• Background Image

    UFCW Blog

    Community

October 26, 2016

“Better things for me means better things for my family and that better future is why I formed a union at my work.”

ardent-mills-workers-local-1995This month, workers at Ardent Mills, a food company in Chattanooga, Tenn., chose a union voice and a better life with UFCW Local 1995. Ardent Mills workers produce flour for breading for fried foods, cakes and pies eaten in restaurants across the country.

“I have two children and my family is my whole world,” said Mike Middleton, a maintenance tech at Ardent Mills who has been with the company for more than eight years. “Better things for me means better things for them and that better future is why I formed a union at my work.”

Workers at Ardent Mills have suffered through cutbacks and reductions in benefits due to a corporate acquisition three years ago with no way to have a voice in the direction of their company. Now, workers at Ardent Mills will have the opportunity to negotiate an agreement that will help them address issues at work, raise wages and benefits, and get the respect they deserve.

“Workers at Ardent Mills deserve better,” said Rick Major, secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 1995. “They’ve earned respect and a job that lets them support their families and give back to the community they live in.”6028447024_ea51cb9dbf_z

 

 

October 24, 2016

Local Labor and Community Leaders Stop Bob’s Tire Co. and BJ’s Temp Service from Intimidating Workers who Voted to Join Union Family

Washington, D.C. –Workers pushing for a first union contract at Bob’s Tire Co. and BJ’s Temp Service in New Bedford, Massachusetts, are set to return to the bargaining table on Tuesday after successfully stopping their employers from using government agencies to retaliate against them for voting to join a union.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, UFCW Local 328, and the National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) supported the workers in resisting the companies’ attempt to intimidate workers through the threat of deportation.

“The hard-working men and women of Bob’s Tire Co. and BJ’s Temp Service voted to join our union family for a better life, and it is irresponsible and wrong for any company to use threats and intimidation, or attempt to manipulate our government agencies to try and stop them,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “By standing together with our community partners, we have shown our commitment to providing the better life these hard-working employees have rightfully earned. We look forward to negotiating a good contract for these workers, and expect Bob’s Tire Co. and BJ’s Temp Service to respect the values of our community and their customers.”

“At a time when companies are increasingly using temp agencies like BJ’s as a way to source exploitable workers, this victory matters for every worker in the United States,” said Saket Soni, Executive Director of the NGA. “ICE did the right thing and refused to let the companies use it as a weapon against organizing. That’s a victory for immigrant workers who stand up to expose abuse and improve their workplaces—and for the tens of millions of U.S.-born workers who labor alongside them. All workers deserve protection from threats of deportation when they come forward to report abuse.”

BACKGROUND

In September of 2015, workers who are jointly employed by Bob’s Tire and BJ’s Temp Service voted overwhelmingly to join UFCW Local 328. Shortly after this happened, the employers began retaliating against the workers’ decision to unionize with intimidation, including threats of immigration enforcement.

On October 21, 2016, recognizing that workers at Bob’s Tire and BJ’s Temp Service were involved in a significant labor dispute, the government refused to be a weapon wielded against hard-working taxpayers trying to make a better life for themselves. The agency involved made clear its policy was to not interfere with labor disputes and they would not be used by the company to retaliate against their workers.

###

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.

The National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) is a national organization of low-wage and contingent workers across the United States. Founded ten years ago by workers in the U.S. Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, NGA represents contingent workers across many industries, including construction, service, hospitality, food manufacturing, and logistics.

Learn more about the NGA at www.guestworkeralliance.org.

 

 

Trabajadores locales y líderes de la comunidad evitan que Bob’s Tire Co. y BJ’s Temp Service intimiden a los trabajadores que votaron para unirse a la familia de la Unión

Washington, D.C. –Los trabajadores que presionan para tener el primer contrato de la unión en Bob’s Tire Co. y BJ’s Temp Service en New Bedford, Massachusetts, van a volver a la mesa de negociaciones el martes tras haber logrado detener a sus empleadores para que utilizaran agencias gubernamentales para aplicar represalias en su contra por votar a favor de afiliarse a una unión.

La Unión Internacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos y del Comercio (UFCW), la Local 328 de la UFCW, y la National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) apoyaron a los trabajadores para detener el intento de las compañías de intimidar a los trabajadores por medio de la amenaza de la deportación.

“Los hombres y mujeres que trabajan arduamente en Bob’s Tire Co. y BJ’s Temp Service votaron para unirse a nuestra familia de la unión para tener una vida mejor, y es irresponsable e inadecuado que cualquier empresa utilice amenazas e intimidación, o intente manipular nuestras agencias gubernamentales, para tratar de detenerlos”, dijo Marc Perrone, Presidente Internacional de la UFCW. “Al permanecer juntos con nuestros colaboradores de la comunidad, hemos demostrado nuestro compromiso de ofrecer una mejor vida a estos empleados quienes trabajan de manera ardua y se la han ganado legítimamente. Esperamos negociar un buen contrato para estos trabajadores y esperamos que Bob’s Tire Co. y BJ’s Temp Service respeten los valores de nuestra comunidad y de sus clientes”.

“En un momento en que las empresas están utilizando cada vez más las agencias temporarias como BJ’s como una forma de contratar a trabajadores a quienes pueden explotar, esta victoria es importante para cada trabajador de los Estados Unidos”, dijo Saket Soni, Director Ejecutivo de la NGA. “ICE hizo lo correcto y se negó a permitir que las empresas lo utilizaran como un arma contra la organización. Es una victoria para los trabajadores inmigrantes que se levantan para exponer los abusos y mejorar sus lugares de trabajo, y para las decenas de millones de trabajadores nacidos en EE.UU. que están junto a ellos. Todos los trabajadores merecen protección frente a las amenazas de deportación cuando denuncian los abusos”.

CONTEXTO

En septiembre de 2015, los trabajadores que están contratados conjuntamente por Bob’s Tire y BJ’s Temp Service votaron abrumadoramente a favor de unirse a la Local 328 de la UFCW. Poco después de que esto sucedió, los empleadores comenzaron a tomar represalias contra la decisión de los trabajadores de afiliarse a la unión con intimidaciones, incluyendo amenazas de aplicación de las leyes de inmigración.

El 21 de octubre, reconociendo que los trabajadores de Bob’s Tire y BJ’s Temp Service estaban involucrados en un conflicto laboral significativo, el gobierno se negó a ser un arma utilizada contra los contribuyentes que trabajan duro para intentar tener una vida mejor para sí mismos. La agencia involucrada dejó claro que su política era no involucrarse en las disputas laborales y que no serían utilizados por la compañía para tomar represalias en contra de sus trabajadores.

###

La UFCW es la unión más grande del sector privado en los Estados Unidos, y representa a 1.3 millones de profesionales y sus familias en tiendas de comestibles, empaquetado de carnes, procesamiento de alimentos, tiendas minoristas y otras industrias. Nuestros miembros ayudan a poner la comida sobre la mesa de nuestro país y atienden a clientes en todos los 50 estados, Canadá y Puerto Rico.

Obtenga más información acerca de la UFCW en  www.ufcw.org.

La National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) es una organización nacional de trabajadores contingentes que ganan salarios bajos en los Estados Unidos. Fundada hace diez años por trabajadores en la Costa del Golfo de EE.UU. después del Huracán Katrina, la NGA representa a trabajadores contingentes en muchas industrias, incluyendo la construcción, servicios, hospitalidad, fabricación de alimentos y logística.

Obtenga más información acerca de la NGA en www.guestworkeralliance.org.

October 7, 2016

UFCW Locals Join Forces on National Sickle Cell Awareness Month

Last month, UFCW Locals 27, 227, 400, 655 and 888 partnered with Faces of Our Children and Howard University during National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

The locals held actions to help raise awareness, support and funding for the fight against sickle cell disease, and also helped families who are coping with the disease with bills and food. Faces of Our Children is active in 12 states.

Together, our union family is working to create a better life in our communities.

For more information about Faces of Our Children, visit http://www.facesofourchildren.org.

October 3, 2016

“It takes six ponytails to create one wig, so we helped a lot of people.”

Adapted from UFCW Local 1428

Monica Jimenez, a pharmacy technician and Local 1428 union steward at Rite Aid, loves helping others. At her job she helps patients fill their prescriptions and in her spare time she runs races to fund research to cure diseases.

She began her career at a laboratory, but after three years she wanted a change and applied at Rite Aid.

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#ffffff” text=”#808080″ width=”30%” align=”right” size=”3″ quote=”“We treat each other like family, so going to work doesn’t feel like going to a workplace.”” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]

“What I like about Rite Aid is that the people in the store come together,” Jimenez said. “We treat each other like family, so going to work doesn’t feel like going to a workplace.”

Jimenez thought she had it all: a loving husband in Earl, two daughters, Vanessa and Emily, and a job she loved. But an earthquake in 2012 taught her she needed something more: to help the less fortunate.

“I felt like I needed to make each day count, so I signed up for a 5K race and then another one and then another one,” she said.

Her volunteering spirit quickly spread among her family and friends. Her daughters joined her in races and then her co-workers followed suit.

At work, Jimenez encouraged patients to donate to the Children’s Miracle Network, which benefits children’s hospitals.

“When customers check out at Rite Aid, they are occasionally asked to donate $1 so they can write their names on balloon cards that are displayed in our store,” Jimenez said. “Our store raised the most funds for the Children’s Miracle Network, so we were invited to an event to meet the kids our donations helped.”

Last year, Jimenez and her sister decided to grow their hair out and donate their ponytails to Locks of Love, an organization that creates wigs for people who lose their hair while having chemotherapy.

“People asked me why my hair and my sister’s hair was getting so long,” Jimenez said. “We told people it was for Locks of Love and we got so many people who wanted to help that I needed a place to host an event to cut people’s hair.”

UFCW Local 1428 stepped up and offered its auditorium. By the end of the night, Jimenez and her sister collected 85 ponytails for Locks of Love.

“That night was so special,” Jimenez said. “It takes six ponytails to create one wig, so we helped a lot of people that night.”

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

Monica Jimenez with other volunteers at 2014’s Big Sunday event, which collected and sorted canned goods to feed more than 1,000 families during the holidays.

Monica Jimenez with other volunteers at 2014’s Big Sunday event, which collected and sorted canned goods to feed more than 1,000 families during the holidays.

Monica received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for her work in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless count in January 2016.

Monica received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority for her work in the Greater Los Angeles Homeless count in January 2016.

Monica Jimenez gets her hair cut for Locks of Love

Monica Jimenez gets her hair cut for Locks of Love

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

Jimenez participates in the Labor United Against Cancer Fun Run/Walk

September 14, 2016

Local 1189 Helps Pass Earned Sick Leave Ordinance in St. Paul

local-1189-members-earned-sick-leave-ordinance-in-st-paul2

On September 7, the St. Paul City Council passed the Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance by a vote of 7-0, joining Minneapolis and dozens of other cities nationwide that mandate earned sick leave. Members of UFCW Local 1189 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.

“The ability to earn and use sick time in the city of St. Paul is a huge step toward creating healthier workplaces and healthier lives,” said UFCW Local 1189 President Jennifer Christensen. “I am proud of the tireless work done by our state’s unions. Bennie Hesse, Local 1189 legislative and political director, was a leader in the crusade, working with Union Steward (and Executive Board Member) Dennis Reeves to provide important testimony to the city council on the need for paid sick and safe time for grocery workers.”

Members of UFCW Local 1189 served on a task force put together by the city council and mayor for a year and worked with a coalition of advocates and other labor groups to raise awareness about this issue. The Earned Sick and Safe Time Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017 for businesses in St. Paul with at least 24 employees. Smaller businesses will have to comply by Jan. 1, 2018.

September 8, 2016

UFCW Members and Locals Celebrate Labor Day

This Labor Day, UFCW Locals across the country partnered with other unions and their communities to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday.

Click through the slideshow below to see some of the the parades and other holiday festivities that took place:

14188120_1123049984451734_7637927326069824557_o

September 2, 2016

The 2016 UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship Winners Have Been Selected!

Every year the UFCW 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 this year’s winners:

Region 1:

Local 152 – Ana Grace Fangayen

Ana is now attending New York University in Manhattan, New York and is studying Film and Television.

Region 2:

Local 23 – Katrina Good

Katrina is now attending Lock Haven University for a major in Therapeutic Recreation with a minor in Psychology.

Region 4:

Local 880 – Jocelyn Bernstein

Jocelyn is now attending the University of Rochester.

Region 5:

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.

Region 6:

Local 655 – Douglas Fritz

Douglas is attending Saint Louis University in St. Louis, MO and studying biology, pre-med.

Region 7:

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.

Region 8:

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.

UFCW Canada:

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.

 

[aesop_gallery id=”24592″]

August 30, 2016

Workers Can Save Themselves from Wealth Inequality

Report by EPI shows that decline in union membership costs nonunion workers $133 billion annually in lost wages  

Washington, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, the largest private sector union in the United States, released the following statement regarding a new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), titled “Union Decline Lowers Wages of Nonunion Workers.

“This report confirms that union membership is the one clear path to a better life,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Now more than ever, those of us in labor must discuss openly the incredible benefits that unions bring to all workers. The UFCW union family is committed to proving that we can bring better jobs and futures to every hard-working community.”

The benefits of a union contract go beyond just wages. A union contract is often the only way women can earn equal pay for equal work, and, in some states, it is the only line of defense for workers facing workplace discrimination.

Key findings from the latest EPI report:

  • One of the main reasons why hard-working Americans are struggling with stagnant wages and inequality is because private sector union membership fell from 34 percent in 1979 to just 10 percent in 2013.
  • If union density in 2013 was as high as it was in 1979, nonunion private sector men would have earned an extra $52 each week.
  • The declining rate of union density is costing nonunion private sector workers $133 billion annually in lost wages, which is greater than the economic hit U.S. workers take when we enter into unfair trade agreements with low-wage nations.

A recent report by Oxfam America titled No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry, documented the union difference when it comes to workplace rights and safety after finding that nonunion workers wore diapers when denied bathroom breaks by irresponsible employers.

###

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 www.ufcw.org

August 30, 2016

Not a Union Member? It Could Cost You

[aesop_quote type=”block” background=”#2695b9″ text=”#ffffff” align=”left” size=”2″ quote=”A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the declining rate of union membership is costing nonunion workers $133 billion annually in lost wages.” parallax=”on” direction=”right”]

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the declining rate of union membership is costing nonunion workers $133 billion annually in lost wages. This massive sum – which is more than the economic hit workers take when we enter into unfair trade agreements with low-wage countries – is a key reason why hardworking Americans are struggling with stagnant wages and inequality.

[aesop_quote type=”pull” background=”#ffffff” text=”#cd9727″ width=”30%” align=”right” size=”2″ quote=”This new report from EPI confirms that union membership is the one clear path to a better life.” cite=”UFCW International President Marc Perrone” parallax=”on” direction=”left”]

EPI found that by establishing pay and benefit standards, unions boost wages for all workers. In fact, if union density in 2013 was as high as it was in 1979, nonunion private sector men would have earned an extra $52 each week. This is the first study providing a broad estimate of the wage decline for nonunion workers as a result of the erosion of unions.

This report should also remind us that the benefits of a union contract goes beyond wages.

Earlier this year Oxfam America published a report titled No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry, which documented the union difference when it comes to workplace rights and safety. This shocking study found that nonunion workers wore diapers when denied bathroom breaks by irresponsible employers.

Also, a union contract is often the only way women can earn equal pay for equal work and, in some states, the only line of defense for all workers facing workplace discrimination. Finally, according to the Center for Economic Policy and Research, black union workers experience higher wages and better access to health insurance and retirement benefits than their non-union peers.

“This new report from EPI confirms that union membership is the one clear path to a better life,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Now more than ever, we in labor must discuss openly the amazing benefits that come to people who join unions. The UFCW union family is committed to proving that we can bring better jobs and futures to every hard-working community.”

August 8, 2016

Grocery Workers Reach Tentative Deal with Ralphs, Vons/Albertsons

Proposed Contract Goes to Members for Ratification Vote August 8th

Oscar Gonzalez, a Ralphs produce worker in Hollywood, marches with grocery workers and supporters Tuesday to demand a new contract. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

Oscar Gonzalez, a Ralphs produce worker in Hollywood, marches with grocery workers and supporters Tuesday to demand a new contract. (Michael Owen Baker / For The Times)

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.