After Continued Violence, UFCW Calls for National Summit on Justice

Public Letter in New York Times Calls on Leaders to Convene, Media to Broadcast a National Conversation

Washington, D.C. – With acts of violence against police officers and African Americans shaking our nation, today the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union placed an open letter in the New York Times calling for a national and public summit on justice in America.

The UFCW letter was submitted before the deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge Sunday morning. It pleads with our nation’s elected officials, civil rights leaders, police and justice officials to jointly address the division and violence we are witnessing. It also asks our nation’s broadcast and cable networks to air this discussion in prime time to help unite the country.

“Even before yesterday’s horrific killings, our hope was that this open letter would encourage Americans to come together and face what divides us,” said Marc Perrone, International President for the UFCW and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. “For the sake of all our children, we must believe in a better America. We cannot continue to allow hate to determine who we are and who we can be.”

Excerpts from the letter are below:

“As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.

“It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.

“To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.”

Read the full letter here.

Bernie Endorses Hillary

Over the past 15 months, Senator Bernie Sanders, candidate for U.S. President, generated a movement: A political revolution.  One goal was to bring to light the broken policies and issues that concern and directly affect the 99%.

Both candidates garnered armies of supporters and volunteers. The process sparked new interest in young and old alike. It has been engaging for many that previously had not participated in the (electoral) process.  New voices are joining the discussions and becoming informed of the political process and the decisions that directly affect their families and communities.

In Sanders’ endorsement speech he stated, “Hillary Clinton understands that we must fix an economy in America that is rigged and that sends almost all new wealth and income to the top one percent. Hillary Clinton understands that if someone in America works 40 hours a week, that person should not be living in poverty.  She believes that we should raise the minimum wage to a living wage. And she wants to create millions of new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, bridges, water systems and wastewater plants… Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here today. Thank you all, very much!”

Unlike Donald Trump and the Republicans—the Democratic primary was focused on the pressing issues our country faces and how we can solve them. Democrats may have been divided on the candidates, but they’re largely united on the issues. The focus is no longer on Us alone…but Together we can and we will. The time to unite is now. The future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8 in voting booths across our nation.

As Negotiations Continue, UFCW Grocery Workers Take Action for Fair Wages and Benefits

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Four and one-half months after contract expiration, no agreement has been reached.  Local leadership has expressed disappointment with management from Albertsons, Ralphs and Vons.  They have made little effort towards achieving a contract that will that provide living wages for all employees, affordable medical benefits, retirement security and fair scheduling.

On Wednesday, July 13th, Southern California grocery workers rallied to voice their concerns and demands for a fair contract. The action took place at a Santa Barbara Ralph’s store where hundreds, workers and supporters, turned out in solidarity.  Over 50,000 grocery workers working at Ralph’s, Albertson’s/Vons are affected by the ongoing contract negotiations.

In June, grocery workers overwhelmingly voted to authorize a strike.  Leadership is doing everything possible to avoid a strike, including putting pressure on the companies through similar actions in front of their stores, community and labor delegations and intermittent boycotts. Ultimately, if the companies do not show a willingness to adequately address the issues, they will begin strike preparations including holding picket captain meetings, shoring up their food banks, seeking hardship contributions from unions throughout the country and notifying the public of the likelihood of a strike. Workers deserve to make end meet.

Please continue to stay informed for regular updates.

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UFCW Endorses Marijuana Legalization Initiative to Protect Consumers and Workers

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The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Western States Council and the Cannabis Workers Rising Campaign have announced their endorsement for Proposition 64 – the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – noting that the initiative offers an important opportunity to professionalize the cannabis industry workforce and provide vital consumer and workplace protections. Proposition 64 will appear on the Nov. 8, 2016, statewide ballot.

The UFCW is the only union representing cannabis workers in California. The organization has been a leader in helping to ensure workers in the industry are trained and educated to ensure compliance and high-quality assurance for consumers and patients.

“With these regulations in place, and the leadership behind this initiative, California consumers can be assured they will get safe products and workers entering this new industry will have the opportunity to gain important protections through collective bargaining,” said UFCWWSC Executive Director Jim Araby. “We are committed to helping work for this initiative’s passage using our considerable resources including door-to-door voter outreach, organizing and other support.”

UFCW led efforts to regulate the cultivation, sale and distribution of medical cannabis in California, signed into law last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Proposition 64 would allow adults ages 21 and older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes and would allow individuals to grow as many as six plants. If approved, California would join Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon as states that allow recreational use of marijuana.

“This initiative is the result of years of hard work and collaboration among leaders, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who are looking out for the best interest of California’s residents and workers,” Araby said. “California can be a leader with this model for the safe, responsible legalization of marijuana.”

Newsom has long been a leading advocate for regulation and workforce training and protections to help ensure product safety and safeguard against youth access, black market operations and unethical dispensary operators.

“UFCW has played a critical role in California’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy, in the thoughtful drafting of Proposition 64 and in standing up across our state and the nation for the rights of workers in the emerging cannabis industry,” Newsom said. “Thanks to their leadership, California has the opportunity to create a safe, legal and regulated market that also creates good jobs for Californians.”

The United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council is the regional coordinating body of 11 UFCW local unions representing over 200,000 workers in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. The Council is a part of the 1.2 million member strong UFCW International Union. UFCW members are standing together to improve the lives of workers, families and communities.

 

UFCW Calls on Leaders to Make Choice: Act Now or Continue to Allow More Senseless Violence

On July 8, 2016, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union President  and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice Marc Perrone made the following statement on the horrific shootings this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas:

“We once again wake up to the realization that there is hate, indifference, and injustice dividing and taking the lives of Americans. The needless deaths of two fathers, one shot selling CDs, the other reaching for his wallet, are the latest tragic examples that African Americans face not only injustice, but death at the hands of those sworn to protect justice.

“The events in Dallas, and the murder of five police officers who were protecting the rights of all us to speak out against such injustice not only fills us with heartbreak, it leads us to question the very direction of this nation.

“All of us who lead, in labor and out, every elected and community leader, our presidential candidates, must now face a stark choice – we will either come together to solve these problems that have led to these senseless deaths, or we will see our great nation torn apart by those who hate and wish to divide us.

“We cannot accept the status quo. We must do better.

“Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five officers in Dallas, are our most recent victims. We must act in their memory and the memories of the countless other victims before them who fell to similar tragedies. The time has come for more than moments of silence. The time has come for real action.

“Let us stop burying our fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers, friends and neighbors, and begin to confront the problem we face head on. For the sake of the children and families who needlessly lost the ones they love, for the communities and the nation that has been scarred by these unspeakable acts of violence, the time is now for us to put our political divisions aside, and act.”

BACKGROUND

The AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice comprises members of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council. Its purpose is to facilitate a broad conversation among local labor leaders around racial and economic disparities and institutional biases, and identify ways to become more inclusive as the new entrants to the labor force diversify.

UFCW 99 Members Support Effort For Fallen Firefighters Memorial

10346101_787562584652581_2968960592761418361_nUFCW 99 members at Fry’s Food Stores are helping in the efforts to build a memorial for fallen Firefighters and Paramedics.

The Arizona Firefighters & Emergency Paramedics Memorial will provide a place to remember their sacrifices, reflect on the loss of each of these 119 Fallen and provide space to remember those whose lives will be sacrificed in the future protecting our lives, our homes, businesses and families.

In 2015, Fry’s Food Stores assisted in raising and contributing $127,000 to the Memorial. In 2016, Fry’s Food Stores have again volunteered to raise funds with a target of $180,000. From June 19 to July 18, every Fry’s Food Store will collect contributions at every cash register and at coin boxes within the stores.

Please watch and share this video.