January 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone, issued the following statement regarding the 28-day government shutdown and its impact on America’s 16 million retail workers and the broader economy.
“Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers continue to be locked out of their job or forced to work without pay. But this wasteful shutdown is also threatening the 16 million American workers who help power our country’s $2.6 trillion retail sector and the broader economy.
“When Republicans shut down the government in 2013, retail sales from furloughed workers dropped seven percent and the economy lost $2 billion in productivity. About 1 in 10 Americans are employed in the retail industry and the longer the current shutdown continues, the harder hit these workers and our economy will be.
“It’s high time for President Trump and Congress to stop playing politics with our economy and American workers and finally end this reckless government shutdown.”
Background: The last extended federal government shutdown in 2013 had a significant impact on the U.S. economy:
- Annualized GDP growth for the quarter fell by 0.25 percent.
- Private sector jobs decreased by 120,000.
- Shopping by some 800,000 furloughed federal employees fell by 7 percent.
- As income of furloughed workers shifted to later in the month, consumption habits shifted as well – including on gasoline – and bill payments were delayed.
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 12, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone, issued the following statement regarding the U.S. House of Representatives passing the 2018 Farm Bill conference report.
“Today’s passage of the bipartisan farm bill is a victory for hardworking families. Earlier versions were deeply partisan and proposed substantial cuts to SNAP, a vital program that not only helps millions in need put food on the table every day but creates sustainable jobs in food processing plants, distribution centers, and grocery stores across the country.
Thanks to the leadership of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, Congress has rightly rejected the cuts that would have threatened our economy and good jobs across America.
As the voice of workers who help put food on America’s tables, we are proud to be a partner in this legislation that puts people first by protecting access to food for families in need and making the strong investments in our workers and communities that we deserve.”
December 4, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding a report by the Wall Street Journal that Amazon is testing its Amazon Go technology in bigger stores with the possibility of introducing it into Whole Foods stores across the United States, potentially impacting thousands of workers.
“Amazon’s new push to aggressively expand their cashierless technology, likely to Whole Foods stores across the country, poses an existential threat to thousands of American jobs and our economy.
“Grocery stores already face pressure to use cashierless technology to stay competitive. Amazon ramping up their push to expand this technology and bring it to Whole Foods stores around the country would likely lead to smaller grocery chains being squeezed out of business, increased prices for consumers with fewer options, lower wages for workers, and potentially millions of lost jobs as stores are forced to further reduce costs.
“Our nation’s leaders must realize now that Amazon’s ruthless business model will lead to massive job losses that could cripple our entire economy. We must stand up and fight for the good-paying jobs our families and communities count on, before it’s too late.”
October 4, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding news that Amazon warehouse workers will no longer be eligible to receive monthly bonuses and stock awards after the company increases their minimum wage to $15 per hour.
“Rather than receiving the raise they deserve, many Amazon warehouse workers will now see lower pay. That’s not just disappointing, it’s wrong.
“And hiding among all of this news about a minimum wage increase is the fact that Amazon’s rapid pursuit of automation will likely result in millions of lost jobs.
“For the economic health of our country, more must be done by both political parties to confront Amazon’s growing influence and impact.”
October 1, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding news that the United States, Mexico and Canada reached an agreement (USMCA) to change parts of the North American Free Trade Agreement that excludes Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). COOL requires meat sold at retail to have a label informing consumers of the country where the product was sourced.
“A trade agreement without COOL is terrible for sustainable jobs and food safety.
“Every hard-working family deserves to know where their food comes from.
“Keeping this information hidden endangers our health and destroys middle class meat processing jobs across our country.
“We urge the U.S. Trade Representative to do the right thing and take immediate steps to ensure COOL is included in a final agreement.”
The top five meat producing states that would benefit from COOL are Iowa, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, and Arkansas.
September 27, 2018
New injury data could show danger rule poses to workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), is requesting the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in a letter to reopen the comment period and delay the implementation of the pork line speed rule, which would allow for unlimited increase in hog slaughter line speeds. The USDA withheld important injury data relating to the proposed rule until after the comment period had closed.
The letter can be found here.
“Thousands of pork workers all across America understand from firsthand experience that this is an extremely dangerous rule change and we believe the data will support this fact,” said Perrone. “Make no mistake, increasing line speeds is a needless weakening of our safety standards. It threatens the quality and health of our food supply and cruelly endangers the lives of workers who make it. This proposed rule must be stopped.”
UFCW members who are hog slaughter workers hand-delivered Perrone’s letter to Carmen Rottenberg, administrator of the FSIS, on September 26 after meeting with USDA officials to explain why the proposed rule is dangerous.
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 atwww.ufcw.org.
September 20, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding reports that Amazon is planning to open as many as 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021.
“It is time for America’s elected leaders to wake up to the economic threat Amazon poses to our economy.
“Make no mistake, creating cashierless stores is not about convenience; rather, it is about greed.
“Jeff Bezos and Amazon are deploying a business model that poses an existential threat to millions of American jobs, and it is time we are honest about the devastating impact this will have on our nation and tens of millions of hard-working families.”
August 30, 2018
UFCW President Marc Perrone makes clear that it is unions that will bring workers the better life they deserve
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a Labor Day op-ed in The Hill, Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), makes clear why unions – not politicians – will create the better America that hard-working families deserve.
EXCERPTS FROM THE OP-ED:
As the wealthiest elites celebrate a booming stock market and corporate America rejoices in a tax cut windfall, millions of hard-working Americans are struggling to survive.
According to the most recent report from the Labor Department, from July 2017 to July 2018, the cost of living was up 2.9 percent, while wages were up only 2.7 percent. This means that wages for many are failing to keep up with inflation as the cost of health care, prescription drugs, gasoline and housing continues to soar.
Union workers earn, on average, nearly $10,000 more per year than nonunion workers. Union workers are more likely to have affordable health insurance, paid vacations, holidays and sick leave, fair scheduling, stronger workplace safety and health protections, as well as protection from discrimination and unfair or illegal treatment at work.
For decades, our elected leaders have sought to weaken unions, even as they permitted a concentration of wealth and a level of income inequality that now represents a clear and present danger to America. Yet, despite the divisive political climate, a pathway to change is emerging.
At some point soon, America’s hard-working families will cast politics aside and say enough is enough with the economic struggles they have had to endure. They will grow tired of empty corporate promises and realize the enormous value they have when they stand together.
August 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement after submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in support of the pending Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and American Grassfed Association’s (AGA) Petition to Change the Food Safety and Inspection Services Standards and Labeling Policy Book on “Product of U.S.A.” FSIS-2018-0024.
“Allowing meat that comes from outside our country to be sold as a U.S. product is misleading, unsafe and wrong. American consumers deserve to know where their meat comes from.
“Updating current labeling requirements will not only bring families more certainty about the meat they are serving or eating, it will create and protect sustainable jobs for hard-working communities across the country.
“Our union family strongly supports this petition and encourages the USDA to do the same.”
Currently, meat that is imported from other countries but further processed in the U.S. receives the “Product of U.S.A.” label. The pending OCM-AGA petition would revise “Product of the U.S.A.” label requirements so that it is limited only to domestically born, raised, slaughtered and processed meat.
UFCW supports the OCM-AGA petition because, like the now repealed Country-of-Origin-Labeling (COOL) law, it would provide a crucial premium for cattle ranchers that would help facilitate the rebuilding of the U.S. cattle herd and bolster additional good, family-sustaining jobs in meat processing.
The droughts of 2011 and 2012 forced American ranchers to liquidate the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest level since 1941. In the wake of the droughts, ranchers were faced with burned-up pastures and high feed prices, which forced them to send their female heifers to slaughter rather than to retain them for breeding and herd rebuilding. Consequently, the U.S. cattle herd fell to its lowest level since 1941, causing nine beef processing plants to shut down and the loss of thousands of good beef packing jobs.
Studies have shown that consumers will pay more to know where their food comes from.
The recent Brazilian meat inspection scandal makes OCM-AGA Petition especially timely.
In June 2017, the Trump administration imposed a ban on Brazilian beef imports after USDA border inspections revealed that the meat was rotten and contaminated. USDA inspectors also rejected 1.9 million pounds or about 11% of Brazilian beef imports in the wake of 20 Brazilian meat inspectors being arrested for taking bribes.
Independent auditors had already documented the shortcomings of this FSIS program prior to this scandal, but this Brazilian scandal provides even more evidence of the dramatic failure of the USDA’s FSIS foreign plant equivalency program to protect food safety.
The failed program also poses an unprecedented threat to the entire U.S. beef sector, which could be further decimated should contamination from comingled Brazilian beef cause a loss of consumer confidence in the U.S. beef supplies.
As it stands now, consumers have no way of differentiating U.S. from Brazilian beef. If the U.S. beef supply were to be contaminated with comingled Brazilian beef, many consumers may simply stop buying beef all together. This could cause irreparable harm to the beef sector and could result in more plant shutdowns and the loss of even more good-paying, sustainable jobs.
The OCM-AGA petition would allow consumers to purchase domestic U.S. beef clearly labeled from a U.S. supply chain, thus inoculating U.S. domestic beef from a catastrophic loss in consumer confidence.
 NAFTA Negotiations and Its American Beef, R-CALF USA Website: https://www.r-calfusa.com/nafta-negotiations-american-beef/
 Kay, S. (2015, October 5). Are packing plants on the endangered species list? Beef Magazine. (Supplemented with additional UFCW research.) Available at: http://www.beefmagazine.com/blog/are-packing-plants-endangered-species-list
August 8, 2018
Voters Reject Work-For-Less Prop A, Support the Role of Unions to Improve the Lives of Workers and Their Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), issued the following statement regarding the defeat of Proposition A, also known as “Right-to-Work,” in Missouri:
“This is a historic defeat for those corporate and political elites who believe workers should earn poverty wages and struggle with no benefits, and a major victory for every hard-working Missourian who believes that their right to affordable health care, better wages, and retirement security must be protected.
“Through their vote, Missourians have made their voices loud and clear by taking a stand for their right to negotiate together for a better life.
“It is time for those in political power to stop proposing legislation that needlessly hurts workers, their families, and destroys good jobs. It is time to put hard-working families first.”
When union density is high, workers are empowered to earn better wages, solve problems, and improve their workplaces. Additional research shows:
- Economic Policy Institute: “Union decline has exacerbated wage inequality in the United States by dampening the pay of nonunion workers as well as by eroding the share of workers directly benefitting from unionization.”
- Nine of the 10 states with the highest poverty in this country are Work-for-Less states.
- The median household income is $8,700 lower in Work-for-Less states.
- In Work-for-Less states, CEOs make 361 times more than the average worker.