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May 22, 2019

UFCW: Amazon Must Address Practices that Harm Workers and Customers

Ahead of Amazon Shareholder Meeting, Largest Private-Sector Union Backs Resolutions to Strengthen Accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, ahead of the annual Amazon shareholder meeting in Seattle where a vote will be held on nine resolutions aimed at holding the company accountable for its practices that put employees and customers at risk, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“The growing frustration and anger with the way Amazon and Jeff Bezos do business is real. Year after year, Amazon earns billions in profits on the backs of American taxpayers and its own workers, while ignoring the company’s responsibility to do what is right.

“Today’s shareholder meeting is an opportunity to hold Amazon accountable. These resolutions are about sending a clear message to Amazon and Jeff Bezos that the American people are sick and tired of subsidizing billionaires and huge corporations at the expense of workers and consumers. It’s time for companies like Amazon to realize that they succeed because of their workers – not in spite of them.”

BACKGROUND

Today’s Amazon shareholder meeting will consider nine resolutions supported by a broad coalition of socially responsible investors focused on holding the company accountable for its practices that pose direct threats to employees, customers, and the broader public. A list of the resolutions to be voted on today is below:

  1. Risks of Sales of Facial Recognition Software: Open MIC, Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment
  2. Independent Study of Rekognition: Harrington Investments
  3. Report on Efforts to Address Hate Speech: Nathan Cummings Foundation
  4. Amazon’s Plans for Disruptions Posed by Climate Change: Amazon Employees
  5. Reduce Food Waste: JLens Network
  6. Executive Pay-Incorporate Diversity & Sustainability Metrics: Zevin Asset Management
  7. Independent Board Chair: SumofUs
  8. Majority Vote: Investor Voice
  9. Gender Pay Equity: Arjuna Capital

In November 2018, investors sent a joint letter to Amazon to underscore their concerns and request meaningful dialogue with the company.  The letter was endorsed by 114 investors representing over $2.6 trillion in assets under management, many of whom had varying degrees of prior engagement with Amazon.

Additional concerns were raised by Amazon’s decision to petition the SEC to omit many of the proposals from its proxy. Many investors see the fact that the company has actively sought to avoid addressing these problems in a constructive manner with the investment community as highly troubling.

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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

 

May 17, 2019

UFCW OUTreach: Passage of Equality Act a Victory for LGBTQ Workers Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) OUTreach Chair Michele Kessler released the following statement praising passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2019, by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Today’s passage of the Equality Act by the House is a powerful step toward a future where millions of LGBTQ Americans and their families no longer have to worry about facing discrimination at work or in their communities. Too many Americans live in states with outdated laws that leave our LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and family vulnerable to discrimination.

“Everyone deserves equal access to the employment, housing, and education they need to provide for their families and build a better life. We are proud to stand with Americans across the country in support of the Equality Act and urge the Senate to do the right thing and pass this bill immediately.”

BACKGROUND

Despite major advances in equality for LGBTQ Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protection laws.

The Equality Act of 2019 would ensure full federal non-discrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws.

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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

May 14, 2019

UFCW Statement on Amazon Replacing Workers with Robots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement in response to a new report that Amazon is rolling out machines to automate the boxing of customer orders, a job held by thousands of its workers:

“Jeff Bezos’s vision for our economy is focused on driving up profits at any cost by replacing talented employees with automation. While Amazon is raking in billions in tax cuts from cities desperate for new jobs, the company is ruthlessly working to eliminate the jobs of thousands of its current employees.

“This comes as Amazon announced it is offering to pay its workers $10,000 to quit their jobs rather than using that money to make Amazon jobs good jobs to begin with. It’s clear that Jeff Bezos cares more about the bottom line than investing in the hardworking employees who made Amazon a success in the first place. This is shameful.

“Our nation’s leaders need to wake up and realize that left unchecked, Amazon’s predatory business model will only continue to wipe out thousands of jobs that have powered our economy for decades. Our families and communities deserve better than this.”

BACKGROUND:

As reported by Reuters, Amazon started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelops them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item. The plan shows how Amazon is pushing to boost profits at the expense of its own workers.

  • Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said.
  • These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people.
  • Resulting in more than 1,300 cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory.
  • Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years, at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, they said.

This report comes as Amazon announced they are offering up to $10,000 for current Amazon employees in warehouses and other facilities to quit their jobs so that they can start delivering packages for the company instead.

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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

 

May 11, 2019

UFCW Members Help to Stamp Out Hunger in Communities Across the Country

Union Representing Grocery Workers Across the Country Donates 7 Million Bags of Food to Nation’s Largest Single-Day Food Drive

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union released the following statement on participating in the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive on May 11. 

“Every year, Stamp Out Hunger unites Americans across the country to donate food to millions of families in need. With more than 46 million Americans struggling to put food on the table, there has never been a more important time for us to give back. 

“Our members work in grocery stores across the country and know firsthand the impact hunger has in the communities they serve. UFCW is proud to continue serving as a national partner in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Together, we can ensure that millions of Americans are able to receive the food they need to feed their families.”   

UFCW Local Unions across the country supported this incredible cause by collecting food and holding local area events that encouraged people in their communities to donate to Stamp Out Hunger. UFCW represents more than 600,000 grocery workers across the country.

In the last 25 years with support from UFCW and other organizations, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive has collected 1.5 billion pounds of food that was donated to local food banks and other organizations helping to feed the more than 46 million Americans who struggle with hunger.

In the United States, hunger impacts 12 million children, nearly 5 million seniors, and 2.4 million rural households. Additionally, 20 percent of households struggling with hunger include veterans who have served our country. Click here to read more about the communities most impacted by hunger.

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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.

 

May 8, 2019

UFCW Calls for Congress to Strengthen Rights of American Workers to Join a Union and Protect Good Jobs

Ahead of Congressional Hearing, UFCW Urges Passage of PRO Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today’s House Education & Labor Committee hearing on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act follows the bill’s introduction by House and Senate Democrats last week and highlights the need for Congress to expand protections for workers to exercise their rights to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. As one of the leading national voices, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“As corporations and billionaires continue to thrive, stagnant wages and anti-worker policies around the country are leaving millions of American workers behind.

“We need to rebuild the middle class and reverse decades of income inequality and that starts with unions. For generations, unions have helped hard-working Americans stand together for higher wages, affordable healthcare, and a secure retirement. The time is now for Congress to pass the PRO Act to protect the rights of workers to join a union and negotiate for the better life they have earned and deserve.”

BACKGROUND

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is a bill that will expand protections for workers to exercise their rights to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. Workers who join a union earn higher wages and receive stronger healthcare protections than non-union workers:

  • On average, a union worker earns over 13 percent more than a non-union worker with similar education, occupation, and experience in the same sector.
  • Women union members earn 30 percent more than those in non-union workplaces.
  • Workers who are represented by a union are 27 percent more likely to be offered health insurance through work, and nearly five times as likely to have defined-benefit pensions.

In order to help grow the middle class and protect the right of workers to join a union, Congress must strengthen worker protections under federal law. To help achieve that, the PRO Act would:

  • Increase transparency by requiring employers to post a notice in the workplace of workers’ rights and responsibilities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
  • Authorize civil monetary penalties to deter violations of the NLRA.
  • Improve remedies for workers who are retaliated against for exercising their rights to join a union or engage in protected activities—including swift temporary reinstatement, liquidated damages, and the ability to bring cases directly to federal court.
  • Expand coverage of who is deemed an employee under the NLRA to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.
  • Facilitate dispute resolution by requiring mediation and arbitration procedures to help unions and employers conclude a first collective-bargaining agreement.
  • Strengthen the right of workers to strike for basic workplace improvements.
  • Ensure that the National Labor Relations Board’s orders are enforced in a timely manner.
  • Protect the right of workers, whether in a union or not, to engage in collective actions, such as employment-related class action litigation.

Passing the PRO Act is also key to strengthening employer accountability. Currently, the NLRA lacks basic enforcement tools such as civil penalties to deter violations or adequate remedies when workers face unlawful retaliation.

Facing trivial consequences for non-compliance, employers are free to deploy unlawful tactics to deter workers from voting in favor of a union, or to create delays to avoid reaching a first labor agreement as a way to frustrate workers’ rights. The NLRA has few tools to deter persistent violations—such as firing workers who support forming a union.  This has contributed to the erosion of union density, which has decreased from 33.2 percent of the total workforce in 1956 to only 10.5 percent in 2018.

 

May 1, 2019

UFCW: Stop & Shop Customers and Workers Key to Achieving New Contract

With Final Vote, Stop & Shop Workers Ratify New Contract That Raises Wages, Preserves Health Care and Retirement Benefits 

BOSTON, MA – Tonight, the final vote by Stop & Shop workers in New England was cast with members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459 voting overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract. The democratic process for contract negotiations requires members of all five UFCW Local Unions to vote on whether or not to accept the terms of the agreement before contracts are official. UFCW Local 1459 is the last of the five Locals to ratify their contract.

The UFCW released the following statement: 

“New England families have sent a powerful message to corporations across the country – that when standing together, workers and customers can protect the good jobs our communities need. 

“With growing income inequality, we are united by the shared belief that one job should be enough to provide for a family and that hardworking Americans do not have to struggle alone. 

“The relationships that Stop & Shop workers built with customers and the service they provide every day, united our communities. With their hard work, they earned a contract that includes access to affordable health care, better wages, and the ability to plan for their future.” 

BACKGROUND

UFCW Locals (328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459), representing the 31,000 Stop & Shop workers across New England, reached a Tentative Agreement on Sunday April 21 and began a series of ratification votes across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut starting April 24 and concluding this evening. For members of a union, the final step in the negotiating process is the vote workers take to approve their contract.

The new contracts for New England Stop & Shop workers will achieve the following:

 Health & Welfare

  • All Stop & Shop members will continue to have access to affordable & quality healthcare that maintains eligibility for spouses

Sunday Premium Pay

  • Full and part-time Stop & Shop members will have their Sunday premium pay protected

Sick Time, Personal Days Paid Holidays

  • There will be no reduction in sick time, personal days, or paid holidays for any current or future Stop & Shop member

Pensions

  • All pensions will be maintained and fully funded

Wages

  • All new Stop & Shop members will have a guaranteed pathway to earn above the state’s minimum wage
  • All Stop & Shop members moving from part-time to full-time will have a wage increase

Ratification of new contracts for each Local follows the action earlier this month by 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who walked off their jobs on April 11th to protest the company’s proposed cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.

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April 26, 2019

UFCW Statement on Amazon Using Machines to Fire Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement in response to a new report that Amazon is using technology to track and automatically fire workers without a human supervisor’s involvement: 

“Who needs real human beings when you have Amazon? It’s one thing for Jeff Bezos and Amazon to use a ruthless business model to destroy jobs for profit, but it is surreal to think that any company could fire their own workers without any human involvement. Is this really the America we want to live and work in? 

“It is time for America’s elected leaders, Republicans and Democrats, to wake up to the economic and social damage of Amazon’s business model, and to the fact that Jeff Bezos is determined to destroy what makes America – the people who actually do the work.” 

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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.

April 22, 2019

UFCW Announces Tentative Agreement for Stop & Shop Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 21, 2019

PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) announced that a tentative agreement was reached on a new contract for the 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who walked off their jobs on April 11 to protest the company’s proposed cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits. The five UFCW Local Unions (328, 371, 1445, 1459, and 919) released the following statement in response to the deal:

“We are incredibly grateful to our customers and everyone who proudly stood together with us every day for a contract that invests in the communities we serve, and makes Stop & Shop a better place to work and a better place to shop.

“Under this proposed contract, our members will be able to focus on continuing to help customers in our communities enjoy the best shopping experience possible and to keep Stop & Shop the number one grocery store in New England. The agreement preserves health care and retirement benefits, provides wage increases, and maintains time-and-a-half pay on Sunday for current members.

“Today is a powerful victory for the 31,000 hardworking men and women of Stop & Shop who courageously stood up to fight for what all New Englanders want – good jobs, affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made a success.”

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April 18, 2019

Vice President Joe Biden Speaks at Rally in Support of UFCW Stop & Shop Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 18, 2019

BOSTON, MA – Today, Vice President Joe Biden joined United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) President Marc Perrone at a rally in support of the 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who walked off their jobs on April 11 to protest the company’s proposed cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.

Perrone said, “The 31,000 hard-working men and women of Stop & Shop are fighting for what all New Englanders want – affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made successful. The truth is that Stop & Shop and its parent company make billions of dollars in profits and offer pennies to its workers and their families. It is wrong and it must stop. It is time for Stop & Shop to stop proposing brutal and unreasonable cuts that will hurt the very people who proudly serve customers and their families across New England.”

Joining Vice President Biden and UFCW President Perrone at today’s rally were:

  • Stop & Shop workers from across New England
  • Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
  • S. Senator Edward Markey (MA)
  • Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg,
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman,
  • Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien,

BACKGROUND

Five UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since January 14th.

Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profit last year and has authorized over $4 billion in stock buybacks for shareholders over the past 3 years. The company’s latest proposal includes the following drastic cuts:

  • Requiring the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 in weekly health care premiums over three years and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.
  • Reducing the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent and reducing the monthly pension benefit for many part-time employees by up to 72.2 percent.
April 12, 2019

Protesting Health Care, Take Home Pay, & Customer Service Cuts, Stop & Shop Workers Walk off Job

31,000 UFCW Members From Across New England Protest Stop & Shop Cuts That Hurt Workers, Customers, and Local Communities

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Today, 31,000 members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 who work at Stop & Shop are walking off their jobs to protest the company’s proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care, take home pay, and customer service as well as unlawful conduct.

The proposed cuts by Stop & Shop, whose parent company earned $2 billion in profits in 2018, would devastate health care benefits, significantly increase health care costs, and decrease take home pay. Stop & Shop’s proposed cuts would also have a negative and severe impact on customer service, including the very cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks, and butchers that Stop & Shop customers rely on.

The members of the five UFCW Locals released the following joint statement:

“Our 31,000 members who work at Stop & Shop work incredibly hard to provide the great customer service that has made the company billions of dollars in profit and the top grocery store in New England. Instead of a contract that recognizes the value and hard work that our members provide every day, Stop & Shop has only proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care benefits and take home pay, while replacing real customer service with more serve-yourself checkout machines. 

“The hard-working men and women at over 240 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are standing together to tell Stop & Shop that it is time to do the right thing. The men and women who make Stop & Shop a success have earned and deserve affordable health care, a good wage, and the ability to retire with dignity. They have earned and deserve a good job that allows them to do what they do best: provide the very best customer service for New England communities.

“What Stop & Shop workers don’t deserve, and what no one who works hard in New England deserves, are unreasonable cuts while the company they work so hard for makes billions of dollars in profits. That is wrong and it sends a terrible message to every customer who truly depends on our Stop & Shop cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerk, and butchers.”

BACKGROUND

UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since January 14th. The company’s latest proposal includes the following drastic cuts:

  • Requires the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.
  • Reduces the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent.
  • Many part-time employees would receive an average general wage increase of less than two percent.

Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profits last year and got a U.S. tax cut of $225 million in 2017. The company is claiming the proposed cuts are necessary, but is unlawfully refusing to provide financial information to verify that claim.

While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting worker benefits, Ahold shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over the last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million.

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