UFCW Press Releases

Vice President Joe Biden Speaks at Rally in Support of UFCW Stop & Shop Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 18, 2019

 MEDIA CONTACT:
Jessica Raimundo
jraimundo@ufcw.org
202-251-9459

BOSTON, MA – Today, Vice President Joe Biden joined United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) President Marc Perrone at a rally in support of the 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who walked off their jobs on April 11 to protest the company’s proposed cuts to health care, take-home pay, and other benefits.

Perrone said, “The 31,000 hard-working men and women of Stop & Shop are fighting for what all New Englanders want – affordable health care, a better wage, and to be treated right by the company they made successful. The truth is that Stop & Shop and its parent company make billions of dollars in profits and offer pennies to its workers and their families. It is wrong and it must stop. It is time for Stop & Shop to stop proposing brutal and unreasonable cuts that will hurt the very people who proudly serve customers and their families across New England.”

Joining Vice President Biden and UFCW President Perrone at today’s rally were:

  • Stop & Shop workers from across New England
  • Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
  • S. Senator Edward Markey (MA)
  • Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg,
  • Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman,
  • Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien,

BACKGROUND

Five UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since January 14th.

Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profit last year and has authorized over $4 billion in stock buybacks for shareholders over the past 3 years. The company’s latest proposal includes the following drastic cuts:

  • Requiring the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 in weekly health care premiums over three years and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.
  • Reducing the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent and reducing the monthly pension benefit for many part-time employees by up to 72.2 percent.

Protesting Health Care, Take Home Pay, & Customer Service Cuts, Stop & Shop Workers Walk off Job

31,000 UFCW Members From Across New England Protest Stop & Shop Cuts That Hurt Workers, Customers, and Local Communities

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Today, 31,000 members of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 who work at Stop & Shop are walking off their jobs to protest the company’s proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care, take home pay, and customer service as well as unlawful conduct.

The proposed cuts by Stop & Shop, whose parent company earned $2 billion in profits in 2018, would devastate health care benefits, significantly increase health care costs, and decrease take home pay. Stop & Shop’s proposed cuts would also have a negative and severe impact on customer service, including the very cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks, and butchers that Stop & Shop customers rely on.

The members of the five UFCW Locals released the following joint statement:

“Our 31,000 members who work at Stop & Shop work incredibly hard to provide the great customer service that has made the company billions of dollars in profit and the top grocery store in New England. Instead of a contract that recognizes the value and hard work that our members provide every day, Stop & Shop has only proposed drastic and unreasonable cuts to health care benefits and take home pay, while replacing real customer service with more serve-yourself checkout machines. 

“The hard-working men and women at over 240 stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are standing together to tell Stop & Shop that it is time to do the right thing. The men and women who make Stop & Shop a success have earned and deserve affordable health care, a good wage, and the ability to retire with dignity. They have earned and deserve a good job that allows them to do what they do best: provide the very best customer service for New England communities.

“What Stop & Shop workers don’t deserve, and what no one who works hard in New England deserves, are unreasonable cuts while the company they work so hard for makes billions of dollars in profits. That is wrong and it sends a terrible message to every customer who truly depends on our Stop & Shop cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerk, and butchers.”

BACKGROUND

UFCW Locals representing 31,000 Stop & Shop workers in New England have been negotiating a new contract with Stop & Shop representatives since January 14th. The company’s latest proposal includes the following drastic cuts:

  • Requires the average full-time employee to pay an additional $893 and the average part-time employee with employee-only coverage to pay an additional $603 in weekly health care premiums over three years.
  • Reduces the monthly pension benefit for many newly hired full-time employees by 32 percent.
  • Many part-time employees would receive an average general wage increase of less than two percent.

Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold Delhaize, saw over $2 billion in profits last year and got a U.S. tax cut of $225 million in 2017. The company is claiming the proposed cuts are necessary, but is unlawfully refusing to provide financial information to verify that claim.

While Stop & Shop continues to propose drastically cutting worker benefits, Ahold shareholders voted on April 10 to give themselves an 11.1 percent raise in dividends over the last year. The expected payout will be on April 25 for around $880 million.

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UFCW Calls for Congressional Action to Solve Multiemployer Pension Crisis

Time is Now: Ahead of Congressional Hearing, UFCW Urges Action to Protect Retirement Savings for Millions of Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today’s House Education & Labor Committee hearing on the solvency of multiemployer pensions highlights the growing pressure for Congress to address this crisis. As one of the leading national voices, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“America’s promise has always been that anyone who works hard can build a better life for themselves and their family. When the retirement savings of millions of Americans is in jeopardy after they’ve worked hard their entire lives, that promise is being broken,” UFCW President Marc Perrone said. “Keeping that promise starts with protecting the pensions of today’s workers and retirees and making the strong investments needed to ensure the retirement security of generations to come. The time is now for Congress to pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act to protect these pensions before the crisis becomes even more costly and widespread. The retirement security for millions of workers and their families is on the line. We can’t wait any longer.”

UFCW Call for Action on Multiemployer Pensions

UFCW has been a strong national advocate for pensions reform and is calling for Congress to pass H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act. Last year, UFCW sent a letter to Congress urging action on legislation to provide low-cost loans to eligible multiemployer pension plans to enable them to continue to pay earned pensions to retirees and fund their long-term pension commitments. Today, Congressional leaders echoed this call for action:

“The American workers in these failing multiemployer pension plans did everything right.  They planned for their retirement, year after year choosing to contribute to their pensions instead of taking a wage increase. But now, after working for decades, their planned retirements may be taken away from them,” House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) said. “And taken away at a time when they’re no longer able to prepare for retirement because they’re now in retirement. There’s no time to waste in addressing this crisis.”

“More than 60,000 Ohioans and 1.3 million workers and retirees nationwide face a looming pension crisis that threatens their financial well-being and their ability to care for their loved ones. What Washington doesn’t understand is that these workers gave up money at the bargaining table and sacrificed raises for these pensions,” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said. “These workers aren’t asking for a bailout, they’re asking for what they earned. Ohio workers, retirees, businesses and taxpayers are counting on Congress to solve this crisis, and the cost of inaction is too high. It’s time for Congress to step up, do the right thing, and solve this crisis now to give workers and their families the peace of mind they deserve.”

Why Congress Must Pass the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act:

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act is a common-sense way to shore up the multiemployer plans while protecting the earned pensions of retirees and active workers.

  • An estimated 10 million workers and retirees are in about 1,400 multiemployer pension plans. (PBGC)
  • The failure of pension plans would hurt not only individual retirees, but also their local communities, the plans’ contributing employers and the future of the multiemployer retirement system overall.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act provides a path forward to address the country’s growing pension crisis by providing the financial support the plans need to avoid insolvency.

  • If nothing is done, some troubled plans will fail and retirees will face massive cuts to the benefits they earned over decades of work.
  • If the plans are allowed to fail, not only will they no longer be able to pay promised benefits, but taxpayers would be at risk of having to pay billions to cover the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC) shortfall.

The Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act would create a Pension Rehabilitation Administration, within the Treasury Department, to provide low-cost loans to qualified underfunded multiemployer pension plans.

  • Plans would have up to 30 years to pay earned retiree benefits, prudently invest the loan proceeds and employer contributions, and re-pay the loan.
  • During the loan period, employers may not reduce contributions and the plan may not increase promised benefits.
  • The plan must demonstrate that receipt of the loan will enable the plan to avoid insolvency, pay benefits and loan interest, and accumulate sufficient funds to repay the loan principal when due.

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UFCW Statement on Whole Foods Cutting Worker Hours

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to news that Whole Foods cut worker hours after its parent company, Amazon, enacted a wage increase for employees, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“The reports of Amazon’s Whole Foods cutting worker hours is the worst case of bait and switch I’ve ever seen. Just months ago, they told the American people and their workers that they were raising their minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. But now it appears that this was all a public relations stunt as they are now cutting worker hours – which is a cruel pay cut, plain and simple.

“More than ever, it is clear Jeff Bezos’s retail vision is focused on driving up profits at any cost by cutting hours and replacing good jobs and skilled hard-working employees with automation. It is time for the American people to wake up to the fact that Amazon’s vision, left unchecked, will cost us millions of good retail jobs. The men and women of Whole Foods have earned the right to a better life, and they deserve so much better than the treatment they are receiving from Amazon.”

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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 Plan to Open New Grocer Chain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement in response to news that Amazon will be launching a new grocery chain.

“Make no mistake, Amazon’s new and ruthless supermarket strategy is its latest salvo bent on destroying good American jobs to enrich one billionaire – Jeff Bezos.

“Amazon isn’t about providing better food or customer service, and it certainly is not about fair competition. Launching this grocery chain is an aggressive expansion of Amazon’s market power as it seeks to fundamentally change our country’s food retail and service economy while eliminating as many retail workers as possible.

“It is time that Republicans and Democrats realize that Amazon’s predatory business model is wrong for this nation and will needlessly destroy millions of jobs in every state in this country. Our leaders need to stop fawning over Jeff Bezos’ wealth and wake up to the serious threat Amazon’s business model poses to consumers, the economy, and our society.”

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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 DACA Case at DC Circuit Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit recently heard oral arguments on the lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is one of the leading organizations bringing the suit. Following oral arguments, UFCW President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“Protecting young people who make our country better every day, and who earned the right to live here, is what DACA is and must be about. The victory in the District Court was a victory for the better and more just America that all of us, regardless of party or politics, must believe in. It is absolutely critical that the D.C. Circuit Court do the right, legally and morally, and uphold this decision.

“Even as the legal battle to fix our broken immigration system continues, we urge our elected leaders to find a bipartisan solution and end the nightmare of uncertainty for DACA recipients and TPS holders.” 

The UFCW, which represents 1.3 million workers in many industries impacted by DACA, joined the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) as co-plaintiffs on the suit led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and brought against President Donald Trump, the U.S. Attorney General, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security in September 2017.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector unions 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 Canceling NYC Location

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone released the following statement in response to Amazon’s decision to withdraw their plan to establish a new campus in New York City:

“Amazon showed its true colors today and every American should be outraged. Jeff Bezos had the opportunity to listen to the voices of working families and support the good-paying jobs New Yorkers deserve.

“But now we can see this is all about blind greed and Jeff Bezos’ belief that everyday taxpayers should foot the bill for their new headquarters even as the company actively works to eliminate millions of American retail jobs.

“No company that refuses to invest in hardworking men and women should be allowed to stuff their pockets with taxpayer-funded subsidies. Make no mistake, this fight has only begun.”

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 Reconsidering NYC Location

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 reconsidering its plan to establish a new campus in New York City.

“It is outrageous that Amazon is now essentially threatening New York City taxpayers to pay for its new headquarters or else it will leave town. Multibillion-dollar corporations and billionaires like Jeff Bezos should not be threatening New Yorkers or expect any American taxpayers to foot the bill for opening a new headquarters – whether it’s in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, or anywhere else. Why should we subsidize the creation of 25,000 Amazon jobs when Amazon’s entire business model seeks to eliminate millions of retail jobs? The last thing we, as taxpayers, should ever be asked to pay for is the destruction of our own jobs.”

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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: Shutdown Threatens America’s 16 Million Retail Workers and Our Nation’s Economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) President Marc Perrone, issued the following statement regarding the 28-day government shutdown and its impact on America’s 16 million retail workers and the broader economy.

“Every day the government shutdown drags on, 800,000 federal workers continue to be locked out of their job or forced to work without pay. But this wasteful shutdown is also threatening the 16 million American workers who help power our country’s $2.6 trillion retail sector and the broader economy.

“When Republicans shut down the government in 2013, retail sales from furloughed workers dropped seven percent and the economy lost $2 billion in productivity. About 1 in 10 Americans are employed in the retail industry and the longer the current shutdown continues, the harder hit these workers and our economy will be.

“It’s high time for President Trump and Congress to stop playing politics with our economy and American workers and finally end this reckless government shutdown.”

Background: The last extended federal government shutdown in 2013 had a significant impact on the U.S. economy:

  • Annualized GDP growth for the quarter fell by 0.25 percent.
  • Private sector jobs decreased by 120,000.
  • Shopping by some 800,000 furloughed federal employees fell by 7 percent.
  • As income of furloughed workers shifted to later in the month, consumption habits shifted as well – including on gasoline – and bill payments were delayed.

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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.