September, 2013

OUR Walmart Celebrates Legal Victory and Prepares for Actions Leading Up to Black Friday

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In response to last year’s Black Friday actions, Walmart filed a lawsuit in Washington state court against OUR Walmart and its supporters alleging trespass and requesting a court order to prohibit future OUR Walmart actions inside and outside of Walmart stores.

OUR Walmart fought the lawsuit and successfully persuaded the Washington judge to dismiss it because Walmart’s state court lawsuit violated federal labor law that requires Walmart to present its issues only to the NLRB. Walmart had filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB prior to filing its lawsuit.

This legal win means that Walmart cannot seek trespass injunctions against OUR Walmart or its supporters for future actions in Washington. The win will also help OUR Walmart’s legal team to make similar arguments in other states that have Walmart trespass lawsuits pending, including Ark., Calif., Colo., Fla., and Texas.

OUR Walmart members have announced widespread protests for Black Friday in 2013. As Black Friday approaches, the campaign is asking allies to commit to supporting OUR Walmart members as they take action this holiday shopping season by signing the petition at http://bit.ly/15H42nj.


UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees.

New Data Link Decline of Middle Class with Decline of Union Membership

New data released this week underscore the fact that smaller numbers of unionized workers mean less bargaining power, a weakened middle class and lower wages for everyone.

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On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau released its annual report on incomes and poverty.  According to the report, the median household income in the U.S. in 2012 was $51,017, and not much different from the 2011 median income of $51,100.  However, when you look at the median household incomes over the last 25 years, the median household income in 1989 was $51,681—meaning that a typical middle class family earned more in 1989 than middle class families did last year.  The nation’s official poverty rate in 2012 also remained stagnant at 15 percent, representing 46.5 million people who are living at or below the poverty line.

Another study this week from Center for American Progress builds on the U.S. Census Bureau data and links the slide of middle class incomes to the decline in union membership since the 1960s.  Between 1967 and 2012, union membership fell from 28.3 percent of all workers to 11.3 percent in all 50 states.  The decline in union membership is reflected in the decline in the share of the nation’s income going to the middle 60 percent of households, which fell from 52.3 percent to 45.7 percent over the same time period.

As the gap between the rich and poor continues to grow, it’s clear that something needs to be done to rebuild the middle class.  Making it easier for workers to stick together in a union to bargain for better wages and benefits is a good place to start.


UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.

AFL-CIO Convention Calls for Fixes in Affordable Care Act

AFL-CIO Convention Calls for Fixes in Affordable Care Act Delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention this afternoon passed a resolution expressing support for the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but also addressing a number of issues about the ACA’s implementation, including the way the ACA treats multi-employer health care plans. The resolution reiterates that the labor movement’s ultimate health care goal is health care for everyone under a single-payer model.

The resolution calls for preservation of high-quality coverage under multi-employer plans. It also calls for greater employer responsibility, especially in regards to part-time workers. Sean McGarvey, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), said the resolution, “Points out the key facts that must be addressed by the administration and if needed, by Congress.”

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the issues raised by the resolution ones of “fundamental fairness,” including if low- and moderate-income union members and their collectively bargained health care plans will be able to benefit from the same premium support that big insurance companies will receive and if they will have to pay fees to subsidize big insurance companies. There also are concerns that smaller employers will be able to get away with taking health care away from workers while paying no penalty.

Trumka did tell the delegates that “the labor movement is engaged in ongoing dialogue with a number of government agencies regarding implementation of the Affordable Care Act—especially the way it treats collectively bargained multi-employer funds.”


UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.

Indiana Right-to-Work Law Ruled Unconstitutional

An Indiana judge ruled that the state’s “right to work” law was unconstitutional. Judge John Sedia ruled the law unconstitutional because it required unions to provide benefits to nonmembers without just compensation. The law was challenged by Operating Engineers Local 150 and the union’s General President James Callahan announced the ruling on the convention floor:

“Local 150 argued Indiana’s right-to-work law is unconstitutional because it makes it illegal for unions to collect fees for services that federally required to be provided,” said Callahan. “This is a victory for the middle class. These laws are nothing but thinly veiled tools to weaken unions and this is a big win for workers who rely on to provide decent wages and benefits.”

On Sept. 13 Indiana Attorney general Greg Zoeller filed an appeal to the ruling and it will be sent directly to the Indiana Supreme Court.

 What does this mean for you?

If the ruling is upheld it would be a major blow to “right to work” laws nationwide and strengthen your right to join together with other workers and have a voice on the job. Extremist groups, right-wing politicians and their corporate backers want to weaken the power of workers and their unions through “right to work” laws. Their efforts are a partisan political ploy that undermines the basic rights of workers. By making unions weaker, these laws lower wages and living standards for all workers in the state. In fact, workers in states with these laws earn an average of $5,680 less a year than workers in other states.


UFCW Local 1546 represents workers in Illinois and Indiana in a diverse range of industries including grocery and drug retailers; meat cutting, processing, and packing; chemical works; nursing home and healthcare facilities, and many others.