• Microphone on stage

    Press Releases.

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

May 19, 2015

Walmart Worker-Shareholder Reacts to Q1 Earnings Report

Overview of Walmart’s first quarter sales report:

  • WMT reports 1st quarter results below expectations
  • EPS was $1.03 vs an expected $1.05; revenue was $114 billion vs an expected $116.2 billion
  • Same store sales of 1.1% at WMT US and just 0.4% at Sam’s Club were below the 1.5% gain expected for both segments
  • Promised investments in labor were disappointing, and amounted to less than analysts had expected for the quarter

OUR Walmart member and Walmart shareholder Teresa Adams of Pico Rivera, Calif., today, issued the following statement in response to Walmart’s Q1 earnings report:

“Walmart’s weak earnings report this morning is telling, but it’s nothing new for the countless number of associates nationwide who have been calling for a change to the company’s low-road, low-wage business model over the past few years. When workers who are committed to the company’s success can’t secure much-neeWM RUS_Fotorded pay and hours, they aren’t the only ones who suffer. Customers lose, and so do shareholders. Shelves aren’t properly stocked. Check-out lines are long. And the company’s reputation takes a hit when its employees don’t make enough money to stay off government assistance programs, At a time when Walmart needs to be investing more in its employees and stores, it closes four apparently profitable stores and lays off a reported 2,200 workers, while grasping at straws to justify the move. I think it’s no coincidence that OUR Walmart members were active in one of those stores.

“My fellow OUR Walmart members, like Shannon Henderson who made about $13,000 last year working as many hours as Walmart would let her, and I have been working to offer solutions to the problems that plague the company and its operations. CEO Doug McMillon has responded to one of our demands by raising wages for those of us at the bottom of the ladder, but it’s not enough. We all need higher wages and, even more importantly, we need more hours for ourselves and for our customers.

 “OUR Walmart Associate-shareholders are going to the upcoming Walmart annual shareholder meeting, where we have submitted two shareholder proposals. We are encouraging shareholders to use their votes to rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and more hours for workers.

 “It’s long past time for Walmart and the Waltons to take an honest and candid look at the concerns raised by investors, shareholders and customers. Treating associates with respect and providing adequate staffing and hours are fundamental to putting Walmart on the path to strong sales and success. And that’s the direction Walmart needs to go.”

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

May 14, 2015

CEO Pay Continues to Rise; Walmart Workers Prepare to Call for Change at Shareholders Meeting

CEOs paid 373 times average worker pay, according to 2015 Executive PayWatch

ceopayWASHINGTON, DC—As Americans rally behind initiatives to raise pay for working families, CEO pay for major U.S. companies has skyrocketed. According to new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch data, CEO pay increased nearly 16 percent in 2014, while Walmart and the Walton family continue to drive inequality nationwide.

The Executive PayWatch website, the most comprehensive searchable online database that tracks CEO pay, showed that in 2014, the average production and nonsupervisory worker made approximately $36,000 per year, while S&P 500 company CEO pay averaged $13.5 million per year – a ratio which has grown to 373-to-1. Meanwhile, a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage is paid just $15,080 a year, well below the poverty level for a family.

 Mega-retailer Walmart, highlighted in this year’s PayWatch, represents one of the most egregious examples of CEO-to-worker pay inequality. CEO Douglas McMillon is paid $9,323 an hour. A new Walmart employee making $9 an hour would have to work 1036 hours to earn what McMillon makes just 60 minutes. PayWatch also notes that six Walton family members have more wealth than 43 percent of America’s families combined.

“I made about $13,000 last year, working as many hours as the company would let me,” said Shannon Henderson, a Walmart employee and mother of two in Sacramento, California. “I work for the richest company in the world, and I can’t support my family without public assistance. That’s not right, and that’s why I’m not going to stop fighting for $15 and full time.”

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. associates. But despite the modest increase—and without any guarantee of adequate hours —many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by. Meanwhile, the company escalated its retaliatory actions against associates to a new level last month, when it abruptly closed five stores and laid off more than 2,000 workers, citing “plumbing issues.” Among the stores Walmart closed is the Pico Rivera, California Supercenter, the first store to go on strike in 2012, as well as the site of the first sit-down strike prior to last Black Friday. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores.

In light of the data released by Executive PayWatch, Walmart workers are prepared to demand change and accountability from the world’s largest retailer. As Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting approaches, workers have announced their intention to propose a shareholder resolution that would rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

May 13, 2015

OK Foods Fires Maintenance Workers Illegally

UFCW Alleges Company Fired Workers for Union Activity in Unfair Labor Practice Charges

OKfoodsnewsletter-300x160Heavener, OK: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1000 is formally filing Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that two UFCW organizing committee members were illegally fired last week by OK Foods in Heavener, OK.

Local 1000 President Ricky Burris said, “Joshua Deases and Jason Muller were fired illegally last week. These two have been leaders in the organizing campaign at OK Foods to help maintenance workers get a voice at work. Both of them testified on behalf of the union in front of an NLRB Hearing Officer last year and served as official observers in the May 1st, 2014 election. The NLRB set the May 1st election aside because of repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act and now OK Foods is again violating the Act by firing these workers. I strongly condemn these terminations.”

Maintenance worker Jason Muller said, “I’m not discouraged. The more they harass pro-union workers, the harder we will fight. OK Foods won’t intimidate us. OK Foods is persecuting Josh Deases and myself because of our union activities. This company, and specifically the CEO Trent Goins, should be ashamed.”

UFCW Local 1000 represents 11,000 workers across Oklahoma and North Texas including people who work at grocery stores and food production facilities. UFCW Local 1000 is an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 250,000 poultry production workers across the United States and Canada.

 

 

May 12, 2015

UFCW President Perrone: Hard-Working Americans Have Sent a Message Loud and Clear—No TPP

Says Failure to Advance Fast Track a Stinging Defeat for TPP Proponents

stop_tppWASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance fast track legislation.

“All across this country, hard-working Americans from every political stripe have sent a message loud and clear—no more trade deals that destroy American jobs and families. The failure of the Senate to advance fast track legislation is not only a stinging defeat for supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); it makes clear that the American people will not be fooled into supporting another bad trade deal.

“Just a few weeks ago, all of the pundits believed that fast track and the TPP were a lock to pass: they were wrong. Our 1.3 million members, the entire labor movement, progressive Democrats, and conservative Republicans have all stood up and spoke out against this disastrous trade deal. More importantly, this is what is possible when we all stand together and fight for what is right for our families, our jobs, and our nation. While this battle is far from over, we can only hope that President Obama and every TPP supporter hears the voices of the American people and understands that this is a fight they cannot and should not win.”

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

May 12, 2015

New Charge Against Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society Alleges Unlawful Anti-Worker Conduct

Co-op Charged with Intimidating and Interfering with its Workers’ Rights

nlrb-638x430Last week, the UFCW filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that management at the Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society in New Hampshire unlawfully stifled workers’ rights to organize – including preventing them from talking about unions inside the store and intimidating workers who were discussing organizing a union. The Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society employs over 400 workers out of five retail locations and a commissary kitchen and does business locally as The Co-op Food Stores.

“Unions and co-ops are like peas and pods – they stem from the same core, they share the same values,” said co-op Member Len Ziefert. “It is antithetical for co-ops to oppose unionization, unions are employees working cooperatively.”

The member-owned co-op has been in the spotlight over the last year following the termination of two well-regarded employees. The fired workers sued co-op management, claiming they were fired as retaliation for speaking out about workplace conditions and for talking with union representatives. After the fallout from this lawsuit, members elected three new directors to the board who are focused on making the co-op more worker-friendly. While the wrongful termination case is currently still being litigated, this unrelated NLRB charge raises the question if anything has changed at The Co-op Food Stores or if co-op management continues to engage in anti-worker practices.

“By standing together in union, workers preserve their voice and true co-op principles,” said Reid Kotlas, a regular shopper. “The Co-op Food Stores should live up to the values of its member-owners and of the co-op movement and respect its workers’ rights to organize a union.”

May 8, 2015

UFCW Local 555 President Dan Clay: This trade deal may help Nike, but it won’t help workers in Oregon

TPP-6Portland, OR—Today, Dan Clay, President of UFCW Local 555, the largest private sector union in Oregon, released the following statement concerning President Obama pushing for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal in a speech at Nike headquarters in Beaverton.

“It is very disappointing to see President Obama push a trade deal that will hurt hard-working Oregonian families. To do so by visiting Nike, a company with a long history of sending jobs overseas and exploiting workers is a complete insult. Support from companies like Nike and Wal-Mart shows how terribly flawed this trade deal really is.

At a time when we need good jobs and growing income, we are being told to believe in another flawed trade deal, and ignore the self-centered agendas of politicians and irresponsible corporations.

Given the current economic struggles so many men and women in Oregon face, I can’t imagine a worse thing for President Obama to be prioritizing than a fast track trade deal that will widen the gap between the rich and the poor.

We will lose more jobs. We will see more of our businesses close. And, worst of all, working and middle class families in Oregon, whether they are union members or not, will pay the price.

Enough is enough. People in Oregon deserve better than this, and we must all work together to put our hard-working families first.

Every member of the Oregon Congressional delegation should show their commitment to good jobs in Oregon by opposing this bad deal for workers.”

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555 online at www.ufcw555.com

We are over 20,000 workers standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family in Oregon and Southwest Washington deserves.

 https://www.facebook.com/UFCWLocal555    @UFCW555

April 23, 2015

UFCW Applauds Confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

via Essence

via Essence

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), yesterday released the following statement in response to the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States.

“We congratulate Loretta Lynch on being confirmed as Attorney General. And we decry the Senate leadership for delaying her confirmation vote in unprecedented fashion over the President’s legal and necessary executive actions on immigration.

Now more than ever, workers need a champion leading the Department of Justice.  With voting rights under assault and corporations seeking to grab levels of power that hurt everyday Americans, Ms. Lynch has a tough job ahead of her. But her unique qualifications, experience, and character give us the utmost confidence that she will be a strong advocate for hard-working men and women.”
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We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.
April 23, 2015

Nation’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls on DOJ to Stop Merger Between Comcast and Time Warner

In letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, UFCW President Marc Perrone, citing impact on all hard-working families, calls on DOJ to oppose merger

via nbc news

via nbc news

WASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday urging the U.S. Department of Justice to block the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable because of the negative impact the resulting company will have on working families’ much-needed access to affordable and reliable cable and Internet services. Perrone wrote his letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Renata Hesse, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division.

“The UFCW strongly opposes the proposed $45 billion merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.  This merger will lead to higher costs, fewer choices and inadequate Internet service for our 1.3 million members and millions of hard-working families across the country.

“On behalf of our members, I have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice outlining why this merger will further hurt working and middle class Americans.  As the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, this merger will make Internet access less affordable to the very people who need it to get ahead.  Stopping the merger between Comcast and Time Warner is in our country’s best interest, and the UFCW strongly urges the U.S. Department of Justice to protect Internet access for America’s working and middle class families. I call on federal regulators to unequivocally block Comcast’s proposed purchase of Time Warner Cable.”

A copy of UFCW President Perrone’s letter to the U.S. Department of Justice is linked here.

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org.

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

April 21, 2015

Following Retaliatory Closures, Walmart Workers Take Legal Action

Supported by elected officials, clergy and community members, group files for injunctive relief with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of workers

Local school board launches resolution calls on Walmart to consider economic impact to local community, transfer and reinstate workers

11174655_1092389480778107_6579073321344252761_oNATIONWIDE —Yesterday Pico Rivera Walmart workers with OUR Walmart filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to Walmart’s retaliatory store closings. Last week, Walmart abruptly closed 5 Walmart stores in four states due to an alleged national plumbing emergency. However, city officials point out that the company has obtained no permits to begin repairs in any of these locations. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Among the five stores was the Pico Rivera, California Walmart Supercenter, which has been the hotbed for worker action. The store is also of symbolic important to the low-wage worker movement, as it sparked the Walmart and fast food strikes when it was the first store to go on strike in October of 2012. Workers from the store also held the first large sit-down strike and participated in civil disobedience in the weeks prior to last Black Friday.

“This is a new low, even for Walmart,” said Venanzi Luna, an eight-year Walmart worker and long-time OUR Walmart member. “It’s just so heartless to put thousands of your employees out of a job with no clear explanation on just a few hours’ notice. We know that Walmart is scared of all we have accomplished as members of OUR Walmart so they’re targeting us. Through OUR Walmart, we’re going to keep fighting back until the company gives us our jobs back. It’s unfortunate that Walmart has chosen to hurt the lives of so many people, just to try to conceal their real motives of silencing workers just like they’ve always done.”

Workers are asking the National Labor Relations Board to see injunctive relief under section 10j of the National Labor Relations Act. They are calling on the National Labor Relations Board to compel Walmart to rehire all of the workers who were terminated in all five stores and reinstate them to their own stores or transfer them without loss of pay until they can be reinstated to their stores. A 10j injunction is designed to allow the court to act quickly to remedy such extreme violations without the long delay which is anticipated for NLRB proceedings.

As the filing notes, this is not the first time Walmart has taken dramatic action to quell worker action. In June of 2014, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Walmart had violated labor law when it closed the Jonquiére, Quebec Walmart store. The workers in that store had voted to join a union, becoming the first unionized store in North America just before it closed. In 2000, butchers in a Jacksonville, Texas Walmart voted to join UFCW Local 540. Two weeks later, Walmart closed its 180 meat departments in stores nationwide and switched to prepackaged case ready meat only. More recently, Walmart fired and disciplined more than 70 workers who participated in strikes in June 2013. An Administrative Law Judge of the NLRB has found merit to claims against Walmart and additional claims are currently being prosecuted by the General Counsel of the NLRB against Walmart.

“Walmart’s choice to close one of the most vocal stores in the fight for $15 and full time is a clear and direct assault on all workers’ rights,” said Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta. “As a country, we cannot sit back quietly as our nation’s largest private employer is allowed to lay off thousands of people in an attempt to silence them from speaking out for better wages, hours and respect on the job.”

Community members and elected officials have also come out in support of Walmart workers. The El Rancho Unified School District, in which the Pico Rivera store is located, will vote on a resolution in support of the laid off Pico Rivera Walmart workers. The resolution “calls on Walmart to consider the economic hardship their decision has caused for their 530 Associates from the Pico Rivera store and their families and commit to transfer all of the Associates to surrounding Walmart stores before new people are hired to fill positions in those stores…”

Other community members also attended yesterday’s press conference to call attention to the impact of Walmart’s actions on their neighborhoods, congregations and communities.

“It is a scandal against all that is righteous, though it is unfortunately not surprising, that Walmart, the economic Pharaoh who cannot see workers as people but only as expense lines, has again decreed unemployment and poverty and suffering on 530 workers here, and similar numbers in four other stores,” said local Rabbi Aryeh Cohen. “In November, I joined other clergy and community leaders and workers in an act of civil disobedience to support the brave workers who sat down and struck in order to stand up with dignity. We then demanded $15 an hour and access to full employment. Today our demands have not changed. However, we also demand that Pharaoh rehire all 530 workers, give them priority before hiring other workers for less pay, and support the fired workers beyond the mandated 60 days.”

Workers promised that they would continue to fight the company’s retaliatory closures with bold action until the company meets their calls for reinstatement, transfer with equal pay and compensation in the interim and finally, the opportunity to return to their stores when they reopen.

“Allowing Walmart to get away with such a blatant attack on the rights of workers’ in our community would open the door for any employer to simply develop ‘plumbing issues’ whenever workers stood up for change in their workplace,” said SEIU 721 Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez. “We need to send a message to Walmart and all employers that in our community, the rights of working people must be respected. That’s why we’ll continue to stand with Walmart workers as they fight to get back to work and for change at the world’s largest private employer.”

April 16, 2015

UFCW President Perrone: We are Determined to See Fast Track Defeated

TPP-6WASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the agreement reached on trade promotion authority or fast track.

“The TPP and fast track are not just wrong for America, they will hurt every hard-working family. The fact that Democrats and Republicans support TPP is a bipartisan insult to the millions of men and women struggling to find good jobs and earn a decent living.

Make no mistake, we are determined to see this legislation defeated. Our members will mobilize across the United States to call on Congress to stand up for hard-working families. While we may not be able to change every mind, our voices will be heard. And we will remember those who turned their back on America’s workers by voting for another destructive trade deal.”

A copy of President Perrone’s Wednesday op-ed in The Hill is linked here and copied below.

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

 

April 15, 2015, 02:00 pm

Trans-Pacific Partnership will harm middle and working class Americans

By Marc Perrone

Four years ago, after careful consideration, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) decided to endorse the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, making us one of the only labor unions to do so. We viewed the Korea deal—which had improved labor standards and was estimated  to create over 20,000 jobs in the meat sector, as a small, but not insignificant, step forward on global trade policy. As the union that represents hundreds of thousands of meatpacking and food processing workers, we support fair trade agreements that open up new markets to sell UFCW-made products abroad.

This time it’s different. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement. It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.

The truth is as we’ve heard during past trade debates, many Republicans and even some Democrats, repeatedly say that the TPP won’t hurt families or communities, or devastate industries, unions, or the middle and working classes.

America’s families know from experience the brutal reality will be quite different.

Over the last three decades, in large part because of bad trade deals, Americans have worked harder than ever, while wages remain stagnant.  Income and economic inequality has grown to historically high levels. Industry consolidation, fueled by unchecked global competition, has led to countless jobs being lost. Good union jobs have been decimated across nearly every state and replaced by either no job, or non-union jobs that barely pay above minimum wage.

As for the TPP, while a bipartisan chorus will sing the praises of this trade deal, they choose to ignore the truth that it is America’s working men and women, not them, who will pay the price as irresponsible corporations justify future cuts to wages, hours, and jobs–all in the name of “international competition.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the TPP goes even further by rolling back regulations that could be construed as a “barrier to trade,” which includes environmental, consumer, and labor protections. And, if there were any remaining doubts, this massive trade deal, which will impact tens of millions of American jobs, has been put together in secret, with the advice and counsel of hundreds of corporate special interests with absolutely no input from labor or other groups that fight on behalf of the working and middle classes.

Given all that we know, how any elected official, Democrat or Republican, can support the TPP is inexplicable.

So, on behalf of the 1.3 million hard-working men and women of the UFCW, we are calling on every member of Congress to oppose the TPP and the fast-track legislation that would make it possible to pass the TPP.

Let me be very clear, no elected official, regardless of political party, who is truly interested in making the economy better and fairer, can responsibly support the TPP. Simply put, this trade deal, like so many others, is bad for our workers, families, and shared future.

In the end, while we may not be able to change every mind, we will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers by voting for jobs and against another destructive trade deal. More to the point, we join with the AFL-CIO and other unions that refuse to support any member of Congress that decides to put narrow self-interests above the interests of hard-working families.

Marc Perrone is International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).