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    Press Releases.

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

July 21, 2017

Concern About Amazon Acquiring Whole Foods Grows

12 members of Congress call on DOJ and FTC to review Amazon deal, citing concern for low-income communities and food deserts 

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

Click here to view the PDF and text of the letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement in response to a letter signed by 12 members of Congress asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to review Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

“Political concerns about Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods are growing for good reason,” said Marc Perrone, president of the UFCW. “Amazon’s monopolistic desire to control the retail market and replace good jobs with automation is not only a direct threat to the hard-working men and women at Whole Foods, it’s also a direct threat to our economy and consumers. Every member of Congress, regardless of party, must now decide whether they stand for an America with jobs, or Amazon’s America where millions struggle to find meaningful work.”

Earlier this week, on July 17, Perrone sent a letter to the FTC that explained why this acquisition is a threat to workers and should be reviewed.

In their letter to the FTC and DOJ, the 12 members of Congress called for Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods to be reviewed, saying: “This merger should be scrutinized beyond the normal antitrust review process that only examines the competitive impact. It should also include a careful review of the impact further consolidation will have on the communities representing many of the ‘food deserts’ across the nation.” The letter also cites, among other concerns, “the declining presence of retail stores due to Amazon’s growth.”

In recent weeks, several other policymakers and advocacy groups have voiced concerns about the acquisition, including:

  • Ranking member of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee David Cicilline (D-RI) called for a hearing on the proposed merger on July 13, saying It is essential that Americans have a meaningful choice about the products we buy, the businesses we support, and where and how we work.”
  • Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), who represents part of the Silicon Valley area, called for the FTC and DOJ to review Amazon’s plan on June 16, saying “I am concerned about what this deal means for suppliers and neighborhood grocery stores. We need to reorient antitrust policy to factor in the harm that economic concentration causes for American workers.”
  • Consumer Watchdog called on the FTC to block the Amazon deal in a July 6 letter, detailing numerous instances where Amazon “persistently engaged in unfair and deceptive practices” that misled customers into thinking they were getting a steep discount.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

July 17, 2017

UFCW Calls On FTC To Review Amazon Whole Foods Merger

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), a union representing over one million retail workers, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for a thorough investigation of Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods.

Following Amazon’s announcement, UFCW International President Marc Perrone wrote in a CNN op-ed that “the hard-working men and women who work at Whole Foods now face an uncertain future” due to the Amazon model for grocery stores. His letter to the FTC expands on that theme, saying, in part:

“Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.”

UFCW is not the only one with concerns about the merger.

  • Rep. David Cicilline, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee called for a hearing on the proposed merger, saying: “I respectfully urge that the Subcommittee hold a hearing on this proposed acquisition to carefully consider whether it will harm consumers, workers, and small businesses in our communities. It is essential that Americans have meaningful choice about the products we buy, the businesses we support, and where and how we work.”
  • Rep. Ro Khanna ,who represents part of the Silicon Valley area, has said he is “deeply worried” about the Amazon-Whole Foods deal and has called for a “reorientation” of antitrust decision making to include concerns like how a merger will effect jobs, wages, innovation, and small businesses.
  • Consumer Watchdog sent a letter calling on the FTC to block the merger and detailing the numerous instances where Amazon “persistently engaged in unfair and deceptive practices” that misled customers into thinking they were getting a steep discount.

The full text of Perrone’s letter reads:

Dear Commissioners:

Because of the impact of online shopping, technology, and automation, our economy and the retail grocery landscape is changing dramatically. As such, the very definition of how mergers, such as the proposed Amazon and Whole Foods merger, would impact grocery competition, customer choice, the price of goods, and, especially hard-working retail workers must be rethought. While traditional analysis may discount the threats that would arise from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon is not a traditional retailer or grocer.

By any and every reasonable measure, Amazon is an online retail monopoly. The scope and weight of Amazon’s digital reach poses a severe and constant economic threat to consumers, retailers, and especially grocers, irrespective of whether they’re located online or are traditional brick-and-mortar stores. More significantly, the scope of Amazon’s reach and the very nature of our economy today, does not limit their impact to the digital retail landscape. The fact is that Amazon is more than a digital retail monopoly; rather, it is a retail monopoly that threatens every corner of our nation’s economy.

We urge you to consider, for example, the facts of Amazon’s growing unfair scope and reach:

  • According to a 2016 report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, half of all online shopping searches start directly on Amazon.
  • That same report states that within five years, 20 percent of the U.S.’s $3.6 trillion retail market will have shifted online, and Amazon is on track to capture two-thirds of that share.
  • Additionally, a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners last week estimated total U.S. Prime membership at 85 million, which is up 35 percent from the year-ago quarter and double from two years ago. CIRP also noted that 63 percent of U.S.-based Amazon customers are Prime members.

In terms of impact, Amazon arguably poses a greater threat to our retail economy than any other online or traditional brick and mortar grocer. Again, we urge each commissioner to consider the following impacts:

  • Hurts Consumers: Amazon’s proposed merger of Whole Foods will hurt consumers by allowing their national economic power to gain unfair advantage with suppliers. As a result, not only may consumer prices increase, the quality and scope of products may be impacted. While Whole Foods may have 460 stores worldwide, the reality is that the very nature of Amazon’s size allows them to unfairly compete against small and medium-sized grocers when it comes to the purchase of goods.
  • Hurts Choice: Amazon’s reach will ultimately reduce the number of grocery competitors that consumers can choose from. Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.
  • Hurts Hard-Working Men and Women: The FTC is a public agency, and it must consider the impact that any merger will have on consumers and workers. Amazon’s online business model is built on a brutal foundation of automation to cut costs. If this merger proceeds, it could impact thousands of Whole Foods workers’ jobs simply for the sake of enriching one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals – Jeff Bezos.
  • Job Destroying Automation: Amazon has made its competitive vision clear with the introduction of its Amazon Go format, which eliminates nearly every grocery worker in its stores, and replaces them with automation and automated check stands.  Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about improving customer service, products or choice. It is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation. 

We strongly urge the FTC to carefully review this merger. We believe a fair and impartial analysis will prove that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is a competitive threat to our economy that will hurt workers and communities.

Sincerely,

Marc Perrone


Download the letter to Commissioner McSweeny

Download the letter to Acting Chairman Ohlhausen

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

July 11, 2017

“Prime Day” for America to Consider Impact of Amazon’s Business Model

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents over one million retail workers, released the following statement on Amazon Prime Day:

“While Amazon touts its sales, today is a ‘prime day’ for America to examine the high cost of Amazon’s business model.

“Amazon’s brutal vision for retail is one where automation needlessly replaces good people and good jobs. With the proposed acquisition of Whole Foods, workers will undoubtedly lose jobs and their families will pay the price to enrich Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is already one of the nation’s wealthiest individuals.

“Today we should have a real debate about Amazon’s business practices. We need to confront this undeniable truth – what is good for Amazon, is bad for America’s hard-working men and women.” 

Over 800,000 members of the UFCW work in food retail. Perrone, wrote an op-ed for CNN explaining why Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their jobs.

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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.

June 29, 2017

Perrone Warns Workers that Amazon Purchase of Whole Foods will Destroy Jobs

UFCW President calls out Amazon’s goal to eliminate retail workers in CNN op-ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, wrote an op-ed for CNN that explains why Amazon buying Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their jobs.

Excerpts from the op-ed below: 

“As Wall Street celebrates the news of Amazon buying Whole Foods, thousands of workers at Whole Foods stores across the country must now worry about losing their jobs. 

They have good reason to be concerned.

The Amazon-Whole Foods merger is not about improving customer service, products or choice, it is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation.

Amazon’s very business model is to remove as many humans from all facets of production and service as possible. Just as Walmart’s big-box model destroyed small businesses when it spread across the country, Amazon’s automation model, if widely adopted, potentially poses a huge threat to America’s 16-million-strong service and retail workforce.

If anyone doubts this vision, and what Amazon likely has in store for Whole Foods and the people who work there, observe that Amazon has already showed its hand by announcing its no-employees Amazon Go model.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

You can also read the op-ed in Spanish on Univision.com

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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

 

June 20, 2017

UFCW Statement on the Reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act.  

“When a person’s work schedule varies widely from week to week, it brings chaos to both family life and family finances. The Schedules That Work Act is a common sense piece of legislation that will help hard-working men and women have more control over their lives. Smart, flexible, and reliable scheduling is the best way to ensure every family is able to build the better life they’ve earned and deserve.”  

 Background

  • The Schedules That Work Act would provide workers modest safeguards and begin to curb the most abusive scheduling practices.
  • This legislation includes a presumption that workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to.
  • The legislation also provides retail workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

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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

 

June 16, 2017

UFCW Statement on Amazon Buying Whole Foods

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, made the following statement about Amazon buying Whole Foods.

“Amazon’s brutal vision for retail is one where automation replaces good jobs. That is the reality today at Amazon, and it will no doubt become the reality at Whole Foods. 

“Sadly, the hard-working men and women who work at Whole Foods now face an uncertain future because the Amazon model for grocery stores ultimately leads to fewer jobs, worse benefits, and more automation. Make no mistake, these are not the values most Americans believe in nor the ones embraced by many Whole Foods customers. 

“While Amazon may prefer a path that treats Americans as if they are just faceless workers, the employees of Whole Foods deserve better and should realize they’ve earned the right to a better life.”

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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 24, 2017

UFCW Receives Elite Volunteer Award from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to finding cures for blood cancers, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), recently awarded its longstanding partner, The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) with the National Corporate Leadership Award at LLS’s Volunteer Leadership Conference awards dinner held in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2017.

The UFCW is one of North America’s largest labor organizations with more than 1.3 million members, and has been a powerful voice for LLS since the partnership began in 1982. The organization has raised more than $82 million for LLS’s goal to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. In 2016 alone, the UFCW generated $1.9 million in the United States and more than $2.4 million in Canada, through a variety of fundraising efforts ranging from golf outings to dinners.

When Marc Perrone, UFCW’s International president, learned that the UFCW was the recipient of LLS’s National Corporate Leadership Award, he was humbled. “The UFCW union family prides itself on giving back to the communities we call home and doing our part to bring hard working families a better life. We are honored to help The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society lead the way to a world without blood cancers. Our partnership is proof that the best way to make a difference is to stand together.”

The National Corporate Leadership Award honors an organization with fundamental alignment to LLS’s goal to cure blood cancers and commitment to improving the lives of patients. Nominees for this award support and advance LLS through leadership, executive and employee involvement in various LLS volunteer driven initiatives, and through financially support for LLS’s research, patient services and advocacy initiatives.

“LLS is very proud of our partnership with the UFCW, whose members have supported LLS relentlessly by raising essential funds needed to fight blood cancer,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS’s president and CEO. “The UFCW is helping LLS make it possible to accomplish more than any other cancer nonprofit to advance cutting-edge research and cures for patients.”

Esther López, UFCW’s International Secretary-Treasurer, accepting the National Corporate Leadership Award from Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) president and CEO, at LLS’s Volunteer Leadership Conference awards dinner held in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2017.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

May 9, 2017

Honoring the Dedicated and the Sleepless on Third Shift Workers Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), celebrated Third Shift Workers Day – the day that honors the more than 25 percent of American workers who labor overnight and into the early morning hours – with the following statement.

“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of third shift workers, millions of American families are able to enjoy a better life. Whether it’s working through the night to prepare fresh food for the morning, restocking store shelves, or taking care of our loved ones in the hospital, the hard-working men and women of the UFCW who work the third shift provide an incredible value that too often goes unnoticed or taken for granted. So to our members, and everyone who works through the night so that we can all  enjoy the day – we thank you. Thank you for making our communities better. Thank you for making a real difference in so many lives all across this nation.”

Background
  • According to multiple studies, shift work is much harder on the body and mind. The risk of workplace injuries, obesity and depression are all increased if a person works at night.
  • Despite these risks, there is no federal law requiring third shift workers to be provided with any extra pay or benefits.
  • UFCW is proud to negotiate premium pay for third shift workers into our contracts to help provide them with the better life they’ve earned.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

 

May 2, 2017

UFCW Helps to Kick Off 25th Annuals Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) joined the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), AFL-CIO, the National Rural Letter Carriers’ Association (NRLCA), and United Way, to kick off the 25th Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive at the Capital Area Food Bank.

“From the food processing and packing facilities to your local grocery store, UFCW members help to keep America’s families fed with safe and nutritious food,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone at today’s kickoff event. “Unfortunately, our jobs also allow us to see countless customers we serve struggle to put food on their tables. The America we believe in, that I know you believe in, is one where no family or person should go hungry. This food drive truly supports America’s hard-working families and we are so proud to be a part of it.” 

BACKGROUND

Today, in the United States, an estimated 49 million people, or almost 1 in 6, struggle with “food insecurity,” which is another way of saying that someone has no idea where his or her next meal is coming from.

As America’s only national retail food workers union, UFCW represents professionals in grocery stores and food processing plants across the country who see firsthand how hard-working men and women are struggling to feed their families.

Stamp Out Hunger aims to fully restock food banks across the country that are in desperate need of supplies. Last year, a record 80 million pounds of food was collected.

To participate, all someone needs to do is fill a bag with non-perishable food and leave it at their mailbox on Saturday, May 13. Letter carriers across the country will collect donations as they deliver mail.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.

April 26, 2017

UFCW and Tyson Foods Collaborate on Creating a Better and Safer Workplace

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), the primary union for 70,000 poultry workers in the United States, applauded Tyson Foods for pledging to create a better workplace at its production facilities with new and expanded initiatives on safety, transparency, and compensation.

“Tyson Foods’ commitment to worker safety and workers’ rights should not just be applauded — it should serve as a model for the rest of the industry,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Through our ongoing partnership with Tyson Foods, we have already made valuable progress.  We look forward to these new and expanded initiatives and to continuing to work together to provide a better, safer workplace for the hard-working men and women at Tyson Foods.” 

Tyson Foods worked in collaboration with the UFCW on its efforts. In its announcement, Tyson committed to continuing its collaboration with the UFCW on a workplace safety and illness and injury prevention initiative that will be rolled out to all plants and be released publicly. Other highlights in the company’s announcement include:

  • A new initiative on transparency stating that the company will begin publicly sharing results of its third party social compliance audits.
  • A new initiative on compensation stating that Tyson Foods will make sure it’s providing competitive wages and benefits.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to allowing regularly scheduled breaks, as well as restroom breaks, as needed.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to running its processes at a speed according to the number of people available to work.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to a policy allowing workers to stop the line at any time for worker or food safety issues.
  • Reaffirming its commitment to having Team Member safety councils in place at all plants.

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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. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.