all online sales went through Amazon; the online retailer also accounted for more than half of all online sales growth last year.

Amazon controls a huge swath of the steadily growing online marketplace and it gives them a distinct advantage over regional and national competitors – which results in job cuts. Public filings show that Amazon played a large role in eliminating more than 50,000 jobs from Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy. And in March, MarketWatch estimated that Amazon’s dominant growth could remove as many as 1.5 million retail jobs within five years.

All of this begs the question, if Amazon forces millions of service and retail sector jobs to be lost, if they squeeze suppliers to the bone, if they devastate commercial construction because much fewer retail spaces are built, and if they make it impossible for grocery or retail workers to earn a better life because they can no longer find work, where do elected leaders think “good American jobs” are going to come from?

Click here to read the full op-ed.

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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

July 27, 2017

Amazon Will Destroy More Jobs Than It Could Ever Create

As Jeff Bezos becomes the richest person in the world, it’s clear Amazon’s retail monopoly benefits him above all others.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement in response to Amazon’s claims of hiring 50,000 new warehouse workers:

“While Amazon claims they’re creating 50,000 new jobs, they conveniently ignore how their business model, in addition to offering brutal working conditions inside their warehouses, will destroy tens of thousands – if not millions – of retail jobs through automation. 

“Amazon is a retail monopoly that threatens every corner of our nation’s economy. Left unchecked, it will eradicate jobs, small businesses, and countless American retailers across the nation. 

“Sadly, while Jeff Bezos may revel in becoming the richest person in the world, his business and company will be responsible for pushing countless people into poverty. The question now is this: Will America’s leaders have the courage to speak out against the Amazon monopoly, or will they remain silent?” 

BACKGROUND

  • Public filings show that Amazon played a large role in eliminating more than 50,000 jobs in recent years from Staples, Office Depot, and Best Buy.
  • MarketWatch estimated that Amazon’s dominant growth could cause as many as 1.5 million retail jobs to be lost within five years.
  • An investigation from ProPublica showed that Amazon routinely favored their own, more expensive listings, or Amazon-made products, over those from smaller sellers.

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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.

 

July 21, 2017

Concern About Amazon Acquiring Whole Foods Grows

12 members of Congress call on DOJ and FTC to review Amazon deal, citing concern for low-income communities and food deserts 

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement in response to a letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

“Political concerns about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods are growing for good reason,” said Marc Perrone, president of the UFCW. “Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation is not only a direct threat to the hard-working men and women at Whole Foods, it’s also a direct threat to our economy and consumers. Every member of Congress, regardless of party, must now decide whether they stand for an America with jobs, or Amazon’s America where millions struggle to find meaningful work.”

Earlier this week, on July 17, Perrone sent a letter to the FTC that explained why this acquisition is a threat to workers and should be reviewed.

In their letter to the FTC and DOJ, the 12 members of Congress called for Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods to be reviewed, saying: “This merger should be scrutinized beyond the normal antitrust review process that only examines the competitive impact. It should also include a careful review of the impact further consolidation will have on the communities representing many of the ‘food deserts’ across the nation.” The letter also cites, among other concerns, “the declining presence of retail stores due to Amazon’s growth.”

In recent weeks, several other policymakers and advocacy groups have voiced concerns about the acquisition, including:

  • Ranking member of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee David Cicilline (D-RI) called for a hearing on the proposed merger on July 13, saying It is essential that Americans have a meaningful choice about the products we buy, the businesses we support, and where and how we work.”
  • Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), who represents part of the Silicon Valley area, called for the FTC and DOJ to review Amazon’s plan on June 16, saying “I am concerned about what this deal means for suppliers and neighborhood grocery stores. We need to reorient antitrust policy to factor in the harm that economic concentration causes for American workers.”
  • Consumer Watchdog called on the FTC to block the Amazon deal in a July 6 letter, detailing numerous instances where Amazon “persistently engaged in unfair and deceptive practices” that misled customers into thinking they were getting a steep discount.

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

July 17, 2017

UFCW Calls On FTC To Review Amazon Whole Foods Merger

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), a union representing over one million retail workers, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for a thorough investigation of Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods.

Following Amazon’s announcement, UFCW International President Marc Perrone wrote in a CNN op-ed that “the hard-working men and women who work at Whole Foods now face an uncertain future” due to the Amazon model for grocery stores. His letter to the FTC expands on that theme, saying, in part:

“Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.”

UFCW is not the only one with concerns about the merger.

  • Rep. David Cicilline, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee called for a hearing on the proposed merger, saying: “I respectfully urge that the Subcommittee hold a hearing on this proposed acquisition to carefully consider whether it will harm consumers, workers, and small businesses in our communities. It is essential that Americans have meaningful choice about the products we buy, the businesses we support, and where and how we work.”
  • Rep. Ro Khanna ,who represents part of the Silicon Valley area, has said he is “deeply worried” about the Amazon-Whole Foods deal and has called for a “reorientation” of antitrust decision making to include concerns like how a merger will effect jobs, wages, innovation, and small businesses.
  • Consumer Watchdog sent a letter calling on the FTC to block the merger and detailing the numerous instances where Amazon “persistently engaged in unfair and deceptive practices” that misled customers into thinking they were getting a steep discount.

The full text of Perrone’s letter reads:

Dear Commissioners:

Because of the impact of online shopping, technology, and automation, our economy and the retail grocery landscape is changing dramatically. As such, the very definition of how mergers, such as the proposed Amazon and Whole Foods merger, would impact grocery competition, customer choice, the price of goods, and, especially hard-working retail workers must be rethought. While traditional analysis may discount the threats that would arise from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is not a traditional retailer or grocer.

By any and every reasonable measure, Amazon is an online retail monopoly. The scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores. More significantly, the scope of Amazon’s reach and the very nature of our economy today, does not limit their impact to the digital retail landscape. The fact is that Amazon is more than a digital retail monopoly; rather, it is a retail monopoly that threatens every corner of our nation’s economy.

We urge you to consider, for example, the facts of Amazon’s growing unfair scope and reach:

  • According to a 2016 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, half of all online shopping searches start directly on Amazon.
  • That same report states that within five years, 20 percent of the U.S.’s $3.6 trillion retail market will have shifted online, and Amazon is on track to capture two-thirds of that share.
  • Additionally, a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners last week estimated total U.S. Prime membership at 85 million, which is up 35 percent from the year-ago quarter and double from two years ago. CIRP also noted that 63 percent of U.S.-based Amazon customers are Prime members.

In terms of impact, Amazon arguably poses a greater threat to our retail economy than any other online or traditional brick and mortar grocer. Again, we urge each commissioner to consider the following impacts:

  • Hurts Consumers: Amazon’s proposed merger of Whole Foods will hurt consumers by allowing their national economic power to gain unfair advantage with suppliers. As a result, not only may consumer prices increase, the quality and scope of products may be impacted. While Whole Foods may have 460 stores worldwide, the reality is that the very nature of Amazon’s size allows them to unfairly compete against small and medium-sized grocers when it comes to the purchase of goods.
  • Hurts Choice: Amazon’s reach will ultimately reduce the number of grocery competitors that consumers can choose from. Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.
  • Hurts Hard-Working Men and Women: The FTC is a public agency, and it must consider the impact that any merger will have on consumers and workers. Amazon’s online business model is built on a brutal foundation of automation to cut costs. If this merger proceeds, it could impact thousands of Whole Foods workers’ jobs simply for the sake of enriching one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals – Jeff Bezos.
  • Job Destroying Automation: Amazon has made its competitive vision clear with the introduction of its Amazon Go format, which eliminates nearly every grocery worker in its stores, and replaces them with automation and automated check stands.  Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. 

We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.

Sincerely,

Marc Perrone


Download the letter to Commissioner McSweeny

Download the letter to Acting Chairman Ohlhausen

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

July 11, 2017

“Prime Day” for America to Consider Impact of Amazon’s Business Model

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement on Amazon Prime Day:

“While Amazon touts its sales, today is a ‘prime day’ for America to examine the high cost of Amazon’s business model.

“Amazon’s brutal vision for retail is one where automation needlessly replaces good people and good jobs. With the proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, workers will undoubtedly lose jobs and their families will pay the price to enrich Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is already one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

“Today we should have a real debate about Amazon’s business practices. We need to confront this undeniable truth – what is good for Amazon, is bad for America’s hard-working men and women.” 

Over 800,000 members of the UFCW work in food retail. Perrone, wrote an op-ed for CNN explaining why Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their 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.

June 29, 2017

Perrone Warns Workers that Amazon Purchase of Whole Foods will Destroy Jobs

UFCW President calls out Amazon’s goal to eliminate retail workers in CNN op-ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, wrote an op-ed for CNN that explains why Amazon buying Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their jobs.

Excerpts from the op-ed below: 

“As Wall Street celebrates the news of Amazon buying Whole Foods, thousands of workers at Whole Foods stores across the country must now worry about losing their jobs. 

They have good reason to be concerned.

The Amazon-Whole Foods merger is not about improving customer service, products or choice, it is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation.

Amazon’s very business model is to remove as many humans from all facets of production and service as possible. Just as Walmart’s big-box model destroyed small businesses when it spread across the country, Amazon’s automation model, if widely adopted, potentially poses a huge threat to America’s 16-million-strong service and retail workforce.

If anyone doubts this vision, and what Amazon likely has in store for Whole Foods and the people who work there, observe that Amazon has already showed its hand by announcing its no-employees Amazon Go model.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

You can also read the op-ed in Spanish on Univision.com

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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

 

June 20, 2017

UFCW Statement on the Reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act.  

“When a person’s work schedule varies widely from week to week, it brings chaos to both family life and family finances. The Schedules That Work Act is a common sense piece of legislation that will help hard-working men and women have more control over their lives. Smart, flexible, and reliable scheduling is the best way to ensure every family is able to build the better life they’ve earned and deserve.”  

 Background

  • The Schedules That Work Act would provide workers modest safeguards and begin to curb the most abusive scheduling practices.
  • This legislation includes a presumption that workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to.
  • The legislation also provides retail workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

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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