Every year, the UFCW Scholarship Program offers scholarships to UFCW Members or their immediate family members who want to further their education and demonstrate a commitment to their communities and to UFCW values. Since 1958, the fund has distributed more than $2 million in scholarships. The UFCW Charity Foundation awards several scholarship of up to $8,000 each to UFCW members or their unmarried dependents under the age of 20. The scholarships are limited to any UFCW member who has been active since January 1, 2017. The opening date for 2018 will be February 12, 2018. All applications will be due by May 13, 2018. Check out the website www.ufcwcharityfoundation.org for an application (also available in French and Spanish). If you need help with understanding the scholarship rules or need an application in another language, please call 800-551-4010 and they will assist you.
A report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shows that the declining rate of Union membership is costing nonunion workers $133 billion annually in lost wages. This massive sum—which is more that the economic hit workers take when we enter into unfair trade agreements with low-wage countries—is a key reason why hardworking Americans are struggling with stagnant wages and inequality. “This new report from EPI confirms that Union membership is the one clear path to a better life,” says Marc Perrone, UFCW International President. EPI found that by establishing pay and benefit standards, Unions boost wages for all workers. In fact, if Union density in 2013 was as high as it was in 1979, nonunion private sector workers would have earned an extra $52 each week. This is the first study providing a broad estimate of the wage decline for nonunion workers as a result of the erosion of Unions. This report should also remind us that the benefits of a Union contract goes beyond wages. “The EPI confirms that Union membership is the one clear path to a better life, Now more than ever, we in labor must discuss openly the amazing benefits that come to people who join Unions. The UFCW Union family is committed to proving that we can bring better jobs and futures to every hard-working community,” says Perrone.
With the holidays over with, hours seem to be cut even more at most work locations. Here are some steps for getting more hours:
1. Make a verbal request for additional hours.
2. Put your desire for more hours in writing.
3. Put in a request with your manager for cross training for all positions within your department or store.
4. If you are a courtesy clerk, JA or helper clerk, put in a request for a checker or other combo clerk/food clerk positions. (You have first consideration over a new hire.)
5. Purchase supplies and/or groceries where you are employed. It raises sales, which in turn, can raise labor hours.
Also, most UFCW Local 1496 contracts contain language that protects employees from having their hours reduced for the purpose of assigning such hours to new hires or extra employees. Senior employees within a classification shall be offered the most hours up to a maximum of 40 hours per week. If employees have restrictions* to their availability, it can adversely affect seniority rights for available hours. This does not include requests** for a day off. If less senior employees are being scheduled more hours or you have lost hours to new employees, call the UFCW Local 1496 office and speak to a representative.
*Restrictions examples include working around hours for a second job, child care, etc.
**Requests examples include asking for day off for personal day, for Doctor’s appointments, vacation days, etc.
On January 1, adults in California will be able to walk into a shop and buy Marijuana products for recreational use, a development that is going to cause the industry to boom. As investors and owners get ready to cash in, an effort is underway to unionize marijuana workers. The hope is to give them more protections and a say in the rapidly expanding industry. Hugs Dispensary is one of a handful in the state that is unionized. Because it is a Union shop, workers have performance reviews, scheduled wage increases and benefits like health care. In 2011, CEO of Hugs David Spradlin brought in the UFCW Union. “I come from construction. I come from the working class, I know how it feels to have your job and your livelihood in someone else’s hand. My hope has always been that the cannabis industry doesn’t turn into 7-Eleven. I want it to turn into something that people want to get into and have a career in, something that a person right out of high school can go into and get a good job.” James Araby is Executive Director of the UFCW Western States Council and he said that generally in the marijuana business, there’s a lot of worker abuse. “We’ve found in this industry that many workers were paid in cash or product or not paid at all, that many of their rights were violated and that some might not know that they even have rights. They can be working 12 hour days and not be getting paid overtime.” Araby said there is an opportunity right now for the Union to carve out protections for workers. “There are a few times in history when a Labor Union can be at the beginning of the dawn of a new multimillion-dollar industry and play a direct role in helping shape it, Only a handful of dispensaries in California are unionized, but Araby said the UFCW is reaching out now to get other cannabis operations on board. “UFCW is definitely interested in organizing workers from seed to sale.”
Workers in 18 states will get a pay hike next week when higher wage floors go into effect around the country for 2018. With the Federal minimum wage remaining just $7.25 per hour, more and more states have opted to implement their own, higher rates that local employers must observe. Many of the bumps slated for New Year’s Day come courtesy of recent ballot initiatives approved by voters or bills passed by statehouses. Some of those states have laws requiring that the minimum wage is adjusted each year according to an inflation index, to rise with the cost of living. So several of the raises amount to less than .25 an hour. (Alaska has a 0.04 increase to $9.84). But other states that recently enacted new laws will have more significant increases. Maine’s will move a full dollar, to $10. Hawaii’s will rise .85, to $10.10, and Colorado’s will increase .90 to $10.20. The raises will impact 4.5 million workers The federal minimum wage hasn’t budged in more than 8 years and prevails in any state that doesn’t mandate a higher one. Labor Unions and low-wage workers have succeeded in getting raises passed on the state and local levels as the federal rate has stayed stagnant. Dozens of cities and counties have also raised their minimum wages beyond the state and federal levels. In some cases, the hikes have gone as high as $15/hr-the stated goal of the Fight for $15 campaign, the Union-backed movement that began with striking fast-food workers in 2012 but soon spread to other low-wage industries. All that success by activists has prompted a backlash from Republican state lawmakers seeking to rein in minimum wage hikes. More than 2 dozen states now have “preemption” laws on their books that block localities from implementing their own raises. Just this year, Republicans in Missouri passed a preemption law to retroactively kill a minimum wage hike enacted by city leaders in St. Louis. Under the new law, no locality could have a wage floor higher that the one mandated by the state. The new law had the effect of reversing St. Louis’ minimum wage, taking it from $10 to the current state level of $7.70.
If you work off the clock (before work, after work, or during your breaks) you are getting more work done than Management paid for. The company is responsible to ensure all workers take their breaks. If you do not take your break, you are working minutes for free that someone else could be paid for. Minutes add up to hours, which add up to weeks. If the Employer knowingly allows you to work off the clock, this is a violation of the law and you should contact your Union Rep.
(Carrs/Safeway)-Employees with one (1) or more years of service must select their vacation week(s) in writing no later than February 1, 2018. After February 1st, the Employer shall respond to requests as soon as possible but within 14 days of the request being made. Vacations selected after February 1st will be approved on a first come/first serve basis in accordance with your Union Contract. Remember, Employees are NOT allowed to schedule vacations during the Christmas period from November 15th to December 31st except by mutual agreement between the Employer and the Employee. If your request is rejected for any other reason, please contact The UFCW Local 1496 Office and speak to your representative. For more information on Vacations, refer to your Union Contract. (Fred Meyer)-A vacation schedule will be given to each Meat Department Associate for them to complete by February 1st for submission to the Regional Office, where it will be put on a master schedule for the region and sent back to the stores to be approved by seniority. The Employer reserves the right to change and/or cancel vacations due to unexpected developments, such as illness of Associates, accidents, reduction in business, etc., and to block out certain weeks due to the needs of the business.