UFCW WSC eNewsletter

Local 99 Welcomes New Members

The marijuana industry is slowly coming out of the shadows and into the light. The labor movement has an opportunity to ensure that the workers in this multi-billion-dollar industry are safe, well trained and well compensated. UFCW locals across the Western States are committing resources to organize workers in the union. The latest example of this success, was on June 3rd when UFCW Local 99 welcomed 30 new members from Natural Rx.

Workers voted on their first contract.  In their contract, they gained wage increases, seniority rights, healthcare package, pension, paid holidays, vacation and personal days.  Workers represented are Patient Consultants, Garden Assistant, Budtenders, Edible Specialists, Security, Cashier, Compliance Specialists, Trimmers, Store Managers and Assistant Managers.

Owner Trevor Reed wants to operate as a union operator because he knows what a union provides for its worker since he was an Ironworker himself. He decided to sign a labor neutrality agreement and agreed to let his workers choose whether they wanted to unionize Trevor owns shops in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Los Lunas in New Mexico.  This is the first Cannabis business that UFCW local 99 has organized

Congratulations and welcome to the Union family.

Senator Newman Targeted in Misguided Recall

California’s roads and bridges are falling apart. Anyone who has driven down the 880 in the bay area or has taken the 55 to Newport Beach, knows that our infrastructure needs to be improved. Earlier this year the California legislature made a decision to raise money by increasing the gas tax by twelve cents.

Last November California’s 29th Senate district, located in Northern Orange County elected retired Lieutenant Colonel Josh Newman. Senator Newman was one of 27 senators who voted for the gas tax. Chevron did not like this and placed a $500,000 bet that they could deceive California’s voters into a recall election.

The anti-tax forces in California, primarily funded by big oil, are positioning themselves to be the saviors of the working-class. Chevron’s strategy is to recall Senator Newman and fund an initiative on the ballot to rescind the gas tax in 2018.

The recall petition is a costly power grab by out-of-district special interests that won’t save taxpayers a dime and won’t solve any problem voters care about. What it will do is cost up to $3 million in tax dollars that would be better spent on our schools and public safety.

UFCW members are going to focus on helping Senator Newman stay in office. Members who live in communities across California need elected officials who care about keeping California working, moving and prepared for the 21st century.

 

UFCW Statement on Amazon Buying Whole Foods

Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, made the following statement about Amazon buying Whole Foods.

“Amazon’s brutal vision for retail is one where automation replaces good jobs. That is the reality today at Amazon, and it will no doubt become the reality at Whole Foods.

“Sadly, the hard-working men and women who work at Whole Foods now face an uncertain future because the Amazon model for grocery stores ultimately leads to fewer jobs, worse benefits, and more automation. Make no mistake, these are not the values most Americans believe in nor the ones embraced by many Whole Foods customers.

“While Amazon may prefer a path that treats Americans as if they are just faceless workers, the employees of Whole Foods deserve better and should realize they’ve earned the right to a better life.”

The future of the grocery industry is changing: From how people shop to no longer shopping and opting for pre-prepped meal delivery.  What isn’t changing is the treatment of workers.  Workers’ labor expectations continue to increase to benefit the company’s bottom line.  To employers, cutting down on labor cost influences the bottom line but it directly affects the workers and consumer safety. Changes are shifting at such a fast rate that policy and regulations aren’t able keeping up or are being overlooked.

Jim Araby, Executive Director for UFCW Western States Council stated, “UFCW fights inequality each and every day.  UFCW has been committed to advocating on behalf of worker and consumer safety as well as for prosperity and growth in our economy. Companies like Amazon are exploding into a vast array of industries and are not advocating or promoting quality but rather quantity.

Change is evident and automation is evident.  We are not opposed to the growth and evolution of technology.  However, workers and consumer rights and safety have to stay at the forefront above the bottom line.”

Celebrate a Union-Made Fourth of July

This Independence Day, aside from sporting red, white, and blue, show your patriotism by supporting union jobs. If you’re shopping for a 4th of July BBQ, we’ve got a handy shopping list full of products made by UFCW brothers and sisters across the country.

And if you have to run to the store on the 4th, be sure to shop union and thank the men and women who are working this holiday!

Drinks:

  • Barq’s Rootbeer
  • Coke products
  • Sprite products
  • Bud Light

Hot Dogs:

  • Ball Park
  • Boar’s Head
  • Foster Farms
  • Hebrew National
  • Hofmann
  • Oscar Mayer
  • Hormel
  • Nathan’s

Sausages:

  • Gianelli
  • Kroger Brand

Condiments and Buns:

  • French’s and Guldens Mustard
  • Heinz Ketchup and Catsup
  • Sara Lee Buns

Ice Cream:

  • Breyers
  • Good Humor

UFCW President calls out Amazon’s goal to eliminate retail workers in CNN op-ed

Perrone Warns Workers that Amazon Purchase of Whole Foods will Destroy Jobs

UFCW President calls out Amazon’s goal to eliminate retail workers in CNN op-ed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, wrote an op-ed for CNN that explains why Amazon buying Whole Foods could lead to thousands of Whole Foods workers losing their jobs.

EXCERPTS FROM THE OP-ED BELOW: 

“As Wall Street celebrates the news of Amazon buying Whole Foods, thousands of workers at Whole Foods stores across the country must now worry about losing their jobs. 

They have good reason to be concerned.

The Amazon-Whole Foods merger is not about improving customer service, products or choice, it is about destroying Whole Foods jobs through Amazon-style automation.

Amazon’s very business model is to remove as many humans from all facets of production and service as possible. Just as Walmart’s big-box model destroyed small businesses when it spread across the country, Amazon’s automation model, if widely adopted, potentially poses a huge threat to America’s 16-million-strong service and retail workforce.

If anyone doubts this vision, and what Amazon likely has in store for Whole Foods and the people who work there, observe that Amazon has already showed its hand by announcing its no-employees Amazon Go model.

Click here to read the full op-ed.

You can also read the op-ed in Spanish on Univision.com

UFCW Western States Council Statement on Signing of the Budget Trailer Bill

“UFCW workers commend Governor Brown and Legislative leaders for adopting a roadmap for the future cannabis industry that protects small growers, prevents monopolies, and creates a pathway to high-quality jobs for Californians.  UFCW workers and a broad coalition of organizations committed to safe cannabis marketplace fought to uphold the will of the voters through this process and we are proud that the budget signed today stays true to Prop. 64.   Together, we are positioning California for a well-regulated marketplace that promotes consumer and worker safety, while ensuring a competitive marketplace that embraces small businesses.”

STATEMENT FROM UFCW WESTERN STATES COUNCIL ON SB 562

Sacramento – The following statement was released today from Jim Araby, Executive Director of UFCW Western States Council regarding SB 562:

“SB 562 failed not because of Speaker Rendon, but because the proponents tried to exploit a Trump narrative and make threats to pass an incomplete policy without doing the tough work to build a truly broad based progressive coalition.

“I hope this will be a lesson for organizations that expound on progressive politics, and force those of us who favor progressive policies to think deeper about what is happening in California in relation to our policy goals. The real enemies of progress in California are not people like Speaker Anthony Rendon or Governor Brown, but corporations like Chevron and elected officials who do their bidding.

“California, and its progressive organizations and individuals, have an opportunity here to show how progressive governance is enacted and how we hold politicians accountable to those values. The only way this is going to happen without falling into the factionalism that has destroyed the rest of the country’s politics is to build the biggest and strongest coalition to drive a comprehensive agenda and make sound policy arguments for the issues we are pushing. The campaign for SB 562 lacked most of this and that is the true reason why it failed.”

Working Families Help Elect Jimmy Gomez to Congress

Los Angeles has a new congressman.  Jimmy Gomez won the election to take the seat vacated Xavier Beccera who became Attorney General earlier this year.

UFCW supports Jimmy Gomez because he has proven in the California Assembly that he will lead on our issues and values. He helped pass a statewide $15 an hour minimum wage law and wrote the bill that expanded paid family leave. He’s also gotten laws passed protecting immigrants.

Jimmy Gomez has always been a champion for working families. He has always advocated for legislation to promote environmental justice, health care access and workers’ rights. He has supported UFCW legislation such as AB 359 Grocery Worker Retention Bill, SB 270 Single-use carryout bags/plastic bag ban, and AB 1461 Food Handler cards (food/meal prep).

Assembly Member Gomez has always stood side by side our members in their fight for dignity against El Super and their anti-worker tactics. UFCW 770 mobilized members to get out the vote.  Members took action, they canvased their neighborhoods and hit the phone banks.

We know Congressman Gomez is going to do great things and continue the work for the larger progressive movement in Congress.

 Asm. Jimmy Gomez in Solidarity with Food 4 Less workers

California UFCW Members Participate in Lobby Day

UFCW Members Speak Out at States Capitol

Sometimes it seems like elected officials don’t listen to us or that our voices are not heard.  They don’t seem to understand the needs of hardworking men and women who just want a better life for their families. It can seem as if they are listening to the corporate lobbyists rather than the voters who elected them.  We set out to meet with our elected officials and push for legislation that benefits and protects workers and families, not corporations.

On Wednesday, May 17th, UFCW members from across California commenced on the steps of the State Capitol to meet with legislators about issues that are important for working families.  From afar you could see the groups of gold walking down the halls of the Capitol building.

California UFCW Members Speak Out at State Capitol 

UFCW States Council has developed over the recent years a dynamic presence in the State Capitol to help advance our policy and legislative agenda on behalf of the worker’s and their families in the industries our Union has members.

This legislative year we organized “Lobby Teams” from our locals to help educate state lawmakers and their senior staff about the vital importance of legislative bills we are sponsoring and supporting to collectively better the lives of our members as well as the overall workforce of California. Each “Lobby Team” met on average between 8 – 10 state lawmakers in one day experiencing the equivalent of a ‘sprint’ in a marathon race communicating with a consistent and unified voice our policy positions and why it matters in the real world.

Below is a snapshot of our legislative priorities, our strategic co-sponsors, and the successful bi-partisan outcomes in each as we move forward from one legislative chamber to the next before it can reach the Governor’s desk for his consideration.

            AB 1461 (Asm. Tony Thurmond) – This Bill will require all employees working inside a food fulfillment facility involved in the preparation and storage of raw foods that sells directly to consumers, such as Blue Apron, to obtain a food handler card. The purpose of this Bill is to protect consumers from food-borne illnesses and provide, at a minimum, some training on how to report cases of workplace violations. The California Grocers Association is a co-sponsor of AB 1461 with UFCW Western States Council.    AB 1461 – passed the Assembly with bi-partisan support – 54 votes

The Food Handler Card Certification Program is administered by the County’s Office of Public Health for $35 for an online three-hour course or classroom curriculum.

            AB 1686 (Asm. Todd Gloria) – This would require all Labor Peace Agreements to be signed, notarized and submitted electronically to the CA Marijuana Control Agency by cannabis businesses who apply for a state license to operate. The purpose of this Bill is to enhance process efficiencies and transparency. The Drug Policy Alliance is a strong supporter of AB 1686. AB 1686 – passed the Assembly with bi-partisan support – 69 votes

            AB 1700 (Asm. Jim Cooper with Asm. Eloise Reyes and Sen. Bill Dodd as co-authors) – This Bill will require at least one employee working at a cannabis business to become Cal-OSHA certified. The purpose of the Bill is to educate and train at least one employee to have a basic understanding of workplace safety protections, including sexual harassment. The California Police Association is a strong supporter of AB 1700 and has earned bi-partisan support as well. The Cal-OSHA Certification class is available online for $179, providing 30-hours of accreditation. AB 1700 – passed the Assembly with bi-partisan support – 56 votes

            SB 675 (Sen. Nancy Skinner) – This Bill will require the electronic benefit transfer system to limit the purchases of food through an online transaction only to retailers who provide reasonable access to return or exchange food groceries within 4 hours of receipt of the food grocery delivery. The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that Cal-Fresh consumers are actually receiving their food online orders from bricks and mortars grocery stores, and are able to return bad/rotten foods to those same grocery stores. SB 675 is co-sponsored by the Western Center of Poverty and Law, California Grocers Association, and UFCW Western States Council.  SB 675 – passed the Senate with bi-partisan support – 37 votes

Governor Brown’s Budget Trailer Bill on Cannabis 2017

Codifies the Labor Peace Agreement and workplace protections in AUMA/Prop 64 both in the budget and proposed regulations by the Brown Administration.

–  Allows for both cultivators and manufacturers to distribute their own product to consumers through a distribution license, providing an incentive for producers of any size to operate in a fully regulated market and discourage diversion. ‘Open Distribution’ – mirrors the retail food and distribution system as well as the California Craft Beer and Wine Industries to self-distribute to encourage local job growth and community development.

 

Addressing Hunger in America

UFCW Helps Collect Thousands of Pounds of Food for 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

We know better than anyone how hard UFCW members work to put food on the table for America’s families – and our union family also believes that no hardworking man or woman should struggle alone. Which is why we work hard for those in need, supporting our brothers and sisters at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

In the weeks and days leading up to Saturday, May 13, the day of the National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, UFCW members and locals volunteered at events and donated non-perishable food items to help America’s families put food on their tables. Standing by our values and belief that no hard-working man or woman should struggle alone, UFCW members turned out in droves as part of our partnership with the National Association of Letter Carriers on the day of the food drive as well, and helped collect thousands of pounds of food to help “stamp out hunger.”

UFCW members across Calfornia volunteered and helped get the word out.