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Apply for the UFCW Charity Foundation Scholarship by May 13

In 2018, the UFCW Charity Foundation will award several scholarships, up to $8,000 each, to UFCW members or their unmarried dependents under the age of 20.

The UFCW is about workers coming together to build better lives for themselves. It is about creating opportunity.

That’s why 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.

Past winners have gone on to make significant contributions to society and to the UFCW – entering a range of fields including public service, medicine, law, business and teaching.  Many have returned to the UFCW as staffers, organizers, and community activists who contribute to our mission. See the 2017 scholarship winners here.

For more information, and to find out if you are eligible, please visit: www.ufcwcharityfoundation.org/scholarship

The deadline to apply is May 13, 2018.

 

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UFCW Focuses on Worker Safety & Immigration in Meatpacking Industry

 

For Local 400 representative Misty Wrenn, it was an eye-opening, powerful experience.

Having once worked for five years at the Smithfield pork plant in Smithfield, Va., Misty knew first-hand how tough conditions could be inside the facilities where animals are slaughtered, and meat is cut, processed and packaged. But what she heard from her sisters and brothers at the recent UFCW Meatpacking and Food Processing Chain Conference in Omaha was still shocking.

“What really got me is that now, the poultry companies want to speed up their lines to the point where they’re processing 175 birds a minute,” Misty said. “That’s insane. There is no way you can be doing this. I can’t imagine working like that.

“It just isn’t right, no one can do that much,” she noted. “How many workers will hurt themselves, lose a finger, or get carpal tunnel?”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which regulates meat and poultry processing, is currently considering a petition by the National Chicken Council to eliminate the current line speed limit of 140 birds per minute. This not only threatens worker health—it threatens consumer health, too. As retired USDA food safety inspector Phyllis McKelvey told National Public Radio, “These machines will pull the viscera, which is the guts of the chicken. And a lot of times the guts hang on their prongs and those machines just get covered up in guts, which is slinging manure all over the product.”

Click here to learn more about how increasing poultry line speeds could make jobs more dangerous and chicken unsafe to eat.

Misty was also deeply moved by Conference attendees’ stories about the Trump Administration’s changes in immigration policy. Meat and poultry processing plants will be directly impacted by this because they employ a high proportion of immigrants.

“It really tore me up to hear about how so many immigrants are exploited, harassed and mistreated, and now are at risk of being sent back to countries where they haven’t lived in years, even decades,” she said.

“They have families here; what’s going to happen to their kids if they’re sent back?” Misty asked. “The repeal of DACA is threatening young people who have lived in the U.S. since they were little children and have no memory of the country they were born in. There are deportations. And people from Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras are about to have their visas revoked next year. This is really sad.”

Again, the UFCW is fighting back, lobbying Congress to undo Trump administration policies, advising immigrant members about how to protect themselves, and mobilizing public opinion against the cruel impact of immigration raids.

“Immigrants are used by greedy employers for their own selfish reasons,” Misty said. “And the more crackdowns there are, the more immigrants will be driven into an underground economy, where they’re paid even less and have no rights at all. And that, in turn, will drive down wages for all workers.

“I’m proud UFCW is leading the fight for processing plant workers, for immigrants, and for all workers,” she added. “We’re helping people and saving jobs, and that’s why Local 400 is here.”

Local 400 President Mark Federici Elected to UFCW International Executive Board

Local 400 President Mark Federici (first row, second from left), poses for a photo with the Giant & Safeway Contract Action Team at a union meeting in November 2016.

This week, the Executive Board of the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) elected Mark Federici, President of UFCW Local 400, as International Vice President. Mr. Federici will now serve on the union’s executive board, the highest governing body of the international union. He released the following statement:

“I have dedicated my entire life to the labor movement because I truly believe in the power of ordinary people to make extraordinary things happen. I have always taken it as my personal responsibility to do whatever I can to grow our union into the strong, effective institution it must become in order to make a difference in the lives of hard-working men and women. For the last 26 years, it has been my greatest privilege to represent the 35,000 members of UFCW Local 400 in the Mid-Atlantic, and now I am honored to expand this responsibility to the 1.3 million members of UFCW across the United States and Canada.”

UFCW Celebrates 38 Years of Standing Up for Workers

Happy Birthday UFCW!

The United Food and Commercial Workers union was formed on August 8, 1979, when the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workers of North America officially merged with the Retail Clerks International Union. The newly merged union became the UFCW.

While the history of the UFCW begins in 1979, the history of the various industries that make up our union is long and proud. The industries that UFCW members work in were involved in the earliest stages of trade unionism in North America, and many times these workers acted as a catalyst for early change within the labor community.

Today the union represents well over a million workers including meat cutters, meat packers, manufacturing workers, food processors, grocery clerks, cashiers, delicatessen clerks, delivery people, seafood clerks, produce managers, frozen food specialists, bakers, hardware salespeople and health and beauty aid salespeople – to name only a few.

Learn more about the history of the UFCW or download this timeline of our history (PDF).