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Is Loss Prevention Watching You?

In today’s ever competitive markets, reducing costs is a big priority.  It’s therefore no surprise that theft remains one of the fastest growing expenses facing retailers.

According to a survey conducted last spring of senior loss-prevention executives at many national grocery retailers, shoplifting accounted for 38% of the shrinkage, followed by employee theft at 34.5%. A majority of the respondents also said shoplifting was a growing problem.  Supermarkets and grocers lose the highest percentage of sales to shrinkage; seeing an average of 3.23% evaporate, or 2.5 times more than the industry average.  This in turn has caused companies to spend more on loss prevention than ever before.

Looking at other company trends, “U—Scan” also known as “self” check—out lanes have been installed at most of the retail grocery chains to help reduce labor costs.  Due to the theft associated with “self” check—out lanes, more and more sophisticated software and video surveillance techniques are being used to spot potential offenders.  Due to the increased scrutiny of the “U—Scan” lanes and the companies’ concern over employee theft, it is strongly recommended that when you need to purchase anything at work that you use the regular checkout lanes.  While your intention may be completely honest when checking out yourself, why even put yourself in a questionable spot? Don’t do it. Always have someone else check you out to avoid any form of suspicion.

Another area that loss prevention monitors closely is “found property theft.”  What is “found property theft?”  Found property theft occurs when someone who chances upon an object which seems abandoned takes possession of the object, but fails to take steps to establish whether the object is abandoned and not merely lost or unattended.  In some jurisdictions, the crime is called “larceny by finding” or “stealing by finding.” Whenever you find an object in the store that seems to be abandoned, it is your responsibility to turn that item over to the appropriate designated personnel.  This pertains to all items, no matter how large or small.  It even includes items like change from the “U—Scan” lanes that a previous customer left behind.  Be smart. Don’t take chances…turn it in!

The overall message when it comes to loss prevention is that you, and not just the customer, are always being watched. So make sure to perform your job to your best ability.

UFCW 1st Annual Labor Day Art Contest!

UFCW members and their dependents are eligible to enter an original work of art in the contest, and could win a $500 Visa gift card AND have their artwork framed and displayed at the DC Labor Fest in the fall. The winning piece will also be available for all UFCW locals and members at our online UFCW Store. Two runners-up will receive a $50 Visa gift card, as well.

It is simple. Members just need to upload a high resolution photo image or PDF file of their original art at The submission must have a Labor Day theme, and the artwork needs to be by either a member or their dependent. For your reference, see attached flyer or download a pdf version by clicking hereLabor Day Art Contest Retro Flyer Final.

The deadline to submit is August 25, and winners will be notified by August 29.

How unions help all workers

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation (wages & benefits) and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers.

Some of the ways unions help are:

  • Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.
  • Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages even more for low and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.
  • Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.
  • The impact of unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages.
  • The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
  • Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than nonunionized workers. They also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage. In retirement, unionized workers are 24% more likely to be covered by health insurance paid for by their employer.
  • Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.
  • Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).

In addition, unions play a pivotal role both in securing legislated labor protections and rights such as safety and health, overtime, and family/medical leave and in enforcing those rights on the job. Because unionized workers are usually better informed, they are more likely to benefit from social insurance programs such as unemployment insurance and workers compensation. Unions are therefore an intermediary institution that provides a necessary complement to legislated benefits and protections.

Unionized workers enjoy the result of union organization and collective bargaining: higher wages; more and better benefits; more effective utilization of social insurance programs; and more effective enforcement of legislated labor protections such as safety, health, and overtime regulations. Unions also set pay standards and practices that raise the wages of nonunionized workers in occupations and industries where there is a strong union presence. Collective bargaining fuels innovations in wages, benefits, and work practices that affect both unionized and nonunionized workers.

The Importance of Up-To-Date Information

infoAs a member of Local 1546, you might assume that your employer automatically notifies your union of changes to pertinent information about you. But that’s not the case. In fact, it’s up to you. It is crucial that you make it a priority to keep your personal information accurate and up to date with Local 1546 for a number of key reasons. Help us help you. Whether you’ve gone through a name change due to marriage, moved to a new address, or decided to change your beneficiary, your local union, pension, and health & welfare offices all rely on you to provide notification of such changes. In today’s “electronic communication age,” your current email address is also becoming an important means of communication with any of these entities.

Your local union needs to have your updated street and email addresses in order to send periodic communications to you.   A perfect example is at the time of a union contract vote. If a contract vote is being done via mail but Local 1546 does not have your correct address, it makes it very difficult to get your ballot to you. Name changes can also affect the receipt of your own mail from the union. Many times, the post office will reject a piece of mail from being delivered because the recipient is not registered at that address. A wrong name can cause unintentional delays. Beneficiaries (names and contact information) should likewise be kept accurate and up to date so that your wishes are properly carried out if you qualify for a union life insurance policy.

The pension office and the welfare office are just as important as the local union office with respect to your personal information. Think about it: when the time arrives to file for your pension or for health & welfare benefits, the process works efficiently only if all the offices (union; pension fund; and health & welfare fund) have current information about you on file that can be verified. Remember, you are the one who benefits from accuracy. But you can also be inconvenienced by outdated information. Therefore, please take it upon yourself to always make sure that your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number(s) are promptly updated with all these offices whenever a change occurs.

It only takes a minute to make the call. Don’t delay…do it today!


UFCW Local 1546 Welcomes our Newest Members from Americold Logistics

The Americold Logistics workers in Belvidere, IL ratified their first union contract.  This is the first contract the company has with UFCW Local 1546.

The whole process started back in October of 2012. The union election was won in January of 2013 despite the company waging a union avoidance campaign. Through it all, the workers stuck together during the long and difficult collective bargaining process with the company. After almost two years of drawn out negotiations the contract was finally ratified in January of 2015.

Newest members from Americold Logistics

Newest members from Americold Logistics

The contract covers all full-time and part-time hourly warehouse / production employees, lift truck operators, shag drivers, and leads employed at the Belvidere warehouse. Through this four-year contract the workers receive higher wages and a significant reduction in their healthcare costs.

Americold is the largest provider of temperature-controlled food distribution services in the country. The warehouse facility in Belvidere is over 6,175,000 cubic feet and has enough space for nearly 20,000 pallets of merchandise.


Local 1546 Fighting and Winning for our members

Local 1546 believed that Dominick’s had not paid our members that remained on the payroll into year 2014 all the monies due them for their vacation pay.  A joint grievance was filed between Local 1546 & 881 against Safeway.  A settlement in excess of $130,000 was reached for UFCW members.

Dominick’s started sending our members their checks, directly to their homes on Friday, October 17, 2014.

Thank you for your continued support and confidence.  Local 1546 never stops fighting for our members!!!!!


New Report Reveals Impact of “Just-in-Time” Scheduling on Workers, Families and Businesses

sector should have good jobs

A new report by the Center for Law and Social Policy, Retail Action Project, and Women Employed shows the negative impact of unpredictable work schedules on workers, families and businesses. Titled Tackling Unstable and Unpredictable Work Schedules, the report examines the recent trend toward “just-in-time” scheduling practices, where employers match workers’ hours to consumer demand.

“Just-in-Time” practices are used in the retail sector where many workers hold part-time positions with few benefits.  As the country’s largest retailer, Walmart has led the way in creating erratic and unpredictable shifts for its 1.4 million employees and its low-wage, part-time business strategy has influenced other retailers to do the same—making it almost impossible for workers to meet family obligations or have a second job.

The new report also highlights legislative and model workplace solutions, such as collective bargaining, guaranteed minimum weekly hours, advance notice practices and increased enforcement of current state laws that would enable workers to make ends meet and strengthen the economy.


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.

Meet the REAL Bruce Rauner

Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Bruce Rauner calls himself a “breath of fresh air” in the race for Governor, but when you check the facts, you learn his words and actions are polluted. Here’s the fact about the REAL Bruce Rauner.

  1. Just like Governor Scott Walker, Rauner wants to dismantle unions and eliminate pension benefits, but happily reaped huge profits by investing union retirement savings. He wrote about his hatred for unions in the Chicago Tribune, while numerous media reported that Rauner made millions in investment fees by managing pension funds for the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS), as co-founder and former chairman of Chicago’s second largest private equity fund (GTCR).
  2. Rauner supports “right-to-work” laws that would rob you of your right to bargain a fair contract. These laws also drive down wages, benefits, and the overall standard of living for anyone outside of Rauner’s 1%, who stand to get richer as the income inequality gap widens.
  3. Rauner invested in nursing homes that dramatically cut costs for profit, resulting in wrongful death and patient-neglect lawsuits that at one point totaled more than $2.3 billion in damages. After Rauner’s firm GTCR bought Trans Healthcare Inc, the now-bankrupt nursing home chain was sued at least a half dozen times by patients and their families. Attorneys have alleged that Rauner’s firm and other investors failed to provide proper funding for care, then shielded their assets to avoid paying damages.
  4. Rauner earns $25,000 an HOUR but called for lowering the minimum wage to $7.25. As soon as the media exposed this comment, the billionaire scrambled to explain his indefensible position, but more video had already surfaced of him saying he was “adamantly, adamantly” opposed to an increase for the lowest income workers among us.
  5. Rauner says he’d “shake up” Springfield, but he’s tied to those who shook it down, like a corrupt Blagojevich crony now in prison. Rauner’s firm owned part of CompBenefits, a company that paid $1 million to convicted felon Stuart Levine to get city and state contracts by “whatever means necessary, including payoffs.” Levine admitted to paying a bribe to get a contract for the company, and while on the payroll, voted to award Rauner’s firm a $50 million contract from the Illinois teachers pension fund in his role as a board member.
  6. Rauner brags about his “average Joe” Carhartt jacket and $18 watch, but he’s no regular guy underneath the costume. The billionaire owns NINE multi-million dollar homes, including a mansion in Chicago suburban Winnetka, two upscale properties in Chicago, and a penthouse in New York City among others.
  7. Rauner sharply criticizes “pay-to-play” politics, but received millions in state business after donating $300,000 to former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell during his campaign. The donation was a clear conflict of interest; Rauner’s firm was managing state pension funds at the time. After Rendell was elected, the state doubled its stake in GTCR funds, resulting in an additional $4 million profit for Rauner. And he has the nerve to accuse union members of bribery?
  8. Rauner loves to bash Democrats, but fails to mention that he’s a big supporter of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his close friend and a sharp critic of pensions. While working with Rauner in the late ’90s, Emanuel made $18 million, which helped spur his run for elective office.
  9. Rauner insists he’s a political “outsider,” but he played a major role in attempts to dismantle public education. Rauner encouraged Jonah Edelman and his “educational reform group” – Stand for Children – to come to Illinois. The group and its wealthy funders like Rauner bragged about “outfoxing the teachers’ unions” and pushed for reforms that would have eliminated collective bargaining and Chicago teachers’ right to strike in 2012.
  10. Rauner pulled strings and clouted his daughter into an elite (union) public school in Chicago after her application was rejected. He personally called then-Chicago schools CEO Arne Duncan to make sure that she was offered one of only 300 spots at Walter Payton College Prep, leapfrogging over 7,000 city applicants. Then, Rauner donated $250,000 to Payton Prep a year later. Rauner lives in wealthy suburban Winnetka, not Chicago.

Billionaire Bruce Rauner has already contributed more than $3 million of his own money to his campaign, with several wealthy friends casually chipping in six-figures and more to come. He is trying to determine the outcome of this election the only way he knows how: by buying it. Rauner is saturating the airwaves with deceptive commercials, hoping you won’t read or share these facts. His money won’t talk if we speak truth to power. Spread the word today.

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.


Chicagoans Call for Paid Sick Days

EarnedSickTimePCIn a strong show of support, small business owners, workers, health care practitioners, parents and Chicago Aldermen rallied today at City Council for paid sick days legislation. The group, organized by the Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition, is calling on City Council to pass an earned sick time ordinance that would guarantee that the nearly half million Chicago workers who do not have access to paid sick days are able to take time off when they or their families are ill.  A recent survey found that 82% of Chicago voters support paid sick days legislation.

“In this economy, it’s more important than ever that people can afford to stay home when they or loved ones are sick, without fear of falling behind on bills or losing their job,” said Alderman Moreno, co-sponsor of the Chicago Earned Sick Time Ordinance. “No working person in Chicago should be forced to choose between their family’s economic security and their family’s health.”

The legislation would enable workers to earn one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to between 5 and 9 days a year depending on employer size.  It would allow workers to earn time off to care for their own illness, an ill family member, or to attend medical appointments.  It would also allow leave to handle domestic or sexual violence, and if an employee’s place of business is closed or the school of an employee’s child has been closed due to a public health emergency.

Currently, 42% of private sector workers in Chicago do not have access to a single paid sick day, meaning that more than 460,000 Chicago workers can be fired for missing work if they are sick or to care for their sick child or elderly parent. Nationally, nearly one quarter of adults have been fired or threatened with job loss for taking time off to recover from illness or care for a sick loved one.  For low-income workers, for whom the absence of the policy is most costly, almost 80% lack paid sick days.

Deli worker Carlos Romero was sick with the flu and did not have paid sick time.  “Though I would not get paid I called my manager and said I would not be able to come into work,” he said. “I was told I would be fired if I did not show for work, so I went to work sick and put the customers and co workers at risk.  Days later, a co-worker did catch the flu.  Paid sick time is an important policy that allows low-wage workers like myself to be healthy and not contaminate the public.”

The number of intensive care unit flu cases in Chicago hit an all-time high the week of January 11 compared to any week last year, according to the Chicago Department of Health.

Numerous studies and practical experiences with earned sick days show a positive impact on businesses and the economy, and economists say job retention policies like earned sick days help reduce unemployment and strengthen the economy.

In a cost-benefit analysis for the proposed ordinance, the cost to employers for providing earned sick time will be outweighed by the benefits for a savings of over $6 million due to reduced turnover, reduced flu contagion, and increased productivity.

San Francisco, which has had a law in place for six years, was rated by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2012 as one of the top cities in the world to do business, and more than two in three San Francisco businesses now support the local law; six in seven report no negative impact on profitability.

“When one of my employees is sick, I want them to stay home to get better,” said Teresa Ging owner of Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique.  “Since they are offered paid sick time, my employees stick with me for years and that helps my business run smoothly and boosts the bottom line, as training new employees takes time and is expensive.”

Moreover, paid sick days can reduce emergency room visits and save $12 million a year in Chicago. When food service workers go to work sick, they put the public health at risk; the Center for Disease Control has found that more than 2.5 million cases of foodborne illness each year are caused by sick restaurant workers contaminating food while they are at work.

With support across party lines – polls consistently show that over 80% of voters, including Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike, support paid sick days – and local and national leaders, including President Obama, committing to “redouble our efforts on behalf of fairer workplaces and healthier, more secure families,” momentum for paid sick days legislation is growing across the country.

Across the country, cities have been adopting paid sick days policies to help improve public health and bolster the economic recovery.  Recently, a report from Seattle by Main Street Alliance of Washington found that one year after Seattle’s implementation of earned sick days, the legislation has had no negative impact on business. Today’s rally comes a month after Newark, New Jersey unanimously passed similar legislation. Months earlier, Jersey City passed the first earned sick days law in New Jersey. Washington, D.C. recently expanded their existing paid sick days law to cover all workers, and recently elected New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio led the effort to strengthen his city’s law. In total, seven cities have taken action to help boost the economy by making sure workers can hang on to critical income when ill.

“Chicago families can’t afford to wait any longer,” said Melissa Josephs, director of Equal Opportunity Policy at Women Employed. “We hope this year that Chicago can build off the unprecedented national momentum, giving workers and families much-needed relief and making our city a healthier, more business-friendly place for it.”

The Earned Sick Time Chicago Coalition includes: Action Now, Arise Chicago, Between Friends, Chicago Foundation for Women, EverThrive Illinois, Illinois Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, Jobs with Justice, Mujeres Latinas en Accion, National Employment Lawyers Association – IL, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Rape Victimi Advocates, Restaurant Opportunities Center – Chicago , Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law,  OUR Walmart, Women Employed, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago, AFSCME Council 31, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308, Illinois Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 21, Illinois Education Association Region 67, Illinois Federation of Teachers, National Nurses United, SEIU Healthcare IL and Indiana, SEIU Local 73, Teamsters 743, Teamsters 777, United Auto Workers Region 4, United Auto Workers Local 2320, United Steel Workers District 7, UFCW Local 881, UFCW Local 1546, Unite-Here Local 1, Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago/Fight for Fifteen, and Workers United