July 19, 2016
(l to r) Local 1102 Rep. Mayra Valladares, Elsa Barrera, and Local 1102 Rep. Jeff Guardado.
The RWDSU/UFCW is part of the New York Union Child Care Coalition, a group of unions that developed and promoted the Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project to help provide affordable child care for working families in the state. By working with New York State Senators Jeff Klein and Diane Savino, the RWDSU/UFCW was instrumental in helping to establish the program.
And RWDSU/UFCW members are starting to benefit. Elsa Barrera is a Local 1102 member and a mother of three. On top of her dedication to raising her three children, Elsa also works full-time at Flying Foods – an airplane food service supplier – at JFK airport. Barrera has received a grant from the program, and will be able to send two of her children to a camp program for the summer at nearly no cost. This support will help Elsa make ends meet and help her children receive the care and security they deserve.
“Workers like Elsa are truly deserving of this kind of grant,” said RWDSU/UFCW Deputy Political Director Jessica Garcia. “This program will help many others provide for their families while ensuring their children get quality care.”
Other RWDSU/UFCW members at Macy’s and H&M have also seen their child care costs drastically reduced thanks to the program.
July 18, 2016
The following text appears in a full page ad in Monday’s New York Times:
It is during times of horrific tragedy that we are tested as a nation.
The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of those sworn to protect are the latest shocking examples of a justice system that is broken. A system in which the lives of too many African Americans are needlessly cut down, families are destroyed, and communities are torn apart.
The deaths of five brave Dallas police officers – Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa – who were simply protecting the rights of those speaking out against the deaths of Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile, prove that hate will poison the soul and lead to evil acts.
For all the families that must now endure the indescribable loss of their loved ones, and for the communities that bear the scars of anger and division, these deaths must never be forgotten.
It is why we must confront the difficult truths that our policing system and our justice system are not color blind.
That the scourge of racism has not disappeared.
That inequality, joblessness, crime, and poverty affect not just tens of millions of Americans, but disproportionately victimize minorities.
That countless African Americans and other people of color are the victims to those few bad police officers that do not see a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, or a daughter, but merely a statistic.
It is also why we must embrace, as a nation, that the lives of black Americans do matter. Those of us who are not black should not take offense to these words, but honestly ask ourselves: What would we say if we witnessed, time and time again, the lives of our neighbors, friends, and loved ones stolen by those sworn to protect?
And while we must open our eyes and ears to the prejudice that exists, we cannot allow ourselves to believe that every police officer is prejudiced – for we know that is not true.
To bridge this divide, and to build the trust we need between all groups, we must talk openly about these issues, and our entire nation must listen.
In the spirit of the recent White House meetings and townhall that President Obama held to discuss these difficult issues, and the profound decision to simulcast this townhall on ESPN and ABC, we believe an incredible opportunity exists to build on this effort and hold a national summit on justice.
As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.
It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.
To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.
While no one event will stop every incidence of hate or injustice, we believe that by coming together, in such a public and historic fashion, we can send a powerful message to the American people that we stand united against all forms of hate and violence.
Most importantly, we can begin to learn from each other that how we act, what we voice in public, and how we judge each other, does truly matter.
While some may question the timing or the need for such a dramatic national event, we must realize this: If we do not begin to openly confront these issues, publicly and privately, we will forsake the future of this great nation.
As a nation, we are better than this, so let us now prove it.
July 15, 2016
In March, employees at eight Giant stores represented by Local 400 – six in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area and two in Southern Maryland – were told their stores would be put up for sale as part of the merger between Giant’s Netherlands based parent company Ahold and Belgium based grocery store Delhaize. These proposed store sales threatened the better wages, benefits and grocery store experience that the Giant stores provide to the local community.
Which is why Local 400 members who work at Giant, their loyal customers and community leaders banded together to help make people see that selling these stores was a bad idea. Through a series of rallies, public meetings and marches, they sent a clear message that the local community didn’t want these grocery stores and the good jobs they provide to be sold away.
“I’m glad that Giant did the right thing in the end and I’m proud to be a part of a union and a community that would not give up the good jobs and grocery options Giant brings to this area,” said Robyn Wheeler, a Local 400 member who has worked at Giant in Fredericksburg City for 37 years.
In addition to organizing public events that drew attention to the negative aspects of the proposal to sell the local grocery stores, Local 400 members also contacted the Federal Trade Commission and their local elected officials to express concerns about the impact on wages, benefits and competition.
Treesa Shipp, a Local 400 member who works at the Giant in Stafford said, “Because we have a strong union we had a voice in this process and were able to stop our store from being sold. They could not ignore us, the employees who built this company and work hard to make it successful every single day.”
July 8, 2016
“Hate, indifference and injustice is dividing and taking the lives of Americans”
Washington, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union President and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice Marc Perrone made the following statement on the horrific shootings this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas:
“We once again wake up to the realization that there is hate, indifference, and injustice dividing and taking the lives of Americans. The needless deaths of two fathers, one shot selling CDs, the other reaching for his wallet, are the latest tragic examples that African Americans face not only injustice, but death at the hands of those sworn to protect justice.
“The events in Dallas, and the murder of five police officers who were protecting the rights of all us to speak out against such injustice not only fills us with heartbreak, it leads us to question the very direction of this nation.
“All of us who lead, in labor and out, every elected and community leader, our presidential candidates, must now face a stark choice – we will either come together to solve these problems that have led to these senseless deaths, or we will see our great nation torn apart by those who hate and wish to divide us.
“We cannot accept the status quo. We must do better.
“Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five officers in Dallas, are our most recent victims. We must act in their memory and the memories of the countless other victims before them who fell to similar tragedies. The time has come for more than moments of silence. The time has come for real action.
“Let us stop burying our fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, friends and neighbors, and begin to confront the problem we face head on. For the sake of the children and families who needlessly lost the ones they love, for the communities and the nation that has been scarred by these unspeakable acts of violence, the time is now for us to put our political divisions aside, and act.”
The AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice comprises members of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. Its purpose is to facilitate a broad conversation among local labor leaders around racial and economic disparities and institutional biases, and identify ways to become more inclusive as the new entrants to the labor force diversify.
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.
July 8, 2016
Reposted from UFCW Local 400
Violent flooding has devastated thousands of households in West Virginia. Pitch in today to help a Local 400 family who has lost everything.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Huntington Western River Flood Punt Team provides lifejackets to locals near Clendenin, West Virginia, June 24, 2016. The team is assisting the West Virginia State Emergency Operation Center by providing disaster and relief assistance in response to the widespread flooding. U.S. Coast Guard photo
Imagine losing your home, your car – even your loved ones – after a typical summer rain storm quickly turned into a devastating flood. Imagine clinging to your children for hours while you await rescue, watching helplessly as your family home floats away in violent flood waters.
This is the reality facing thousands of families in West Virginia.
At Local 400, at least 18 members and their families have been affected. Thirteen families have had their homes and vehicles completely destroyed, their hometowns nearly washed off the map. Others have lost vehicles, clothing and family heirlooms. Everyone has weeks of clean up yet to come.
Pitch in now to help a family who has lost everything. Your tax-deductible donation will go directly to a family in Local 400 who has had their home devastated by the flood.
This is a time to come together as a union family and support our brothers and sisters in need. Many communities will never be the same. At least 22 people have lost their lives as a result of the disaster. Even today, clean up and rescue efforts are still ongoing as subsequent tornadoes and thunderstorms continue to hamper first responders.
The impact of this devastation will be felt for years to come. But right now, you can help our fellow union members get back on their feet. Pitch in to help a Local 400 family today.
Your tax-deductible donation will be processed through the West Virginia AFL-CIO Disaster Relief Fund and given directly to a Local 400 family in need.
Together, we will get through this. We are a union family and we will be there for each other.
June 30, 2016
Last week, the Chicago City Council passed the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance by 48-0, which will extend earned sick leave to over 450,000 workers in Chicago. The ordinance will most dramatically benefit 42 percent of Chicago’s private sector workforce who currently lack paid sick leave. UFCW Local 881 played a big role in the passage of this legislation.
“On behalf of the 8,000 hardworking members of Local 881 UFCW who live and work in every neighborhood of Chicago, I commend the 48 supportive voting members of the Chicago City Council for passing the Earned Sick Leave Ordinance,” said UFCW Local 881 President Ron Powell. “In 2015, voters in every ward of Chicago overwhelmingly supported extending earned sick leave to working families who are one flu season away from losing their job and economic hardship. We are pleased today that the City Council listened to the working people of Chicago! This is a historic step for our city and a victory for workers and our communities.”
UFCW Local 881 was the founding member of the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, a partnership of community, public health, faith, women’s advocacy, and labor organizations that worked together to raise awareness about this issue. The Earned Sick Leave Ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017.
June 17, 2016
The four regional United Association for Labor Education (UALE) summer schools are now accepting registrations! These are wonderful opportunities for women activists, electeds, staff, and community allies to grow their leadership in an empowering learning community. Scholarships are available for women ages 35 and younger (info found in links below).
Check out the programs in your area:
June 15, 2016
Ariana Davis, a UFCW Local 21 member who works at Safeway, spoke at the White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, actress Kerry Washington and Oprah to discuss key gender equality issues.
Ariana presented with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler about the best way to give working women equal pay and an equal say – a union. Equal pay, fair schedules, paid leave – the bottom line is that if we stand together and negotiate together, we win together.
In front of a crowd of 5,000 people, Ariana shared her experience with being a part of UFCW Local 21 in Seattle. “Being in a union has allowed me to negotiate for and win higher wages, good benefits and economic stability. But the truth is, the power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents. I’ve stood up for my friends at work who were being disrespected by management. And I helped them get justice on the job. That’s a powerful feeling. I am a force in my community.”
Evidence shows that union membership increases wages for all workers, but women experience especially large advantages. Women are the primary breadwinners in 38% of American households – paying them less for no reason puts millions of families and communities at a disadvantage.
Back in the other Washington, Ariana has been busy collecting thousands of signatures as the citizen petitioner behind Initiative 1433, a statewide ballot measure which will raise the minimum wage to $13.50 and provide workers with up to seven days of paid sick leave.
6.8 million women in America belong to a union. Thanks to Ariana, more people know why.
June 14, 2016
Story shared in front of 5,000 at White House United State of Women Summit
Ariana with actress and activist Kerry Washington
Washington, D.C. – Today, Ariana Davis, a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) member from Local 21 in Seattle, Washington, shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Oprah at the White House United State of Women Summit.
“The power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents,” said Ariana Davis. “I am respected by workers and managers alike. I am a force in my community. And it’s because I don’t stand alone – I am in a movement with grocery workers and steelworkers and teachers. Together, we have a voice. Together, we can make change.”
The White House United State of Women Summit was put together to provide solutions to key gender equality issues. In 38% of households, women are the primary breadwinners. When women earn less than men for no reason, it negatively impacts families in every community. Working to solve gender equality questions will help hard-working people to live better lives.
- 8 million women in America belong to a union.
- A union contract offers a way to give women both equal pay and an equal say in their workplace.
- Union membership boosts wages for all workers—but women experience especially large advantages.
- The wage gap among union members is less than half the size of the wage gap among non-union workers, and female union members typically earn $230 more per week than women who are not represented by unions—a larger wage premium than men receive.
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
June 1, 2016
This year, UFCW members and locals played an active role in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. The following photos are just a a fraction of the astounding donations of non-perishable food and time volunteered by UFCW folks in their communities. (Click to advance)