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    Press Releases.

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

April 21, 2015

Following Retaliatory Closures, Walmart Workers Take Legal Action

Supported by elected officials, clergy and community members, group files for injunctive relief with the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of workers

Local school board launches resolution calls on Walmart to consider economic impact to local community, transfer and reinstate workers

11174655_1092389480778107_6579073321344252761_oNATIONWIDE —Yesterday Pico Rivera Walmart workers with OUR Walmart filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board in response to Walmart’s retaliatory store closings. Last week, Walmart abruptly closed 5 Walmart stores in four states due to an alleged national plumbing emergency. However, city officials point out that the company has obtained no permits to begin repairs in any of these locations. Walmart has failed to offer any evidence of a plumbing emergency that would require the immediate closing of five stores. Among the five stores was the Pico Rivera, California Walmart Supercenter, which has been the hotbed for worker action. The store is also of symbolic important to the low-wage worker movement, as it sparked the Walmart and fast food strikes when it was the first store to go on strike in October of 2012. Workers from the store also held the first large sit-down strike and participated in civil disobedience in the weeks prior to last Black Friday.

“This is a new low, even for Walmart,” said Venanzi Luna, an eight-year Walmart worker and long-time OUR Walmart member. “It’s just so heartless to put thousands of your employees out of a job with no clear explanation on just a few hours’ notice. We know that Walmart is scared of all we have accomplished as members of OUR Walmart so they’re targeting us. Through OUR Walmart, we’re going to keep fighting back until the company gives us our jobs back. It’s unfortunate that Walmart has chosen to hurt the lives of so many people, just to try to conceal their real motives of silencing workers just like they’ve always done.”

Workers are asking the National Labor Relations Board to see injunctive relief under section 10j of the National Labor Relations Act. They are calling on the National Labor Relations Board to compel Walmart to rehire all of the workers who were terminated in all five stores and reinstate them to their own stores or transfer them without loss of pay until they can be reinstated to their stores. A 10j injunction is designed to allow the court to act quickly to remedy such extreme violations without the long delay which is anticipated for NLRB proceedings.

As the filing notes, this is not the first time Walmart has taken dramatic action to quell worker action. In June of 2014, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Walmart had violated labor law when it closed the Jonquiére, Quebec Walmart store. The workers in that store had voted to join a union, becoming the first unionized store in North America just before it closed. In 2000, butchers in a Jacksonville, Texas Walmart voted to join UFCW Local 540. Two weeks later, Walmart closed its 180 meat departments in stores nationwide and switched to prepackaged case ready meat only. More recently, Walmart fired and disciplined more than 70 workers who participated in strikes in June 2013. An Administrative Law Judge of the NLRB has found merit to claims against Walmart and additional claims are currently being prosecuted by the General Counsel of the NLRB against Walmart.

“Walmart’s choice to close one of the most vocal stores in the fight for $15 and full time is a clear and direct assault on all workers’ rights,” said Jobs With Justice Executive Director Sarita Gupta. “As a country, we cannot sit back quietly as our nation’s largest private employer is allowed to lay off thousands of people in an attempt to silence them from speaking out for better wages, hours and respect on the job.”

Community members and elected officials have also come out in support of Walmart workers. The El Rancho Unified School District, in which the Pico Rivera store is located, will vote on a resolution in support of the laid off Pico Rivera Walmart workers. The resolution “calls on Walmart to consider the economic hardship their decision has caused for their 530 Associates from the Pico Rivera store and their families and commit to transfer all of the Associates to surrounding Walmart stores before new people are hired to fill positions in those stores…”

Other community members also attended yesterday’s press conference to call attention to the impact of Walmart’s actions on their neighborhoods, congregations and communities.

“It is a scandal against all that is righteous, though it is unfortunately not surprising, that Walmart, the economic Pharaoh who cannot see workers as people but only as expense lines, has again decreed unemployment and poverty and suffering on 530 workers here, and similar numbers in four other stores,” said local Rabbi Aryeh Cohen. “In November, I joined other clergy and community leaders and workers in an act of civil disobedience to support the brave workers who sat down and struck in order to stand up with dignity. We then demanded $15 an hour and access to full employment. Today our demands have not changed. However, we also demand that Pharaoh rehire all 530 workers, give them priority before hiring other workers for less pay, and support the fired workers beyond the mandated 60 days.”

Workers promised that they would continue to fight the company’s retaliatory closures with bold action until the company meets their calls for reinstatement, transfer with equal pay and compensation in the interim and finally, the opportunity to return to their stores when they reopen.

“Allowing Walmart to get away with such a blatant attack on the rights of workers’ in our community would open the door for any employer to simply develop ‘plumbing issues’ whenever workers stood up for change in their workplace,” said SEIU 721 Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez. “We need to send a message to Walmart and all employers that in our community, the rights of working people must be respected. That’s why we’ll continue to stand with Walmart workers as they fight to get back to work and for change at the world’s largest private employer.”

April 16, 2015

UFCW President Perrone: We are Determined to See Fast Track Defeated

TPP-6WASHINGTON, 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 in response to the agreement reached on trade promotion authority or fast track.

“The TPP and fast track are not just wrong for America, they will hurt every hard-working family. The fact that Democrats and Republicans support TPP is a bipartisan insult to the millions of men and women struggling to find good jobs and earn a decent living.

Make no mistake, we are determined to see this legislation defeated. Our members will mobilize across the United States to call on Congress to stand up for hard-working families. While we may not be able to change every mind, our voices will be heard. And we will remember those who turned their back on America’s workers by voting for another destructive trade deal.”

A copy of President Perrone’s Wednesday op-ed in The Hill 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

 

April 15, 2015, 02:00 pm

Trans-Pacific Partnership will harm middle and working class Americans

By Marc Perrone

Four years ago, after careful consideration, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) decided to endorse the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, making us one of the only labor unions to do so. We viewed the Korea deal—which had improved labor standards and was estimated  to create over 20,000 jobs in the meat sector, as a small, but not insignificant, step forward on global trade policy. As the union that represents hundreds of thousands of meatpacking and food processing workers, we support fair trade agreements that open up new markets to sell UFCW-made products abroad.

This time it’s different. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement. It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.

The truth is as we’ve heard during past trade debates, many Republicans and even some Democrats, repeatedly say that the TPP won’t hurt families or communities, or devastate industries, unions, or the middle and working classes.

America’s families know from experience the brutal reality will be quite different.

Over the last three decades, in large part because of bad trade deals, Americans have worked harder than ever, while wages remain stagnant.  Income and economic inequality has grown to historically high levels. Industry consolidation, fueled by unchecked global competition, has led to countless jobs being lost. Good union jobs have been decimated across nearly every state and replaced by either no job, or non-union jobs that barely pay above minimum wage.

As for the TPP, while a bipartisan chorus will sing the praises of this trade deal, they choose to ignore the truth that it is America’s working men and women, not them, who will pay the price as irresponsible corporations justify future cuts to wages, hours, and jobs–all in the name of “international competition.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the TPP goes even further by rolling back regulations that could be construed as a “barrier to trade,” which includes environmental, consumer, and labor protections. And, if there were any remaining doubts, this massive trade deal, which will impact tens of millions of American jobs, has been put together in secret, with the advice and counsel of hundreds of corporate special interests with absolutely no input from labor or other groups that fight on behalf of the working and middle classes.

Given all that we know, how any elected official, Democrat or Republican, can support the TPP is inexplicable.

So, on behalf of the 1.3 million hard-working men and women of the UFCW, we are calling on every member of Congress to oppose the TPP and the fast-track legislation that would make it possible to pass the TPP.

Let me be very clear, no elected official, regardless of political party, who is truly interested in making the economy better and fairer, can responsibly support the TPP. Simply put, this trade deal, like so many others, is bad for our workers, families, and shared future.

In the end, while we may not be able to change every mind, we will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers by voting for jobs and against another destructive trade deal. More to the point, we join with the AFL-CIO and other unions that refuse to support any member of Congress that decides to put narrow self-interests above the interests of hard-working families.

Marc Perrone is International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

 

 

April 15, 2015

UFCW Announces Strong Opposition to Fast Track and the TPP

President Perrone calls for bipartisan opposition and says largest private sector union in the nation “will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers”

WASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today penned an op-ed in The Hill announcing his strong opposition to fast track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The UFCW supported the last major trade agreement with Korea because of its improved labor standards and potential to create 20,000 jobs in the meat sector. But in his op-ed, Perrone makes clear that this time is different.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement,” he writes. “It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.”

In the piece, Perrone ties unfair tpp-5trade deals directly to the declining standard of living for hard-working families. “Income and economic inequality has grown to historically high levels,” he writes. “Industry consolidation, fueled by unchecked global competition, has led to countless jobs being lost. Good union jobs have been decimated across nearly every state and replaced by either no job, or non-union jobs that barely pay above minimum wage.”

Perrone is also strongly critical of the TPP’s provisions to roll back labor, consumer, and environmental protections and the fact that it is being put together “with the advice and counsel of hundreds of corporate special interests with absolutely no input from labor or other groups that fight on behalf of the working and middle classes.”

“Given all that we know, how any elected official, Democrat or Republican, can support TPP is inexplicable,” he writes.

Perrone issues a warning to both political parties, calling on every member of Congress to oppose the TPP and the fast-track legislation that would make it possible to pass the TPP.

“In the end, while we may not be able to change every mind, we will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers by voting for jobs and against another destructive trade deal,” he writes. “More to the point, we join with the AFL-CIO and other unions that refuse to support any member of Congress that decides to put narrow self-interests above the interests of hard-working families.”

The full op-ed is linked here and pasted 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

 

April 15, 2015, 02:00 pm

Trans-Pacific Partnership will harm middle and working class Americans

By Marc Perrone

Four years ago, after careful consideration, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) decided to endorse the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, making us one of the only labor unions to do so. We viewed the Korea deal—which had improved labor standards and was estimated  to create over 20,000 jobs in the meat sector, as a small, but not insignificant, step forward on global trade policy. As the union that represents hundreds of thousands of meatpacking and food processing workers, we support fair trade agreements that open up new markets to sell UFCW-made products abroad.

This time it’s different. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not the Korea free trade agreement. It is neither free nor fair. And the UFCW is determined to see it defeated.

The truth is as we’ve heard during past trade debates, many Republicans and even some Democrats, repeatedly say that the TPP won’t hurt families or communities, or devastate industries, unions, or the middle and working classes.

America’s families know from experience the brutal reality will be quite different.

Over the last three decades, in large part because of bad trade deals, Americans have worked harder than ever, while wages remain stagnant.  Income and economic inequality has grown to historically high levels. Industry consolidation, fueled by unchecked global competition, has led to countless jobs being lost. Good union jobs have been decimated across nearly every state and replaced by either no job, or non-union jobs that barely pay above minimum wage.

As for the TPP, while a bipartisan chorus will sing the praises of this trade deal, they choose to ignore the truth that it is America’s working men and women, not them, who will pay the price as irresponsible corporations justify future cuts to wages, hours, and jobs–all in the name of “international competition.”

If that wasn’t bad enough, the TPP goes even further by rolling back regulations that could be construed as a “barrier to trade,” which includes environmental, consumer, and labor protections. And, if there were any remaining doubts, this massive trade deal, which will impact tens of millions of American jobs, has been put together in secret, with the advice and counsel of hundreds of corporate special interests with absolutely no input from labor or other groups that fight on behalf of the working and middle classes.

Given all that we know, how any elected official, Democrat or Republican, can support the TPP is inexplicable.

So, on behalf of the 1.3 million hard-working men and women of the UFCW, we are calling on every member of Congress to oppose the TPP and the fast-track legislation that would make it possible to pass the TPP.

Let me be very clear, no elected official, regardless of political party, who is truly interested in making the economy better and fairer, can responsibly support the TPP. Simply put, this trade deal, like so many others, is bad for our workers, families, and shared future.

In the end, while we may not be able to change every mind, we will remember those elected officials who stood with America’s workers by voting for jobs and against another destructive trade deal. More to the point, we join with the AFL-CIO and other unions that refuse to support any member of Congress that decides to put narrow self-interests above the interests of hard-working families.

Marc Perrone is International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

April 2, 2015

Seattle UFCW Local 21 Member Helps to Kick-off “Lead on Leave” White House Tour

Calls On Washington State Senate & Federal Government to Enact Paid Leave Laws  

UFCW Local 21 member Ariana Davis with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez

UFCW Local 21 member Ariana Davis with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez

Seattle, WA –Today, Ariana Davis, a member of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 21, was featured at the kickoff event of the “Lead on Leave – Empowering Working Families Across America Tour” hosted by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. The roundtable discussion was the first stop of a national tour by the White House to highlight the importance of enacting a paid leave law that will ensure all working and middle class families have the opportunity to deal with a sickness or spend time with their children and family members during times of illness or other critical life moments.

Ms. Davis joined a diverse group of local employers, workers, and community groups to discuss the demands of family and the importance of enacting state and federal paid leave laws.

“No one in America should have to choose between their health, their family and their job,” said Davis. “On a bad week, when we’re sick, we can’t afford to take unpaid time off so we get some Kleenex, drag ourselves out of bed, and come to work. This is unhealthy for coworkers, customers, and the communities we live in. Paid leave will help us all deal with these difficult moments and improve our ability to do our jobs. Passing laws like this are essential to making life better for every hard working family in America.”

As a young, female, LGBT person of color within the labor movement, Davis has proven to be an effective and rising voice. She has been instrumental in helping push for fundamental changes that have helped hard-working families in Seattle obtain better wages and benefits, and justice at the workplace.

A few years ago, stories like Davis’ helped the city of Seattle pass a much needed paid sick leave law. A few weeks ago, those same stories were a big reason why the Washington House of Representatives passed paid sick leave. Davis is calling on the State Senate and the federal government to do the same.

Davis started working at Safeway when she was 16. Now 25, she is an elected member of the UFCW Local 21 Executive Board and is proud to work at Haggen, a union grocery store in Renton, Washington.

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online atwww.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

March 31, 2015

UFCW Statement on Veto of Legislation Blocking NLRB Election Rule

Getty images

Getty images

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) today released the following statement after President Obama vetoed legislation that would have blocked the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) rule to streamline union elections.

“As we have said from the very beginning, the NLRB’s modest rule to modernize and streamline union elections is a step in the right direction and should be implemented without delay. Make no mistake, those attempting to block this rule want to make it harder for workers to have a voice on the job. Shortening the period between the filing of a petition and the election means less time for anti-worker employers to intimidate, harass, and fire pro-union employees. This rule creates a fairer process and we look forward to seeing it in action. We commend President Obama for vetoing this ill-advised legislation.”

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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

March 31, 2015

UFCW President Perrone in Response to Governor Pence: Fully Repeal Indiana’s Discriminatory Law

16770_752833021496094_6582326965493961549_nWASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), called for a full repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in response to Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s press conference where he offered to fix the law without providing specifics.

“This law is not about freedom, it purposely legislates discrimination and division. It is anti-American, anti-family, and anti-worker. It is a law that cruelly targets men and women, and their families, simply because of who they are. It is fundamentally wrong, it does not belong in Indiana or any state in America, and it must be repealed.

To be clear, as we decide where to take our future business—from annual conferences to the UFCW 2018 International Convention—we will not consider Indiana unless it fully repeals this discriminatory law. We urge every union, every American, and every business and employer, large and small, to join with the millions of Americans who have already spoken out against this needless and terrible law.

For the better America we all believe in, this law must be scrapped.”

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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

March 25, 2015

Perrone: House GOP Budget Would Make Life Harder for Tens of Millions of Hard-Working American Families

WASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to passage of the House Republican budget.

“Budgets are more than just numbers; they are a statement of values. House Republicans talk a lot about family values, but this budget cruelly and needlessly hurts families and children. It will make life harder for tens of millions of hard-working American families all to serve an ideological agenda. At a time of stagnant wages and rising income inequality, the House Republican budget is more of the same—cutting nutrition assistance, health care, job training, and college aid—all while giving another tax break to the wealthiest few. Instead of further dividing this country, Republican leaders and Congress must go back to the drawing board and pass a budget that invests in the future of working and middle class families. Make no mistake, we strongly oppose this proposal and urge the President to make clear he will veto it and any other extreme budget that hurts America’s families.”Marc-Perrone-2008

March 25, 2015

UFCW International President Marc Perrone Releases Statement on Kraft Heinz Merger

UFCW Local 538 members and Kraft workers Gloria Jenkins and Mark Grimes

UFCW Local 538 members and Kraft workers Gloria Jenkins and Mark Grimes

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the merger of Kraft and Heinz:

“We have a profound responsibility to provide our hard-working families the opportunity for a better life. It is why we have a proud history of negotiating union contracts, with both Heinz and Kraft, that provides these incredible men and women better pay, benefits and job security. By working together we have not only met our responsibility to our people, but have proved that companies that choose to be responsible can be profitable and successful. We will continue to work with Heinz and Kraft to ensure they do what is right and responsible and that ‘streamlining’ and ‘cost-cutting’ measures don’t hurt the workers, their families, who have helped make these companies a success.”

The UFCW represents approximately 1342 workers at Heinz locations in Fremont, Ohio; Holland, Michigan; Muscatine, Iowa; and  Massillon, Ohio. Approximately 2870 Kraft workers in Coshocton, Ohio; Davenport, Iowa; Dover, Delaware; Jacksonville, Florida; Madison, Wisconsin; and Walton, New York are also UFCW members.

March 24, 2015

Massachusetts, Vermont and New York Co-op Workers Gather for First Ever Co-op Worker Summit

Workers meet to discuss future of co-ops and the food industry

DSC_0029Charlemont, Mass. – Dozens of co-op workers from three states and representing six both worker- and member-owned co-ops met Saturday at the first-ever regional co-op workers summit. The event, hosted by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459, was the first of its kind.

“Co-ops have a unique place in our economy,” said Dan Clifford, President of Local 1459. “They are businesses that have the higher purpose of serving the communities in which they operate. As the co-op movement grows, sometimes the voice of co-op workers get lost. This summit was an important step to ensure those voices are heard and that co-ops live up to their highest aspirations.”

Workers from co-ops in Western Massachusetts, New York and Vermont gathered for panels on the future of the co-op movement and their role in improving their workplaces, their communities and the food we all eat. They also heard from Frances Moore Lappé, best-selling author of Diet for a Small Planet, who spoke about the important role that co-ops and co-op workers can have in building a more sustainable global economy.

“It’s critically important that the co-op movement doesn’t leave the workers’ voice behind,” said John Cevasco, a grocery worker from Greenfield’s Market in Greenfield, Mass. and a UFCW Local 1459 member. “We found our voice at Greenfield’s by forming a union, and I know our co-op is stronger because of it.”

“Our communities need high quality, local food and good family-supporting jobs,” said Russell Ziemba, a worker from the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, N.Y. “Co-ops can play a critical role in meeting those needs if they listen to the voice of their workers. That’s why I’m glad I had the opportunity to be here and learn from other co-op workers in my region.”

The co-op workers also issued a series of collective recommendations to the regional and state food system plans, re-envisioning how the food system could serve the needs of citizens even better. They hope by injecting the voice of ground level workers and co-ops into the plan that they can make the plans both more ecologically and economically more sustainable.

 

 

March 19, 2015

Statement from UFCW International President Marc Perrone on News of Target Wage Increase

Every Retail Worker has the Right to a Decent Living, a Reliable Schedule, Quality Affordable Health Care, and Respect on the Job

WASHINGTON, D.C.Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement about the news reports on Target’s wage increase and the collective gains secured by workers in the retail industry.

“A higher hourly wage for the hard-working men and women in retail is a first step in the right direction. For far too long, our UFCW family and those outside our family who deserve a better life have been fighting for more than just higher wages. We are fighting for good benefits, a safe and just workplace, and fair scheduling that allows all workers the hard-earned right to support themselves and their family.

“While the struggle against irresponsible companies continues, I believe the momentum is growing. Bad employers who put their bottom line before the people who work to make these companies succeed must change. These families deserve better. While steps forward are positive, we will not stop our fight to raise standards, provide more hours, stable scheduling, and good jobs for all of our family.”

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The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

LivingWageSign