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    Press Releases.

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

May 7, 2014

JBS SLAUGHTERHOUSE WORKERS AUTHORIZE STRIKE

UFCWnewsWorthington MN:  Workers at the JBS pork processing facility in Worthington, Minnesota have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. More than 1,800 union workers are employed at the facility slaughtering hogs and processing and packaging pork products and belong to UFCW Local 1161. Workers have been at the bargaining table with the company negotiating a new union contract for ten months. The company has made no offer of any wage increases, and has repeatedly proposed a health care plan that could drastically increase out-of-pocket costs for workers, while reducing coverage.

Over the last few years, JBS’s union workers across the country have negotiated with the company to keep labor costs down, making it possible for the company to thrive. Together, workers and the company have kept health care costs steady and cost-effective.

“Today, JBS is a successful, profitable, multi-national corporation that’s earning profits hand over fist,” said Mike Potter, President of UFCW Local 1161. “Working people in the plants made this success possible. Yet, the company is demanding that workers accept deep cuts to their health care coverage. Their proposed health care plan is so bad, and so potentially expensive, it could mean bankruptcy for workers who become seriously ill, or decide to have a baby. There is simply no economic need to threaten the livelihoods of these workers – the only reason for this is greed,” Potter said.

“I’ve worked at JBS for 23 years,” said Lisa Mejia who operates a whizard knife on the cut floor and is on the union’s bargaining committee. “This has always been a good job, and workers have always been able to sit down and negotiate decent wages and benefits that mean we can have a good life. But now the company is asking us to make too big a sacrifice – one that puts our families at risk. It’s just not right, and it will negatively affect hundreds of families in Worthington and across the area.”

The UFCW represents JBS workers at several other locations around the country. Workers are also at the bargaining table in Greely, Colorado; Souderton, Pennsylvania; Grand Island Nebraska where the company is proposing similar cuts to health care. Workers in Louisville, Kentucky; and Omaha Nebraska will begin negotiations in the next two months. If Worthington workers go on strike, and the dispute spreads to these other locations it could affect more than 10,000 workers.

April 30, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Senate Minimum Wage Vote

UFCWnews

WASHINGTON, D.C.Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexing it to inflation.

“Today a minority of Senators blocked millions of workers from getting a long overdue raise. It is the latest example of a Congress that is simply unable to meet the basic needs of the American people. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and tying it to inflation is a modest, common sense proposal that would lift millions of American families out of poverty. CEO pay has risen 725 percent over the last 30 years yet the real value of the minimum wage continues to decline. This is simply wrong. States and localities are refusing to sit by, with many raising their own minimum wage to levels higher than the federal rate. But all Americans deserve a living wage, no matter where they happen to live. For those who continue to deny workers a raise, the UFCW will remember in November.”

April 9, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Senate Vote Blocking Paycheck Fairness Act

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C.Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would stiffen penalties for corporations that discriminate against women.

“The average woman still makes only 77 cents for every dollar a man does. Over the course of their working lives, this means women earn between $400,000 and $2 million less than if they received equal pay for equal work. This is not just a women’s issue–it’s a family issue. Women are now the primary or only breadwinner in 40 percent of households. When women bring home less money it makes it harder for families to afford groceries, rent, and other necessities. The UFCW has long had equal pay provisions in its contracts. But our members know that all workers deserve fair pay. Senate Republicans should stop blocking this common sense legislation.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

March 26, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Urges Support for Discharge Petition on Comprehensive Immigration Reform

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C.Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement supporting the discharge petition filed by House Democrats which seeks a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.

“It has been 272 days since the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform on a bipartisan basis. For nearly 9 months, the House has failed to follow suit. This discharge petition is a way for those who support reform to force a vote on legislation to fix our broken immigration system, protect workers’ rights, reunite families, and give aspiring Americans a path to citizenship. House Republican leaders need to stop making excuses and House Democrats who say they are with us need to make this petition a priority. Our nation deserves comprehensive immigration reform—not tomorrow, not the next day, now. The vast majority of Americans support reform—Republicans, Democrats, business, labor, faith communities, law enforcement, and students, just to name a few. The only thing stopping comprehensive immigration reform from becoming the law of the land is a small group of extremist members of Congress and their enablers. It is time to end the gridlock and hold a vote. Meanwhile, the Obama Administration should immediately stop deporting those who will achieve legal status once reform is passed.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

March 6, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Safeway’s Announced Sale to Cerberus

UFCWnews(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following in response to Safeway’s announced sale to Cerberus Capital Management:

“Safeway announced today that it has reached an agreement to be purchased by Cerberus Capital Management which currently operates supermarkets across the country under the Albertson’s, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s banners, among other stores.

“The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents tens of thousands of workers within these two companies.  Through ups and downs, the UFCW has maintained good relationships with both Safeway and Cerberus.”

“The UFCW will work closely with Safeway and Cerberus through the acquisition process and beyond so that these major supermarket companies can maintain strong market share and that our members can continue to serve customers and their communities.”

February 26, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Arizona Discrimination Bill

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement opposing Arizona Senate Bill 1062.

“I urge Governor Jan Brewer to veto SB 1062. It is nothing more than a hate bill passed under the guise of protecting religious freedom. The legislation was drafted so broadly as to allow discrimination against nearly any Arizonan on religious grounds. But make no mistake—its target is members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. At a time when LGBT equality is advancing on several fronts, the Arizona legislature is seeking to relegate some of its citizens to second-class status. This is both shameful and unconstitutional. There is significant and growing momentum for equality across America on everything from employment nondiscrimination to the freedom to marry. Those who want to stop this momentum and protect the status quo are desperately trying to fight back. That is what SB 1062 and similar efforts are all about. At the UFCW, we have always been on the side of equality, both in our contracts and the law. We stand with business, labor, Republicans, and Democrats in calling for SB 1062 to be vetoed.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

February 19, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement on Gap’s Decision to Raise Wages

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C.-Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following in response to the Gap’s announcement that it would raise wages for its workers.

“Today’s announcement by the Gap that the retail chain is raising hourly wages for its 65,000 hourly retail workers serves as a challenge to Walmart.  The Gap realizes that paying its hourly workers enough to support themselves is an investment in their business and in our economy.

“It is time for Walmart to stand up and lead by investing back into its 1.4 million U.S. workers with hourly pay increases. Academics at the University of California-Berkeley estimated that Walmart could well-afford a wage increase to at least $12.00 an hour for workers with minimal impact on consumer prices. DEMOS researchers outlined a clear plan for Walmart to cut back on its stock buy back program and raise wages in a way that benefits workers and shareholders alike.

“The time is now for Walmart to show leadership and responsibility to its workers and our communities-follow the Gap’s example and raise wages for every hourly Walmart worker.”

 

February 19, 2014

Robin Williams of the UFCW Is Elected to the National Board of the NAACP

UFCWnewsWashington, D.C. – Robin Williams, the associate director of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s (UFCW) Civil Rights and Community Action Department, was elected to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) National Board of Directors on February 13.  Williams is a lifelong community activist, organizer and civil rights veteran and has worked at the UFCW for 17 years.

“It’s an honor to be on the national board of our country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization,” said Williams.  “The UFCW has been on the front lines of some of the most important civil rights and social justice battles of our time, including employment discrimination, immigration reform, income inequality, voting rights, the right of working families to fair pay, job safety, secure retirements and affordable health care, and holding Walmart—the world’s largest retailer—accountable for driving down the standard of living for millions of retail workers across the country.  I look forward to working with the NAACP as we continue to fight for social and economic justice in the workplace and in our communities.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, http://www.ufcw.org/, or join our online community at http://www.facebook.com/ufcwinternational and https://twitter.com/UFCW.

February 5, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement on House GOP Immigration Principles

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. —Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement in response to the principles for immigration reform issued by House Republicans.

“More than one year after President Obama laid out his plan for comprehensive immigration reform and seven months after the Senate passed legislation on a bipartisan basis, House Republicans have put forward their principles for reform. I hope this step, however belated, will move the immigration debate forward. But words alone are not enough. UFCW members, immigrant communities, and the majority of Americans are demanding action. That means passing a bill like H.R. 15 and working with the Senate to get a final product to President Obama’s desk. The principles issued by House Republicans are short on details and what is included looks like more of the same. For instance, the idea of additional guest workers and legalization based on enforcement triggers are complete nonstarters. It is long past time for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans and strong protections for immigrant workers. The UFCW calls on House Republicans to stop delaying and bring legislation up for a vote.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

January 28, 2014

UFCW Statement in Response to Hearing on ACA Employer Mandate

UFCWnewsWASHINGTON, D.C. —The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) today released the following statement in response to a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer mandate and its impact on workers’ hours.  
“The UFCW appreciates that the House Ways and Means Committee is exploring the very real problem of employers cutting workers’ hours in response to the ACA. However, both the Forty Hours is Full Time Act and the Save American Workers Act are good sounding names for bad policy. Instead of eliminating the incentive for reducing workers’ hours, these bills would make the problem worse by allowing companies to get off scot free for failing to cover those who work between 30 and 39 hours a week—including many UFCW members in the retail industry. This is not about protecting workers—it’s about appeasing large employers that want to avoid paying their fair share for health care. An analysis by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education found that this approach would put three times as many workers in danger of having their hours cut. For these workers, fewer hours means less money to support their families. There is a better way forward. The House should pass Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky’s Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights which would amend the ACA to impose a pro-rated penalty on employers who do not provide health care to part-timers. This would effectively end the incentive for cutting hours.”
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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.