Red Card

All people in the United States, regardless of immigration status, have certain rights and protections under the U.S. Constitution.  Red Cards help people assert their rights and defend themselves in many situations, such as when ICE agents go to a home.

 

 

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.

UCB Labor Center Invitation: Latino Leadership Institute Study

The UC Berkeley Labor Center is excited to announce the return of the Latino Leadership School. In the past, the Latino Leadership School was a yearly tradition for labor and community organizations in the Central Valley to fill a leadership-training gap and deepen relationships in the Central Valley.

Now, the goal of the UC Berkeley Labor Center is to create an ongoing Latino Leadership Institute in California’s Central Coast & Valley that not only provides leadership development trainings but also creates opportunities for leaders to take a step back from the daily activities of activism and action, share experiences, learn from each other, and emerge with plans to affect change in California.

To see this goal through the UC Berkeley Labor Center has partnered with Cesar Lara, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Labor Council and other collaborating unions and organizations.

Guadalupe Palma, former Director of the LA Fight for $15 Campaign has come on board to lead the program. Latinos in California became the largest ethnic group in 2014 making up 39% of the state’s population.

In counties throughout the Central Valley and the Coast, Latinos make up over 50% of the population (Merced 56.8%, Monterey 56.8%, Fresno 51.6%, Kern 50.9%).  Although Latinos’ strength has grown in numbers, it has not translated to economic prosperity and political strength.  Latino workers are still overrepresented in low wage jobs, the immigration system remains broken and Latino youth remain overrepresented in prisons.  Yet, despite the challenges, Latinos are pivotal to create positive change throughout the state. Given the critical moment for Latinos in California, now is the time to further develop emerging leaders through the Latino Leadership institute.

The Institute is hosting a three-day intensive program that recognizes labor and community partnerships as a key building block to effectuate change throughout California’s Central Coast and Valley.  Leading community, labor and political organizers will facilitate trainings that provide first-hand experience on such issues as immigrants’ rights, civic participation, health and safety and environmental justice.

The workshops will be bilingual and in Spanish (possibly in indigenous languages or translation). We hope you support the return of the Latino Leadership Institute by sending members, leaders and staff.  The cost for this educational program is $480, which includes food and lodging for all the days of the Institute. Please complete the linked application before the deadline of August 14, 2015.

Participants will be informed by August 31, 2015 if you are accepted to attend the Institute. The Institute will take place on September 22 – 25, 2015 in San Juan Bautista in Monterey County at the St. Francis Retreat Center.  Participants should arrive in the afternoon on September 22 for registration and welcome. Space for this program is limited.

We gladly to extend the opportunity to register participants before we publish the registration and scholarship application on our website, please review links provided here: Workshop Selections Registration Application

A limited number of scholarships will be available for community-based organizations. Participants are required to complete the scholarship application before August 14. Scholarship Application

For more information visit the UC Berkeley Labor Center’s website in the coming weeks at: www.laborcenter.berkeley.edu.

In Solidarity, Guadalupe Palma Program Lead 213-448-7139 guadalupe.palma8@gmail.com

And Clementina Jara Program Coordinador 510-643-7048 zenaida@berkeley.edu

Study shows: Latina women benefit most from unionization

A recent study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows the union advantages for women.  The study also shows that Latina women benefit most from unionization.

This is another reason the United Latinos of the UFCW play such an important role in teaching all workers that there is a better way of life that includes wages, health benefits, pensions, job security and dignity.

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UFCW Local 655 Hosts Diversity Training for Local Leaders

UFCW Local 655 members and staff in Saint Louis, Mo., attended the first Equity and Inclusion Diversity Leadership Training put together by the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department. Over the course of two and a half days, about a dozen UFCW Local 655 leaders from a variety of backgrounds participated in the first session of the three-part diversity training series. The training was developed to help increase staff and members’ knowledge and awareness of diversity issues and elevate the importance of inclusiveness in local unions. The program focuses on local union leaders developing cultural competence with a new set of attitudes, skills, and behaviors in order to have themselves and their organizations work effectively in cross-cultural situations and workplace diversity. Ultimately, the trainings are designed to empower participants to take action and help steer their local union to develop and promote organizational equity and focus on fairness in order to create change in a local union’s culture.

“Stepping outside of my comfort zone may be uncomfortable, but it can be a stepping stone for my future responsibilities as a leader in my local union. Thanks to the diversity training, I am ready to go back to work and start taking action to build relationships with other members to empower us to stand united for justice and equality in our union and in our communities,” said UFCW Local 655 member Amy Nichols.

UFCW Local 655 hosted their diversity training for local union leaders in response to the recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and the impact that the Ferguson events have had on the labor movement in the state. The first session in the diversity training is titled “Why Diversity Matters.” During this session, participants were involved in an open dialogue about the origin of racism, and the history of racial inequality and its roots in economic injustice. They examined different identities and how they relate to people in the workplace and society. Participants discussed the ways people experience or observe different forms of discrimination at work and in the community. They also learned about what being an ally and having solidarity means in a labor context.

“We need to have the difficult conversations with our coworkers, members, and the community about why this fight for equality is so important. We need to take the conversations from the trainings out to our workplaces and communities if we want to start taking real action to create change and an environment of inclusiveness,” said UFCW Local 655 staffer Theresa Hester.

During the first session, participants were later joined by young activists from Missouri, who are fighting for social and economic justice in Ferguson and throughout the state. Participants will follow up the training with recruiting members and coworkers for the April 15 Workers’ Day of Action activities.

“In today’s America where we are more diverse as a country than ever, it is incumbent on current labor to develop future leaders that act and look like our society. If our current labor leaders do not provide the needed training to a young diverse workforce our labor leaders tomorrow will not reflect the make-up of our society. On a broader spectrum, I would hope all leaders not just labor leaders would be training for a more diverse leadership team in the future. I believe the best possibility to end the wealth disparity in America is to have diverse leaders in the future and the only way to achieve this is to provide leadership training today to a diverse group of workers,” said UFCW Local 655 President Dave Cook.

“The training for new UFCW leaders is critical at this juncture of the union movement. Union leaders will need to have new skills to recruit and engage members in a changing workforce demographic. I’m encouraged to see union leaders such as UFCW Local 655 President Dave Cook, taking the initiative to embrace this challenge of diversity and racial equity and getting leaders in the local involved. Unions must take on the dual fight against the various “isms” both inside and outside the union. Unions are a critical part of the social justice movement that’s building power for all workers,” said Jamala Rogers, one of the diversity program trainers, a retired teacher and member of AFT.

UFCW Local 655 will complete the other two parts of the diversity program in the coming months. The second session will be “Race and Politics,” which will take place in July, and the third session “New Generation Diversity: I Am Today’s Leader,” will take place in November.

To see some great discussion and other highlights from this training session, click here.

To learn more about the diversity trainings and hosting a training at your local, contact the UFCW Civil Rights and Community Action Department at civilrights@ufcw.org.

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UFCW Immigration Workshop Helps Local 75 Member Achieve Dream of Citizenship

ernestinaErnestina Aldana has been a UFCW Local 75 member since she started working at the John Morrell meat processing plant in Cincinnati in 1996. She moved to the U.S. from Guatemala with her husband and son in 1990. The family left Guatemala in search of opportunity and a better life. Ernestina and her husband, who also works at John Morrell, now have three children, the oldest of whom is in college.

“I wanted to become a United States citizen so that I could live and work with freedom and without fear. I wanted my children to have opportunities,” says Ernestina. “But it was the union that motivated me to finally do it.”

Ernestina attended Local 75’s first citizenship clinic on November 8, 2014. With the help of union and community volunteers, she completed her application that same day. On Friday, March 13, Ernestina took her oath of citizenship, along with two other UFCW members, at the federal courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A 19-year member of UFCW Local 75, Ernestina says union membership has meant more to her than higher wages and job security: “Being a union member gave me hope for the future. Having hope got me here today.”