March 20, 2020
America’s Largest Grocery Worker Union & Safeway Announce $2 an Hour Pay Increase for Safeway Employees on the Front Lines of the Outbreak
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, and other industries, applauded the move by Safeway to provide a two-dollar-per-hour increase in pay for its grocery workers across the country during the coronavirus outbreak.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“After close talks between Safeway and UFCW, the union representing over 1.3 million grocery store and food processing workers, we are proud to support the significant wage increase adopted by Safeway, one of America’s largest supermarket companies. “Safeway and the UFCW both recognize that grocery store workers are on the frontlines of this crisis. They are vital to our food supply, and serving the needs of millions of American families. “What Safeway did today shows real leadership. They worked with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all grocery workers are making every single day across this nation. This pay increase will not only help protect these workers and support their families, it will also ensure they are able to continue to perform an absolutely vital role in our communities. “We hope that this sends a message to every supermarket, grocery store, and food retail employer – union and non-union – across this country that it is time for every company to recognize the sacrifice America’s food workers are making – sacrifices that Safeway has rightfully recognized and which other companies must also recognize. “At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, it is critical that every employer do more to protect our food supply and grocery stores by protecting the hardworking men and women who work there and keep them open.”
Earlier this week, UFCW Local Unions 21, 367, and 1439 in Washington State announced a deal with Safeway as well as Albertsons and Fred Meyer/QFC grocery stores to provide two weeks of paid leave for these workers, strengthen childcare access, and protect healthcare coverage for any workers who become sick.
In Missouri, UFCW Local Union 655 also secured a deal for local grocery workers to waive all co-pays for coronavirus testing, maintain pay for those who become sick, and expand access to telemedicine with zero out-of-pocket costs.
UFCW also recognized Michigan, Minnesota, and Vermont this week for designating their states’ grocery workers as front line responders, expanding access to free childcare as these employees continue to help local families during this crisis.
The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.
February 4, 2017
Aside from Thanksgiving, Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day. UFCW members in grocery stores and in food processing plants across the country have been working hard to prep the meats, cheese trays, deli sandwiches, veggie platters and other great game day snacks we all love.
“This is one of the busiest times of the year for my store,” said Earl Greenlawn, a member of UFCW Local 367 who works at Kroger. “Leading up to Super Bowl Sunday, my co-workers and I put in long hours preparing food and helping customers plan their menus. We love knowing that our hard work makes it easy for people to enjoy the game with their friends and family.”
So what exactly is everyone eating during the Big Game?
1. A whole bunch of wings. Like, 1.33 BILLION wings.
Collectively, American shoppers are predicted to consume enough wings this Super Bowl that if the entire population of the United States came over for snacks, everybody could each eat four wings and there would still be plenty of leftovers.
How many wings is 1.33 billion? So many wings, that if an NFL player ate two wings per minute, it would take him 1,265 years, 80 days, 7 hours and 12 minutes to eat them all.
2. Ranch Dressing
We’re guessing this isn’t for salads. If you needed more reasons to love ranch dressing, not only was it invented by a cowboy, but UFCW members make Hidden Valley Ranch.
The Super Bowl is the busiest day of the year for pizza take out. But it’s not just take out— January also has the highest sales of frozen pizza, in part from shoppers stockpiling grub for their Super Bowl parties. Pizza delivery drivers— our hearts are with you. Godspeed.
According to Nielsen, Americans spend $277 million on potato chips and $225 million on tortilla chips in the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
Avocados are a superfood. We don’t have to feel guilty about the avocados, right? Even if we eat 104.9 million pounds of them?
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.