Friday, November 21, 2014

UFCW President Hansen Statement in Response to President Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration

WASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to President Obama’s plan to take executive action on immigration.

“Today the President announced he will take belated but necessary action to provide relief to immigrant workers, families, and communities. Make no mistake—this is not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform. But it will prevent the deportation of many immigrants who would have qualified for citizenship under the Senate bill that passed over 500 days ago.

“For nearly a year and a half, the House Republican leadership has refused to take action to fix our broken immigration system. The President has both a legal right and moral responsibility to step in.

“At the UFCW, this has been our fight for decades. Our members and their families have persevered through raids and deportations. UFCW members have mobilized to defeat racist ballot initiatives and our union has assisted workers with the legalization process while negotiating contracts that protect our members where the law fails to. All along, those in UFCW gold have lobbied for comprehensive immigration reform at protests, marches, rallies, town halls, and just yesterday, in front of the White House.

“We will continue to call on Congress to send legislation to the President’s desk. But with no bill to sign, President Obama is rightly using his pen to provide relief to those who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. Executive action is not all we need or deserve. But it is a step in the right direction and for that we are thankful.”


En español:
WASHINGTON, D.C. Joe Hansen, el presidente internacional de la Unión Internacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de Alimentos y del Comercio (UFCW, por sus siglas en inglés), publicó hoy la siguiente declaración en respuesta al plan del presidente Obama de llevar a cabo una acción ejecutiva sobre la inmigración.

“El Presidente anunció hoy que tomará medidas algo tardías pero necesarias para prestar asistencia a trabajadores, familias y comunidades de inmigrantes. Que quede claro: esto no sustituye de ninguna manera la necesidad de una reforma migratoria integral, pero servirá para prevenir la deportación de muchos inmigrantes que hubieran reunido los requisitos necesarios para obtener la ciudadanía de acuerdo con el proyecto de ley del Senado que se aprobó hace más de 500 días.

Por casi un año y medio, los líderes de republicanos de la Cámara de Representantes se han negado a tomar medidas para arreglar nuestro sistema de inmigración roto. Es tanto el derecho legal como la responsabilidad moral del Presidente intervenir en este asunto.

En la UFCW, esta ha sido nuestra lucha por décadas. Nuestros miembros y sus familias han perseverado a pesar de las redadas y las deportaciones. Los miembros de la UFCW se han movilizado para combatir las iniciativas electorales racistas y nuestra unión ha asistido a los trabajadores con el proceso de legalización y con los contratos negociados que protegen a nuestros miembros en los casos en los que la ley no lo hace. Desde el principio,  aquellos que participan en el programa Gold de la UFCW han cabildeado para lograr una reforma migratoria integral por medio de protestas, marchas, mitines, asambleas públicas y ayer específicamente, frente a la Casa Blanca.

Continuaremos exigiéndole al Congreso que envíe legislación al despacho del Presidente. Pero mientras no haya proyecto de ley para firmar, el presidente Obama ha decidido usar su bolígrafo, en pleno uso de sus derechos, para proporcionar asistencia a aquellos que intentan construir una vida mejor para sí mismos y para sus familias. Esta acción ejecutiva no es todo lo que necesitamos ni todo lo que merecemos. Pero sí es un paso en la dirección correcta y por eso estamos sumamente agradecidos”.

###
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit www.ufcw.org, or join our online community at www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational and www.twitter.com/ufcw.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stop & Shop Negotiations Update



On Thursday, November 13tth, our negotiating committee met with Stop & Shop officials to begin negotiations.  We submitted our initial proposals and will meet again tomorrow, Monday November 17th, where we expect Stop & Shop to submit their proposals.

Here is our calendar of the current scheduled negotiations to date:
Thursday, November 13th
Monday, November 17th
Monday, December 4th

We'll be keeping you updated digitally through emails, our social networks and on our website ufcw1500.org.  So, if you know any coworkers that would like to be on our Stop & Shop Contract Update list, please sign them up here, or tell them to send us an email.

Thank you and in Solidarity,

Tony Speelman
Secretary-Treasurer
UFCW Local 1500




Friday, November 14, 2014

What's News This Week: Top 13 Stories.

FEATURED
 
 
The memo, marked “highly sensitive,” tells Walmart marketing managers to make sure that the company’s 4,965 United States stores discount aging meat and baked goods to maximize the chance that those items will sell before their expiration dates. The memo — leaked for public use by a Walmart manager unhappy about under-staffing — also tells stores to be sure to “rotate” dairy products and eggs, which means removing expired items and adding new stock at the bottom and back of display cases.
 
Related:
 
The sit-in was live-streamed on blackfridayprotests.org. Take action and participate in the Black Friday protests that the workers are planning to hold on 28 November.
WHAT'S NEWS THIS WEEK
 
Workers at a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco’s South of Market  neighborhood are demanding higher wages and the right to collective bargaining without being reprimanded by management. Specific demands include a $5 wage increase, better working conditions, a comprehensive health plan with affordable premiums and deductibles, and no retaliation for forming a union. Whole Foods — a company that has long preached a philosophy of corporate benevolence — is the second-largest non-union food retailer in the country.
 
 
President Obama will ignore angry protests from Republicans and announce as soon as next week a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration enforcement system that will protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits, according to administration officials who have direct knowledge of the plan.
 
 

Stop & Shop has partnered with AARP to provide free supermarket store tours for Long Island, N.Y., seniors.
 
 
The second new concept store makes its Queens debut.
 
 
McDonald’s Corp. and other franchise companies are preparing a major public campaign to fight a recent National Labor Relations Board determination that could hold them responsible for the labor practices of their franchisees.
 
 
 
States are raising their own minimum wage higher than Congress' suggestion.
 
8. President Obama Speaks Out on Net-Neutrality
If you haven't heard of Net-Neutrality, well, you should read about it now.
 
The nation’s four postal unions are mobilizing a National Day of Action on Nov. 14, to send a powerful message to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the United States Postal Service Board of Governor’s: Stop Delaying America’s Mail.
 
 
Exotic dancers at a midtown Manhattan strip club were awarded nearly $10.9 million by a U.S. judge who found they were employees unfairly classified by the club as independent contractors.
 
 
For the first time in history, federal contract workers at the U.S. Capitol building walked off the job Thursday, fighting for a $15 minimum wage, better benefits and the right to unionize. They joined workers from the Pentagon, the Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo and other federal contract workers in the nation’s capital.
 
She told Pablo S. Torre of ESPN the Magazine, "Let's call it what it is. [Without the players,] [t]here. Would. Be. No. Money. Thirty more owners can come in, and nothing will change. These guys [the players] go? The game will change. So let's stop pretending."
 
 
 
 
Editorial of the Week:
 
This one hurts, a Canadian writes an open letter to Americans giving us a reality check of all the progress President Obama has made since taking over for George W. Bush.
 
 
 
Photo of the week via #WalmartStrikers:

1600 Protests at Walmart Scheduled for Black Friday

This just in from Our Walmart, there will be an enormous 1,600 protests on Black Friday! Wow.  The movement has grown so much to fight back against the world's largest/wealthiest retailer, each year Black Friday protests are getting larger.  To find a protest near you please visit: blackfridayprotests.org



Here's the press release:


WALMART WORKERS ANNOUNCE BLACK FRIDAY STRIKES

Tens of thousands of teachers, voters, clergy, environmentalists, civil rights leaders to join workers at 1600 protests, calling on Walton family to pay $15 an hour and provide full-time work

NATIONWIDE – In the wake of the first-ever sit down strike at Walmart, members of OUR Walmart announced today that they will strike across the country on Black Friday in protest of the company’s illegal silencing of workers who are standing up for better jobs. Tens of thousands of Americans said they plan to support workers that day at 1600 protests nationwide—the largest mobilization of working families—calling on Walmart’s owners to raise wages to a minimum of $15 an hour and provide consistent, full-time work.

Even as Walmart brings in $16 billion in annual profits and Walmart’s owners—the Waltons—build on their $150 billion in wealth, the majority of Walmart workers are paid less than $25,000 a year.

“Walmart’s low pay business model isn’t working for our families, for our customers and for the company, but change is possible,” said Barbara Gertz, a Walmart associate from Colorado. “Walmart needs to listen to workers like us about how to fix these problems by adding hours and improving pay so that we can get the job done. Threatening and firing us for speaking out about how to improve the stores is illegal and shortsighted. That’s why I’m going on strike on Black Friday and why so many of my co-workers are joining me.”

The unprecedented Black Friday mobilization comes as an increasing number of Americans and Walmart workers point to OUR Walmart as making significant changes at the country’s largest retailer. Most recently, after public calls from OUR Walmart, the company committed to raise wages for its lowest paid workers and rolled out a new scheduling system that allows workers to sign up for open shifts. To date, workers at more than 2,100 Walmart stores nationwide have signed a petition calling on Walmart and the Waltons to publicly commit to paying $15 an hour and providing consistent, full-time hours.

A broad group of Americans who plan to protest on Black Friday, including tens of thousands of teachers, voters, members of the clergy, elected officials, civil rights leaders and women’s rights activists say America’s largest employer and richest family are driving the income inequality problems that are holding the country back. In Washington, residents plan to protest at all 60 Walmart stores in the state. In other states, Americans are planning flash mobs, marches and prayer vigils to support striking Walmart workers and call on the company to improve jobs.

"Shame on Walmart and the Waltons for creating a reality where many Walmart workers say they can't even afford to give their kids Thanksgiving dinner because of their low pay. As someone who has dedicated her career to helping children grow and achieve their dreams, that tears me apart," said teacher and AFT New Mexico President Stephanie Ly. "This Black Friday, teachers, parents and students will all be out protesting at Walmart like never before saying we've had enough. Walmart needs to raise pay and provide full-time work now so workers can feed and support their families."

The Black Friday strikes and protest announcement comes on the heels of the first-ever sit down strikes in company history in Los Angeles, where workers sat down in Crenshaw and Pico Rivera stores, and 23 people were arrested. Los Angeles is also the site of the first-ever strikes at Walmart. The group of striking workers, from stores throughout California, placed tape over their mouths signifying the company’s illegal efforts to silence workers who are calling for better jobs. Striking workers held signs resembling those of the first retail sit-down strike at Woolworth in 1937, when retail workers at the then-largest retailer in the country called for the company to increase pay, provide a 40-hour work week and stop the retaliation against workers who spoke out.

“While today, the disparity of wealth and poverty in the U.S. is just as outrageous as it was during the Great Depression, Walmart is far larger and more global than Woolworth’s ever was, and thus even more dangerous,” said labor historian Dana Frank. “Like the Woolworth's women in 1937, the workers in OUR Walmart are challenging a mass retailer with tentacles all over the world to treat its employees with respect, and inspiring a growing national movement against inequality and for the just treatment of all working people.”

A growing number of Americans say Walmart and its owners are robbing workers of a decent living by paying the majority of associates poverty wages and manipulating their hours. The Walton family, which controls the Walmart empire, is the richest family in the U.S.—with the wealth of 43% of American families combined. While many Walmart workers are unable to feed and clothe their families, the Walton family takes in $8.6 million a day in Walmart dividends alone to build on its $150 billion in wealth. Walmart brings in $16 billion in annual profits.

###
UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Walmart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Walmart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Walmart publicly commit to adhere to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of its employees.


Friday, November 7, 2014

Top 13 Stories This Week: Republicans Crush It, Voters Want High-er Wages

FEATURED
The most expensive midterm election by far was this week, and it seems to have paid off for the Koch Brothers and Republicans....Even more, they aren't done, the Freedom Partners Action Fund has already plunked down $2.1 million for the Louisiana runoff.
LOCAL FEATURE
Negotiations began with King Kullen last week, and will begin with Stop & Shop next week.
WHAT'S NEWS THIS WEEK
Hear her reaction to the election, and her plans for New York.
The two mega retailers are refusing to open on Thanksgiving.
Checkout this old advertisement, produced by our President, Bruce Both, & Secretary-Treasurer, Tony Speelman, in the early 90's.
FedEx, Pepsi, Ikea & hundreds of other companies channel 100s of billions thru Luxembourg to save billions in taxes.
The global oil supply has increased and demand has weakened, prices are down to about $80 a barrel, a more than 25 percent drop since June, and recently fell to a three-year low.
The wage increase won its biggest margin of victory in Alaska, where it garnered 69 percent of the vote. In Arkansas, it received 65 percent; in Nebraska, 59 percent approved raising the minimum wage, while in South Dakota, the margin was 53 percent.
8. Trumka Calls on Obama for Immediate Action on Immigration
Wasting no time after the midterm elections, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka immediately stepped back into the policy arena, calling on President Barack Obama to take executive action on immigration.
A group of San Francisco cabdrivers in mid-August voted to unionize for the first time in decades. Three weeks ago, the alliance passed the 550 paid members requirement and the affiliation ceremony by the National Taxi Workers Alliance took place Monday, enabling members to access union resources when the taxi industry most needs them.

The group announced Thursday in Brussels that it has signed an agreement to sell Bottom Dollar Food's 66 store locations in the greater Philadelphia and greater Pittsburgh markets to Aldi for approximately $15 million.
Editorials of the Week:
Why is Congress needed to force corporations to help build our nation?
A profile of Unite Here member: Gabriela Ochoa is a vivacious woman who buses tables at the Landings Restaurant at the Holiday Inn near Los Angeles International Airport, a job she has held since 2001.
Photo of the week via State Dems:

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