UFCW Featured on DealCrunch.com:
UFCW Fights to Improve the Pay and Quality of Life for the Workers Who Bring Value to Retailers and Customers
The members of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union play an often-overlooked role in our daily lives.
Take Super Bowl Sunday for instance. UFCW members work in the industries that provide some of the most popular items on the menus at parties across the country: Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, the Heinz Ketchup for those hot dogs, the Hidden Valley Ranch dressing for the chicken wings, and they even sell the avocados for the guacamole. The Jim Beam for the whiskey and Cokes came from a distillery whose workers are represented by the UFCW, and members made the leather for the footballs used in the game.
“Our members are behind the scenes in all these daily interactions and moments in people’s lives, from the Super Bowl to Christmas,” UFCW Communications Director Erikka Knuti said.
In addition to featuring the hard work UFCW members do and the value they have to offer, DealCrunch also highlighted a number of the education opportunities available to UFCW members and their family members:
Programs Help Prepare Members Through Education & Skills Training
In the modern workplace, businesses and employees both face a significant challenge in managing rapid change. And while companies allocate resources for change in the form of equipment or technology, preparing workers for an evolving workplace is often an afterthought.
The UFCW has introduced multiple programs to help members adapt to changes and progress in their careers and personal lives.
Free College for Career Advancement Opportunities
UFCW members and their families — spouses, domestic partners, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren — receive free tuition toward an online associate’s degree from Eastern Gateway Community College in Ohio. The arrangement covers all fees and ebooks for courses.
The free tuition program initially started with local labor unions in Ohio that recognized cost was the single biggest barrier to finishing college.
Finance, marketing, early childhood education, criminal justice, and accounting are among the degree programs available.
Erikka said in one particular case, the opportunity to pursue an early childhood education degree benefited both a UFCW member and the retail store where she works.
“She is taking early childhood development classes and gaining expertise while working in the baby aisle at her store,” Erikka said.
GED Courses to Help Workers Finish High School
Across the country, many frontline retail and grocery store workers drop out of high school to get a job and help support their families. Erikka said a new UFCW initiative is designed to help them.
“We’re about to roll out a program for people who didn’t finish high school to get their GED,” she said.
A GED will help workers meet qualifications for additional positions and open the door to pursuing an associate’s degree through the free tuition program at Eastern Gateway Community College.
Language Training to Improve Customer Service
English as a second language programs are also available to help UFCW workers better serve customers and advance in their careers. The UFCW will soon offer Spanish as a second language programs as well.
The skills that members learn through language courses will only add to their value in a retail setting, Erikka said.
“It all goes back to the value our members can offer a company,” she said. “The fact that they are taking early childhood development classes to better work in the baby products aisle and are interested in taking Spanish as a second language to better help customers, that is something that should be valued.”