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    Press Releases.

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

June 14, 2016

UFCW Member Explains Why Working Women Win With a Union

Story shared in front of 5,000 at White House United State of Women Summit 

 

Ariana with actress and activist Kerry Washington

Ariana with actress and activist Kerry Washington

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ariana Davis, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) member from Local 21 in Seattle, Washington, shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Oprah at the White House United State of Women Summit.

“The power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents,” said Ariana Davis. “I am respected by workers and managers alike. I am a force in my community. And it’s because I don’t stand alone – I am in a movement with grocery workers and steelworkers and teachers. Together, we have a voice. Together, we can make change.”

The White House United State of Women Summit was put together to provide solutions to key gender equality issues. In 38% of households, women are the primary breadwinners. When women earn less than men for no reason, it negatively impacts families in every community. Working to solve gender equality questions will help hard-working people to live better lives.

BACKGROUND:

  • 8 million women in America belong to a union.
  • A union contract offers a way to give women both equal pay and an equal say in their workplace.
  • Union membership boosts wages for all workers—but women experience especially large advantages.
  • The wage gap among union members is less than half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers, and female union members typically earn $230 more per week than women who are not represented by unions—a larger wage premium than men receive.

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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 www.ufcw.org

May 26, 2016

Hillary Clinton Meets with Retail Workers at UFCW Conference

In sit down with Sec. Clinton, retail workers talk about organizing and their fight for fair work practices 

(LAS VEGAS, NV) Today, Secretary Hillary Clinton met with hard-working retail workers from across the industry to discuss the  issues impacting them, their families, and co-workers.  During the meeting, the workers talked about their day-to-day challenges, including workplace intimidation, scheduling and unpredictable hours. The emotional visit with Clinton included workers from Albertson’s, Macy’s, El Super and Stater Bros.

The meeting with Flora Castaneda and Yolanda Pivaral, both El Super workers, was especially powerful as they highlighted the company’s ongoing intimidation and failure to recognize their right to negotiate a better life and a contract providing better wages and benefits. They have both worked to organize their stores and join the UFCW.

Sherry Hamilton, who works as a union representative at Macy’s, discussed that while UFCW  provides people with higher wages and protection, the non-union retail industry is still defined by unpredictable scheduling that makes it impossible to go to school, spend time with family, or have control over one’s life.

“I wanted Secretary Clinton to know how important joining a union was for me and my family. It’s the opportunity for a better life,” said Flora Castaneda, a UFCW member and worker at El Super. “I wanted her to know that companies like El Super need to do what is right and recognize our right to higher wages and benefits.”

PSS_5392“I’m a working mom and I’m going to school,” said Yolanda Pivaral, a UFCW member and worker at El Super. “Without a predictable work schedule, it’s tough to coordinate child care and manage my classes. Secretary Clinton gets it. Workers in my store want a union contract so we can have the chance to shape our schedules. To have more control over my life would help me do my job better, manage my class work, and build a good life for my son.”

“Buying a wedding dress or a child’s first pair of shoes, these are big events and we work hard to make them special memories for customers,” said Sherry Hamilton, a Macy’s union representative. “I don’t think people realize how much havoc bad scheduling can have upon a worker’s life. By making work schedules in the retail industry more stable and reliable, we would be able to enjoy precious moments in our personal lives as well.”

Clinton also addressed the UFCW conference, and was introduced by International President Marc Perrone.

“Our members endorsed Hillary because she is the only candidate who truly cares about the issues that matter to them. Regardless of what job a person does, Secretary Clinton is committed to making sure that people who work hard get the brighter future they have earned and deserve,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “It speaks to Hillary’s character and her compassion that she doesn’t talk at our members, she listens to them.”

 

 

BACKGROUND

In January 2016, after surveying its membership across the country, UFCW endorsed Sec. Clinton. This is the second time Sec. Clinton has personally spoken with retail workers who are part of the UFCW.

PSS_5358The retail sector is one of the fastest growing parts of the economy, but 40 million retail workers face challenges from erratic schedules, split shifts and part-time hours that make it difficult to live a stable life, manage a second job, or coordinate care for their families. These are common concerns throughout the industry and are a major reason why more and more retail workers are considering the benefits of joining a union. Earlier this year, UFCW announced it already had 100 organizing wins in 100 days, reflecting workers desire to work together to secure their lives and futures.

BIOS

Yolanda Pivaral is 23, works at El Super Store #13 located in Los Angeles, CA and has been a cashier there for 3.5 years. She is a single mother to a six year old boy. She and her son live in Los Angeles. Yolanda is also furthering her education and is studying Communications at the California State University, Los Angeles. Yolanda has currently been getting more involved in her union. She has become trained and is now helping to do workshops to help make fellow union members US Citizens, through the Union Citizen Action Network.

Flora Castaneda 44, has worked as cashier at El Super Store #17 located in Los Angeles, CA for 12 years as a cashier. She is a single mother of three children. She and her children live in Los Angeles. Flora is a member of the bargaining team. She and her fellow co-workers have been fighting for over two years for adequate paid sick days, better wages, better benefits, more affordable health care, a fair seniority system, and respect.

Sherry Hamilton is 50, and was a sales associate at Macy’s in the Bronx for 17 years. After joining Local 1-S while working at Macy’s, she later joined the Local 1-S team where she now serves other Macy’s employees for the union.

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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 13, 2016

“Exceptions are primarily in plants that have unions…” 

Oxfam reports unionized poultry workers have better workplace protection; non-unionized poultry workers in Pampers

– Yesterday’s Washington Post Wonk Blog post “I had to wear Pampers’: The cruel reality the people who bring you cheap chicken allegedly endure,” highlighted inhuman working conditions within the poultry industry, as documented by a new Oxfam report.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), represents thousands of workers in the poultry industry. UFCWreleased the following statement today in response to the story and subsequent news coverage:

“The indignity with which poultry workers are being treated in America has to stop. Workers need to know they have a right to organize and that organized workers have more opportunities to protect themselves from this type of abuse.

“The headline is salacious, but the heart of the matter is that unionized workers can speak freely about dangerous working conditions without fear of retaliation. This leads to a healthier and more productive work environment and a safer product for consumers.”

BACKGROUND

From the Oxfam Report No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry (page 3):

In the course of hundreds of interviews, only a handful of work­ers reported that their bathroom needs are respected. These exceptions are primarily in plants that have unions, which offer important protections, inform workers of their rights, and en­sure they have a voice on the job. Unionized workers report that they feel comfortable leaving or stopping the line when their requests are denied for too long. Roughly a third of the poultry workforce is unionized, leaving most workers without these crucial protections.

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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 27, 2016

What Work Does to a Person

Union President Statement for Workers Memorial Day

ufcw-300x143Washington, D.C. – Today Marc Perrone, International President of the UFCW released the following statement in advance of Workers Memorial Day – April 28th.

“Work can do amazing things for a person,” said UFCW President Marc Perrone. “But, we also know what work can do to a person physically. Each day millions of Americans do back-breaking jobs risking their health and lives to provide for their families and futures. U.S. workers are injured every day lifting heavy boxes, doing repetitive motions, not to mention by accidents and equipment malfunctions.

“Workers Memorial Day reminds us of those we’ve lost and who have physically sacrificed themselves at their jobs. As technology and industries change, UFCW will always push for safety standards that match the modern workplace.”

More than 4,800 workers in the U.S. were killed on the job in 2014, according to the AFL-CIO Death on the Job Report. Additionally, nearly three million workers suffered from injuries and illnesses at work.

Being killed on the job isn’t the only concern. Over the course of a career, it is common for retail, meat packing and food processing workers to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and sore joints. They gladly take on these risks so that they can provide for their families.

April 28th is Workers Memorial Day. On this day, the UFCW will join millions of Americans across the U.S., and around the world, to honor everyone who has lost their lives on the job, or suffered terrible injuries, sicknesses or diseases in their places of work.

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

UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing are 1.3 million professionals and their families in retail, food processing, grocery, meat packing and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states.

April 5, 2016

One Thousand March Through South Los Angeles in Support of Respect and a Fair Union Contract for El Super Grocery Workers

—March coincides with El Super’s parent company -Grupo Comercial Chedraui- Board of Directors meeting in Mexico—


Boycott El Super Los Angeles—
On Monday, April 4, El Super grocery workers represented by the UFCW marched together with more than 1,000 supporters -through the streets of South Los Angeles- to demand respect and a fair contract. The march coincided with El Super’s parent company – Grupo Comercial Chedraui’s – Annual Meeting of its Board of Directors in Xalapa, Mexico.

“We need a fair contract so we can take care of ourselves and our families,” said Lydia Flores, an El Super cashier. “Sometimes, my coworkers have to work two jobs to get by. I have a son who is ill. I can’t do that because I have to take care of him as well. We need fair pay and enough paid sick days so we can take care of our families” Flores said.

El Super union members have been fighting to win a fair contract since September 2013. El Super/ dba Bodega Latina is a Latino-focused grocery chain with 54 stores in the U.S. It is a subsidiary of Chedraui – Mexico’s third largest retailer.

“El Super needs to respect the will of its workers and negotiate a fair agreement that rewards our members for their hard work,” said Ricardo F. Icaza, President of UFCW Local 770.

In December of 2014 the unions commenced a national consumer boycott in protest of the Company’s unfair labor practices and treatment of its workers. The boycott has had a significant impact. It has reached over 2 million shoppers and contributed to negative same store sales at El Super markets during 2015 – its first annual negative same store sales since it began reporting financial results in 2010.

Huntington Park Mayor Graciela Ortiz voiced her support for El Super workers at a rally held outside an El Super store in Huntington Park. “Our community supported El Super workers when they called for a consumer boycott. Last April, the City of Huntington Park passed a resolution endorsing the El Super boycott. As residents and leaders in our community we will continue to hold companies responsible in providing adequate living wages to the workers that serve our community,” Mayor Graciela added.

El Super workers are asking to share in the company’s prosperity, which they helped create. Indeed, although Chedraui reported $4.5 billion in net sales in 2015, much of drawn from U.S. sales, it does not pay its workers a fair wage, offer affordable health insurance or provide sufficient hours to support a family.  The El Super workers and their union, the UFCW, are seeking just that – fair pay, adequate paid sick days, stronger seniority protections, and a 40-hour guarantee for full-time workers.UFCW members hold a "Respect is a Fair Contract" sign outside of El SuperCrowd carries "Boycott El Super" signs

February 12, 2016

“RIGHT TO WORK” FOR LESS LEGISLATION PASSES IN WEST VIRGINIA

Bill only serves to devastate West Virginia and hard-working families

One of the many Local 400 members who voiced why she opposed Right to Work legislation in West Virginia

One of the many Local 400 members who voiced why she opposed Right to Work legislation in West Virginia

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), the largest private sector union in the nation, made the following statement about the West Virginia Legislature overriding Governor Tomblin’s veto to pass a “right to work” law.

“The West Virginia State Legislators who supported passing this bill are telling West Virginians one thing – you have the “right to work for less.” Simply put, they should all be ashamed of themselves. Rather than helping the hard-working people of their state find good jobs that pay higher wages and provide better benefits, they have chosen to pursue a radical agenda that will devastate countless West Virginia workers and their families.

“Instead of helping raise wages, State Legislators have passed a bill that guarantees lower wages, fewer benefits and more dangerous workplaces. Make no mistake, this only serves to reward irresponsible companies who will do everything they can to pay their workers less. This is true in every state that has passed “right to work” and will sadly be true in West Virginia as well.

“Every American, regardless of the state they live in or their political beliefs, has earned the right to better wages, better benefits and a better life. This bill flies in the face of those rights. Everyone who voted to pass it will be remembered for turning their backs on working families.”

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

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

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational      @UFCW

February 5, 2016

Every Super Bowl Football Starts in UFCW Hands

UFCW members provide the leather to make every NFL game ball ever used

CHICAGO – Super Bowl Sunday is an American tradition and the American ideals of hard work, excellent performance and durability under the toughest conditions are exemplified on and off the field. Those same qualities are exemplified by the craftsmanship of the ball used on the field. Manufactured entirely in the United States, these balls are tough to the core and made to precise specifications, starting with the Horween leather crafted by dedicated UFCW 1546 members at the historic Horween Leather Company, Chicago’s last remaining tannery.

The 150 workers at Horween have been UFCW members since the 1960s, marking half a century of good-paying jobs in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The plant itself was founded in 1905 and has been producing top-quality football leather there for the last 60 years.

“I’ll be watching the Super Bowl knowing that we helped craft every football,” said Earl Ferguson, a machine operator and chief steward at the tannery. “Whether it’s Denver or Carolina, my union brothers at the National Football League Players Association will take the field knowing they’ve reached the pinnacle of their career. For us, we can take pride in that when that foot hits the leather that I made, it’s a sign that our union family is best at what we do.”

In addition to making the leather for every NFL football and NBA basketball, workers at Horween make some of the most sought-after leathers for shoes and clothing the world over, including genuine shell cordovan. The expertise and skill required to build this reputation can only happen with the highly-trained workers that value the stability provided by their union contract.

“I’ve been proud to be a union member at Horween for 26 years,” said Ferguson.  “We’re a family here. We take care of each other. The union, that’s just another part of that. Having the UFCW at my back means I have good wages and benefits to care for my loved ones. It means I feel a sense of ownership of my own job, which is important because I take pride in what I do.”

For more photos of the long-time tannery employees, check out Horween’s company blog.

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

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational     @UFCW

SuperBowl3

February 3, 2016

From Campaign Trail, Secretary Clinton Calls Into UFCW Event and Thanks Members


Clinton: “The issues your members fight for are my fights.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Secretary Hillary Clinton called into the 2016 meeting of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) International Executive Board and Advisory Council to thank its members for their efforts in Iowa and to highlight her commitment to hard-working families across the nation.

The UFCW, the largest private sector union in the nation with 1.3 million members, announced its endorsement of Clinton for President of the United States last month and was proud to be a key part of her victory in Iowa.

During her remarks, Secretary Clinton pointed to how UFCW members and their families were vital to her close victory in Iowa, and that she was determined to fight for the issues that matter to tens of millions of working and middle class people.

Specifically, Clinton emphasized her commitment to raising wages, guaranteeing equal pay, providing paid leave, and protecting the rights of hard-working families to negotiate better lives.

The following are excerpts from Clinton’s remarks to the UFCW Executive board and Advisory Council:

On Iowa:

“It’s just meant the world to me to have your support…And I want you to know that you made a difference for me in Iowa. This was a very tight race and your members were critical votes in several precincts across the state. That helped us end up on top. And I appreciated your work on the ground, knocking on doors, talking to voters, making phone calls. And here’s something I want you to know — exit polling shows that in Iowa, union household voters made up 21% of all caucus goers. So more than one fifth of everybody who turned out on Monday night was part of a union household and I was supported by a 9 point advantage among union household voters. You made that possible.”

On issues that matter to working families:

“The issues you and your members are fighting for are my fights too…I will be your partner in the fight to raise wages, provide opportunity for paid sick time, fair scheduling for workers. I will stand up and fight for the right to organize and bargain collectively, for good wages and good working conditions and benefits. And I have a plan to make college affordable, to fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.”

Clinton also took time to answer a question from the audience about what she will do to help workers balance work and family. She said:

“I’ve said before that we’ve got to do more to help families balance work and their families. That’s why I support twelve weeks of paid family leave, seven day of paid sick time…I am making the strength of our family, opportunities for our families, specifically those that working women have, the centerpiece of my campaign. And you’ll hear a lot about this in the months ahead.”

Clinton also took a question about whether she believes collective bargaining is a means to ending wage inequality. She said:

“I believe it. I think the evidence supports it. There’s no doubt in my mind that the labor movement and particularly collective bargaining led to the growth of the American middle class…Republicans and their special interest groups have tried to undermine organizing, undermine collective bargaining. There’s no doubt in my mind they try to diminish our standard of living and growth of the American middle class.”

Photos of UFCW members caucusing for Clinton in Iowa are attached.

iowa1 crowd2 Tish group crowd3 crowd 1 bill

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

 

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

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

February 3, 2016

UFCW Names Esther López New International Secretary-Treasurer

UFCW President Perrone Highlights Historic Announcement as Part of UFCW’s Commitment to Building a Diverse and Strong Union Family

Ester2016-778x1024PHOENIX, AZ — Today, the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Executive Board elected Esther López as the new International Secretary-Treasurer. The historic announcement reflects the commitment by the UFCW, as the largest private sector union with 1.3 million members, to building a diverse and strong union family.

Esther López is a leading champion of hard-working men and women, and has worked tirelessly for decades on behalf of immigrants and all families seeking a better life. López has helped lead the UFCW’s groundbreaking outreach effort to the Latino and immigrant communities, and is recognized as a national leader in the areas of immigration reform, as well as civil, human, and labor rights.

“To become a better and stronger union family, I have been absolutely committed to building a diverse and inclusive union. It is why I’m so proud to announce that the UFCW International Executive Board elected Esther López as our union family’s new International Secretary-Treasurer. Esther is a tireless advocate for the rights of all hard-working men and women. Esther believes, as I do, that our nation’s diversity is our strength, that we must grow our union family, and that by working together we will provide a better life to all our incredible members,” said Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union.

In accepting her position, López said:

“I am truly honored to be elected as the International Secretary-Treasurer. This union and our members are my family. Doing everything I can to improve the lives of hard-working families, and provide them with the better life they’ve earned, has been my life’s mission. It is why the UFCW’s commitment to building a stronger and more diverse union family is so important. It inspires me to never stop fighting to better the lives of our members, and those who deserve to be our members. Under Marc’s leadership, and as part of this incredible UFCW team, I’m more optimistic than ever about the future of our great union family.”

Throughout her career, López has been a champion of the rights of all workers – regardless of where they come from or where they were born. To help provide hope to immigrant workers, López launched a groundbreaking program to ensure eligible UFCW members were first in line to apply for citizenship. Prior to that, she spearheaded the Union Citizenship Action Network, also known as UCAN, to help UFCW members become naturalized and get on the path to citizenship. López was the lead staff person on the UFCW Commission on ICE Enforcement that highlighted civil rights abuses in the 2006 Swift raids. All along, López has never lost focus on the broader goal of giving aspiring Americans the chance to become citizens and ensuring all workers and their families are protected from exploitation.

López began with the UFCW in November 2006 when she was hired as Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department.  In that role, she has helped put the UFCW on the front lines of the most crucial civil rights battles of our time—fighting back against voter suppression, working to end exploitation of refugees from countries like Burma, Sudan and Somalia, creating more opportunities for women, and expanding LGBT equality.

Prior to her career at the UFCW, López played an active role in improving labor conditions within the state of Illinois, serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for Labor, as well as in the governor’s cabinet as Director of the Illinois Department of Labor.

 

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

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational     @UFCW

January 28, 2016

El Super Grocery Workers and their Supporters Protest Recently Opened El Super Store in Pico Rivera

MEDIA 6– El Super operates 54 grocery stores in California, Arizona and Nevada, and is a subsidiary of Mexico retail giant Grupo Comercial Chedraui

Community members and El Super workers rallied outside the chain’s newly opened El Super store in Pico Rivera yesterday. El Super has been under consumer boycott since December 2014, and its unionized workers have struck the company twice in protest of unfair labor practices. Jobs at El Super are beneath grocery industry standards and the federal government has issued multiple complaints, and a temporary injunction, against the company for violating the rights of workers who speak out in favor of higher standards.

On January 22, a new El Super opened at 9320 Slauson Ave, Pico Rivera. This space was a Ralph’s store, before it closed last October.

This will be a non Union store where workers have fewer protections and no voice at work. Pico Rivera needs good, union jobs that uplift workers, their families and our community. We need grocery stores that preserve the quality job standards established at neighboring stores,” said Andrea Zinder, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) 324 Secretary Treasurer.

Ralph’s workers at this store had a good union contract that included guaranteed hours, family sustaining wages, adequate paid sick leave, and affordable family health care. The jobs at the Pico Rivera El Super are inferior in every way.

In 2014, Chedraui posted over $100 million (US) in profits, and El Super contributed more than a fifth of the company’s net revenues. Despite its success, unionized El Super workers at seven (7) California stores have been working without a fair union contract for over two years.

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