• Microphone on stage

    Press Releases.

    For media inquiries, please contact Jessica Levin at press@ufcw.org, jlevin@ufcw.org or 202-721-8143.

April 18, 2018

UFCW Statement on Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement regarding the Farm Bill being passed out of the House Agriculture Committee. This bill currently limits access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).

“This Farm Bill is bad for America and hard-working families. It needlessly denies large numbers of people access to affordable food and should be opposed by any elected leader who truly cares about making our country a better place to live. 

“A majority of adults on SNAP already work hard every day. Creating stricter work requirements is simply cover for installing cuts that will seriously harm hard-working families and the places they live. 

“From the food processing plant, to the distribution center, to the checkout lane at the grocery store, SNAP consistently creates sustainable jobs in every community. The changes proposed to it in this bill directly threaten our economy and good jobs across America. 

“We urge members of Congress to do what is right and vote against any Farm Bill that would make it harder for Americans to work and feed themselves and their families.” 

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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 12, 2018

UFCW Endorses Poor People’s Campaign Revival

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), one of the largest private sector unions in America, endorsed the revival of The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Founded by Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Rev. Liz Theoharis, the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary, and hundreds of local and national grassroots groups, this campaign is uniting tens of thousands of people across the country to challenge systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation’s distorted morality.

Marc Perrone, president of the UFCW International, released the following statement regarding the endorsement:

“The Poor People’s Campaign believes, as our union family does, that our economy can and should work better for everyone.

“Telling the millions of people who are struggling alone, to work harder, complain less, or pray more won’t work.  

“Wage inequality, the assault on voting rights, underemployment, and the attacks on immigrant and refugee communities are all part of a systemic effort to disenfranchise poor communities.

“We’re proud to support The Poor People’s Campaign because, if successful, it will bring hard-working families more power to build better lives.”

On Tuesday, April 10, 2019, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) released The Souls of Poor Folk, an audit of America 50 years after Dr. King and many others launched the original Poor People’s Campaign to challenge racism, poverty, and a host of other intersected issues.

The report, which was presented at the National Press Club by IPS with support from the Urban Institute, shows that, in many ways, we are worse off than in 1968. Legislative actions and legal decisions have gutted the Voting Rights Act and severely restricted the ability of people of color, women, and young people to vote. There are 15 million more people living in poverty and nearly eight times as many inmates in state and federal prisons.

MORE ABOUT THE POOR PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN:

 

Over the last few months, the Revs. Barber and Theoharis have traveled across the country, shining a spotlight on both America’s harsh, persistent poverty and the powerful organizers working to combat it. They’ve visited Lowndes County, Ala.; Detroit and Highland Park, Mich.Marks, Miss.Harlan County, Kent.; and South Charleston, W. Va. 

The trips have also helped prepare organizers in the states for the upcoming 40 days of action, which will conclude with a mass mobilization at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday, June 23.

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The UFCW is one of the largest private sector unions 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 5, 2018

Tyson Foods, UFCW Expand Workplace Safety Efforts

Company, union collaboration called a model for the food industry

Dakota Dunes, S.D. — April 5, 2018 — Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) are expanding their collaborative efforts to make workplace safety improvements at the company’s food processing plants and commemorating 30 years of working together for safer workplaces.

The three decades-long partnership is one union leaders call a model for the food industry. It began in 1988, with the launch of a landmark ergonomics program and has evolved to include improvements that have helped reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. While the primary focus has been Tyson Foods’ beef and pork operations, it is now being expanded to the company’s poultry business, which has been accelerating its workplace safety efforts in recent years.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made through our collaboration with the UFCW, and especially the active involvement of frontline team members,” said Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “We know that all of us must remain diligent if we’re to achieve additional improvements.”

“We value the progress we’ve made at Tyson and are looking forward to expanding our partnership to create safer workplaces for all of their hard-working men and women,” said Mark Lauritsen, director of the UFCW’s Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Division. “Working together with Tyson has meant empowering workers and their union to make a better, safer workplace.”

Examples of the company’s and union’s collaborative efforts include:

  • Plant safety audits by management and union representatives
  • Ergonomics and safety committees that enable frontline workers and their union to regularly meet with plant management on safety matters
  • Empowering frontline workers to stop the production line if a safety or ergonomics issue is detected
  • Project “Why Not,” which encourages management and frontline workers and their union to re-evaluate job functions for ergonomic improvement
  • Full-time safety and ergonomic “captains” responsible for day-to-day safety and ergonomic monitoring
  • “Captains of the Week,” who are workers allowed to leave the production line for one hour every day for a week to gain in depth exposure to safety and ergonomics programs

“We’ve worked hard over the years to create a culture where everyone is comfortable to speak up about safety issues,” said Sherry Louk, a nine-year Tyson Foods veteran and safety captain at the plant in Perry, Iowa. “Because we all want the safest workplace possible, there is an environment of empowerment where we can be honest about safety concerns and fix them before somebody gets hurt. At Tyson, I can say ‘I’ve got your back’ because the company and the union have mine.”

The next step in the company-union relationship is increased focus on the company’s poultry plants, where the UFCW represents workers at 12 locations.

“We value our frontline team members who are crucial to the continued success of our poultry businesses,” said Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry, Tyson Foods. “While we have existing programs to help train and protect our people and give them a voice in the workplace, we look forward to working more closely with the UFCW on additional ways we can improve.”

The UFCW currently represents more than 24,000 people employed by Tyson Foods or its subsidiaries. 


About Tyson Foods 

Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN) is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson®, Jimmy Dean®, Hillshire Farm®, Ball  Park®, Wright®, Aidells®, ibp® and State Fair®. Tyson Foods innovates continually to make protein more sustainable, tailor food for everywhere it’s available and raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Headquartered in Springdale, Arkansas, the company has 122,000 team members. Through its Core Values, Tyson Foods strives to operate with integrity, create value for its shareholders, customers, communities and team members and serve as a steward of the animals, land and environment entrusted to it. Visit TYSONFOODS.COM. 

About the UFCW

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.

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February 15, 2018

UFCW Statement on White House Request to Test Harvest Box Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, issued the following statement regarding the White House asking Congress for $30 million this year to test the “America’s Harvest Box” proposal in President Trump’s fiscal 2019 budget. This proposal would significantly change the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps).

“Whether you are Republican or Democrat, pro-union or not, shop at a big grocery store or a small local co-op, ‘America’s Harvest Box’ is one of the worst policy proposals ever made to address hunger and poverty. It will further worsen the economic divide across the country and must be stopped for the sake of the better America we all believe in. 

“The harvest box proposal punishes the poor, removes significant sales from local grocery stores, and needlessly puts millions of good grocery store jobs at risk of being eliminated. 

“The grocery stores our members work in are often the largest employers in their communities, and provide the wages and benefits necessary for hard-working families to build and live better lives.”

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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.

 

January 30, 2018

UFCW Statement on USDA’s Decision to Reject Poultry Industry’s Push to End Line Speed Limits

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to deny the National Chicken Council’s (NCC) petition to eliminate line speed limits at poultry plants.

“This decision is a victory for hard-working poultry workers who hold one of the most dangerous and difficult jobs in America, and the consumers who depend upon them to provide chicken that is safe to eat. However, we remain concerned that poultry companies can request line speed waivers for individual plants. 

“In addition to putting poultry workers at greater risk of injury, eliminating line speeds puts consumers at risk by making it more difficult for both federal inspectors and quality control workers to properly check birds for contamination. 

“It was unbelievable to see major poultry industry groups ignore these well-known risks and lobby the USDA to eliminate line speeds.” 

Thousands of UFCW members who work in poultry plants sent comments to the USDA about the dangers of this petition. The UFCW also sent letters in October and December of 2017 to the USDA that highlighted how risky the NCC petition to eliminate line speeds would be for both workers and consumers. There are more than 250,000 poultry workers in America and 70,000 of them are members of the UFCW union family.

BACKGROUND

  • The Government Accountability Office released a report in December of 2017 that confirmed that forcing lines to move faster will expose poultry workers to higher rates of injuries and illnesses.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry 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.

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.

January 19, 2018

UFCW Statement on USDA Decision to Eliminate Line Speed Limits at Pork Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to eliminate line speed limits at pork plants.

“This desire to increase line speeds is being driven entirely by corporate greed and defies common sense.

“Jobs inside pork plants are some of the most dangerous and difficult in America. We’re only putting workers at greater risk of injury and consumers at greater risk of consuming unsafe meat by asking everyone who labors inside one to work faster.

“For the sake of keeping millions of hard-working families safe, this decision deserves immediate reconsideration.”

BACKGROUND

  • The UFCW union family represents hard-working men and women in pork plants that have already had their line speed limits eliminated as part of a trial program, as well as people who are in plants that run profitably with line speed limits in place.
  • According to a 2013 report from the USDA OIG, the existing trial program did not result in better food safety.
  • Injury rates in the meatpacking industry are already twice as high as the national average and workplace illness rates are 20 times as high.
  • This latest announcement follows the recent regulatory effort to remove line speed limits for the poultry industry.

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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.

January 15, 2018

UFCW Statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), released the following statement regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“This is a particularly important time to reflect on Dr. King’s pursuit of inclusivity and allow it to inspire our enthusiasm for the same ideals. He showed that change for the better and compassion for others starts with all of us. When we stand up for our values and become actively involved in positive action, we can build a better nation and a better life for the many, not just the few.” 

“It would be a fitting tribute to Dr. King and his legacy in 2018 if our country and those who lead us could begin moving beyond divisions, and towards an America that is defined by justice, dignity, and respect.”

 

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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.

 

December 21, 2017

UFCW: It’s Time for the Poultry Industry to Draw a Line on Forced and Exploited Labor

For Immediate Release

December 21, 2017 Contact: press@ufcw.org

UFCW: It’s Time for the Poultry Industry to Draw a Line on Forced and Exploited Labor

America’s Poultry Union Calls for Chicken Council to Make the Use of Underage and Incarcerated Workers Unacceptable in America’s Poultry Plants

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union today called on the National Chicken Council (NCC), the voice of the poultry industry, to set higher industry standards and stop the use of forced and exploited labor by their member companies. In a letter to the NCC, Marc Perrone, international president of the UFCW, called on the NCC to take the lead in establishing a clear industry standard and give consumers confidence that their chicken is produced without these inhumane practices.

This is not responsible or moral behavior,” said Perrone in the letter, “and as a leading voice of the poultry industry, it would make a difference if the National Chicken Council condemned these practices publicly and insisted on all of your member companies to do the same by agreeing to a code of conduct that puts an end to this reprehensible behavior.”

While more than 70,000 hard-working members of the UFCW family work in the poultry industry and earn better wages and benefits, the conditions in nonunion plants are far worse. A recent Oxfam report highlighted the struggles faced by nonunion poultry workers, including wearing diapers at work because they are routinely denied bathroom breaks. In addition, the industry has repeated problems with the use of incarcerated labor, underage workers and workers with disabilities being paid less than a minimum wage.

The fact that some of your member companies have continued to operate in such an irresponsible manner is bringing shame upon the entire poultry industry and devaluing the skilled work of hundreds of thousands of hard-working men and women,” said Perrone. “This disgraceful practice also damages the reputation of responsible companies and our members who have good jobs working in poultry plants.”

Read the complete letter online here.

Background:

  • Poultry work is dangerous with worker illness rates five times higher than the average worker.
  • Companies that have used incarcerated or prison labor include Koch Foods and Crider Foods.
  • Underage workers have been found at Case Farms and Agriprocessors.
  • Workers with disabilities were paid subminimum wages at West Liberty Foods for decades.
  • Simmons Foods continues to run a billion dollar “rehabilitation” program that offers no actual rehabilitation to those suffering from addiction or seeking to avoid recidivism, but requires them to work for free.
December 12, 2017

UFCW to USDA: GAO Report Proves Poultry Industry’s Push to End Line Speed Limits Is Dangerous

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, as well as leaders of the U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committees, that explains why a recent petition by the National Chicken Council to eliminate line speeds at poultry plants must be rejected. The letter cites last week’s report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on safety and health in the poultry industry as confirmation of the UFCW’s concerns.

An excerpt from President Perrone’s letter can be read below.

If this petition is accepted, poultry companies will be allowed to run their food processing lines as fast as they please. Allowing this to occur will put hard-working poultry workers at greater risk of being injured and consumers at greater risk of becoming ill from eating improperly inspected chicken.

Read the full letter here.

BACKGROUND

  • The GAO report confirmed that America’s meat and poultry industry is forcing workers to endure dangerous conditions, including amputation hazards, exposure to harmful chemicals, and fast-paced repetitive tasks that often lead to musculoskeletal disorders.
  • The report supported findings by Oxfam that poultry workers struggle to get adequate bathroom breaks at current line speed limits, even to the point of endangering their health.
  • Other GAO reports in 2005 and 2016 also found significant problems with safety and health in the poultry industry.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry 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.

Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org

December 7, 2017

GAO Report Confirms Dangers in the Poultry Industry

As Chicken Council Pushes for Fewer Regulations, Investigation Reveals Lax Enforcement of Existing Rules 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, issued the following statement in response to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on safety and health in the poultry industry:

“The hard-working people who work in poultry plants have some of the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in America. This report sadly confirms that many of these skilled professionals who keep our food safe are struggling to keep themselves safe at work. They have earned and deserve better. 

“The dangers endured by poultry workers that are highlighted in this report also underscore why a recent request by the National Chicken Council to increase line speeds defies common sense and is being clearly driven by greed. We urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take this report seriously and reject that request so that poultry workers and the food we all consume can be kept safe.” 

BACKGROUND

  • This GAO report confirms the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t consider worker safety when allowing new and dangerous chemicals to be used in poultry plants, and that OSHA can’t or won’t adequately protect poultry workers from injury.
  • The GAO also found a pattern of poultry companies repeatedly denying access to federal safety and health inspectors, leaving workers in at least 15 plants across the South working in potentially dangerous environments.
  • This report supports findings by Oxfam that poultry workers struggle to get adequate bathroom breaks, even to the point of endangering their health.
  • Other GAO reports in 2005 and 2016 also found significant problems with safety and health in the poultry industry.
  • In addition to worker risks, countries with higher line speeds have higher rates of foodborne contamination in poultry 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.

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