March 5, 2017
The UFCW is pleased to welcome a new addition to our union family: the hard-working men and women of the Linden Hills Co-op in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The passion and enthusiasm the men and women of Linden Hills Co-op feel both for their jobs and for their new union family is clear as they talk about the democratic principles they believe in in this recent article featured in Workday Minnesota:
Workers at Linden Hills Co-op won their election Thursday to form a union with the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 653. Eight-five percent of workers voted in favor of unionization in balloting conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.
“We are excited to begin the bargaining process because it is the next step in making our already amazing co-operative even more amazing. We love where we work. This is an extremely positive thing!” said Tracie Lemberg from the Health and Body Care Department.
Workers have begun circulating bargaining surveys to help the bargaining committee understand their co-workers’ priorities.
“I have been working at co-ops in the Twin Cities since I was 16. Forming a union is the best way to make sure all workers are treated fairly and have a say in creating a positive work environment. I’m proud to work at this co-op and look forward to making it an even better place,” said Emily Calhoon from the Produce Department.
Workers said they want to actively ensure good jobs and a sustainable co-op that best serves the needs of the community.
Evan Adams-Hanson, a front end floor coordinator said, “Forming a union reinforces co-op values of community throughout our store. Linden Hills Co-op can be a model for how workers and management cooperate to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability at all levels.”
When workers first started discussing forming a union, they met at each other’s houses discreetly to create a safe space to refine their goals and identify who would be most interested in organizing.
“Organizers helped provide advice and experience, but this organizing was done by us – we were making commitments to each other to have each others’ back,” said Bryce Christopherson, a grocery buyer. “For other workers who are forming their union I would advise as much transparency and outreach to your co-workers as feasible. And reach out – we are happy to help you go through the process of forming your union.”
Mark McGraw from the Scanning department said, “I feel more connected than ever to my co-workers and our store, and I’m excited to have all voices at the table as we move forward with our contract negotiations.”
Linden Hills Co-op workers were inspired by other workers who recently organized a union at the Wedge Community Co-op and Whole Foods Co-op in Minnesota and the People’s Food Co-op in Michigan.
“I’ve been a meat cutter and member of UFCW Local 653 for 10 years. I look forward to welcoming the Linden Hills co-op workers as brothers and sisters in our union and fighting together to improve retail standards across the Twin Cities,” said Anthony Lanners, who works at Festival Foods in Andover.
Most of all, Linden Hills workers are eager to get to work building an even more engaged and democratic workplace that can serve as a model for the rest of the community.
“Giving all workers a voice will make employees feel more involved in improving the Co-op,” said Front End Floor Coordinator Evan Adams-Hanson.
“Cooperative principles teach us that co-ops are democratic organizations that work for the sustainable development of our communities. Unionizing Linden Hills Co-op will extend those principles within, to the workers of the co-op, who seek sustainable employment and a collective voice. I look forward to the merging of these principles and ideals that will form a stronger co-op, together,” said Produce Stocker Cassie Nouis.
Cheese buyer Hannah Glaser sees unionization as “an affirmation of mutual support between the staff and business.” Produce Stocker Brian Matson believes “the cooperation of fellow employees in a combined effort to guarantee a better workplace is at the heart of unionization, and that Linden Hills Co-op can be representative of what a community can change if they work together.”
February 16, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union, made the following statement about hard-working employees and employers across the U.S. standing together in “A Day Without Immigrants,” which calls attention to the vital role immigrants play in every community.
“Immigrants make incredible contributions to our lives, communities, and country each day. Today, we are asking Americans to honor that contribution and pay attention to what is at stake.”
“From the beginning of this nation, immigrant workers from all over the world have come to this country to work hard and build a better life. Yet, many workers, and many UFCW members continue to suffer from the effects of our broken immigration system.
“Our Union family has seen firsthand the damage that irresponsible employers can cause through exploitive labor practices that hurt immigrants, and drive down wages, benefits and working conditions for all workers. It is time for Congressional leaders to finally see and hear the calls for change and put forth common-sense immigration reform that will end this crisis.”
The 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
February 16, 2017
After 30 years of service to her union, long-time UFCW Local 1445 member Janice Feinberg says her mantra is to spread the word about what being part of union family means, and what it has meant to her.
“My husband calls me Norma Rae,” Janice jokes, recalling the role played by Sally Field in the famous movie about a factory worker advocating for union representation on the job.
Now 73 years old, Janice has been serving her community as a retail employee for the past three decades, as well as a UFCW member. Beginning her career at Filene’s, she is now retiring from Macy’s.
Janice notes that it was being a part of the UFCW and working with the caring people at her local union that enabled her to have such a long and steady career.
“When I was younger, I had a manager that took a disliking to me for some reason. She treated me horribly. Some people said there was nothing I could do, but when I told the union about it, they grieved it right away. When I was instructed to ‘watch’ my fellow employees and report back to management behind their backs, I refused and was fired, but the union got my job back. When I recently told my manager that I would be retiring, I inquired about the vacation pay I’d be getting, since I haven’t used my days. She untruthfully told me I wasn’t owed a thing, but Jim and the union made sure I was rewarded the vacation pay I earned, that’s protected in our contracts.”
After the experience she’s had, says Janice, “I would never work a non-union job.” Over the course of her time at Macy’s, Janice was offered other positions that were closer to her home, but she turned them down when hearing they weren’t union jobs.
Janice has noticed that oftentimes, her coworkers are afraid of speaking up on the job because they are scared of repercussions, but she wants everyone to know they don’t have to be afraid to speak up with the UFCW there to back them up. “I want to tell my story because I believe that more people should be aware of the value that being part of a union brings—people need to take advantage of that! Under the umbrella of the union,” she says, “we can all stand together as associates.”
Not only has her union family helped Janice ensure she can take her vacation when she needs to, and receive the benefits she deserves for her many years of service and loyalty, but it has also given her people who she calls friends for life: “The people I saw and worked with every day are a big part of my life. I have customers that came in as children visit me now with their own babies.”
Janice is certainly ready to enjoy her hard-earned retirement, and looks forward to spending time with her husband and daughters—but she looks back on her job and time as a union member with fond memories. “Knowing that the union would have my back in an instant was so wonderful. But if you don’t speak up, they can’t help you! If you do, they’ll listen and take action. When I was a young worker, I was a quiet person. But now I have a voice, and am not afraid to speak up for myself, and for others.”
We are thankful for people like Janice in our union family, and wish her luck in her next chapter!
February 8, 2017
Looking to further your education? The UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship is now accepting applications from UFCW members and their families.
Every year the UFCW Charity Foundation scholarship program offers scholarships to UFCW members or their immediate family members who want to further their education and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and to UFCW values. Since 1958, the fund has distributed more than $2 million in scholarships.*
Past winners have gone on to make significant contributions to society and to the UFCW – entering a range of fields including public service, medicine, law, business and teaching. Many have returned to the UFCW as staffers, organizers, and community activists who contribute to our mission.
*UFCW-employed officers and staff, and their immediate families are not eligible for this program.
Here are last year’s winners:
Local 152 – Ana Grace Fangayen
Ana is now attending New York University in Manhattan, New York and is studying Film and Television.
Local 23 – Katrina Good
Katrina is now attending Lock Haven University for a major in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Psychology.
Local 880 – Jocelyn Bernstein
Jocelyn is now attending the University of Rochester.
Local 2005 – Hannah McDonald
Hannah is now attending Harding University in Arkansas for a Nursing degree, because she’s always liked helping and caring for others, and has always wanted to save a life.
Local 655 – Douglas Fritz
Douglas is attending Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO and studying biology, pre-med.
Local 7R – Karen Emanuelson
Karen currently attends the Keller Williams school for Real Estate in Colorado Springs. After she finishes her exams, she plans to study possibly German or History at Pikes Peak Community College or University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.
Local 99 – Tamana Hussaini
Tamana is now attending Mount Holyoke College for a Pre-med. degree, because it’s a great field that combines science and working with others.
Local 1288P – Sarah Gowlett
Sarah is now attending University of New Brunswick St. John for a Bachelor of Business Administration, because she’s always liked organization and numbers.
January 25, 2017
Deadline to apply: January 31, 2017
The Union Plus Scholarship Program has provided more than two decades of higher education support for working families. Since 1992, Union Privilege, through the Union Plus Scholarship program has helped fulfill the educational dreams of students representing more than 13 million working families across the nation.
The Union Plus Scholarship awards are presented annually to union members or members of their families who want to begin or continue their post-secondary education.
In 2016, some 104 union members and union family members were awarded $150,000 in scholarships, ranging from $500 to $4,000.
2016 Union Plus Scholarship Winners and UFCW Members
Jimmy L. Nguyen
Nadia S. Porter
Tyrobius T. Bacon
Naomi N. Santa Cruz
The students selected for awards represent a wide sampling of demographics, union affiliations, goals and accomplishments. Representatives from the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities judged the applications.
According to the judges, the caliber of students this year made the selection process very challenging. The students are from diverse backgrounds, and as a whole, they received top SAT scores, were well-rounded in their studies and extracurricular activities, and they understood the value of working families and union membership.
How the Scholarship Program Works
In addition to demonstrated academic ability, applicants submitted essays describing their career goals, detailing their relationship with the labor movement, and explaining why they are deserving of a union scholarship.
The program is open to union members, their spouses and dependent children of unions that are participating in any Union Plus program. Individuals must be accepted into an accredited college or university, community college or recognized technical or trade school at the time the award is issued. Members do not have to purchase any Union Plus program product or participate in any Union Plus program to apply.
The Union Plus Scholarship Program is offered through the Union Plus Education Foundation.
Each year, the application deadline is January 31 and chosen scholarship recipients’ names are announced May 31. All applicants are notified when the award winner list is posted in early June.
January 18, 2017
On Jan. 15, UFCW International President Marc Perrone was presented with an award at the AFL-CIO’s 2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil and Human Rights Awards Luncheon and Community Service Weekend.
The theme of the awards this year was “The Struggle Is Free, But the Dream Must Be Televised” to represent the constant battle for civil rights and justice that continues in our country.
At the ceremony, President Perrone was awarded the “At the River I Stand” Award from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka for his work towards advancing civil and labor rights, saying “we will tear our borders down brick by ignorant brick.”
The “At the River I Stand” award is the highest honor given by the AFL-CIO Civil and Human Rights Executive Council Committee. The name of the award comes from the historic words used to capture the spirit of the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers during their courageous struggle for workers’ and civil rights.
Alongside his fellow award recipient, USW Vice President Fred Redmond, President Perrone has served as a fearless leader of the Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice, taking action to serve the needs and concerns of their members, and shepherding the Labor Commission report to help union leaders have a better understanding of how racism and racial politics has impacted and continues to shape the labor movement.
Upon accepting his award, President Perrone addressed the attendees, emphasizing that “we must stand together stronger than ever” in our quest for justice.
January 5, 2017
Deadline to apply: January 31, 2017
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to take your education to the next level, you won’t want to miss out on this year’s Union Plus Scholarship. For the past 25 years, Union Plus has distributed over 4 million scholarship dollars to working families. Whether you’re going back to school or continuing with your studies, the Union Plus Scholarship program is there to help you make your dreams a reality.
How does the Union Plus Scholarship Program work?
This is a competitive scholarship. Applicants are evaluated according to academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor. A GPA of 3.0 or higher is recommended.
The required essays can account for up to half your total score.
Scholarship applicants are judged by a committee of impartial post-secondary educators.
Applications are available starting in mid-June, and a complete application must be received on or before 12:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on January 31, 2017. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered.
Scholarship Award Amounts:
Amounts range from $500 to $4,000. These one-time cash awards are for study beginning in the Fall of 2017. Students may re-apply each year.
The Scholarship Committee will determine recipients of scholarship awards by May 31 each year. During the first week of June award recipients will be individually notified by mail, and all applicants will be sent an email with notification that the award list is posted here. Please note that due to the volume of applications we cannot provide any information on the status of an application before award announcements are made.
Deadline to apply: January 31, 2017
December 6, 2016
UFCW Local 293 was featured in The Grand Island Independent newspaper yesterday for their great work spreading holiday cheer and goodwill in the Grand Island area of Nebraska. Once again, our brothers and sisters at Local 293 are showing the rest of the country what partnership done right looks like:
Members of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 293 and the JBS beef packing plant presented a check for $10,000 Monday to six local programs that serve the Grand Island area during the holidays and year-round.
[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#ffffff” text=”#0054a6″ width=”30%” align=”right” size=”2″ quote=”No one should go hungry during the holidays and every kid ought to have a toy.” cite=”Terry Mostek, UFCW Local 293″ parallax=”on” direction=”left”]
The recipients were the Hero Flight program, Central Nebraska Humane Society, Christmas Cheer, the Salvation Army, Head Start Child and Family Development and Toys for Tots.
“No one should go hungry during the holidays and every kid ought to have a toy,” said Terry Mostek of UFCW Local 293.
Mostek, who has been coordinating the donations for 10 years, said this year they added the Hero Flight program, which give veterans an opportunity to visit memorials in Washington, D.C. They are currently raising funds for their next flight of Vietnam vets to the nation’s capitol, scheduled for the spring of 2017.
Don Shuda, Hall County veterans service officer and representing the Hero Flight program, said the donation will make it a reality for one Hall County Vietnam veteran to make the trip next year.
“Thank you,” Laurie Dethloff, CEO of the Central Nebraska Humane Society, said in response to the donation. “It makes a world of difference to us.”
Dethloff said the donation is especially needed this time of year for the many dogs and cats the society takes in during the holiday season. Dethloff said some people abandon their older pets, which puts additional pressure of the humane society resources.
Ammie Joyce, who represented Head Start at the ceremony, said the money it’s receiving will be used to fill food boxes for families during the holidays.
Major Chuck Yockey of the Salvation Army said its funds will be used to supply its food pantry for the holiday season.
Don Smith, representing the Christmas Cheer program, said the money will go to help feed needy families during the holiday season. Christmas Cheer helps families by giving out food vouchers at Christmas. In its 106th year, last year Christmas Cheer provided vouchers to 1,009 families and 3,479 individuals.
Heartland United Way operates the Toys for Tots program. Toys are given to kids age 12 and younger. The program serves about 2,000 kids each year.
To help the Heartland United Way with its programs or help organizations supported by the United Way, visit www.heartlandunitedway.org or call (308) 384-3178.
If you have stories of how UFCW members in your area are helping out in the community, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 3, 2016
On Oct. 22, UFCW Local 648, in partnership with Californians for Safety and Justice and the San Francisco Labor Council, hosted a Proposition 47 Live Scan, record change and job fair clinic in San Francisco to help people with prior nonviolent felonies to petition to get their records changed.
At the event, attorneys volunteered their time and met with each attendee, one on one. The San Francisco Labor Council, City College of San Francisco, Up Vote and the San Francisco Airport Office of Employment all had informational booths, as well. Union members that attended the Proposition 47 Live Scan event and attorney meetings said they were thankful for the opportunity to change their records and move forward with their lives.
In November 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, a measure that reduces certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors. The savings from reduced incarceration costs are invested in drug and mental health treatment, programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services. Over one million Californians quality for Proposition 47, but only about 250,000 people have petitioned to have their records changed. Proposition 47 was due to sunset in November 2017, but Governor Jerry Brown recently signed AB 2757 to extend the time to petition for another five years.
The UFCW has partnered with a number of local and national organizations in an effort to bring to light the issues that are plaguing our communities and transform the criminal justice system.
UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department Robin Williams believes restorative rights are especially important for workers. “When you get out of jail, how do you take care of your family if you can’t get a job?” Williams said.
Together with our allies, the UFCW is dedicated to shifting the focus away from punishment and toward educational opportunities that help people change their lives and get back on track.
November 1, 2016
Last month, UFCW Local 1208 partnered with United Way of Robeson County to distribute much needed food to members across southern North Carolina and northern South Carolina who are still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. The event, which was held at the Family Dollar in Lumberton, provided assistance to over 150 workers and their families. Members of UFCW Local 204, along with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Southeast North Carolina and corporate partners like Kroger and Kellogg’s, also donated items to help Local 1208 members and their families.
Stephanie Franklin, a member of Local 1208 who has worked at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel for more than 11 years and lives in Lumberton, was one of the recipients.
“The whole area was affected by Hurricane Matthew,” Franklin said. “I’ve lived in North Carolina my whole life, and this was one of the worst storms I’ve seen. My son is four years old, and we were stuck in our trailer for two days during the storm and we didn’t have enough food or water. Our trailer is up high, but the bathroom ceiling caved in a little bit and the water was still up to my waist.”
“The relief effort meant a lot and shows that Local 1208 is there for you. I appreciate everything they gave me and my son,” Franklin said. “We’re slowly getting back to normal.”
“Hurricane Matthew brought incredible hardship to our friends and neighbors, and it is times like these that we must come together to help those in need” said Ella Ellerbe, who has worked in packaging at Smithfield for ten years. “Our union family, working with our partners, are proud to help our local members and their families get the food assistance they need. We’re committed to doing all that we can to help our members recover from this storm because no hard-working family should ever have to struggle alone.”
UFCW Local 1208 worked with Smithfield Foods to ensure that everyone at the plant in Tar Heel received a full week’s pay when Hurricane Matthew struck, regardless of actual time on the job. Members of Local 1208 have contributed more than $10,000 to United Way of Robeson County to help their community recover from Hurricane Matthew.