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February 25, 2020

UFCW Statement on Amazon Cashierless Grocery Store Opening

America’s Largest Grocery Union Slams Cashierless Model that Discriminates Against Low-Income Shoppers, Hurts Customer Service, and Threatens Good Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its strong opposition to Amazon’s opening of a new cashierless grocery store in Seattle. UFCW International President Marc Perrone issued the following statement:

“Amazon represents a clear and present danger to millions of good jobs. The brutal truth is that Amazon is focused on one thing – eliminating as many jobs as possible to enrich one multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos. Despite the failure of their Amazon Go stores, it is clear that Bezos is determined to pursue a ruthless strategy that is designed to destroy millions of grocery worker jobs.

“At a time when millions of Americans are already struggling, when most Americans are one paycheck away from disaster, what does it say that Bezos wants to create stores that serve food and groceries and eliminate the jobs real people need. Now, more than ever, it is time for our nation’s leaders – Democrats and Republicans – to wake up and act before Amazon and Jeff Bezos do permanent damage to America’s economy and the future of work.”

“Make no mistake, the UFCW will make sure that Amazon’s ruthless business model is a 2020 election issue. Every voter – and every candidate running for office – will be made aware that they have a choice to make: support good jobs or support Amazon’s destruction of jobs.”

Background:

As reported by CNBC, Amazon is continuing its ruthless strategy to take over America’s $800 billion grocery industry. Today, less than three years after purchasing Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, Amazon is opening its first, full-size, cashierless grocery store. It uses the same technology from the Amazon Go stores that have faced a national backlash from customers and lawmakers who say it discriminates against low-income shoppers and threatens good jobs.

Amazon Go stores have failed to meet lofty predictions and are unlikely to deliver the $639 million in 2020 sales the company promised. Additional reports show Amazon Go stores’ operating losses are still ballooning. And since purchasing Whole Foods, the grocery chain was the only Amazon division to report a sales slowdown during the fourth quarter.

Amazon could also be looking to scale its cashier-free technology to other retailers and chains such as movie theaters and airports, threatening many of the jobs in these industries as well.

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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.

 

February 6, 2020

UFCW: Amazon’s Nearly $1 Billion in Unpaid Taxes is Funding Technology Threatening Millions of American Jobs

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls Out Jeff Bezos for Misleading Tax Claims As Amazon Pushes to Eliminate Jobs Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) condemned the failure of Amazon to pay more than $800 million in federal income taxes owed, which was reported this week. UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Tens of millions of Americans pay their taxes, but not Amazon. Amazon uses tax loopholes to avoid paying billions in taxes – even as they pocket billions more in tax breaks from struggling cities and race to replace millions of jobs with automation.

“The fact is that Jeff Bezos and Amazon have one agenda – driving up profits at any cost by replacing talented employees with machines; regardless of whether it’s at Whole Foods, Amazon warehouses, or competing retail and grocery stores.

“Make no mistake, Amazon represents a clear and present danger to working- and middle-class Americans. It is time to realize that Amazon’s ruthless business model will lead to massive job losses that could cripple our entire economy.”

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org 

 

 

 

February 6, 2020

UFCW Applauds House Passage of The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls Bill Passage Major Step to Put Power Back in the Hands of Workers Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) applauded the passage of H.R. 2474, the “The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act” by the U.S. House of Representatives. UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Today’s passage of the PRO Act sends a powerful message that members of Congress are standing with American workers and supporting their right to make their voices heard.

“The PRO Act would put into action the strongest labor reforms in 80 years. This bill will restore protections that enable workers to join a union and empower them to negotiate for the higher wages, better benefits, more secure retirement and safer workplace they have earned. And thanks to strong enforcement measures, the PRO Act will hold corporations accountable for any violations of workers’ rights.

“American workers need to know their rights are protected and that Congress has their back. UFCW is proud to support the PRO Act and urges the Senate to quickly pass this bill and send it to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Background:

  • Attacks on unions and workers’ rights to form a union have led to an overall decline in the rights of workers and the deterioration of the prosperity of America’s working families.
  • From 1983 to 2016, the household wealth of the median American household decreased by 3% while the wealth of the top .1% increased by 133%.
  • In response, the “The Protecting the Right to Organize Act” or PRO Act would help to reverse the dangerous economic decline of the American worker and protecting America’s workers’ rights.
  • H.R. 2474, the PRO Act, passed the House on February 6, 2020 with bipartisan support.

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org 

February 4, 2020

UFCW: American Families Deserve a “More Perfect Union”

Ahead of State of the Union, Largest Private Sector Union Calls for Action to Protect and Strengthen American Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union highlighted the need for action from both parties to confront automation and other threats endangering American jobs and our economy. UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s hardworking families listening to tonight’s State of the Union need more than talk, they need real solutions and bipartisan action. All across the country, men and women, from every state, are working harder than ever before. Their healthcare costs keep increasing, wages are stagnant, and they are struggling to build a better life.

“They witness a national dysfunction that ignores the fact that huge corporations like Amazon are pushing automation that threatens millions of American jobs in retail, or reckless deregulation across our meatpacking industry that is jeopardizing our country’s food supply and jobs. And if that was not bad enough, millions of families are worried about a growing pension crisis that is putting at risk the retirement savings they worked their whole lives to earn.

“American workers deserve a more perfect union, and that begins with building an economy that puts their interests first, not the interests of the wealthy elite or powerful corporations. It’s time for the President, and all our country’s leaders, across both parties, to get to work on building the more just America they deserve.”

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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 healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org 

December 18, 2019

UFCW Statement on USMCA Trade Deal Ahead of Vote in Congress

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Welcomes Improved Labor Standards in Deal, But Condemns Failure to Strengthen Food Safety and U.S. Food Industry Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) ahead of the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives:

“This new trade deal makes important improvements to the original NAFTA, including improving the enforcement of labor standards; requiring the inspection of Mexican factories; and closing loopholes that have made it hard to prosecute labor violations.

“However, UFCW is extremely disappointed that the agreement fails to require strong country-of-origin labeling needed to strengthen food safety and invest in the millions of American jobs that produce our food. Consumers have a right to know where their food is from, whether it’s safe, and if it’s produced by American workers. Without strong country-of-origin labeling, consumers will be kept in the dark and America’s food workers will continue to face unfair competition from foreign companies not playing by the same rules.

“No single trade deal is enough to fix an economy that’s not working for millions of Americans. Our members will continue to call on Congress and the White House to put hardworking families first by pushing for strong country-of-origin labeling for food and passing legislation like the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO Act) that strengthen protections for all workers.”

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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 6, 2019

UFCW Applauds House Passage of Voting Rights Advancement Act

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls Bill Passage Biggest Victory for Access to Democracy Since Voting Rights Act of 1965

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) applauded passage of H.R. 4, the “Voting Rights Advancement Act” by the U.S. House of Representatives and released the following statement:

“The Voting Rights Advancement Act is a critical step forward in ensuring that every eligible voter across the country has the right to have their voice heard. Further, it will go a long way towards righting years of decisions and efforts by state and local politicians to prevent millions of Americans from voting.

“Together, we can ensure that no one group is singled out and that every person, regardless of their race, economic status or political affiliation, has access to the ballot box.”

Background:

  • Since the 2013 Shelby County vs. Holder decision by the Supreme Court rolling back key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, many states and localities have implemented efforts that make it more difficult for lower income people and people of color to vote.
  • In response, the “Voting Rights Advancement Act” or VRAA would modernize and enhance federal protections on access to the vote for all Americans.
  • H.R. 4, the VRAA, passed the house on a December 6, 2019 with bipartisan support.

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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 4, 2019

UFCW Statement on Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Applauds Warren-Schakowsky Legislation for ‘Holding Corporations Accountable’ and Helping End ‘Exploitation’ of Retail Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), announced its support for the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights Act unveiled by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL). UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Rather than do what’s right, multi-billion dollar retail companies force millions of Americans into part-time jobs – jobs that guarantee they will struggle to make ends meet. Far too many of these workers are paid low wages, cannot access family leave or contribute to a pension, and are losing extra hours to outside contractors. This is wrong and it must end now.

“The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights will go a long way towards making part-time jobs good jobs for all workers. This bill will hold corporations accountable and help end the modern-day exploitation of millions of hard-working men and women in America’s retail 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

 

 

December 3, 2019

UFCW: Retirement of Millions of Americans Threatened by New Congressional Pension Proposal

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Says Congress Must Reject Plan that Reduces Current Benefits and Jeopardizes Pensions for Future Retirees 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), announced its opposition to a multiemployer pensions proposal from U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Millions of American workers – union and nonunion – would have their retirement thrown into chaos if this plan passes. Not only would it cause a massive reduction in current pension benefits, it will recklessly endanger the pensions of future retirees across the country. After a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, workers should be able to retire with dignity and the security of knowing they can provide for themselves and their loved ones.

“Congress must pass the bipartisan Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act to protect these pensions before the crisis becomes even more costly and widespread. The retirement security for millions of workers and their families is on the line. We cannot wait any longer.”

Grassley Pensions Plan Impact on American Workers’ Retirement Security

This proposal, if implemented, will severely harm healthy defined benefit multiemployer plans, and will put millions of participants’ pension plans at risk.

  • The proposed PBGC premiums and new retiree and stakeholder copayments will place tremendous burdens on healthy plans, unnecessarily punish the stakeholders, and disproportionately impact plans with lower contribution rates.
  • The proposed changes to the calculations used to value liabilities are inappropriate, logically inconsistent, and will overstate the value of liabilities significantly, causing extreme harm to plans that are currently healthy.
  • Proposed changes to withdrawal liability provisions will very likely decrease withdrawal liability amounts, meaning that many employers who withdraw from plans will not be required to pay their fair share, exacerbating the already-existing financial strain faced by these plans.
  • Proposed governance changes will be harmful to plans’ continued existence and do not address the underlying causes of the problem that Congress is trying to solve.
  • Proposed restrictions on benefit improvements in healthy plans are inappropriate.
  • The creation of “Composite Plans” would legalize a new plan structure that would shift investment risk from employers to workers.

UFCW Call for Action on Multiemployer Pensions

UFCW has been a strong national advocate for pensions reform and is calling for Congress to pass H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act. Last year, UFCW sent a letter to Congress urging action on legislation to provide low-cost loans to eligible multiemployer pension plans to enable them to continue to pay earned pensions to retirees and fund their long-term pension commitments.

Why Congress Must Pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act:

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act is a common-sense way to shore up the multiemployer plans while protecting the earned pensions of retirees and active workers.

  • An estimated 10 million workers and retirees are in about 1,400 multiemployer pension plans. (PBGC)
  • The failure of pension plans would hurt not only individual retirees, but also their local communities, the plans’ contributing employers and the future of the multiemployer retirement system overall.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act provides a path forward to address the country’s growing pension crisis by providing the financial support the plans need to avoid insolvency.

  • If nothing is done, some troubled plans will fail and retirees will face massive cuts to the benefits they earned over decades of work.
  • If the plans are allowed to fail, not only will they no longer be able to pay promised benefits, but taxpayers would be at risk of having to pay billions to cover the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) shortfall.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration, within the Treasury Department, to provide low-cost loans to qualified underfunded multiemployer pension plans.

  • Plans would have up to 30 years to pay earned retiree benefits, prudently invest the loan proceeds and employer contributions, and re-pay the loan.
  • During the loan period, employers may not reduce contributions and the plan may not increase promised benefits.
  • The plan must demonstrate that receipt of the loan will enable the plan to avoid insolvency, pay benefits and loan interest, and accumulate sufficient funds to repay the loan principal when due.

 

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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 25, 2019

UFCW: Consumer and Worker Protections Must Be Top Priority for Northeast Governors in Cannabis Framework

Union Representing Cannabis Workers Calls for Regional Framework to Prioritize Labor Peace Agreements that Support Good Jobs, Consumer Safety

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union is calling for consumer and worker protections to be a top priority for Governors Andrew Cuomo (New York), Ned Lamont (Connecticut), Phil Murphy (New Jersey), Gina Raimondo (Rhode Island), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), and Charlie Baker (Massachusetts) in their states’ new joint framework on cannabis.

In a letter to these governors, UFCW called the agreement an important first step to strengthen the cannabis industry and support good jobs, but also emphasized the need to invest in high standards that put consumers and workers first. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s cannabis industry has the power to create thousands of good jobs that support hardworking families and the communities they serve. But we can only achieve this with strong labor peace agreements that set high standards that reward responsible businesses, strengthen worker voices, and put consumer safety first. We urge these governors to make this a centerpiece of their cannabis framework as they continue to invest in the future of our economy.”

BACKGROUND

In the letter to Northeast governors, UFCW emphasized the importance of labor peace agreements. A labor peace agreement is a written and mutually agreed-upon document between a labor union and an employer, typically one that is licensed to operate in a regulated industry by a state or local government.

  • Labor peace agreements strengthen business stability and support a healthy workplace
  • Unions and their members typically agree to refrain from engaging in strikes, boycotts, picketing and any other interference in the employer’s business.
  • Employers, in return, agree to not interfere with efforts by the labor union to communicate with, and attempt to organize and represent, the employer’s workers.
  • These agreements generally require the employer, including management and supervisory staff, to agree to remain neutral regarding unions and their representation of the workforce.

Labor peace agreements do not equate to mandatory unionization and do not impose a union contract. In fact, union organizing must still take place at the worksite. And negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement between the union and the business only begin after a majority of workers elect to join the union. Ultimately, labor peace agreements provide an additional safeguard for workers and strengthen the businesses that agree to them.

Both New York and New Jersey already have labor peace agreements in place for medical cannabis businesses.

This week’s letter is signed by the following labor leaders:

  • UFCW International President Marc Perrone – Washington, D.C.
  • Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum – New York, NY
  • UFCW International Vice President and Region 1 Director David Young – Little Falls, NJ
  • UFCW Local 152 President Brian String – Egg Harbor Township, NJ
  • UFCW Local 328 President Timothy Melia – Providence, RI
  • RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 President Jon Durso – Mineola, NY
  • UFCW Local 360 President Salvatore “Sam” Ferraino – West Berlin, NJ
  • UFCW Local 371 President Thomas Wilkinson – Westport, CT
  • UFCW Local 919 President Mark Espinosa – Farmington, CT
  • UFCW Local 1445 President Jeffrey Bollen – Dedham, MA
  • UFCW Local 1459 President Tyrone Housey – Springfield, MA
  • UFCW Local 1776KS President Wendell Young – Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • RWDSU New York City Director Dave Mertz – New York, NY

Since 2010, the UFCW has been a leader in the cannabis industry and currently represents thousands of cannabis workers in 12 states around the country. The UFCW represents more than 300,000 workers across a wide range of industries in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

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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 20, 2019

UFCW Statement on Amazon Launch of Cashierless Grocery Chain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its opposition to Amazon’s launch of a cashierless grocery chain reported to open next year. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Amazon has one agenda – to eliminate as many jobs as possible to enrich one multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos. The takeover of Whole Foods was just the beginning of a ruthless strategy to fundamentally change our country’s grocery industry. Despite a widespread consumer backlash to Amazon Go stores, Jeff Bezos is doubling down on the cashierless business model in food retail as he seeks to eliminate millions of good American jobs.

Make no mistake, Amazon represents a clear and present danger to working and middle class Americans. It is long past the time for our leaders to wake up and act before Amazon and Jeff Bezos do long-lasting damage to America’s economy.”

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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.