Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Food Policy, Food-Deserts, Affordable Food

In the last week there has been plenty of media attention on creating access to healthy, affordable food throughout America.  Here's a quick update

Michelle Obama has aligned herself with Walmart (again) in order to create fresh produce and healthy foods throughout lacking areas (food deserts) across the United States.  (Meanwhile the Washington Post found Michelle Obama eating a 1,700 calorie meal Shake Shack last week) 

UFCW International President Joe Hansen released a statement, challenging the White House to demand better jobs from Walmart.

The initiative (we helped start in NYC years ago) has retailers salivating to open in what were once unappealing sites now that Michelle Obama has backed it. [SN]

In New York City, City Harvest has addressed the needs in specific areas.

Chase has offered to fund supermarket improvements in Food-Deserts.

Last week the NLRB held hearings on proposed rule changes, Supermarket News recaps arguments from both sides, labor and management.

UFCW International President Challenges White House: Tell Walmart to Create Good Jobs & End the Poverty Cycle

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following statement was issued today by Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), in advance of an event in the White House in which First Lady Michelle Obama recognizes retailers who are willing to expand their business into under served areas. Walmart is among the attendees.

 “The First Lady’s commitment to addressing childhood obesity in the U.S. is laudable and the UFCW commends her for her enthusiasm for such a worthy endeavor. But with income disparity between the rich and the poor at more extreme levels than during the Great Depression, Walmart must be held accountable for its track record of lower standards for millions of retail workers.

“Walmart is more responsible than any other private employer in our country for creating poverty-level jobs that leave workers unable to purchase healthy food or provide a good life for their families.

 “I met Walmart Associate Girshreila Green last month who told me that she got her job at the inner-city Crenshaw Walmart in Los Angeles through the welfare-to-work program. And after three years of work and an excellent employment record at what she calls the ‘ghetto Walmart,’ Girshreila still has a welfare card in her pocket, right along with her Walmart I.D. and Walmart discount card.

 “There is no economic justification that our nation’s largest private employer should pay wages so low that any of its employees qualify for public assistance. But the fact that tens of thousands of Walmart associates qualify and utilize food stamps, Medicare, and Medicaid is reason enough that the White House should join with our union and tell Walmart – enough is enough.

 “Our national economic crisis is made worse by companies like Walmart suppressing wages for its 1.4 million hourly workers who live and work in communities across the country.

“Walmart claims it wants to open stores in urban markets like Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and other major cities. Workers, community leaders and consumers in each of those cities have called on Walmart to commit to providing good jobs that pay wages high enough to improve the lives of workers in those cities. The fact is, when Walmart opens in a community, it replaces what were good jobs with poverty-level ones. Walmart continues to drive the cycle of poverty by lowering wage rates and preventing associates from lifting themselves out of economic insecurity.

 “Millions of grocery workers serve communities of every income level and hold good jobs with fair wages, affordable health care, and a voice on the job. The White House should laud employers who are fueling economic recovery by creating good jobs where workers can afford to take care of their families and buy the healthy food their children deserve.”

 Videos of Girshreila Green speaking out about her experience as a Walmart associate can be found at: http://vimeo.com/26640913 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTEuBHSvfFg

 Making Change at Walmart seeks to promote the American values of equality, dignity and respect in the workplace. The campaign is making change by working directly with Walmart Associates to claim the respect on the job they deserve, holding Walmart corporate managers accountable to hourly employees and the public for their practices and joining with community leaders in major cities across America to make sure that any new jobs offered by Walmart meet strong standards for healthy, growing communities.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Photos from the Blood Drive!

Here's some pics from Wednesday's Blood Drive!  Thanks to all who helped make this day a success!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Summer BBQ and Blood Drive

After blood donationImage by acroamatic via FlickrThanks to everyone who came out to our first Summer BBQ and Blood Drive. We were able to donate 92 units of blood over the course of six hours. Hope everyone enjoyed the food and refreshments and congratulations to the raffle winners. Another thanks to the nurses and rest of the staff who were very professional and did a great job. It was nice to see our members and their families coming together for a good cause. Once again thank you to all those that participated in helping save a life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday News @ Noon

Black and white logo of the National Labor Rel...The National Labor Relations Board is currently holding hearings on the proposed rule changes for union certifications at workplaces....Here is UFCW Executive Vice President, Pat O'Neill's testimony. [UFCW Blog]

Here is the full statement from the UFCW International regarding the proposed NLRB changes.

The LA Times says the rule changes are sensible and should be adopted.

Politico says this will change the scape of union organizing for the future.

Great Read: Commentary: Put an end to the stalling tactics for unionizing votes.

Supermarket News covered the UFCW's release on A&P's second proposal.

Fresh & Greens makes its U.S. debut.

Initially Philadelphia was getting a Pathmark.  After A&P's bankruptcy a proposed supermarket was in limbo, now A&P announced they'll complete the project, but open the store as a Superfresh instead.

Stop & Shop contributed over $128,000 to Tornado victims.

UFCW Local 1776 and Rite Aid have reached a tentative agreement on new labor contracts covering about 2,600 workers in the company’s stores in Greater Philadelphia, the Reading area and Northeast Pennsylvania.

The UFCW Blog: Day 2: NLRB Open Meeting on Proposed Changes to Un...

Color logo of the National Labor Relations Boa...Image via WikipediaThe National Labor Relations Board is currently holding hearings on the proposed rule changes for union certifications at workplaces....Last month at Valley Stream Target, we clearly saw the need for rule changes.  Target had little respect for the law, and utilized the months prior to the election to sufffocate employees with anti-union propaganda.  Today, UFCW Executive VP Pat O'Neill will be testifying on behalf of the UFCW. Check out UFCW International Blog:

The UFCW Blog: Day 2: NLRB Open Meeting on Proposed Changes to Un...: "This morning, the National Labor Relations Board dives into day two of a public hearing on its proposed rules to improve the election process..."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Mornin' News Briefs

The Associated Press writes how the recent organizing drive in Valley Stream could end Target's honeymoon: "Target's Honeymoon Could be Over."

Seeking Alpha asks "What's ailing Walmart's stock?"

Local 1500 President, Bruce Both has released an update on A&P/Pathmark bankruptcy.

Talks for Walmart in Brooklyn intensify, report by the Wall Street Journal. More @TheRealDeal.

A Superfresh in Maryland will be taken over by a Shoppers Food & Pharmacy this month, the company said it's working with the UFCW to retain jobs.

Fight to unionize T-Mobile goes global [DailyKos]

UFCW Local 5 won an election last week at a Macy's Furniture store in California.

A recent survey shows consumers don't believe that Walmart has the lowest prices anymore, the survey also shows consumers believe Walmart's prices are "slightly lower" than grocery stores. [FOX]

The San Diego Reader recaps the July 15th rally in support of UFCW members negotiating a new contract in California.

ESPN's Rick Reilly wrote an Anti-Union column, American Rights at Work had something to say about it.

A&P/Pathmark Update; July 18, 2011

To All Local 1500 members working at Pathmark (A&P):

All 13 of the UFCW Locals involved with A&P remain united and determined to work and negotiate jointly as we move through this process. Late in the day on Wednesday, July 13th, the Local unions received a second proposal from the company. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more apparent that the company is not listening or does not believe us when we say that we will not allow them to take advantage of this situation. Their second proposal is not much different than their initial, as they seem intent on placing the full burden of their recovery plan squarely on the shoulders of You – Our members!

In their latest proposal, the company is still seeking hundreds of layoffs, drastic wage reductions, elimination of Sunday premiums, and changes that would jeopardize your pension. As if it is not enough for them to reach into your pocket, they are also seeking language changes that we believe do not provide them with any real savings. These proposed changes, categorized as “Managements Rights” would decimate many of your union protections and severely endanger your job security. As part of their latest proposal the company is seeking to “Rightsize the Workforce,” which is a corporate term for the layoff of hundreds of people. Included in the proposal are language changes that would allow them to change how they conduct that layoff.

They are seeking changes to our seniority rights and bumping procedures that would make it easier for them to conduct a layoff and realize a savings through the elimination of rate retention. This would allow them to layoff the least senior people and replace them with people with more seniority at the rate of pay of those that they laid off! It is becoming more and more apparent that the company believes that they will be able to get what they want – when they want it! And they expect you to give it to them! It is that thought process that allowed them to give millions of dollars in bonuses to their executives and 2 months later expect you to accept these unreasonable and devastating concessions. They are mistaken!

As we have said from the beginning, we are willing to help this company with their financial recovery but will not allow them to take advantage of the situation but they do not seem to be listening. We have been working hard to avoid a Strike, but we must be prepared for one! While we still hope one can be avoided, it is something that is becoming more of a possibility! Should a Strike become necessary, our Local Unions are ready, are you? We are asking all of our UFCW members working at A&P to begin to prepare themselves for a possible strike. A&P must understand that we are willing to Chip In - Not Give In!

Please contact us for any questions of concerns you may have, info@ufcw1500.org or by contacting your union representative at 1-800-522-0456. 

In Solidarity,

Bruce W. Both, President

Anthony Speelman, Secretary-Treasurer

Friday, July 15, 2011

AP: Target's Honeymoon Could be Over

The headline says it all.  Yesterday, the Associated Press wrote about the Target workers from Valley Stream (NY) who began the movement change a billion dollar company. The movement derived from a group of workers uniting together and demanding respect.

Target's response? An all out blitzkrieg of anti-union propaganda and intimidation.  From anti-union websites  (which was conveniently taken down, head here for a recap on it) to anti-union videos to dispersing literature which threatened to close the store if the union won, Target took no consideration for labor laws or their team members.  Lying to team members about what would happen if the union won was a decision to choose more profits and lucrative raises for execs rather than respect for their employees.  Target's honeymoon is over, the national attention from the election at Valley Stream showed the American public the type of company they really are, one who has little respect for the hard working people who make their company so successful.  Target still has the opportunity to change, and they should start by respecting their employees.

Check out the AP Story here: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g2SKMVezanZJIzYQIrcwI-SeGUAA?docId=51177466b85642beb08509b22672b16b

Help the movement grow, suggest Target Change (www.facebook.com/targetchange) to your co-workers and friends!

UFCW Local 1500 Summer BBQ and Blood Drive

On Wednesday July 20th, UFCW Local 1500 will be holding their first annual Summer BBQ & Blood Drive (for the NY Blood Center).  We'll be BBQing in the parking lot, giving away prizes and having a great time!  We hope you can join us.  You can RSVP on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=205765262784479#!/event.php?eid=205765262784479

You don’t need a special reason to give blood.

You just need your own reason.

  • Some of us give blood because we were asked by a friend.
  • Some know that a family member or a friend might need blood some day.
  • Some believe it is the right thing we do.
Whatever your reason, the need is constant and your contribution is important for a healthy and reliable blood supply.  And  you’ll feel good knowing you've helped change a life.

Please PRE-REGISTER your appointment to give blood by contacting us @ 1-800-522-0456 ext. 1312 or by emailing us info@ufcw1500.org.

Eligibility Criteria:

-Bring ID with signature of Photo
-Min weight 110 lbs.
-Ages 16-75
-Eat well (low fat) and drink fluids
-No Tattoos for the past 12 months

Walk-ins are welcome, but scheduling is encouraged.

Download the flyer to print! English or Espanol

Can't give blood? No problem! You can volunteer to help out by contacting us!

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you on Wednesday, July 20th!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday News Recaps @ Noon: Tengelmann A&P Exit Expected, New Fairway Markets

Eight (8) former Superfresh stores (parent, A&P) were taken over by Fresh & Green's, some stores have already opened, while a few are still under renovations.

REPORT: Tengelmann Group to exit A&P in bankruptcy process...

A&P launched a new brand of organic local chickens....More @PhillyBlurbs.

Target will offer groceries and fresh food in Canada. More @CTV.  The Wall Street Journal predicts their Canadian entry will affect other American retailers there.

Long Island Herald: Labor Board Reviews Target Valley Stream Union Vote.

Target told Valley Stream employees they couldn't afford to give raises to them...But they did find a way to spend $760,000 on lobbying in 1Q.

Walmart cozies up to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The Brooklyn Rail: No Place for Walmart.
Walmart in New York City is far from inevitable. As one market analyst put it, Walmart needs New York City more than New York City needs Walmart, thus echoing the views of other company watchers. The company has grown desperate, but its urban growth strategy in still largely untested and unproven. So opponents feel that they can escalate their campaign and make it much harder for Walmart to come in.
Great Read: Bloomberg News: With Walmart's Sex Suit Win, The Jokes on Women.


Albertsons announced last week they'll be removing their self checkouts in order to focus on more customer service.

Fairway Market is making lease deals to open a store in Passaic County in New Jersey and another in South Shore in Nassau County next year. The grocery chain will also open a store in Rockland County in 2013.  Read more @ Wall Street Journal.

In Amityville, NY, a new Stop & Shop is currently being built, though the sign color scheme was not allowed according to a town law, the town's planning board has just OK'd the new color scheme. [Newsday]

Stop & Shop also debuted 'Scan IT! Mobile', allowing shoppers to complete their entire purchase on their iphone.

In the wake of two closing supermarkets in Greenburgh, NY, two more will open this year. [lohud]

Aldi wants to open up in Buffalo (NY), but some law makers are skeptical on it drawing business away from small, local shops.

Ahold has named a new pharmacy SVP.

Thousands of SoCal Union members are supporting grocery workers fighting for a new contract.

Here's an update on California UFCW negotiations....[KDAF] [LA Times]

An HBO Documentary of the Stella D'Oro strike is being released, telling the workers story. 

Via UFCW: MoveOn.org is launching a new effort--and they need our help. The goal is to help create a "Contract for the American Dream"—a people-powered plan for creating an economy that works for ALL of us. UFCW members and allies can play a key role in this effort: helping to choose the best ideas for fixing our economy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7 Update for all Local 1500 Pathmark Members

Dear Pathmark member,

The UFCW Local 1500 A&P bankruptcy negotiating team continues to meet with company officials and other effected Unions. Two meetings were held this week: Tuesday July 5th and Wednesday July 6th. At both meetings, information was exchanged and proposals were discussed. These are very difficult negotiations and they continue to move slowly.

The next round of meetings are expected to be held in approximately 10-to 14 days. As always, we will keep you updated on any developments that may result from our meeting with the company. Please remember the following:

1. Stay united. We are all in this together and together is the only way we can succeed.

2. Please ignore all the rumors and count on your Union to deliver you the most up to date information to you.

3. Stay in touch with your Union Representative and Shop Steward.

4. Visit the Union web site and Facebook page for information.

5. Should you want to email us information or questions, please do so at info@ufcw1500.org

6. Show your solidarity by wearing your buttons. If you need more, speak to your Union Representative.

Thank you for continued patience as our Union deals with this crisis. It is only with your tremendous support and solidarity that we will help turn this company around.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Morning One-Liners:

Supermarket News reported the Tenglemann family is looking for an exit out of A&P.

Stories broke on BJ's Wholesale Club's sale last week, and now there is an investor suing the company because the sale price of $2.8 billion is "grossly inadequate" Read it at Bloomberg.

UFCW Local 1262 President Harvey Whille was interviewed in Sunday's Exec Access in the New Jersey Record.  President Whille discusses A&P, unionization in retail and workers' rights.

The Delaware News Journal reports that ShopRite is "cleaning up" as the new supermarket king in the northeast.