• Background Image

    UFCW Blog

    Change to Win

September 30, 2010

UFCW President Joe Hansen New Chair of Change to Win

WASHINGTON, DC The Change to Win (CtW) Leadership Council elected Joe Hansen, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President, as its new Chair. Hansen replaces Anna Burger who earlier had announced her retirement from CtW where she served as Chair.   Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa was elected CtW Secretary-Treasurer.

Change to Win unions, the UFCW, SEIU, the Teamsters and Farm Workers represent millions of private-sector unionized workforces in the U.S. Change to Win members work in the fastest growing industries in the country in service-sector jobs, including transportation, health care, food production and retail, among others.

The following is a statement from Joe Hansen:

“Change to Win is focused on ensuring that workers in the various service sectors have jobs with wages and benefits that can support a family. If these jobs are vital to the American economy, then service sector jobs should come with middle class wages and benefits.

“We know that a stronger labor movement is essential to the rebuilding of America’s middle class and that will be the primary focus of our work at Change to Win.

“”We will continue our strategic work building strength for workers in our core industries.

“We will continue our advocacy on key public policy issues, including labor law, pension, and comprehensive immigration reform, food safety and health care. We are also committed to working with the Administration to ensure that the purchasing power of the federal government exercises wise stewardship of taxpayer money by promoting quality, family-supporting jobs.

“We will continue close coordination with our labor partners at the AFL-CIO on public policy issues. Both labor Federations share unity of purpose to address the crisis facing American workers.

Change to Win and the AFL-CIO will work together to make sure that candidates that support working families win in November.

The Change to Win unions are more inspired than ever to stand up for workers’ rights and make the economy grow again for working families through good jobs in every community.””

James P. Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters stated: “”The United States is the first country where a majority of its citizens joined the middle class. Labor unions created that middle class. No country in the world has ever had a strong middle class without a strong labor movement. And like all social movements, the labor movement was born fighting. Our work is far from over today, and Joe Hansen is the kind of leader we need in our fight to strengthen America’s working families.”

Said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry: “”Joe Hansen’s determination to make sure that 5,000 Smithfield workers had the chance to vote for the union after 16 years is exactly the leadership we need to rededicate Change to Win to lifting wages for millions of private sector workers.””

UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez said: “”I want to congratulate Joe on his new position, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the right person to move the organization forward. I’m sure that he will continue to ensure that Change To Win leads the way in developing new strategies, new programs and new efforts to effectively organize workers in the private sector.””

June 8, 2006

LARRY JOHNSTON TAKES MONEY AND RUNS, LEAVING WORKERS IN THE LURCH

(Washington, DC) – Albertsons Supermarket CEO Larry Johnston and his management team ran the national grocery chain into the ground and then sold off the remains–crippling communities and leaving workers’ lives in turmoil in the process.   They deserve to suffer the same fate as the workers they’ve put out of jobs.  So why are they receiving multimillion dollar compensation packages?

Apparently, it’s the American way.   After all, it’s not just Albertsons—CEO pay is skyrocketing across all industries. In 1960, the average CEO made 41 times more than the average worker.  By 2004, the average CEO was making 431 times that of the average worker! And much of this money goes to CEOs whose poor performance is driving their companies, and their workers, into financial ruin.

The $17.7 billion sale of Albertsons to Minnesota grocer SuperValu, drug store chain CVS Corp. and a group of private investors led by Cerberus Capital Management, is the latest example of corporate greed gone haywire.   The deal provides multimillion dollar “golden parachute” packages to the former Albertsons’ executives.  In addition to CEO Larry Johnston, four other former executives received eight-figure compensation packages.

A “golden parachute” is a term for the clause in executives’ contracts that provide special compensation packages in case they lose their employment through an acquisition or a merger.   The Albertsons board approved the compensation packages, and has repeatedly refused to discuss the details of executive compensation.

And while Albertsons’ former executives coast on their golden parachutes, their workers are being put out of work.   On Tuesday, Albertsons announced that it is closing 37 stores in Northern California — about one-fifth of its total Northern California stores.

Workers are being left out in the cold while Larry Johnston and his cohorts enjoy their multi-million dollar reward packages:

  • Johnston, Albertsons’ president, chairman and chief executive officer: $105.5 million.
  • Robert Dunst, executive vice president of technology and supply chain and the chief technology officer: $16.1 million.
  • Paul Gannon, executive vice president for marketing and food operations: $15.5 million.
  • John Sims, executive vice president and general counsel: $15.2 million.
  • Felicia Thornton, executive vice president and chief financial officer: $17.2 million.

Albertsons first agreed to sell the company to Supervalu, CVS, and the investor realty group in January.  Albertsons operates around 2500 stores in 37 states, and employs about 86,200 UFCW members in its various stores who will be affected by the sale.

“Is this the kind America we want – one that rewards CEOs for doing a bad job and leaving workers foot the bill? Albertsons workers deserve better.  We will continue to fight to protect supermarket workers from corporate greed run amok,” said UFCW International President Joe Hansen.

The UFCW is America’s neighborhood union, representing 1.4 million members in the supermarket, food processing, meatpacking and other industries.  UFCW is a member of the Change to Win Federation of unions.

July 26, 2005

Chicago, Ill.—The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), along with three Change to Win coalition partners—the Service Workers, UNITE/HERE, and Teamsters—will not participate in the AFL-CIO Convention that begins tomorrow.

We are taking this historic step with our coalition partners to build a 21st century worker movement for a new generation of workers. Unions built the American middle class. We are taking this action to revitalize the labor movement to build worker power.

Unrestrained corporate power has set in motion a global race to the bottom—a race dedicated to widening the gap of inequality—eroding basic wages—eroding labor and social standards—and limiting basic democratic participation.

Our unions are changing now to win worker power in the workplace, the community, and the political process.

The Change to Win Coalition is taking the lead to engage and organize workers—and build a worker movement to raise living standards, win health care and pension security, and make government responsive to working people.

Working people can’t win a better life unless more workers belong to unions.

The world is a different place than it was a generation ago. Change to Win partners are changing to meet this new dynamic.

Our vision is clear. Our resolve is firm. The time is now to bring new hope to working families.

July 24, 2005

United Farm Workers of America Joins Change to Win Coalition

CHICAGO, IL  —  The United Farm Workers of America (UFW) announced today that it was joining the Change to Win Coalition, the new workers organization devoted to transforming the American labor movement.

“”To realize our goal of organizing significant numbers of low-to moderate-wage Latino and immigrant workers in the face of fierce employer resistance during the next decade, we must move aggressively to apply new resources and make changes in our own organization,”” said UFW President Arturo Rodriguez.  “”We are convinced the Change to Win Coalition mirrors our commitment of finding new ways to refocus on organizing and vigorously pursue anti-worker employers.””

“”The Coalition is thrilled to have the Farm Workers join our efforts to improve the lives of millions of American workers,”” Coalition Chair Anna Burger said today.  “”This is a significant moment in American labor history.  The Union of Ceasar Chavez is the heart and soul of the labor movement, and its affiliation with our Coalition sends a powerful signal that we are on the right course.””

“”The Farm Workers represent the highest aspirations of all American workers,”” Burger said.  “”Their historic commitment to organizing low-to moderate-wage workers is the essence of the Change to Win Coalition’s vision of giving hope to millions of workers seeking the American Dream.””

The Change to Win Coalition was formed on June 15, 2005 to marshal the collective strength of its unions (listed below) to develop and implement strategies to bring the labor movement into the 21st century.  Since its inception, two additional unions, the Carpenters and the Farm Workers, have joined the original five.  The Change to Win Coalition unions represent nearly 6 million workers.

June 15, 2005

Statement of Joe Hansen, International President, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

WASHINGTON — The following is a statement by Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, at the ‘Change To Win’ Coalition meeting:

Yesterday, the International Executive Board of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) unanimously endorsed a reform proposal to restructure the AFL- CIO, and to revitalize the labor movement.

Today, we join with some of the largest and most dynamic unions in the labor movement in a coalition for change.

These actions reflect the UFCW’s commitment to build a 21st century labor movement that can bring hope, and a plan of action for a better life, to a new generation of workers. We recognize that today’s realities-a new global economy, unrestrained corporate power, hostile government-present a formidable challenge to our movement. But, we must always remember that from our greatest challenges come our greatest accomplishments.

Labor in the 20th century stood at its lowest point in the 1930s. But, at our lowest point, we also stood on the verge of our greatest growth, our greatest strength and our greatest impact on the economy and society. From the depths of economic depression in 1935, we rose, within 20 years, to our largest percentage of the workforce, and we created the working middle class.

Today’s workers face the steady erosion of their power in the workplace, in the economy and in the political process. Rising profits, increasing productivity and a growing economy have not brought rising wages, better benefits, or economic security. There is a power imbalance between workers and the giant corporations that dominate the world economy.

The UFCW and our coalition partners are committed to redressing this imbalance, and to rebuilding worker power.

The current AFL-CIO administration asserts that there is little difference between our reform agenda and their AFL-CIO Officers’ Proposal.

There are profound differences in our visions for the future for America’s workers. We believe in organizing, not simply for more members, but in organizing to build worker power. The foundation of worker power is in increasing the number of union workers in an industry or occupation. Our proposals specifically direct resources to organizing in a union’s core industries. Our proposal provides for a leadership structure that promotes diversity and full participation and gives authority to the affiliates representing the majority of members.

Rebuilding worker power will give workers the hope for a better future. Workers with hope will organize, they will stand up, they will act in solidarity at work, in the community and in the political process. The starting point for our new movement to rebuild worker power is here, and it starts with us. This is the beginning.

We are going forward to bring a platform for change to the AFL-CIO convention. We will engage all other unions in a dialogue for change. Our purpose is not to divide, but to unite unions in a dynamic new movement for today’s workers.

The unions you see here are the unions representing the emerging 21st century workforce — young people, women, minorities, new immigrants and older workers forced to extend their work lives. From hospitality to retail to services, and from health care to transportation to construction, our unions are fighting the battles, confronting the employers and organizing the workers that are the future in America.

Yesterday, the UFCW Board also authorized the executive officers to disaffiliate from the AFL-CIO. This action was not taken lightly. We are committed to a united, reformed labor movement. But, the status quo will not stand. We will not be chained to the past, our obligation is to the future of our members.

As I said, in the 1930s, we were at our lowest point, but also on the verge of our greatest accomplishments. When the CIO left the AFL in the 1930s, it did not set us back, it propelled the movement forward. The CIO was committed to organizing the workforce of the day — mass production workers — and it changed the labor movement.

I believe today we are taking the steps that will change the labor movement and change the future for workers.