UFCW Press Releases

UFCW Stands with Amazon Workers in Prime Day Strike

America’s Largest Private-Sector Union Backs Amazon Workers in Push to Strengthen Pay, Address Unsafe Working Conditions

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its strong support of the strike by Amazon warehouse workers in Minneapolis on Prime Day to address working conditions at the plant. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement in support of these workers:

“Amazon workers are sending a powerful message to Jeff Bezos this Prime Day: It’s time to stop putting profits ahead of people. With the recent move to one-day Prime shipping, Amazon workers are being forced to meet impossible demands at increasingly unsafe speeds.

“Americans have had enough with a broken economic system that rewards shareholders with billions of dollars while hardworking men and women receive pennies from the very companies they make a success. We are proud to stand with these brave Amazon workers on Prime Day as they fight for what’s right.”

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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

UFCW: Amazon Spending $700 Million to Push Workers Out of Jobs

America’s Largest Private Sector Union Calls for Real Action from Company to Address Unsafe Working Conditions and Efforts to Automate Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million workers in retail and other industries, announced its opposition to Amazon’s new $700 million initiative which aims to continue automating its own workers out of jobs. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Jeff Bezos’s vision is clear – he wants to automate every good job out of existence, regardless of whether it’s at Whole Foods, Amazon warehouses, or competing retail and grocery stores.

“Amazon is throwing money at a problem it created and somehow thinks that it deserves applause. This is an insult to the thousands of Amazon workers who are forced to endure dangerous working conditions and meet impossible demands every day. Amazon has become an economic arsonist that suddenly decided to put out the fires it is starting.

“Our nation’s leaders – from both parties – must wake up. It is time to realize that Amazon’s ruthless business model will lead to massive job losses that could cripple our entire economy. The longer America waits to act, the greater the economic pain we will all suffer – all to further enrich one person – Jeff Bezos.”

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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

 

UFCW: Congressional Passage of Immigration Reform a Victory for Millions of Working Families

Largest U.S. Private-Sector Union Praises House Passage of Bill that Supports Workers and Strengthens the Economy, Urges Swift Approval by Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) praised House passage of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, legislation that would provide much-needed stability to businesses and millions of workers across the economy. UFCW President Marc Perrone, who represents 1.3 million workers across a wide range of industries strengthened by this legislation, released the following statement:

“Today’s House passage of the Dream and Promise Act is a critical step to improving the lives of millions of hard-working men and women who already strengthen our nation’s economy, as well as the communities they call home.

“All of our elected leaders, from both parties, must embrace the truth that providing stability for those who have already passed intensive background checks, pay taxes, and work hard every day to build a better future for all of us is simply the right thing to do.

“Given that this nation was built by generations of immigrants who believed in the promise of this country and worked hard every day to build a better life for their families, it is time for the Senate to join the House and pass this commonsense immigration reform immediately.”

BACKGROUND

The UFCW, which represents 1.3 million workers, is part of a coalition of labor organizations representing workers – including many TPS and DACA recipients – in the service and hospitality, airline catering, laundry, meat packing and food processing, entertainment, transportation, and building and construction industries.

Many of our members and their families maintain TPS and/or DACA status and have been in this country for many years working, building their families, paying taxes, and contributing to the economy. Giving TPS holders and DREAMers a path to citizenship is critical to our unions and to the U.S. economy.

The American Dream and Promise Act will:

  • Protect workers from all TPS designated nations, and their immediate family members, who have had a continuous presence in the U.S.
  • Give these workers a path to legal permanent resident status as well as eventual naturalization
  • Ensure that immigrants who came to the U.S. as children will be able to have a path to permanency as well

Allowing TPS workers to lose their status would have a significant impact on the economy:

  • $967 million in turnover costs for employers
  • $164 billion in lost GDP
  • $6.9 billion in lost Social Security and Medicare payments over a decade.
  • 60,000 TPS families would be forced to drop mortgages.

This bill is needed to ensure that our members can continue to strengthen our economy and contribute to our communities.

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UFCW Praises Congressional Action to Protect America’s Food Safety and Stop Dangerous Pork Plant Change

Largest Private-Sector Union Representing Thousands of Pork Workers Applauds Passage of Amendment to Defund Implementation of USDA Line Speed Increase

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) applauds the House Appropriations Committee for taking steps to protect the safety of food and workers at swine slaughter plants. The legislation passed by the Committee included an amendment championed by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and David Price (NC-04) which aims to halt the USDA proposal that increases pork plant line speeds and puts American workers and consumers at risk. The amendment would prevent the USDA from spending funds to implement the rule. UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement praising today’s vote:

“America’s food safety and the safety of the workers who produce our food must never take a backseat to corporate profits. Today’s vote to defund this dangerous line speed rule makes clear that Congress is ready to honor that commitment and the USDA must do the same.

“Increasing line speeds needlessly threatens the quality and health of America’s food supply and cruelly endangers the lives of workers who help produce that food. The proposed USDA rule would dramatically weaken protections that Americans depend on to be able to select safe, healthy food to feed their families every day.

“Our members in pork plants nationwide understand from firsthand experience that the USDA’s proposed rule would hurt workers, consumers, and our economy. We urge the USDA to stop this rule and do its job to protect American workers and consumers.”

BACKGROUND

The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule proposed by the USDA would hurt workers and consumers.

Hazards of Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection Rule:

  • The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule removes all limitations on line speeds in hog slaughter plants which will endanger the health and safety of tens of thousands of workers in the hog slaughter industry.
  • Even at current line speeds, swine slaughter and processing workers face many job risks that can lead to severe injury, illness and death.
  • There is no evidence that the increased line speeds can be done in a manner that ensures food and worker safety.
  • In 1997, the USDA created a pilot program called the HACCP-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) which allowed five hog slaughter plants to test a new food safety program.  The hog slaughter pilot program revealed serious safety issues including a Clemens food plant in Pennsylvania which reported injuries severe enough that two workers were hospitalized, and one suffered an amputation.
  • The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule provides no requirement or funding to train plant employees on inspection techniques that were previously performed by USDA inspectors and are now their responsibility.
  • Increased line speeds will disproportionally hurt women and people of color.

Key Facts About Swine Workers: 

  • Meatpacking workers in hog slaughter plants work in cold, wet, noisy, and slippery conditions making tens of thousands of forceful repetitive motions on each shift.
  • Research shows that the fast pace in pork plants, coupled with the forceful and repetitive nature of most of the jobs, leads to high rates of injuries and health issues.
  • Meatpacking workers are injured at 2.4 times the rate of other industries. These injuries result in lost time or restrictions at three times the rate of other industries and they face illness rates at 17 times the rate of other industries.
  • The current maximum line speed for swine is 1,106 hogs per hour.
  • The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents 30,000 workers in the pork slaughter industry
  • UFCW members handle 71 percent of all hogs slaughtered and processed in the United States.

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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

UFCW: New USDA Pork Plant Change Needlessly Threatens America’s Food Safety

Largest Private-Sector Union Representing Thousands of Pork Workers Calls on USDA to Stop Inspection Change that Threatens America’s Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) announced its opposition to a new proposal by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which shifts some meat inspection responsibilities from its inspectors to pork plant employees. UFCW President Marc Perrone, who represents thousands of meatpacking workers across the country, released the following statement:

“For over 100 years, USDA inspectors have played a vital role in ensuring the safety of our pork. This change to USDA meat inspection rules would dramatically weaken the critical protections that Americans depend on to be able to select safe, healthy food to feed their families every day.

“Shifting the responsibility onto pork workers, instead of the USDA inspectors who are specifically trained for this critical job, is needlessly reckless and dangerous. Our members in pork plants work incredibly hard already and stand with families across the country to demand USDA keep our food safe and let inspectors do their job.”

BACKGROUND

With the USDA’s test hog-inspection program expected to expand this summer after the agency approves new rules, 35 plants already plan to join the five test plants in using the new program. Together, these plants would produce 90 percent of the pork consumed in the United States.

USDA Meat Inspection Policy Change Impact

  • Federal inspectors on hog slaughter lines at the plants new to the program will be cut from 365 to 218, a 40 percent cut.
  • The overall number of inspectors at those plants will drop from 400 to 288, a decline of 28 percent, according to figures provided by the USDA.
  • The new policy will allow the slaughter-line speeds to run as fast as the plant desires. The current cap on line speed is 1,106 hogs per hour, or 18 per minute.

In its report, the Washington Post notes that food safety groups and the USDA inspectors’ union say they are concerned that “increased line speeds and federal staff reductions on those lines will cause diseased and contaminated meat to slip by the remaining inspectors.” These groups also cite an inherent conflict-of-interest with pork producers overseeing inspections of their own products. Training for those workers, they point out, is also done entirely at the plant owners’ discretion.”

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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

 

UFCW: Amazon Must Address Practices that Harm Workers and Customers

Ahead of Amazon Shareholder Meeting, Largest Private-Sector Union Backs Resolutions to Strengthen Accountability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, ahead of the annual Amazon shareholder meeting in Seattle where a vote will be held on nine resolutions aimed at holding the company accountable for its practices that put employees and customers at risk, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“The growing frustration and anger with the way Amazon and Jeff Bezos do business is real. Year after year, Amazon earns billions in profits on the backs of American taxpayers and its own workers, while ignoring the company’s responsibility to do what is right.

“Today’s shareholder meeting is an opportunity to hold Amazon accountable. These resolutions are about sending a clear message to Amazon and Jeff Bezos that the American people are sick and tired of subsidizing billionaires and huge corporations at the expense of workers and consumers. It’s time for companies like Amazon to realize that they succeed because of their workers – not in spite of them.”

BACKGROUND

Today’s Amazon shareholder meeting will consider nine resolutions supported by a broad coalition of socially responsible investors focused on holding the company accountable for its practices that pose direct threats to employees, customers, and the broader public. A list of the resolutions to be voted on today is below:

  1. Risks of Sales of Facial Recognition Software: Open MIC, Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment
  2. Independent Study of Rekognition: Harrington Investments
  3. Report on Efforts to Address Hate Speech: Nathan Cummings Foundation
  4. Amazon’s Plans for Disruptions Posed by Climate Change: Amazon Employees
  5. Reduce Food Waste: JLens Network
  6. Executive Pay-Incorporate Diversity & Sustainability Metrics: Zevin Asset Management
  7. Independent Board Chair: SumofUs
  8. Majority Vote: Investor Voice
  9. Gender Pay Equity: Arjuna Capital

In November 2018, investors sent a joint letter to Amazon to underscore their concerns and request meaningful dialogue with the company.  The letter was endorsed by 114 investors representing over $2.6 trillion in assets under management, many of whom had varying degrees of prior engagement with Amazon.

Additional concerns were raised by Amazon’s decision to petition the SEC to omit many of the proposals from its proxy. Many investors see the fact that the company has actively sought to avoid addressing these problems in a constructive manner with the investment community as highly troubling.

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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

 

UFCW OUTreach: Passage of Equality Act a Victory for LGBTQ Workers Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) OUTreach Chair Michele Kessler released the following statement praising passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act of 2019, by the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Today’s passage of the Equality Act by the House is a powerful step toward a future where millions of LGBTQ Americans and their families no longer have to worry about facing discrimination at work or in their communities. Too many Americans live in states with outdated laws that leave our LGBTQ neighbors, friends, and family vulnerable to discrimination.

“Everyone deserves equal access to the employment, housing, and education they need to provide for their families and build a better life. We are proud to stand with Americans across the country in support of the Equality Act and urge the Senate to do the right thing and pass this bill immediately.”

BACKGROUND

Despite major advances in equality for LGBTQ Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protection laws.

The Equality Act of 2019 would ensure full federal non-discrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws.

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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

UFCW Statement on Amazon Replacing Workers with Robots

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement in response to a new report that Amazon is rolling out machines to automate the boxing of customer orders, a job held by thousands of its workers:

“Jeff Bezos’s vision for our economy is focused on driving up profits at any cost by replacing talented employees with automation. While Amazon is raking in billions in tax cuts from cities desperate for new jobs, the company is ruthlessly working to eliminate the jobs of thousands of its current employees.

“This comes as Amazon announced it is offering to pay its workers $10,000 to quit their jobs rather than using that money to make Amazon jobs good jobs to begin with. It’s clear that Jeff Bezos cares more about the bottom line than investing in the hardworking employees who made Amazon a success in the first place. This is shameful.

“Our nation’s leaders need to wake up and realize that left unchecked, Amazon’s predatory business model will only continue to wipe out thousands of jobs that have powered our economy for decades. Our families and communities deserve better than this.”

BACKGROUND:

As reported by Reuters, Amazon started adding technology to a handful of warehouses in recent years, which scans goods coming down a conveyor belt and envelops them seconds later in boxes custom-built for each item. The plan shows how Amazon is pushing to boost profits at the expense of its own workers.

  • Amazon has considered installing two machines at dozens more warehouses, removing at least 24 roles at each one, these people said.
  • These facilities typically employ more than 2,000 people.
  • Resulting in more than 1,300 cuts across 55 U.S. fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory.
  • Amazon would expect to recover the costs in under two years, at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses, they said.

This report comes as Amazon announced they are offering up to $10,000 for current Amazon employees in warehouses and other facilities to quit their jobs so that they can start delivering packages for the company instead.

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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

 

UFCW Members Help to Stamp Out Hunger in Communities Across the Country

Union Representing Grocery Workers Across the Country Donates 7 Million Bags of Food to Nation’s Largest Single-Day Food Drive

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union released the following statement on participating in the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) 27th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive on May 11. 

“Every year, Stamp Out Hunger unites Americans across the country to donate food to millions of families in need. With more than 46 million Americans struggling to put food on the table, there has never been a more important time for us to give back. 

“Our members work in grocery stores across the country and know firsthand the impact hunger has in the communities they serve. UFCW is proud to continue serving as a national partner in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Together, we can ensure that millions of Americans are able to receive the food they need to feed their families.”   

UFCW Local Unions across the country supported this incredible cause by collecting food and holding local area events that encouraged people in their communities to donate to Stamp Out Hunger. UFCW represents more than 600,000 grocery workers across the country.

In the last 25 years with support from UFCW and other organizations, the Stamp Out Hunger food drive has collected 1.5 billion pounds of food that was donated to local food banks and other organizations helping to feed the more than 46 million Americans who struggle with hunger.

In the United States, hunger impacts 12 million children, nearly 5 million seniors, and 2.4 million rural households. Additionally, 20 percent of households struggling with hunger include veterans who have served our country. Click here to read more about the communities most impacted by hunger.

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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.

 

UFCW Calls for Congress to Strengthen Rights of American Workers to Join a Union and Protect Good Jobs

Ahead of Congressional Hearing, UFCW Urges Passage of PRO Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today’s House Education & Labor Committee hearing on the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act follows the bill’s introduction by House and Senate Democrats last week and highlights the need for Congress to expand protections for workers to exercise their rights to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. As one of the leading national voices, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“As corporations and billionaires continue to thrive, stagnant wages and anti-worker policies around the country are leaving millions of American workers behind.

“We need to rebuild the middle class and reverse decades of income inequality and that starts with unions. For generations, unions have helped hard-working Americans stand together for higher wages, affordable healthcare, and a secure retirement. The time is now for Congress to pass the PRO Act to protect the rights of workers to join a union and negotiate for the better life they have earned and deserve.”

BACKGROUND

The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act is a bill that will expand protections for workers to exercise their rights to join a union and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions. Workers who join a union earn higher wages and receive stronger healthcare protections than non-union workers:

  • On average, a union worker earns over 13 percent more than a non-union worker with similar education, occupation, and experience in the same sector.
  • Women union members earn 30 percent more than those in non-union workplaces.
  • Workers who are represented by a union are 27 percent more likely to be offered health insurance through work, and nearly five times as likely to have defined-benefit pensions.

In order to help grow the middle class and protect the right of workers to join a union, Congress must strengthen worker protections under federal law. To help achieve that, the PRO Act would:

  • Increase transparency by requiring employers to post a notice in the workplace of workers’ rights and responsibilities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
  • Authorize civil monetary penalties to deter violations of the NLRA.
  • Improve remedies for workers who are retaliated against for exercising their rights to join a union or engage in protected activities—including swift temporary reinstatement, liquidated damages, and the ability to bring cases directly to federal court.
  • Expand coverage of who is deemed an employee under the NLRA to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.
  • Facilitate dispute resolution by requiring mediation and arbitration procedures to help unions and employers conclude a first collective-bargaining agreement.
  • Strengthen the right of workers to strike for basic workplace improvements.
  • Ensure that the National Labor Relations Board’s orders are enforced in a timely manner.
  • Protect the right of workers, whether in a union or not, to engage in collective actions, such as employment-related class action litigation.

Passing the PRO Act is also key to strengthening employer accountability. Currently, the NLRA lacks basic enforcement tools such as civil penalties to deter violations or adequate remedies when workers face unlawful retaliation.

Facing trivial consequences for non-compliance, employers are free to deploy unlawful tactics to deter workers from voting in favor of a union, or to create delays to avoid reaching a first labor agreement as a way to frustrate workers’ rights. The NLRA has few tools to deter persistent violations—such as firing workers who support forming a union.  This has contributed to the erosion of union density, which has decreased from 33.2 percent of the total workforce in 1956 to only 10.5 percent in 2018.

 

UFCW: Stop & Shop Customers and Workers Key to Achieving New Contract

With Final Vote, Stop & Shop Workers Ratify New Contract That Raises Wages, Preserves Health Care and Retirement Benefits 

BOSTON, MA – Tonight, the final vote by Stop & Shop workers in New England was cast with members of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1459 voting overwhelmingly in favor of a new contract. The democratic process for contract negotiations requires members of all five UFCW Local Unions to vote on whether or not to accept the terms of the agreement before contracts are official. UFCW Local 1459 is the last of the five Locals to ratify their contract.

The UFCW released the following statement: 

“New England families have sent a powerful message to corporations across the country – that when standing together, workers and customers can protect the good jobs our communities need. 

“With growing income inequality, we are united by the shared belief that one job should be enough to provide for a family and that hardworking Americans do not have to struggle alone. 

“The relationships that Stop & Shop workers built with customers and the service they provide every day, united our communities. With their hard work, they earned a contract that includes access to affordable health care, better wages, and the ability to plan for their future.” 

BACKGROUND

UFCW Locals (328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459), representing the 31,000 Stop & Shop workers across New England, reached a Tentative Agreement on Sunday April 21 and began a series of ratification votes across Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut starting April 24 and concluding this evening. For members of a union, the final step in the negotiating process is the vote workers take to approve their contract.

The new contracts for New England Stop & Shop workers will achieve the following:

 Health & Welfare

  • All Stop & Shop members will continue to have access to affordable & quality healthcare that maintains eligibility for spouses

Sunday Premium Pay

  • Full and part-time Stop & Shop members will have their Sunday premium pay protected

Sick Time, Personal Days Paid Holidays

  • There will be no reduction in sick time, personal days, or paid holidays for any current or future Stop & Shop member

Pensions

  • All pensions will be maintained and fully funded

Wages

  • All new Stop & Shop members will have a guaranteed pathway to earn above the state’s minimum wage
  • All Stop & Shop members moving from part-time to full-time will have a wage increase

Ratification of new contracts for each Local follows the action earlier this month by 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who walked off their jobs on April 11th to protest the company’s proposed cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.

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