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October 6, 2014

Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, standing with OUR Walmart members and workers during the Ride for Respect in summer 2013.

Dolores Huerta, standing with OUR Walmart members and workers during the Ride for Respect in summer 2013.

Hispanic Heritage Month provides us with an opportunity to pay tribute Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, two great labor leaders who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and helped to organize the Delano Grape Strike—one of the most successful strikes in labor history.

On September 8, 1965, Filipino farm workers in Delano, Calif., who were members of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), walked off the job at table grape farms in the area to protest the low pay and poor working conditions.  The leaders of AWOC knew that a successful strike had to include the many Latino farm workers in Delano, and they reached out to Chavez, Huerta and the NFWA to join them in their fight for dignity and respect on the job. Chavez insisted that the Filipino and Latino strikers work together and take a vow to remain nonviolent, and expanded the goals of the strikers to include the right to unionize and engage in collective bargaining.  Realizing their common goals, the NFWA and AWOC merged to form the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee in 1966.

In 1966, Chavez led a strike of California grape workers on a 300 mile march from Delano to Sacramento to raise awareness for their cause.  Soon, the strike spread to thousands of workers and the movement gained national attention and support from around the country, including the support of Robert F. Kennedy.  In 1967, Chavez shifted his focus and urged consumers and supermarket chains to boycott table grapes.  In response to the plight of the farm workers, Americans throughout the country refrained from buying table grapes in a show of support.  After five years of nonviolent strikes, boycotts, marches and fasts, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee succeeded in reaching a collective bargaining agreement with table grape growers in California in 1970—resulting in better pay, benefits and workplace conditions for thousands of farm workers.

In 1972, the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee was accepted into the AFL-CIO and changed its name to the United Farmworkers Union. A year later in 1973, Chavez and Huerta led another successful consumer boycott against California grape growers that resulted in the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, which allowed farm workers to form unions and bargain for better wages and working conditions.

August 27, 2014

However you Celebrate Labor This Holiday, Celebrate Union-Made!

Here’s Your Union-Made Labor Day Shopping List

Every year, we celebrate Labor Day as a reminder and tribute to all the men and women who work to make our economy and our country strong, and to provide for their families. Whether you have the day off, or are getting in one last cookout of the summer in after work, help support your brothers and sisters of labor by buying and shopping union!

Here’s a great list compiled by the AFL-CIO of some union-made food and drink to get your barbecue off to a great start. Even if you favorite products aren’t on the list, you can still shop union by looking for the union (especially UFCW!) label on the outside of grocery stores.

This list comes courtesy of Union Plus, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s website Labor 411.

 Hot Dogs, Sausages, Other Grill Meats
  • Ball Park
  • Boar’s Head
  • Calumet
  • Dearborn Sausage Co.
  • Fischer Meats
  • Hebrew National
  • Hofmann
  • Johnsonville
  • Oscar Mayer

Condiments

  • French’s Mustard
  • Gulden’s Mustard
  • Heinz Ketchup
  • Hidden Valley Ranch
  • Lucky Whip
  • Vlasic

Buns and Bread

  • Ottenberg’s
  • Sara Lee
  • Vie de France Bakery

Bottled Water

  • American Springs
  • Pocono Springs
  • Poland Spring

Beer

  • Budweiser
  • Bud Light
  • Leinenkugel’s
  • Mad River
  • Michelob
  • Miller
  • Rolling Rock

See more from Union Plus.

Ice Cream and Frozen Treats 

       • Del Monte Fruit Chillers
• Breyers
• Carvel
• Good Humor
• Hiland Dairy
• Labelle Ice Cream
• Laura Secord
• MacArthur
• Orchard Harvest
• Prairie Farms
• President’s Choice

Snacks 

  • Flips Pretzels
  • Frito-Lay Chips
  • Oreos
  • Triscuits
  • Wheat Thins
July 8, 2014

Local 400 Joins Community, Other Labor Groups at AFL-CIO Citizenship Clinic to Help Those with Greencards Become Citizens

Rosa, a Local 400 organizer, helps a green card holder apply for citizenship.

Rosa, a Local 400 organizer, helps a green card holder apply for citizenship.

On Saturday, June 28th, Local 400 joined other labor and immigration groups and community organizers such as DC Labor and Working America at the AFL-CIO’s international headquarters in Washington, D.C. to put on a workshop that assisted green card-holders in applying for citizenship.

The workshop was designed for workers who are legal permanent residents eligible for citizenship as well as young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as kids who want to apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA.  Attendees were given information on how to apply and volunteers and lawyers assisted them as they filled out the correct paperwork.

The event was put on as part of an ongoing effort to move immigration reform forward–legislation for which has been stalled in the House ever since passing in the Senate over a year ago.

Some green card holders don’t apply for citizenship when they become eligible, and may eventually face deportation. But for many,  becoming a citizen means that they can more actively participate in their communities, their union, and their democracy. Citizenship enables immigrants to have a stronger voice, whether its through voting, speaking out for workplace rights, or being able to stand up for a living wage.

The AFL-CIO’s executive vice president Tefere Gebre, a naturalized citizen himself, said the group hopes to educate immigrants about the benefits of being citizens.

 

June 27, 2014

Shop Union-Made for Your Fourth of July Celebrations!

originally posted by the AFL-CIO

Annin Flagmakers photo

A week from today, we’ll be gathering with families and friends for the nation’s birthday, July 4. Many of us will celebrate with a barbecue. We can keep the red, white and blue in the holiday with this made-in-America, union label backyard barbecue checklist, compiled from the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), the LA Labor 411’s websiteUnion Plus and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

Before we get into the menu, if you want to wave that flag wide and high, American flags from Annin Flagmakers and Artflag carry the union label. In the photo above, UFCW members Tanya Mounts and Jackie Darr add the grommets to a large American flag at Annin’s Coshocton, Ohio, plant. Check out the other union-made products below!

 

Picnic Supplies

Weber Q series grill, coolers by Igloo and Rubbermaid, red Solo cups and don’t forget the sunscreen by Coppertone and Bain de Soleil.

brats_medium

Hot Dogs, Sausages and Other Grill Meats

Ball Park, Boar’s Head, Calumet, Dearborn Sausage Co., Fischer Meats, Hebrew National, Hofmann, Johnsonville, Oscar Mayer. See more.

Condiments

French’s Mustard, Guldens Mustard, Heinz Ketchup, Hidden Valley Ranch, Lucky Whip, Vlasic. See more.

Buns and Bread

Ottenbergs, Sara Lee, Vie de France Bakery. See more.

Sodas and Bottled Water

Bart’s, Coke, Diet Sprite, Pepsi, Sprite, American Springs, Pocono Northern Fall’s, Poland Spring. See more.

steelhead

Beer

Budweiser, Bud Light, Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, Lionshead, Mad River, Michelob, Miller, Rolling Rock. See more.

Snacks and Dessert

Breyers Ice Cream, Flips Pretzels, Frito-Lay Chips, Good Humor Ice Cream. See more .

February 12, 2014

Lanette Edwards of Local 1625 Teaches Boy Scouts About the Labor Movement

Lanette Edwards, of UFCW Local 1625 in Lakeland, Fla., is teaching the Boy Scouts what the labor movement is all about.  Last year, Lanette held a class with over 30 Boy Scouts, where she talked about American Labor merit badge.  The American Labor merit badge was introduced in 1986 to the Boy Scouts of America; however, over the past several years, this merit badge has been earned less frequently by scouts.  Lanette has made every effort to help the Boy Scouts in her community learn about the American labor movement and revitalize this merit badge within Local 1625 and her local Boy Scout Council.

The American Labor merit badge

american_labor_merit badge coverLanette taught the Boy Scouts about the history of the labor movement, as well as the organizational structure of the UFCW and AFL-CIO and opportunities in the field of labor relations. The National Boy Scouts of America Community Services Committee, in recognition of Lanette’s significant contribution to the Boy Scouts of America, was awarded the AFL-CIO’s Wood Badge scholarship which will assist selected union members in acquiring skills that will better equip them to serve the youths in their communities.

Lanette was awarded the George Meany Award by the Boy Scouts of America and West Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, for her work in teaching youths about the American labor movement.

January 14, 2014

Member Spotlight: Gary Southall

Union Strong. What’s behind that saying? Easy–union members.

What makes a union strong, are the members: workers who stand together, are involved in their workplace and communities, and work to better the lives of all working people. This week we would like to shine a light on one of those members.

Gary Southall has worked at Kroger–as a head deli clerk, a head checker, a head frozen food clerk, and now as a cashier–in Jackson County West Virginia for 41 years. He has been a UFCW member for just as long. Coming from a union family, it seems to be in his blood: “My dad, my grampa, all the uncles–everybody union members for as long as I can remember.”

When he began working at Kroger at the age of 16, the union was already in place, however, Gary eventually got more involved with his union, and has become a true member activist over the years. Not only is Gary a Local 400 steward, but is an avid supporter of programs in his community that benefit working people and better living conditions for young people.

Local 400 member and steward Gary Southall

Local 400 member and steward Gary Southall

One such program is the Jackson County Anti-Drug Coalition, which works to reduce underage alcohol abuse and substance use among youth. He has helped garner $1500 in donations for the coalition, $500 of which is from UFCW Local 400. Gary is also a member of the Central Labor Council, and an officer with the AFL-CIO, and as part of the AFL’s national initiative, he strives to be very involved in his community, even if it doesn’t involve union members. “We just take care of each other,” Gary says of the work he does.

Gary also lobbies for the UFCW, and this week helped re-introduce a bill that will prevent the sale of alcohol through self-checkout machines. The bill’s intent is to curb the ease with which already intoxicated or underage consumers can purchase alcohol.

When talking to Gary, its clear that he really cares for the youth in his community, and wants them to have as much opportunity in life as possible. Gary, working with the West Virginia AFL-CIO, has helped promote an educational video called Labor in the Mountains, which tells the story of labor’s history in West Virginia and the coal-industry, as told by a grandfather who lived through much of it, as he answers his granddaughter’s questions. Seeing the importance of teaching students about Labor’s influence on the middle class, the group worked hard to ensure that, effective this year, the video will now be shown in all middle school and high school civics classes in Jackson County, and they are working to spread this to the curriculum of other counties as well. Similarly, Gary is also working with others to promote an award-winning book called Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type in which some literate cows leave notes for their farmer, demanding better working conditions and eventually going on strike. They are hoping to  get a copy of the book into all third grade classes in the county, as well as community libraries.

On top of helping to promote labor education for kids, Gary is also involved with a program called Reconnecting McDowell, which works to help kids living in poverty in this neighboring Appalachain county, by improving education, providing food, and helping kids find safe spaces, among many other things.

Now in his fourth year at the Leadership Academy, hosted by the AFL-CIO and the West Virginia University institute of labor studies and researches, Gary has emerged as a true leader, helping others to see why unions are so important.

Gary has been through two strikes at Kroger, earlier on in his career. It was during those times when he saw how important the union difference was: “At that time I was working part-time, and  I wasn’t making very much money–but when I went back to work after the strike, I was making double that money, which was fantastic for a young guy still in school.”

“But the point [of the union] in general, for me and for everybody, if they know it, is that you have a voice–you’re not out there by yourself, and you have someone to help you if you need help. You know your union steward–I’m a union steward and I have been for 15 or 20 years. No one can come out here and single you out, or say ‘If I don’t like ya, we’ll fire ya’ or that kind of thing.” He says that the union creates better work practices, and prevents unsafe working conditions: “you’ve got someone to say, ‘you know you can’t do that’ and if someone says ‘you need to do this or we’ll fire you’ well, no, we aren’t gonna do it if it’s not safe.”

“We’ve got welfare benefits, like pretty good insurance and I’ve got six weeks of vacation now. Industry-wide, at least my area here in West Virginia, no one else in the grocery business makes the kind of money that we make.”

But one story Gary likes to tell, to show what solidarity can do, doesn’t have anything to do with wages or benefits. “It may sound kind of silly but, I have a son who will be 36 in April. When he was 6 weeks old, Kroger came in one day, and some of us fellas had started growing beards–and I don’t remember what the reason was, but we had decided to grow beards. Anyway they came in and they told us we couldn’t grow a beard on company time, that if we wanted to grow one, we had to grow it on our own time, and shave it off for company time.” Gary says that this mandate didn’t sit too well them. “Of the people still there, and there are four in my workplace that were there when this happened–we still have that beard that we couldn’t grow 35 years ago. That was the last day I was clean-shaven, and I haven’t shaved from that day on, 35 years ago.” Gary and his coworkers stood together, in doing something as simple as not shaving off their beards, and Kroger backed off. Recently, one of Gary’s close friends and co-workers was asked to shave. His response was, “I’ll tell you what–the day that Gary Southall shaves, I’ll do it too.”

Gary is a true example of what unions can do when members are active and involved, and how they benefit the people in their communities. Stories like his inspire us to stay strong and continue sticking together in solidarity for the middle class, and all working people!

 

If you know a UFCW member who inspires you, or has a story worth telling, please contact Mia Perry at mperry@ufcw.org

 

December 12, 2013

This Holiday Season, Buy Union-Made!

RWDSU/UFCW Local 224 member

RWDSU/UFCW Local 224 member

(List originally posted at AFL-CIO Now)

Going searching for that perfect holiday gift? Make sure it’s union made in America. Check below for gifts made by the UFCW and other union members in the U.S.

Apparel and Accessories

Brooks Brothers (UNITE HERE)

Joseph Abboud (UNITE HERE)

Majestic Athletic (UNITE HERE)

Timex watches (IAM)

Red Wing Shoes (UFCW)

Beauty Products

Avon (UFCW)

Caress skin care (UFCW)

ChapStick (USW)

Dove beauty products (UFCW)

Revlon (UAW)

Games

(All made by RWDSU/UFCW)

Barrel of Monkeys

Battleship

Candy Land

Chutes and Ladders

Clue

Connect 4

Game of Life

Hi Ho Cherry-O

Monopoly

Mouse Trap

Operation

Pictionary

Risk

Scrabble

Sorry

Taboo

Twister

Yahtzee

Sports Equipment

American Athletic (Russell) (UAW)

Louisville Slugger (UAW and IBT)

MacGregor Golf clubs (Boilermakers [IBB])

Standard Golf (IAM)

Top-Flite golf balls (IBB)

Stocking Stuffers

Rayovac batteries (Teamsters and UAW)

Bic Lighters (USW)

Ghirardelli chocolates (BCTGM)

Jelly Belly (BCTGM)

Laffy Taffy (BCTGM)

Tootsie Roll Pops (BCTGM)

Wine and Beer

(Wines brought to you by UFW.)

Chateau Ste. Michelle (IBT)

Columbia Crest

St. Supery

Charles Krug

C.K. Mondavi

Gallo of Sonoma

Miller Beer (UAW & IBT)

Miller High Life

Miller Genuine Draft

Miller Lite

Milwaukee’s Best

Icehouse

Red Dog

Anheuser-Busch (IBT & IAM)

Budweiser

Budweiser American Ale

Bud Light

Michelob

Shock Top

Busch

Rolling Rock

O’Doul’s

If You’re in the ‘Big Spender’ Category (UAW)

Jeep

Ford Mustangs

Cadillacs

See more cars made by UAW.

Editor’s note: This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all made in America, union-made products. Some places to find more info on those products include but are not limited to Labor 411Union PlusAmerican Rights at Work and the BCTGM website.

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November 21, 2013

Immigrant Farmworkers, Labor Leaders and Immigration Advocates to the Republican House: “Do Your Jobs” on Immigration

Advocates Deliver Immigrant Processed Turkeys, Merlot and Fact Sheets to Speaker Boehner, Steve King and Other Key GOP Members; Remind Them Who’s Working Hard for America While They’re Taking More Days Off

 

turkeysWashington, DC – While Congress has been busy voting to repeal Obamacare forty-seven times, blaming the President for [insert anything here], taking 198 days off (including 32 of the final 40 days in 2013 as of today), complaining about having to read too many pages of legislation, and whining about “not having enough time” to do anything productive in 2013, millions of immigrant workers have been working day in and day out to help put Thanksgiving dinner on the tables of millions of Americans.

Today, immigrant farmworkers, labor leaders and immigration advocates launched the “Do Your Jobs” campaign as a reminder to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and the rest of the House Republican caucus about who is actually working hard for America and who needs to step it up.

According to Esther Lopez, Director of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union’s (UFCW) Civil Rights and Community Action Department, “At the UFCW, we are proud to put food on America’s table, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day of the year. Our members work hard—often in difficult conditions—to provide an excellent product for their customers and communities.  UFCW members are doing their jobs. It is time for Congress to do the same. Give us a vote on comprehensive immigration reform.”

As a send-off to Congress before they take their two-week Thanksgiving break, advocates delivered turkeys processed by immigrants to Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and other targeted Republican Members to remind them about the back-breaking work immigrants and others do in America every single day (see below for a full list of Members of Congress who received deliveries).

As a special touch, Boehner received an immigrant-harvested bottle of merlot wine (his favorite).  Volunteers from each organization also handed out fact sheets to key Members of Congress, outlining the hard work that immigrants do to harvest produce, process meats, prepare foods, clean houses, and complete the numerous other jobs necessary to set our nation’s Thanksgiving tables while Members of Congress enjoy their two-week break (see the fact sheet here).

Giev Kashkooli, National Vice President of United Farm Workers (UFW) delivered turkeys and wine alongside two immigrant grape growers from the Yakima Valley in Washington, providing a face behind the hard work that goes into providing Speaker Boehner with the wine he adores.

As one of the growers, Adelaida Mendoza, UFW member from Mabton, Washington, said at today’s press conference, “It takes a lot of hard work to produce the grapes that make Merlot wine. From January when we begin to prune the vines early in the morning in 20 degree weather‎ through the harvest season in the summer heat when poisonous snakes are regular visitors at our feet  to now when we prepare the ground for the next year, the work is difficult. Now, we ask Speaker Boehner and the Republican House Leaders to Do Your Job. How can Speaker Boehner let Republicans take 32 of the next 40 days off when our country needs immigration reform?”

Added Maria Ramirez, UFW member and immigrant grape harvester from Benton, Washington, “‎Our work is difficult but we love doing this work producing wine that so many  Americans enjoy. I am here today because the struggle that our families have to win a new immigration process is so important. We have done our job so others can enjoy wine. Now, we want Speaker Boehner and Republican leaders to do their job.”

Thus far, instead of actually doing something to address immigration (an issue that’s been debated for decades), Speaker Boehner has found nearly every excuse in the book to avoid actually doing his job by tackling this issue and the many others he’s left on the table.  The only immigration vote the Speaker found time to schedule this year was on a Rep. Steve King (R-IA) amendment to deport DREAMers and others, yet so far he hasn’t found the 20 minutes needed to vote on an immigration proposal that the vast majority of Americans support.

“Immigrants show up for work and do their jobs. House members show up at the Capitol but do not do their jobs. Instead, they play politics with our lives,” said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota. “If House members do not pass commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship, they will suffer the consequences next November. It’s as simple as that. The House can act today or face the consequences tomorrow.”

Donations were also made in the name of the Republican Members who did not receive turkeys today as well as the immigrant workers who produced these products to a local area food bank.

Said Andrea Zuniga, Legislative Representative of the AFL-CIO, “Each day Speaker Boehner delays immigration reform workers pay the price with stolen wages, unsafe working conditions and threats of deportation if they try to organize. Many of these workers will not have the luxury of spending Thanksgiving with their families- they will be working extra shifts to make ends meet or praying for family members that have been deported. It’s time for Speaker Boehner to give us a vote and fix our broken immigration system in a manner that protects all workers.”

“Immigrant workers spend hours preparing and harvesting the food that we eat every day.  While Speaker Boehner and other House Republicans are enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with their families, immigrants are facing permanent separation from their families—all because the House Republican leadership will not act.  Our message is simple: do the right thing.  Pass immigration reform to let these hardworking immigrants become hardworking Americans, said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice.

This new campaign is follow-up to the “Take Our Jobs” campaign of 2010 where United Farm Workers invited American workers to step into the shoes of an immigrant farmworker.  Stephen Colbert and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) took up the offer and witnessed firsthand the difficulties of doing this backbreaking labor.  As millions of immigrants continue their hard work to contribute to our country, we’re just asking that Congress do the same.

 

In August, leaders from UFW, America’s Voice and United We Dream responded to comments from Steve King about DREAMers having “calves the size of cantaloupes” by delivering sweet American-grown and immigrant harvested cantaloupes to all the 224 Members who voted in favor of Steve King’s amendment to deport DREAMers.  Just as House leadership gave Steve King his vote, leaders demanded that Speaker Boehner schedule their vote on citizenship as well.

Fact Sheet: Do Your Jobs.We work hard for America. When will you work for us?

List of Members’ Offices Receiving Deliveries:

 

Receiving Turkey, Merlot and Fact Sheets:

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

 

Receiving Turkeys and Fact Sheets:

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA)

 

Receiving Fact Sheets and a Donation to a Local Food Back in theirs and an Immigrant Workers Name:

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)

Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)

Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)

Rep. Scot Tipton (R-CO)

Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL)

 

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August 8, 2013

UFCW Joins AFL-CIO

UFCWnewsChicago, Illinois – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) affiliated with the AFL-CIO in a bold move toward a stronger, more unified labor movement.  UFCW President Joe Hansen, supported by a vote of the UFCW Executive Board, decided to add the 1.3 million private sector members to the AFL-CIO federation in order to build a stronger, more unified voice for the rights of workers.

UFCW International President Joe Hansen today released the following statement:

“We join the AFL-CIO because it is the right thing to do for UFCW members, giving them more power and influence. This is not about which building in Washington D.C. we call home — it is about fostering more opportunities for workers to have a true voice on the job. It is about joining forces to build a more united labor movement that can fight back against the corporate and political onslaught facing our members each and every day.

“Our affiliation with the Change to Win Federation (CTW) has been a rewarding one. The CTW’s Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) is leading some of the best campaigns to give workers rights and dignity. While no longer an affiliate of CTW, we continue our strong relationships with the Teamsters, SEIU and the Farmworkers.  We will remain active in the SOC and bring our AFL-CIO partners into collaboration with private-sector unions in an effort to build more power for workers.

“The need for unity became paramount after the 2010 elections.  The attacks on workers brought the UFCW into direct strategic partnership with the AFL-CIO and the entire labor movement.  Our shared campaign revealed a dynamic and revitalized AFL-CIO and made it clear that it was time for the UFCW to redouble our efforts to build a more robust and unified labor movement.

“I respect Rich Trumka’s bold leadership of the AFL-CIO and his strategic advocacy on key issues like the urgent need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, fix the Affordable Care Act so workers in multiemployer plans can keep the health care they currently have, and ensure the National Labor Relations Board protects workers’ rights. The UFCW is proud to affiliate with a transparent, strategic and innovative AFL-CIO an AFL-CIO committed to bringing a union voice on the job to millions of workers from coast to coast.”
Today’s announcement comes as the UFCW Executive Board meets in preparation for its 7th Regular Convention which calls to order Monday, August 12 in Chicago, Illinois.

UFCW delegates representing local unions in the U.S. and Canada will chart a course for the next five years and beyond that aims to raise standards and build power for workers in the grocery, retail and food manufacturing industries. Inspired by the theme, “Blue. Gold. Bold. Powerful Together,” UFCW delegates will deliberate on taking steps to strengthen the UFCW’s strong base of member activists who are the backbone of creative organizing campaigns, engaged bargaining programs and political activism.

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Convention details can be found at www.ufcwconvention.org

Media Guest Registration will take place in Room W474B on the 4th floor of McCormick Place West beginning Saturday, August 10.  For admittance to the Convention Floor, please present a media credential or business card.

 

July 10, 2013

Joint Statement by Richard L. Trumka (AFL-CIO) and Joe Hansen (ChangetoWin) on the Walmart and GAP Bangladesh Safety Alliance: Weak and Worthless

UFCWnewsThe so-called Global Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, announced today by Walmart, Gap and the Bipartisan Policy Center, was developed without consultation with workers or their representatives and is yet another “voluntary” scheme with no meaningful enforcement mechanisms. Companies that sign onto the alliance but fail to meet a commitment face no adverse consequences beyond expulsion from the scheme. Instead, workers will continue to pay.

In stark contrast, more than 75 corporations from 15 countries, including the United States, have signed the binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety negotiated with Bangladeshi and international unions. The Accord has rules to make real improvements in the safety of garment workers.  Workers, unions and worker rights organizations negotiated this agreement with employers and integrated worker safety efforts by governments and the International Labor Organization (ILO).  The AFL-CIO and Change to Win,  along with global unions IndustriAll and UNI and numerous organizations representing Bangladeshi workers, also endorse it. The AFL-CIO and Change to Win reject the Walmart/GAP plan as a way to avoid accountability, limit costs and silence workers and their representatives.

Rather than sign the binding Accord, Walmart and Gap are pushing a weak and worthless plan that avoids enforceable commitments. The Bipartisan Policy Center, which has clear financial and political connections to Walmart, is releasing the document, which is the product of a closed process and has been signed only by the same corporations that produced it.

The Accord departs from the broken system of voluntary corporate responsibility in supply chains that has so often failed to protect workers. It makes a clear commitment to worker safety and rights, and to transparency. It expresses values that most countries uphold.

The Accord has been endorsed by the United Nations, the ILO, the government of Bangladesh, both the parliament and commission of the European Union, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Members and leaders in both houses of the U.S. Congress have also endorsed the Accord.

In the last eight years, more than 1,800 Bangladeshi garment workers have been killed in preventable factory fires and building collapses while producing mostly for European and U.S. markets.  This tragic loss of life requires more than a wink and a nod from two of the richest corporations in the world. It means taking responsibility for the safety of workers by entering into a legitimate, binding process that will save lives.  Seventy-five brands have taken that important step.  It is time for Walmart and GAP to join them, rather than trying to undermine those efforts and maintain a system that has a long and bloody record of failure.

Statement online here: http://www.aflcio.org/Press-Room/Press-Releases/Joint-Statement-by-Richard-L.-Trumka-AFL-CIO-and-Joe-Hansen-ChangetoWin-on-the-Walmart-and-GAP-Bangladesh-Safety-Alliance-Weak-and-Worthless

For the latest udates, follow @AFLCIO and @RichardTrumka on Twitter.

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