December 25, 2016
How do UFCW members make the holidays happen? Oh let us count the ways:
This is the bakery dept at store 649 in Manahawkin NJ and they are making the sweetness happen! They and other talented UFCW bakers make holiday pies, cookie trays, and all those sweet things we can’t resist. Thanks, guys.
2. The Feast of the Seven Fishes
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian-American Christmas Eve tradition. Visit the hard-working UFCW members at the meat counters of your local Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, or other union grocery stores and they can help you put together a traditional seven fishes meal of anchovies, whiting, lobster, sardines, eels, squid, octopus, mussels, or other tasty seafood. They’ve got your shrimp cocktail covered, too.
3. Ham! Turkey!
Not only do UFCW members work the deli counter and help you find the perfect star for your holiday feast, but classics like Butterball turkeys and Smithfield hams are made by UFCW meat-packing members.
4. Christmas trees made from cupcakes
I know we already put sweets on this list, but this Christmas tree made of cupcakes was too good to pass over. Thank you, UFCW members, for making that happen. It’s like two of the best holiday things combined. That’s some holiday magic.
5. Green Stuff
If you are like us and have been eating nothing but cookies and cakes for days, don’t worry. Vegetables do still exist and UFCW members are always happy to help you find the freshest, healthiest greens for whenever you’ve run out of pie and are ready to start on those New Year’s resolutions.
November 23, 2016
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UFCW members are the heart behind the holiday brands we’ve all come to love—brands like Butterball, Boar’s Head, Hanover, Reddi-Wip. For those who work in food processing, their knowledge and expertise help ensure the turkey that makes its way to your grocery store has been properly prepared and is safe to eat, and their skilled quality control makes sure Stove Top Stuffing and Marie Callender’s pies will taste just like you remembered.
UFCW members also sacrifice time with their families to keep Albertsons, Kroger, Safeway, Giant, and so many other union grocery stores open during the holidays. We know they’ve saved countless holiday feasts from disaster by making sure families across America can make that last minute run to the grocery store if they need to.
For those of us fortunate enough to be able to sit down and spend time with our loved ones tomorrow, let’s pause to be thankful for the Thanksgiving heroes whose hard work and dedication help make possible the traditions and warm memories we make year after year.
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August 8, 2016
Proposed Contract Goes to Members for Ratification Vote August 8th
UFCW grocery workers in California reached a tentative agreement on a new contract with Kroger Company and Cerberus Capital, the owners of Ralphs and Vons/Albertsons, respectively.
After intense negotiations following the imposition of an August 8th deadline by seven California locals of the UFCW, the federal mediator helped guide the parties to a proposed contract.
“We are happy to say that five months after our previous contract expired, the corporate owners of Ralphs and Vons/Albertsons have agreed to a proposed contract,” said Rick Icaza, one of the chief negotiators for the UFCW and the President of one of the largest UFCW locals in the country. “This would not have been possible without the strength and solidarity of all the 50,000 grocery workers throughout central and southern California, the cooperation of the seven California UFCW locals and the UFCW International Union. We also owe deep thanks to the support of consumers and community leaders. Because of the unshakable unity of our membership, we were able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion, and will present the offer to membership for ratification on Monday, August 8th.”
“While we are unable to divulge the details of the agreement until we inform our members, we would like to thank the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service (FMCS) Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh and Commissioner Isael Hermosillo, without whom this agreement would not have been possible,” said John Grant, SecretaryTreasurer of Local 770. “We believe this contract will address our members’ concerns and begin to secure the important role grocery workers play in our community.”
The previous contract covering nearly 50,000 central and southern California grocery workers expired nearly five months ago. Since then, grocery workers have worked without a contract, staging numerous rallies, marches, and events designed to bring attention to their fight and to bring the corporate owners of Ralphs and Vons/Albertsons to the table. Last Tuesday, thousands of grocery workers, community members, clergy, and fellow union members marched across Los Angeles to demand a conclusion to negotiations.
UFCW grocery workers across central and southern California will gather to review the details of the contract and vote on the offer. Results of the vote will be released when voting is complete by the seven UFCW locals.
May 26, 2016
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.”
“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.”
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.
The 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.
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.
UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.
January 30, 2015
(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 Safeway’s merger with Albertsons:
“More than 250,000 Safeway and Albertsons workers are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). UFCW members also work for several other Cerberus Capital Management-operated supermarkets across the country, including Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s.
“UFCW members have a history of negotiating union contracts with Safeway, Albertsons and Cerberus Capital Management. Together in their union, these workers have been able to ensure that union grocery jobs are the best jobs in the industry with fair pay, decent benefits, and job security – all the while ensuring that their companies are able to be profitable and successful.
“UFCW members in California stores that were divested by Albertsons are pleased to learn that the grocery store chain Haggen will acquire many Albertsons stores in California. Haggen workers in the Pacific Northwest are also members of the UFCW. UFCW members across the country are looking forward to working with Safeway, Cerberus, and Haggen on issues that pertain to the members and industry. Our members plan to continue to serve their customers and their communities with pride.”
May 23, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. — More than 60,000 grocery workers in Southern California, represented by UFCW Locals 8GS, 135, 324, 770, 1167, 1428 and 1442, have reached a tentative contract agreement with Ralph’s, Albertsons and Vons.
The agreement was reached after 4 months of negotiations. Workers from across Southern California took action to show their solidarity and earn the support of their customers by wearing “Stand Together” buttons at work.
UFCW members from across the region will vote on the proposal in meetings scheduled over the coming weeks. Details of the agreement will not be released until members have had an opportunity to read, discuss, and vote on the tentative agreement.
The current contract expired in early March, and workers are currently on a day to day extension. Private hedge fund Cerberus, which owns Albertsons, recently made a tentative purchase of Safeway, the corporations that owns Vons and Pavilions. That sale could take as long as a year to finalize because it is subject to Federal anti-trust approval.
March 6, 2014
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following in response to Safeway’s announced sale to Cerberus Capital Management:
“Safeway announced today that it has reached an agreement to be purchased by Cerberus Capital Management which currently operates supermarkets across the country under the Albertson’s, Acme, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s banners, among other stores.
“The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents tens of thousands of workers within these two companies. Through ups and downs, the UFCW has maintained good relationships with both Safeway and Cerberus.”
“The UFCW will work closely with Safeway and Cerberus through the acquisition process and beyond so that these major supermarket companies can maintain strong market share and that our members can continue to serve customers and their communities.”
June 18, 2012
Local 1428 member Phil Meza has become somewhat of a celebrity among our UFCW family. He has contributed not only his time and effort in the fight for working families, but also his voice and musical talents.
For those of you who don’t know Phil, “Mr. Picketman” was a name given to him during a rally one day, after he scrawled out a song on the back of his picket sign – a song he would soon lead the crowd in singing. Music has been a lifetime hobby for Picketman, but, throughout his 20 years as a union member and Albertson’s employee in Southern California (where he served as a department manager for years, and then as a front end service supervisor) he’s developed ideas for songs that he could use to help further the fight to protect working families.
On what the union means to him, and how it has prompted his songs, Mr Picketman has this to say:
“Over the years, working at Albertson’s and being able to negotiate contracts and the conditions in which we work under, its been a positive experience.”
Mr. Picketman has been a union member ever since he began working at Alberston’s, but says that he became much more involved within the union during the 2003-2004 Southern California strike:
“That’s when I learned how to stand up for what I believe in.”
After returning from the strike, Mr. Picketman became a steward within his store, as well as Local 1428 executive board member. Phil wrote several songs about the strike, and from there, the music sort of “just took on a life of its own.” His songs got out to all sorts of people all over the country and Phil then began receiving calls from people wondering if he could tailor songs to various causes. Phil helped out a few of these callers, but found that nothing resonated with him as much as the union related songs he had created from the heart, and from his own experiences.
“After making the first song for the union, about pro-worker type stuff, its just become an even bigger hobby of mine.”
Phil soon gained more popularity with the creation of an Obama-themed song, during the 2008 election. Of course, he says, he has a 2012 re-election song in the works too. His recent work includes two songs with OUR Walmart, inspired by his work as a member organizer on the Making Change at Walmart campaign. He has also been contacted by a Local 8 member for help making a song related to the ongoing negotiations with Raley’s in northern California.
“I love being part of organizing and helping membership within UFCW grow. I know that if we can rebuild union membership we can rebuild the middle class and the economy. Definitely having the experience of helping the union, helping others achieve a voice in their workplace has really been the most rewarding experience. And as for working on the OUR Walmart campaign, being able to talk to the workers who don’t have some of the benefits and privileges that we have as union members.”
One of Picketman’s recent songs, about the situation in Wisconsin and Scott Walker’s agenda to take away collective bargaining, is a rousing hip-hop style anthem that calls on workers to “build our communities to save our jobs”, and to “stand up, get up, we gotta keep our head up.” The song, entitled “Fight On” has a motivating and catchy chorus that begins: “Anything in life that’s worth having is worth fighting for.” Picketman’s musical style is one that many of our young members are sure to be drawn to, yet members of all ages can appreciate the message in each song, and the vigor with which he sings them.
The following YouTube video provides a slideshow of pictures capturing scenes from the Wisconsin protests for a re-election, set to “Fight On.”
Click here to download another catchy beat from Mr. Picketman.
September 19, 2011
(Los Angeles, Calif.) – Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union working at Ralphs (Kroger), Vons (Safeway) and Albertsons (Supervalu) in Southern California reached a tentative agreement today with the companies.
The tentative agreement was reached after 8 months of negotiating and strong involvement and activism by the 62,000 grocery workers and widespread support of customers and allies across the region. The UFCW is grateful to Scot Beckenbaugh, Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services, for his guidance through the bargaining process.
UFCW members will vote on the proposals in meetings over the coming week. The agreement increases wages, protects health care and pension benefits throughout the life of the 3-year contract.
The new contract, once ratified, will cover 62,000 UFCW grocery workers, the largest bargaining unit in the UFCW. An additional 28,000 grocery workers at regional chains like Stater Brothers, Food 4 Less, Gelson’s Market and other markets are covered by the successful resolution of the Southern California contract. The contract covering 45,000 grocery workers in Northern California expires in October.
August 29, 2007
Puget Sound grocery workers overwhelmingly ratify three-year contract
with grocery employers
United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)-represented grocery workers in the Puget Sound area improved grocery jobs for workers and communities when they recently ratified a fair contract with their employers. These UFCW members joined members in Southern California, Texas, Toledo, and Detroit, and New England in recently ratifying good contracts with affordable, quality health care, retirement security, and wages that pay the bills.
Puget Sound grocery workers in UFCW Locals 21, 81, and 44 overwhelmingly approved their three-year contract agreement with three national grocery chains: Safeway, Supervalu (Albertsons) and Kroger (Fred Meyer and QFC).
The new three-year contract agreement includes:
An affordable, improved health care plan, with no-cost preventative care, coverage for same-sex couples and reduced waiting period for children’s coverage, wellness incentives for employees, and lower prescription costs;
Wage increases of up to $1.30 an hour over the term of the contract;
Improvements in sick leave and scheduling practices; and
Pension plan secured with no cuts for the life of the contract.
“The terms of this contract—especially the medical benefits, give me the feeling of great relief,” said Eleanor Knight, a UFCW Local 21 member working at Issaquah’s QFC. “My son and I need good health care benefits. This new plan will make a big difference in our lives.”
“From the beginning, we set very clear goals,” said Dave Schmitz, President of UFCW Local 21. “We met those goals—and more—without taking any steps backwards. There are solid wage increases, a groundbreaking health care benefits package that means better care at lower costs for members and progress on sick leave and scheduling practices.”
Community support and UFCW solidarity was instrumental in securing a fair contract. Over the past five months of negotiations, grocery employees received an outpouring of support from grocery store customers, workers, and community members throughout Puget Sound as well as throughout the country. Tens of thousands signed a pledge saying they would stand up for grocery workers, and religious leaders and elected officials showed up at stores to bolster support for workers.
“”The community stood with these workers because it was the right thing to do,” said Steve Williamson, Director of Strategic Campaigns for UFCW Local 21. ”Standing with grocery industry workers who are struggling every day to make ends meet is critical to the future of our middle class.”
The Puget Sound campaign, representing 20,000 grocery workers in Puget Sound, is part of the Grocery Workers United unity bargaining campaign. Grocery Workers United is a national movement of over 400,000 UFCW-represented grocery workers joining with each other and with community members across the country and in Canada to improve jobs in the grocery industry–one contract at a time.
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