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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 9, 2015

New TPP Ad Released Urging a “No” Vote on Fast Track

Letter Sent to All Members of the House of Representatives Asking: “Will you do what is right for America’s hard-working men and women who you are sworn to serve?”

TPP secretWASHINGTON, D.C.—Highlighting the secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the reluctance of the Obama administration to release details, the UFCW today released a new ad urging members of the House of Representatives to vote no on fast track.

As part of its intense lobbying campaign, a letter was also sent to all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives where UFCW International President Marc Perrone made clear what is at stake. “Will you stand with the irresponsible corporations and special interests that are pushing fast track and the TPP?” he wrote. “Or will you do what is right for America’s hard-working men and women who you are sworn to serve?”

“America’s workers and hard-working families and their advocates have been completely shut out of the process,” Perrone added.

In the letter, Perrone decried President Obama’s strong-arm tactics on the trade deal and urged members of Congress to remember their obligation to their constituents.

“President Obama has regrettably made the vote about loyalty to him,” he wrote. “At the UFCW, our loyalty is to the 1.3 million hard-working men and women we represent and their families. Your loyalty should be to this country, to your constituents, and not President Obama, one party, or a secret trade deal.”

“The secrecy has gotten so egregious that when a group of concerned citizens went to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office last week, not only were they prevented from reviewing the agreement, USTR staff locked the door to the visitor’s entrance,” the letter reads. “It leaves you to wonder: what are they hiding?”

“Our elected leaders must acknowledge what the President refuses to—that unfair trade deals have been catastrophic for hard-working families, driving down wages and benefits, shipping jobs overseas, and exploding income inequality,” Perrone concluded.

This week the UFCW will engage in a major blitz, reaching out directly to undecided members of Congress who will determine the outcome of fast track. This includes the ads in Politico, which highlight a bipartisan concern over the issue of secrecy and the right of the American people to know what is in this deal. A print ad ran today and digital ads are scheduled to run throughout the week.

The full letter is linked here and copied below.

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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 deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the 1.3 million hard-working members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), I am writing to strongly urge you, again, to oppose fast track legislation if and when it comes up for a vote.

Respectfully, you have a critical decision to make. Will you stand with the irresponsible corporations and special interests that are pushing fast track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Or will you do what is right for America’s hard-working men and women who you are sworn to serve?

As you know, the TPP has been put together entirely in secret, with the advice and counsel of those who for decades have benefitted from bad trade deals. America’s workers and hard-working families and their advocates have been completely shut out of the process. The secrecy has gotten so egregious that when a group of concerned citizens went to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office last week, not only were they prevented from reviewing the agreement, USTR staff locked the door to the visitor’s entrance. It leaves you to wonder: what are they hiding?

The American people deserve to know what is in this deal. And those considering supporting it should ask themselves how they will justify voting for a secret deal that would harm their constituents and the American people.

As we now see, President Obama has regrettably made the vote about loyalty to him. At the UFCW, our loyalty is to the 1.3 million hard-working men and women we represent and their families. Your loyalty should be to this country, to your constituents, and not President Obama, one party, or a secret trade deal. So while the President pulls out all the stops to sway undecided Members of Congress, he and you should remember the people who elected you to office.

If there is any doubt where the American people stand, you need to look no further than a recent New York Times/CBS News poll where over 55 percent of Americans oppose fast track, including 61 percent of independents.

Finally, this is more than just a vote about a trade deal so bad that it is kept in secret. This is about whether you will stand with the very workers who have paid the price from other bad trade deals. Some may choose to ignore this reality, but our elected leaders must acknowledge what the President refuses to—that unfair trade deals have been catastrophic for hard-working families, driving down wages and benefits, shipping jobs overseas, and exploding income inequality.

Enough is enough.

We urge you to do the right thing and vote no on fast track.

Sincerely,

Marc Perrone
International President

 

June 4, 2015

UFCW Members in Missouri Will Not Rest Until Right to Work is Defeated Once and for All

MO-RTW-366x324Missouri Dave Cook, President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 655, Steven Straher, President of UFCW Local 88, and Tom Price, President of UFCW Local 2, representing 20,000 workers across Missouri, today released the following statement in response to Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of right to work legislation.

“On behalf of the 20,000 members of the UFCW in Missouri, we thank Governor Nixon for vetoing a bill designed to silence the voice of workers. Right to work would lower wages and standards across our state and we will continue to fight it tooth and nail until the veto is sustained in September.

“Right to work sounds good on paper, but in reality it means lower paying jobs, fewer benefits, and more dangerous workplaces. It is being pushed by out of state special interests who believe workers do not deserve a say in the terms of their employment. Plain and simple, it’s a corporate giveaway at the expense of everyday Missouri families.

“We’ve been fighting this legislation for 5 years so you better believe we are ready for another three months. Right to work proponents may not have the votes to override now, but the millionaires and billionaires pushing this bill will spend the summer trying to change that. In the meantime, the UFCW will be working with our Republican and Democratic partners in the Legislature to sustain the veto. UFCW members will be reaching out directly to their friends and neighbors to let them know that Missouri cannot afford a future with right to work.

“Simply put, right to work would be a disaster for the hard-working families of our state and the UFCW will not rest until it is defeated once and for all.”

 

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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 deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

June 2, 2015

IKEA USA Charged with Violating Federal Labor Law

Labor Board Complaint Alleges IKEA Manager Interrogated Workers, Violated Freedom of Association

Participants in today's Day of Global Solidarity with IKEA workers show their support in Dublin, Ireland.

BOSTON — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against IKEA USA alleging unfair labor practices at the company’s store in Stoughton, Mass. The complaint alleges that the company violated federal law by unlawfully interrogating employees about their support for a union. The complaint further finds fault with the company’s social media policy, finding the policy to be overly broad and infringing on the right of workers to engage in protected activity.

“My coworkers and I came together to make IKEA better because we love our jobs and we believed in the company’s values,” said Nancy Goetz, a worker in the Stoughton IKEA. “In other countries, IKEA works collaboratively with the workers’ unions to solve problems. I never thought that IKEA would allow supervisors to intimidate and interrogate us. I expected more from IKEA. I expected that my rights would be respected.”

IKEA Group is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), an international compact that prohibits companies from interfering with workers’ freedom of association. IKEA has incorporated Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labor Organization, an agency of the United Nations, into the company’s internal code of conduct. Conventions 87 and 98 relate to freedom of association and the right of collective bargaining.

Freedom of association for American workers is protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), a law that protects workers’ rights to take collective action, form unions and bargain collectively. The Act also prohibits employers from engaging in certain coercive or intimidating tactics for the purpose of preventing workers from freely exercising their rights under the Act. Prohibited tactics are considered Unfair Labor Practices and are prosecuted by the NLRB.

“This complaint sadly shows that IKEA does not treat hard-working American families with the same respect that the company shows to workers in other parts of the world,” said Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). “Every American worker has a fundamental right to come together and take collective action to improve their jobs. The UFCW stands with these workers, and together we will hold IKEA to a higher standard.”

The full complaint filed by the NLRB can be obtained by contacting Moira Bulloch at mbulloch@ufcw.org.

 

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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 deserves.

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational   @UFCW

May 27, 2015

Workers in LA begin 24-Hour fast & will rally for an end to retaliation and call for $15 an hour and full-time hours

While Walmart continues to dodge questions about the recent sudden layoff of 2,200 workers ahead of upcoming shareholder meeting

DSC_6643LOS ANGELES – Ahead of the company’s June 5 shareholder meeting, Walmart workers in major cities across the country are holding rallies and marches this week, calling for CEO Doug McMillon and the Walton family to end the retaliation against workers who speak out for change, and to publicly commit to pay a living wage of $15 and provide access to full-time hours. Here in Los Angeles, two dozen Walmart workers will begin a 24-hour fast today to highlight the hunger many Walmart associates and their families endure due to the company’s low wages and insufficient hours.

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. associates. But despite the modest increase—and without any guarantee of adequate hours —many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by. Meanwhile, the company escalated its retaliatory actions against associates to a new level last month when it abruptly closed five stores and laid off more than 2,000 workers, citing “plumbing issues.” Walmart has failed to offer any conclusive evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Workers at the Walmart store in Pico Rivera, Calif., one of the stores closed for alleged plumbing issues, are calling on the company to commit publicly to reinstating all laid off workers when the store reopens for business and to allow all workers, for the time being, to be transferred to one of the nearby 45 Walmart stores.

Walmart workers are prepared to demand change and accountability from the world’s largest retailer at the company’s upcoming shareholder meeting. Worker shareholders will present two resolutions intended to reign in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.

 

              WHAT:   Walmart workers rally against retaliation and for $15 and full-time

              WHEN:   Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

              WHERE:   Cesar Chavez & Broadway Blvds in Chinatown, Los Angeles

              WHO:       Fasting Walmart workers, community leaders, members of the clergy, elected  officials

              RSVP/FOR MORE INFORMATION: Marc Goumbri, 202-257-8771,mgoumbri@ufcw.org

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

May 27, 2015

Workers in LA begin 24-Hour fast & will rally for an end to retaliation and call for $15 an hour and full-time hours

While Walmart continues to dodge questions about the recent sudden layoff of 2,200 workers ahead of upcoming shareholder meeting

DSC_6643LOS ANGELES – Ahead of the company’s June 5 shareholder meeting, Walmart workers in major cities across the country are holding rallies and marches this week, calling for CEO Doug McMillon and the Walton family to end the retaliation against workers who speak out for change, and to publicly commit to pay a living wage of $15 and provide access to full-time hours. Here in Los Angeles, two dozen Walmart workers will begin a 24-hour fast today to highlight the hunger many Walmart associates and their families endure due to the company’s low wages and insufficient hours.

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. associates. But despite the modest increase—and without any guarantee of adequate hours —many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by. Meanwhile, the company escalated its retaliatory actions against associates to a new level last month when it abruptly closed five stores and laid off more than 2,000 workers, citing “plumbing issues.” Walmart has failed to offer any conclusive evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Workers at the Walmart store in Pico Rivera, Calif., one of the stores closed for alleged plumbing issues, are calling on the company to commit publicly to reinstating all laid off workers when the store reopens for business and to allow all workers, for the time being, to be transferred to one of the nearby 45 Walmart stores.

Walmart workers are prepared to demand change and accountability from the world’s largest retailer at the company’s upcoming shareholder meeting. Worker shareholders will present two resolutions intended to reign in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.

 

              WHAT:   Walmart workers rally against retaliation and for $15 and full-time

              WHEN:   Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 5:30 p.m.

              WHERE:   Cesar Chavez & Broadway Blvds in Chinatown, Los Angeles

              WHO:       Fasting Walmart workers, community leaders, members of the clergy, elected  officials

              RSVP/FOR MORE INFORMATION: Marc Goumbri, 202-257-8771,mgoumbri@ufcw.org

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

May 19, 2015

Walmart Worker-Shareholder Reacts to Q1 Earnings Report

Overview of Walmart’s first quarter sales report:

  • WMT reports 1st quarter results below expectations
  • EPS was $1.03 vs an expected $1.05; revenue was $114 billion vs an expected $116.2 billion
  • Same store sales of 1.1% at WMT US and just 0.4% at Sam’s Club were below the 1.5% gain expected for both segments
  • Promised investments in labor were disappointing, and amounted to less than analysts had expected for the quarter

OUR Walmart member and Walmart shareholder Teresa Adams of Pico Rivera, Calif., today, issued the following statement in response to Walmart’s Q1 earnings report:

“Walmart’s weak earnings report this morning is telling, but it’s nothing new for the countless number of associates nationwide who have been calling for a change to the company’s low-road, low-wage business model over the past few years. When workers who are committed to the company’s success can’t secure much-neeWM RUS_Fotorded pay and hours, they aren’t the only ones who suffer. Customers lose, and so do shareholders. Shelves aren’t properly stocked. Check-out lines are long. And the company’s reputation takes a hit when its employees don’t make enough money to stay off government assistance programs, At a time when Walmart needs to be investing more in its employees and stores, it closes four apparently profitable stores and lays off a reported 2,200 workers, while grasping at straws to justify the move. I think it’s no coincidence that OUR Walmart members were active in one of those stores.

“My fellow OUR Walmart members, like Shannon Henderson who made about $13,000 last year working as many hours as Walmart would let her, and I have been working to offer solutions to the problems that plague the company and its operations. CEO Doug McMillon has responded to one of our demands by raising wages for those of us at the bottom of the ladder, but it’s not enough. We all need higher wages and, even more importantly, we need more hours for ourselves and for our customers.

 “OUR Walmart Associate-shareholders are going to the upcoming Walmart annual shareholder meeting, where we have submitted two shareholder proposals. We are encouraging shareholders to use their votes to rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and more hours for workers.

 “It’s long past time for Walmart and the Waltons to take an honest and candid look at the concerns raised by investors, shareholders and customers. Treating associates with respect and providing adequate staffing and hours are fundamental to putting Walmart on the path to strong sales and success. And that’s the direction Walmart needs to go.”

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

 

May 14, 2015

CEO Pay Continues to Rise; Walmart Workers Prepare to Call for Change at Shareholders Meeting

CEOs paid 373 times average worker pay, according to 2015 Executive PayWatch

ceopayWASHINGTON, DC—As Americans rally behind initiatives to raise pay for working families, CEO pay for major U.S. companies has skyrocketed. According to new AFL-CIO Executive PayWatch data, CEO pay increased nearly 16 percent in 2014, while Walmart and the Walton family continue to drive inequality nationwide.

The Executive PayWatch website, the most comprehensive searchable online database that tracks CEO pay, showed that in 2014, the average production and nonsupervisory worker made approximately $36,000 per year, while S&P 500 company CEO pay averaged $13.5 million per year – a ratio which has grown to 373-to-1. Meanwhile, a full-time worker making the federal minimum wage is paid just $15,080 a year, well below the poverty level for a family.

 Mega-retailer Walmart, highlighted in this year’s PayWatch, represents one of the most egregious examples of CEO-to-worker pay inequality. CEO Douglas McMillon is paid $9,323 an hour. A new Walmart employee making $9 an hour would have to work 1036 hours to earn what McMillon makes just 60 minutes. PayWatch also notes that six Walton family members have more wealth than 43 percent of America’s families combined.

“I made about $13,000 last year, working as many hours as the company would let me,” said Shannon Henderson, a Walmart employee and mother of two in Sacramento, California. “I work for the richest company in the world, and I can’t support my family without public assistance. That’s not right, and that’s why I’m not going to stop fighting for $15 and full time.”

Earlier this year, Walmart caved to worker pressure and announced it would raise wages for 500,000 U.S. associates. But despite the modest increase—and without any guarantee of adequate hours —many workers are still forced to rely on government assistance programs like food stamps to get by. Meanwhile, the company escalated its retaliatory actions against associates to a new level last month, when it abruptly closed five stores and laid off more than 2,000 workers, citing “plumbing issues.” Among the stores Walmart closed is the Pico Rivera, California Supercenter, the first store to go on strike in 2012, as well as the site of the first sit-down strike prior to last Black Friday. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores.

In light of the data released by Executive PayWatch, Walmart workers are prepared to demand change and accountability from the world’s largest retailer. As Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting approaches, workers have announced their intention to propose a shareholder resolution that would rein in executive compensation and incentivize sustainable investment, such as fair wages and benefits for workers.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publicly commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

May 13, 2015

OK Foods Fires Maintenance Workers Illegally

UFCW Alleges Company Fired Workers for Union Activity in Unfair Labor Practice Charges

OKfoodsnewsletter-300x160Heavener, OK: United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1000 is formally filing Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that two UFCW organizing committee members were illegally fired last week by OK Foods in Heavener, OK.

Local 1000 President Ricky Burris said, “Joshua Deases and Jason Muller were fired illegally last week. These two have been leaders in the organizing campaign at OK Foods to help maintenance workers get a voice at work. Both of them testified on behalf of the union in front of an NLRB Hearing Officer last year and served as official observers in the May 1st, 2014 election. The NLRB set the May 1st election aside because of repeated violations of the National Labor Relations Act and now OK Foods is again violating the Act by firing these workers. I strongly condemn these terminations.”

Maintenance worker Jason Muller said, “I’m not discouraged. The more they harass pro-union workers, the harder we will fight. OK Foods won’t intimidate us. OK Foods is persecuting Josh Deases and myself because of our union activities. This company, and specifically the CEO Trent Goins, should be ashamed.”

UFCW Local 1000 represents 11,000 workers across Oklahoma and North Texas including people who work at grocery stores and food production facilities. UFCW Local 1000 is an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents 250,000 poultry production workers across the United States and Canada.

 

 

May 12, 2015

UFCW President Perrone: Hard-Working Americans Have Sent a Message Loud and Clear—No TPP

Says Failure to Advance Fast Track a Stinging Defeat for TPP Proponents

stop_tppWASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance fast track legislation.

“All across this country, hard-working Americans from every political stripe have sent a message loud and clear—no more trade deals that destroy American jobs and families. The failure of the Senate to advance fast track legislation is not only a stinging defeat for supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); it makes clear that the American people will not be fooled into supporting another bad trade deal.

“Just a few weeks ago, all of the pundits believed that fast track and the TPP were a lock to pass: they were wrong. Our 1.3 million members, the entire labor movement, progressive Democrats, and conservative Republicans have all stood up and spoke out against this disastrous trade deal. More importantly, this is what is possible when we all stand together and fight for what is right for our families, our jobs, and our nation. While this battle is far from over, we can only hope that President Obama and every TPP supporter hears the voices of the American people and understands that this is a fight they cannot and should not win.”

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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 deserves.

 www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational    @UFCW

May 12, 2015

New Charge Against Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society Alleges Unlawful Anti-Worker Conduct

Co-op Charged with Intimidating and Interfering with its Workers’ Rights

nlrb-638x430Last week, the UFCW filed a federal charge with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that management at the Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society in New Hampshire unlawfully stifled workers’ rights to organize – including preventing them from talking about unions inside the store and intimidating workers who were discussing organizing a union. The Hanover-Lebanon Cooperative Society employs over 400 workers out of five retail locations and a commissary kitchen and does business locally as The Co-op Food Stores.

“Unions and co-ops are like peas and pods – they stem from the same core, they share the same values,” said co-op Member Len Ziefert. “It is antithetical for co-ops to oppose unionization, unions are employees working cooperatively.”

The member-owned co-op has been in the spotlight over the last year following the termination of two well-regarded employees. The fired workers sued co-op management, claiming they were fired as retaliation for speaking out about workplace conditions and for talking with union representatives. After the fallout from this lawsuit, members elected three new directors to the board who are focused on making the co-op more worker-friendly. While the wrongful termination case is currently still being litigated, this unrelated NLRB charge raises the question if anything has changed at The Co-op Food Stores or if co-op management continues to engage in anti-worker practices.

“By standing together in union, workers preserve their voice and true co-op principles,” said Reid Kotlas, a regular shopper. “The Co-op Food Stores should live up to the values of its member-owners and of the co-op movement and respect its workers’ rights to organize a union.”