Last week at the UFCW Legislative and Political Conference, Secretary Hillary Clinton met with workers from across the retail industry to discuss the issues impacting them, their families, and coworkers. During the meeting, the workers talked about their day-to-day challenges, including workplace intimidation, scheduling and unpredictable hours. The emotional visit with Clinton included workers from Albertsons, Macy’s, El Super and Stater Bros.
The meeting with Flora Castaneda and Yolanda Pivaral, both El Super workers, was especially powerful as they highlighted the company’s ongoing intimidation and failure to recognize their right to negotiate a better life and a contract providing better wages and benefits. They have both worked to organize their stores and join the UFCW.
“I wanted Secretary Clinton to know how important joining a union was for me and my family. It’s the opportunity for a better life,” said Castaneda. “I wanted her to know that companies like El Super need to do what is right and recognize our right to higher wages and benefits.”
“I’m a working mom and I’m going to school,” said Pivaral. “Without a predictable work schedule, it’s tough to coordinate child care and manage my classes. Secretary Clinton gets it. Workers in my store want a union contract so we can have the chance to shape our schedules. To have more control over my life would help me do my job better, manage my class work, and build a good life for my son.”
Sherry Hamilton, who works as a union representative at Macy’s, pointed out that while the UFCW provides people with higher wages and protection, the non-union retail industry is still defined by unpredictable scheduling that makes it impossible to go to school, spend time with family, or have control over one’s life.
“Buying a wedding dress or a child’s first pair of shoes, these are big events and we work hard to make them special memories for customers,” said Hamilton. “I don’t think people realize how much havoc bad scheduling can have upon a worker’s life. By making work schedules in the retail industry more stable and reliable, we would be able to enjoy precious moments in our personal lives as well.”
“Our members endorsed Hillary because she is the only candidate who truly cares about the issues that matter to them,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “Regardless of what job a person does, Secretary Clinton is committed to making sure that people who work hard get the brighter future they have earned and deserve. It speaks to Hillary’s character and her compassion that she doesn’t talk at our members, she listens to them.”