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United Latinos Continue Success of New American Fund

The New American Citizenship Fund is made possible by UFCW Local Union support to the United Latinos of UFCW.  The scholarships are for members who have applied for U.S. citizenship and have demonstrated a strong commitment to building a stronger voice for workers in their Union and in their community through active engagement in advancing social and economic justice.
There have been many UFCW members across the country that have taken advantage of this scholarship and are now proud U.S. citizens. If you are interested in applying, download the application for additional information, scholarship qualifications and selection process.
For more information, contact your UFCW Local president or contact the United Latinos

 

Actor Edward Olmos stands with strikers at El Super in Los Angeles

México, DF. La empresa Chedrahui enfrenta desde este miércoles una huelga en sus tiendas El Super, que opera en Estados Unidos, por parte de trabajadores que desde hace más de dos años la han denunciado por cometer diversas violaciones laborales, entre ellas no contar con un contrato colectivo

Los trabajadores pugnan porque se les otorguen 40 horas garantizadas de labores a los empleados de tiempo completo, suficientes días por enfermedad pagados, protecciones por antigüedad, salarios justos, beneficios de seguro médico accesible, el derecho a organizarnos sin represalias y respeto en los lugares de trabajo, informó el Sindicato de Trabajadores Unidos de la Industria de Alimentos y el Comercio (UFCW, por sus siglas en inglés), al que están afiliados los empleados inconformes y el cual ha logrado extender las protestas contra Chedrahui hasta México a través de la organización Poder.

“Chedraui obtuvo ganancias por más de 100 millones de dólares el año pasado, pero en Estados Unidos mantiene condiciones laborales injustas. Los trabajadores piden mejora de salarios, días de enfermedad pagados y servicios médicos, entre otros”, abundó.

Hace una semana doce personas fueron arrestadas durante una acción de desobediencia civil pacífica frente a una sucursal de Chedrahui, en Los Angeles, y la huelga estalló esta madrugada, un día antes de que se celebre el Día de Acción de Gracias en Estados Unidos, en siete sucursales de El Super, donde además los trabajadores solicitan a los consumidores que realicen sus compras en otros establecimientos.

La UFCW precisó, a través de un comunicado, que desde septiembre de 2013 los trabajadores han laborado sin contar con un nuevo contrato, pese a que la Corte y una resolución de la Junta Laboral de los Estados Unidos ordenó desde agosto pasado a los directivos de la empresa que regresen a la mesa de acuerdos. Llevan más de año y medio de ausencia de la mesa, a la que asistieron  “pero para entablar una negociación de mala fe, ya que se han negado a dar información crucial para que se lleven a cabo las pláticas”, denunció la organización.

Apuntó que después de los arrestos de la semana pasada, Chedraui reanudó las negociaciones con el sindicato durante dos días pero sin proporcionar a los trabajadores información clave para avanzar en las negociaciones. y que resulta necesaria para hacer efectivos beneficios que son un estándar en la industria, como suficientes días por enfermedad pagados y servicios médicos.

Ricardo Icaza, presidente del Local 770 del sindicato UFCW, señaló que Grupo Comercial Chedraui obtuvo ganancias de más de $100 millones de dólares, el año pasado, y consideró que ”los miembros de nuestro sindicato contribuyeron grandemente al éxito de la compañía, por lo que autorizamos esta huelga por prácticas laborales injustas, porque ya es tiempo de que El Super deje de emplear sus tácticas ilegales de estancamiento y se siente a negociar de buena fe, un contrato que compense a nuestros miembros por su duro trabajo”.

President Perrone shares El Super worker Fermin Rodriguez’s story

by President Marc Perrone

Today, millions of hard-working families find themselves struggling to make ends meet. More and more Americans find themselves living just above or below the poverty line. The unfortunate reality of today’s America is that hard-working men and women are grappling with increasing uncertainty like never before.

At a time when income inequality has soared to historic levels, the reality for today’s worker is one of erratic scheduling, and low-paying full-time or part-time jobs that offer poor benefits and little job security. If we wish to create a better America, we must create jobs with better wages and benefits that offer a better future.

Instead, far too many workers are holding down two or three jobs without benefits just to support their families. In comparison, corporations that are reaping billions of dollars in profits continue to ignore their responsibility to improve the lives of their employees.

Take Walmart, the largest private employer in the country, where tens of thousands workers rely on taxpayer-funded programs like food stamps just to survive.

We must not expect better from companies like Walmart; we must demand it.

Already we’ve seen workers from across the country join together to fight and take back control of their lives. Low-wage, part-time workers across the retail and the service industries are standing up for their right to higher wages, better benefits, and a voice on the job.

The simple fact is that incredibly dedicated workers, like Fermín Rodriguez of Los Angeles, California, have been at the forefront of the fight for better wages and working conditions.

Rodriguez works at the El Super grocery chain that has chosen to follow Walmart’s poor wage business model.

Instead of acknowledging their responsibility to workers like Rodriguez, El Super went as far as to illegally fire him for speaking out for workplace changes that would improve the lives of his family and coworkers. Even in 2015, it took a rare court order demanding the company immediately remedy their unlawful treatment to get his job back.

The case of Rodriguez is sadly not new or unique.

Yesterday, at the White House’s Summit on Worker Voice, the struggles of Rodriguez and many other hard-working men and women were heard by the administration, employers, and advocates. It’s time America heard the real life struggles of those across the retail and other industries.

But talk will not be enough. We must take action.

Action must be taken to stop irresponsible employers that cut wages and benefits, misclassify workers as independent contractors or hire temporary workers to avoid responsibilities as an employer, and punish those who speak out and try to better their lives. Action must be taken to help countless men and women who don’t have the adequate protections from being discriminated against or from losing their jobs because of who they love or because of their gender identity or expression. Moreover, let’s finally take action so no company or employer can exploit an outdated and broken immigration system that leaves millions in the shadows.

If we are to change America for the better, let’s not just talk about our problems, let’s commit to taking action.

Perrone is president of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

United Latinos Show Solidarity at UFCW Fall Retail Conference

The United Latinos officers and board members had a strong showing at the 2016 UFCW Fall Retail Conference. The conference took place in Atlanta from Monday, October 19 through Wednesday, October 21.
The conferenced featured plenary presentations, workshops, regional and company breakouts. The conference focused on issues such as organizing, health & safety, scheduling, bargaining and communications.

The Union Difference for Latinas

Latinos represent an increasing share of the U.S.population, workforce, and voting bloc. This
diverse and growing community is changing the social fabric of the country. Latinos represent the ideals of hard work and perseverance to achieve the American Dream. While Latinos continue to contribute to the success of the U.S., they are confronting tremendous challenges in their workplace and community.They are America’s most vulnerable workers. Latinos are losing their jobs and homes, while facing discrimination that is threatening their living conditions and economic security. America’s increasing service sector and broken immigration system are forcing Latinos into underpaid, unsafe, and abusive working environments that place their
lives at risk. It is no secret that collective bargaining and unions

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America’s Changing Workforce and Union Growth

The United Latinos were invited to assist as presenters of several workshops titled “America’s Changing Workforce and Union Growth at the UFCW Local 75 Stewards Conference in Dayton Ohio.

Former President Johnny Rodriguez and President Pete Maturino were representing the United Latinos on the subject of the changing faces in our membership. They also addressed the different industries that we as UFCW represent throughout the Nation. The UFCW United Latinos shared the importance of embracing and understand the importance of immigration reform as a organizing tool and the importance of the involvement of the United Latinos. The UFCW United Latinos stressed the role that the organization plays as one that strives to be at the forefront of issues dealing with latinos in the workforce.

Daniel Costa, director of the Economic Policy Institute, also participated in the presentation. Daniel decimated information on the demographics with regard to latinos in the work force such numbers and/or percentages of documented and undocumented, percentages of latinos with the potential of becoming citizens and voting to create change not only in politics but also in growing our Union.

Pictured above: Johnny Rodriguez, Felipe Mendez and President Pete Maturino along with UFCW United Latinos officers, Executive board members and staff.

UFCW Receives Champion in Labor Award

The United Latinos of UFCW would like to congratulate UFCW, President Marc Perrone and Executive Vice President Esther on Lopez on this bestowed recognition. See complete story below.
From: International President Marc Perrone
Greetings-

It is with great pride and excitement that I announce that the UFCW International Union (Union) is being awarded the 2015 Champion in Labor Partnership award from the Center for Community Change (CCC), recognizing the long-standing leadership role of our Union in the fight for humane and comprehensive immigration reform.

Executive Vice President Esther López and I will be present to accept the award at the Change Champion Awards event on Thursday, September 17, from 6-9 p.m., at the historic Howard Theater in Washington, D.C.

The UFCW’s strategic partnership with CCC spans well over a decade. We have had deep alignment—particularly around our united fight for comprehensive immigration reform and our joint work on strategic voter engagement efforts—as well as our broader shared agenda of fighting for workers’ rights and economic justice.  Esther represents our Union as an active member of CCC’s Board of Directors.

It is for these reasons that I enthusiastically encourage you to support CCC’s event.  We want to ensure UFCW is not only well represented, but that we show strong support for the continued good work of one of our key national partners.  Strategic partners like CCC deserve our support, and I ask that you make a contribution today.

Your contribution will leverage the financial support even further, CCC has a challenge grant from the Atlantic Philanthropies for their CCC Action political work.  If they raise $1.5 million in new support, the foundation will award them a $1.5 million unrestricted grant—funding that will go a long way, as we all enter into a particularly challenging electoral season.  All contributions will be doubled through this dollar-for-dollar match, and Esther and I would like to ensure that our Union makes a meaningful contribution.

The Change Champion Awards event was established in 2005 to celebrate the work that often goes unheralded, and the people and organizations that keep our vision for a just economy.  Too frequently, the movement focuses only on the final outcome of a campaign, instead of taking a moment to honor the unsung heroes behind the scenes.  We invite you to support the Change Champion Awards event to recognize the people and organizations whose work brings us closer to our shared goals around social justice.

Become a sponsor today, you can do so by completing the online sponsorship form at https://join.communitychange.org/page/contribute/sponsor-change-champions-2015.  Please make checks payable to the Center for Community Change Action.

Thanking you in advance for your support.

El Super grocery chain settles complaints it refused to bargain with union

Grocery chain El Super has settled with the National Labor Relations Board over allegations that it refused to bargain with union locals and mistreated unionized workers, a union representative said Monday.

The agreement reached Friday aims to remedy complaints filed last fall and winter, marking a victory for the 600 employees represented by United Food and Commercial Workers locals at seven El Super stores in greater Los Angeles. As a result, one worker fired for what he contended was retaliation for supporting the union got his job back along with seven months of back-pay.

“I am incredibly proud to return to my job of more than nine years, holding my head high,” said Fermin Rodriguez in a UFCW news release. He returned to his cashier job at El Super #13 in South Los Angeles on Sunday.

El Super, which employs 45,000 people at 50 markets across California, Arizona and Nevada, has voluntarily agreed to begin bargaining with the union locals.

Under the settlement, the chain must also post signs saying that it cannot refuse to negotiate. The notices should also remind workers that they have the right to band together and seek bargaining representation.

“El Super is pleased to resolve this matter, and looks forward to returning to the table where we hope to resolve the last of our outstanding issues with the union,” the company said in a statement.

The company had implemented a new labor contract in September, following a year of deadlocked negotiations, it said. The union responded by starting a boycott and filing complaints.

The call to boycott will continue, the union said, as the National Labor Relations Board reviews other complaints, including allegations that workers besides Rodriguez were fired in retaliation for supporting the union.

“We want to keep pressure on the company to do the right thing,” said UFCW organizer Rigo Valdez, adding that he was pleased to see three complaints addressed.

“It proved El Super’s systematic behavior in harassing and intimidating workers,” he said.

El Super Workers Escalate Protests

The grocery chain was recently ordered to pay over $180,000 for wage theft violations by the California Labor Commissioner.

 

PARAMOUNT, CA—Workers of the El Super chain of grocery stores descended on their corporate headquarters in Paramount today, demanding that the company return to the bargaining table and put an end to its unfair labor practices. Protestors rallied just one week after Bodega Latina Corporation, El Super’s parent company, was cited for multiple wage theft violations. The Division of Labor Enforcement Standards has issued citations levying a total of $180,668 in penalties for a variety of illegal, off-the-clock work.

 

Early in the morning, El Super workers and their allies rallied in front of a store in the San Fernando Valley community of Arleta, delivering a letter addressed to El Super President and CEO, Carlos A. Smith. The demand was clear – that the company resume contract negotiations with UFCW and address workers’ concerns.

 

After that, the workers went to the El Super market in Panorama City, followed by stores in North Hollywood, East Los Angeles, and 11 other locations. The protestors, who were transported in five buses, converged around 4:00 pm at El Super store in Paramount, in southeast Los Angeles County. These actions were replicated in 40 out of 49 stores throughout California, Nevada and Arizona.

 

“These stores are all understaffed, and supervisors would assign us more work than we could cover during our regular shifts. El Super didn’t give me enough hours, and I would feel pressure to work off-the-clock to finish all I was told to do,” said Antonio Jimenez, who worked for nearly two years as a baker at the El Super store in Highland Park.

 

The protestors were joined by faith-based and elected leaders from across the state of California, along with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 770, which represents a portion of El Super’s workforce. “Workers shouldn’t have to fight to receive what they have rightfully earned, and these citations should ensure that El Super finally honors this basic legal, moral obligation to its own employees,” said Rick Icaza, President of UFCW Local 770. “It’s time for El Super to do the right thing, and end its irresponsible, unlawful behavior.”

 

UFCW local unions represent 600 El Super employees, who have been without a union contract since September 2013. In addition, the U.S. Government has filed suit against El Super in federal court in both California and Arizona to seek injunctive relief against it for violating federal labor law.

Fulfilling America’s Promise for Immigrants

 

UFCW President Marc Perrone and Executive VP and UL Board Member Esther Lopez authored an Op-ed piece on immigration published in The Hill on July 4th.  Entitled “Fulfilling America’s Promise for Immigrants,” the piece talks about the urgent need to reform our broken immigration system. You can read the full text of the op-ed below:

 

For most, the Fourth of July is about celebrating America. It’s a day to spend with family, enjoy great food and fireworks. For immigrant workers, their families and communities, the Fourth of July is about celebrating the promise of America. It is about a getting a fair shot and realizing the American dream, the same dream that has motivated so many to take unimaginable risks to become part of our great country.
From Albert Einstein to Mother Jones, immigrant workers from all over the world have contributed to the social fabric of America and made this country what it is. Yet the newest generation of immigrants continues to wait for our elected officials to wake up, do what’s right and provide the protection they desperately need to contribute their share.
President Obama’s executive action on immigration was one small step forward, but it was only a minimal response to a real crisis that has only grown under his watch. Republican Congressional leaders have refused to hear the calls for change and remain fixated on broken policies and political rhetoric that only serve to perpetuate this crisis.

Looking ahead, the 2016 presidential elections offer all of us a real opportunity to change the narrative and discourse of inaction surrounding immigration. It offers us a chance to question our leaders, especially those running for president, on where they stand. Do they truly believe granting hard-working aspiring Americans temporary relief is enough? What are their specific policies that will give real hope to millions of immigrant workers and their families? Will they publicly commit to solving this issue within their first hundred days or not? For the sake of millions of families, we must be willing to demand real and substantive answers to these questions now.

 

As potential presidential candidates continue to stake out their position on immigration and immigration reform, the stakes have never been higher for hard-working families to demand more from each of them — regardless of party. Millions of aspiring Americans remain in limbo and in danger of deportation because of our outdated immigration policies and the politicians that turn a blind eye to exploitative labor practices that drive down wages, benefits and working conditions for all workers.

 

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has seen firsthand the devastation caused by our broken immigration system. From Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in meatpacking plants to the endless threat of deportation, immigrant communities across the United States have suffered from an ideology of indifference that has pervaded our political system. This must change, and it must change now.

 

Working together to achieve real reform, we can empower all workers to chase the American dream; but we can’t do so if elected leaders continue to ignore this issue. Creating the better America we believe in demands that our leaders embrace the solemn responsibility they have to fulfill America’s amazing immigrant promise. Comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship is one bold step in making the American dream a reality and fulfilling America’s immigrant promise.

 

This July 4, let us declare our independence from political indifference and demand our elected leaders, and especially those running for president, live up to a higher standard of leadership. Let us solve this problem now, not later. Because when we do, millions of families and this nation will better because of it.  

 

Perrone is the president of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. López is executive vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.