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Tell Kirk, Other Senators: Support Unemployed Workers, Restore Jobless Benefits

Call your Senators TODAY: 845-809-4509

In the past few weeks, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has shown a lot of love and respect for the 11 Illinois residents who recently competed for the United States at the Winter Olympic Games. Check out his Facebook page.  But, as many people who have left their comments there say, it’s time for Kirk to show some of the same respect and compassion for the state’s more than 99,000 jobless workers who lost their emergency unemployment benefits in December.

Call Kirk at 845-809-4509 if you live in Illinois and tell him the same thing.

You see, like the more than 1.7 million unemployed workers across the country, many jobless Illinois workers are no long receiving unemployment benefits because Republicans in Congress allowed the federal  emergency unemployment benefits program to expire Dec. 31, and Kirk was one of the majority of Republicans who voted against renewing the program in January and again this month.

But, as soon as Thursday, Kirk and other Republicans will have a chance to do the right thing and vote on a bill to restore the emergency unemployment benefits program that provides a lifeline to workers after their state benefits run out—usually 26 weeks, but now less than that in many states, thanks to Republican state lawmakers.

Kirk—who has indicated he might support a restoration—is a key vote, along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.).  If you live in Illinois, Ohio or Indiana, please call Kirk, Portman or Coats today at 845-809-4509 and tell them hundreds of thousands of their constituents and more than 1.7 million Americans need their votes. No matter where you live, please call your senators using the number above and tell them the same thing.  Another 1.9 million Americans will out of benefits by June if the program is not restored.

Here are just a few examples of what Illinois voters are telling Kirk on his Facebook page:

Annie Kiser: You have MANY Republican constituents out of work 26+ weeks. THEY VOTE and your “no” on #EUC will cost you, Mr. Kirk #RENEWUI

Annemarie Purcell Diola: Please push for the extended unemployment benefits as soon as possible. My unemployment ran out the 3rd week of December, where I was approved for 10 weeks of Tier 1 EUC, was only able to collect 1 week of it. I have worked my entire life and followed the rules, but my family is suffering!

Michael Greenberger: And A LOT of veterans were unemployed when you PULLED THE RUG OUT FROM UNDER THEM. Why don’t you support jobless people?


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.

Organize for America Tells Congress to Raise the Minimum Wage

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Rep. Jan Schakowsky calls on Sen. Kirk to honor his commitment to extend unemployment benefits.

On Wednesday, OFA-Illinois volunteers called on Congress to raise the minimum wage and and extend unemployment insurance.  They were joined at the Federal Plaza by Rep. Jan Schakowsky to make their point: If you work full-time in America, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

Joseph Phillips, an unemployed Vietnam veteran who recently lost unemployment benefits thanks to Congress’ failure to renew them at the end of last year, urged Sen. Mark Kirk to reinstate them and support the minimum wage increase.  “I know so many families who are struggling like me and depend on unemployment insurance to help them out until they find jobs that pay a living wage. So I ask you, please, Sen. Kirk, as a fellow veteran yourself, have compassion. All we are asking is a little help. Families and veterans alike are hurting. We need good jobs that pay a living wage. Please renew unemployment benefits and raise the minimum wage to $10.10. I don’t think that’s asking too much, coming from a veteran who served this country honorably.”

Kim Brown of Rogers Park, who lost her job in 2011 when it was outsourced to Cleveland, Ohio, lost her own extended unemployment benefits early due to sequester cuts.  She had to rely on family and friends for help after exhausting her life savings and retirement funds. She is now employed part-time at only a third of her former salary, making just over Illinois’ minimum wage.

“I’m having a very hard time just paying my rent each month and have continued to borrow money from friends and family to get by,” said Brown. “I’ve been looking for a second job since September to supplement but haven’t been able to find one of those yet, while also continuing to look for a more suitable full-time job. I don’t understand why it is so impossible to find a full-time job that pays a livable wage and provides basic benefits like paid sick and vacation days and health insurance. Even though I am working full time, I still qualify for Medicaid and food stamps.”

Brian Cerullo, a 2010 Northeastern University graduate, works a minimum wage job at a Wicker Park bakery. “I work as many hours as my bosses will give me–30 hours a week–and I can barely pay my rent every month. I haven’t been to the doctor in over eight months, even though I needed to a few times. I can’t miss work, because then I can’t eat, let alone pay for a visit to a healthcare provider.”

Cerullo has worked a variety of jobs since he graduated, but none of them paid enough for him to do more than scrape by. His goal is to go back to school and get a master’s in social work with a specialization in counseling, but he has not been able to save enough money. “I work in a bakery because I can take home whatever pastries we don’t sell, but I haven’t heard of any schools accepting croissants as tuition payments,” he said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m pretty sure I won’t have the resources to become a psychologist for a long, long time. I’m more than willing to work, and work hard.”

“Raising the minimum wage plays a big part in improving our communities,” said Gloria Warner, an Englewood resident and president of the community organization Action Now. “When workers make a living wage they can put money back into the local economy. When the minimum wage is raised, everyone wins: workers, neighbors, businesses and the economy.”

“I want to send this message verbally to Senator Kirk to extend unemployment insurance,” said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky. “And its not just for the 105,000 Illinoisans who would benefit from having a check, but it also means that the state would not lose close to $200 million dollars in money that would come to those people …that they would immediately go out and spend. Sen. Kirk said if that bill was paid for…that he would vote for it. Not only did he vote no, but he broke his promise to the country and the people of Illinois.”


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.

Poll Shows Americans Think Executives’ Pay Is Too High

ExecutivePayA new poll by YouGov/Huffington Post shows 66 percent of Americans think the pay of top corporate executives and CEOs is too high.

In the past few decades, CEO pay has skyrocketed while the average worker’s pay has stagnated despite increases in productivity.

Few Americans think they will ever enter the ranks of the highest paid, according to the poll which was conducted as part of a new Huffington Post project called Pay Pals, a database of the salaries paid to top executives and board members at every Fortune 100 company.

By a margin of 71 percent to 14 percent, Americans said they think the government is actually doing more to help major corporations than the poor.

On Jan. 30, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan proposed cutting the corporate tax in half which would cost the state $1.5 billion in revenue.


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.

Senate Fails to Renew Emergency Unemployment Aid

Attempts to reach a compromise on extending unemployment insurance (UI) failed as Republicans voted against the 1.7 million Americans still looking for work who were cut off when their benefits expire in December.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) was among those voting against extending unemployment insurance, turning his back on the thousands of workers laid off from Dominick’s.

The bill compromised on several areas considering it reduced the extension from one-year to three months and it was fully paid for using an offset that Republicans support.

“The bill fell short by one Republican vote. Just one vote prevented 1.7 million Americans from receiving a desperately needed lifeline,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Click here to see how other Senators voted.


 

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.

 

Dominick’s Updates

UFCW Local 1546 is working to bring you all of the latest updates on what’s happening with Dominick’s.

Latest Updates:

  • Jewel-Osco picks up five Dominick’s stores: 1763 Howard Street in Chicago; 424 W. Division in Chicago; 3243 S. 115th St in Merrionette Park; 800 NW Highway in Fox River Grove; and 345 S. Rand Road in Lake Zurich.
  • Shop & Save Market has purchased the Dominick’s store in Norwood Park.
  • Heinen’s Fine Foods has purchased the Dominick’s stores in Bannockburn and Lake Bluff.
  • workNet DuPage is holding a Dominick’s Post-Layoff Workshop, February 24, 2014 @ 1PM at the workNet DuPage Career Center in Lisle.  They will have a speaker from Illinois Dept of Employment Security speaking about Illinois’ unemployment insurance program, US Dept of Labor speaking about worker right’s under COBRA, HIPAA & ERISA and Susi Pihera, DuPage County Workforce Development, speaking about the employment & training services available through the Dislocated Worker Program-Workforce Investment Act.
  • 39 Dominick’s stores remain unsold. Click here for a map of Dominick’s locations and who has purchased them.
  • Seven empty Dominick’s stores have been acquired by Whole Foods Market: Edgewater, 6009 N. Broadway; Lincoln Park, 959 W. Fullerton Ave.; Streeterville, 255 E. Grand Ave.; West Loop, 1 N. Halsted St.; Elmhurst, 215 S. Route 83; Evanston, 2748 Green Bay Road; and Willowbrook, 6300 S. Kingery Highway
  • Garden Fresh Market has purchased the Dominick’s store at 770 S. Buffalo Grove Rd, Buffalo Grove.
  • Tony’s Finer Foods Inc. is taking over one empty Dominick’s store: 5233 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.
  • Four former Dominick’s grocery store locations have been purchased by Joe Caputo & Sons Fruit Market: Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Elk Grove Village and Northbrook.
  • Cermak Fresh Market has purchased the empty Dominick’s store at 6623 N. Damen Ave., Chicago and 6810 N. McCormick Blvd., Lincolnwood.
  • Pete’s Fresh Market has purchased the Dominick’s at: 259 Lake St., Oak Park.
  • Severance is being paid this week. Employees with direct deposit will see it on Thursday. Those without direct deposit will get a paper check in the mail. Premium (if applicable) and holiday pay will also go out this week (severance is a separate check/payment). Term vacation will be paid next week, this will be a paper check for all employees. Retro pay, to be determined; but as soon as possible.
  • If you have questions about the Affordable Care Act you can contact the Chicago Federation of Labor Workers Assistance Committee for ACA questions and enrollment. They have on site navigators who can assist with direct enrollment. Call their Chicago Office at 312-565-9431 or their Westchester Office at 708-344-3539.
  • Safeway/Dominick’s has provided a list of contact info for things like: W-2 Forms, Payroll Issues, Unemployment, Employment Verification, Benefit Information,  Reference Letter and 401(k) questions. Click here for the Contact List.
  • As a result of effects bargaining with Safeway/Dominick’s a lump sum payment will be made to eligible members over and above contract-mandated severance. Members that are eligible for lump sum payment are department heads/classified positions, members at top contract rates or overscale/red circle according to the Retail, Drug, or Fuel contracts. According to the agreement, the lump sum payment will be made as soon as reasonably practicable following the execution of the Agreement by the parties, and will be subject to applicable withholdings.
  • The Illinois workNet Center now has a specific page for Dominick’s workersClick here to go to their resource page.
  • Roundy’s, Inc. announced the company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 11 Dominick’s stores from Safeway Inc. The stores will be converted to the Mariano’s banner. Stores include: Park Ridge: 1900 S. Cumberland Ave, Western Springs: No. 14 Garden Market Street, Chicago: 3145 S. Ashland Ave., Chicago: 2021 W. Chicago Ave, Northfield: 1822 Willow Rd, Westchester: 3020 S. Wolf Rd, Buffalo Grove: 450 Half Day Rd, Chicago: 5201 N. Sheridan Rd, Gurnee: 6655 Grand Ave, Aurora: 3025 E. New York St, Shorewood: 950 Brook Forest Ave.
  • According to the Mariano’s conference call: Five of the stores will reopen within 30-45 days. Five of the stores will reopen by early March, 2014. The Westchester store will reopen in late 2014 after a major remodel. All of the stores will be remodeled over the next two years.

Dominick’s Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my pension?
Your pension is protected by the PBGC and will be there when you are ready to retire. Safeway Inc. and Dominick’s are required by law to meet their withdrawal liability obligation to the pension fund. Any further questions on pension contact Midwest Pension Fund for clerks UFCW National Pension Fund for meat, fish and deli.

What happens to my 401k?
Your 401k is protected. The Safeway Inc. 401k is managed by JP Morgan. If your store changes owners or is closed you should consult a financial advisor or accountant about how to manage your 401k.

What happens to my health insurance coverage?
If you are a clerk that currently has health insurance coverage through Dominick’s they are required to provide three (3) months of contributions to your health fund per your collective bargaining agreement.
If your store changes owners you may have health insurance through that new employer.
Health insurance is available under the Affordable Care Act. You can get more information at GetCoveredIllinois.gov.

Will I receive severance once my store closes? Will I be able to cash out sick and/or vacation times once my store closes?
Severance, sick and vacation time are all covered under your collective bargaining agreement. UFCW Local 1546 has requested to bargain the effects of store closures which is mandatory by law.

Do I have any bumping rights?
Employees continue to have bumping rights during a layoff per the collective bargaining agreement.

What obligation does another company have to hire me if they buy my store?
As of this time, the way Dominick’s is selling their stores; there is no obligation to hire workers.

What happens if my store is bought by a union grocery store?
If your store is bought by Jewel or Strack & Van Til (Ultra Foods), we will be working with those companies under our existing collective bargaining agreement.
If your store is bought by Kroger (Food 4 Less), we will work with you to organize the non-union Food 4 Less and negotiate a new contract.

What happens if my store is bought by a non-union grocery store?
If your store is bought by another non-union grocery store you will not have a collective bargaining agreement or any union benefits. In order to negotiate a union contract you will need to sign a recognition card with UFCW Local 1546. Once a majority of workers have signed cards we will submit those to the National Labor Relations Board and call for an election. By sticking together and voting “union yes” you and your co-workers will be able to negotiate a new contract and ensure that you have a voice at work. Click here if you want more information about how to keep your rights at work.

Am I eligible for unemployment?
If your store closes you should file with the Illinois Department of Employment Security for unemployment benefits.


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.

Governor Quinn Announces Loan to Support New Union Jobs at John Hofmeister & Son Inc.

Photo by Harvey Tillis

Gov. Quinn speaks with UFCW Local 1546 member Jose Diaz who has worked at John Hofmeister & Son for 35 years.

Governor Pat Quinn announced today that a $2 million loan from the state will allow John Hofmeister & Son Inc., a family-owned manufacturer on the West Side, to expand and add union jobs as it enters new markets.

The state loan is part of a $9 million financing package led by Village Bank & Trust of Arlington Heights. The money will allow the company to pay off old debt, acquire new equipment and hire 25 workers. Hofmeister, which does business as Hof Haus, employs on average about 80 people, with many belonging to the United Food & Commercial Workers Union or the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy. This project represents our commitment to help family-owned businesses thrive,” said Governor Quinn. “Our work with the banking community produces attractive options for financing so that small companies, especially our manufacturers, can create good jobs and serve as a dynamic growth engine for our state.”

The state’s loan comes through the Advantage Illinois program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

“Advantage Illinois is a shot in the arm to our small businesses,” said DCEO Director Adam Pollet. “Enhancing business access to capital is a top priority for Illinois. It gets entrepreneurs and small businesses starting up or expanding and creating quality jobs at a faster rate.”

“We want to thank Governor Quinn for helping to make possible Advantage Illinois and the loan which will create 25 new union jobs here at John Hofmeister & Son,” said Eric Bailey, spokesperson for UFCW Local 1546. “If we are going to end income inequality in our state it can only happen by creating good paying union jobs, raising the minimum wage and mandating paid sick leave. Governor Quinn understands that Illinois needs jobs that pay a living wage, not tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Corporations like Safeway Inc. shut down Dominick’s grocery stores and laid off thousands of workers to maximize shareholder profits at the expense of middle class families and our communities. Corporations had their opportunity to create jobs and they chose profits over people. With programs like the Governor’s Advantage Illinois, our state is making an investment in people and small businesses and building a path to prosperity.”

Hofmeister was founded in Chicago more than 60 years ago and produces ham, pork and turkey products under private labels and the brand “Old Warsaw.” Its customers include delis, food service providers, school lunch programs and food assistance programs under government contracts. It plans to expand into more retail chains and into the Hispanic market.

The manufacturer recently earned the USDA Hub Zone “Contractor of the Year Award” for its customer service, quality control and expedient delivery record.

“We are proud and thankful to work together with Governor Quinn as well as Village Bank & Trust to keep small family-owned businesses in Chicago alive,” said Matt Hofmeister, the company’s chief executive officer. “Not only will Hof Haus continue to bring jobs to the West Side, it will attract more consumers to our community where they will support the local economy.”

Governor Quinn said that while Illinois’ economy has diversified beyond its historical strengths in manufacturing and agriculture, growth in factory production has played a large role in the state’s recovery from the recent recession. More than 577,000 workers in the state, about 10 percent of the total employment base, are engaged in manufacturing. The sector has added 25,000 jobs since January 2010.


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.

Majority of Americans See a Growing Chasm Between the Rich and Poor, New Survey Finds

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new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center and USA Today shows that Americans in both political parties see a growing gap between the rich and poor, but have differing views on the causes and solutions regarding income inequality.

The survey, which was conducted on Jan. 15-19 among 1,504 adults, shows that 68 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of Republicans believe income inequality has increased over the last decade.  However, the role of government in combating poverty was viewed along partisan lines, with more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans saying that the government can and should do a lot to reduce poverty.  The majority of those surveyed support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to expand programs for the poor (54 percent); raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour (73 percent); and extending unemployment benefits (63 percent).

President Obama is expected to highlight income inequality in his State of the Union address next week.

 


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.

Let’s Stop the Fast Track to Bigger Trade Deficits and Lower Wages

Let's Stop the Fast Track to Bigger Trade Deficits and Lower Wages

Congress is considering new legislation that would “Fast Track” new trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), moving them through Congress more quickly by limiting the transparency, accountability and oversight necessary for such trade deals to serve America’s working families rather than extreme corporate interests. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Fast Track legislation, and the AFL-CIO has launched a petition calling on Congress to oppose this undemocratic and anti-worker legislation. While proponents of these trade deals often make bold promises about the benefits of such agreements, in reality they do little more than increase trade deficits and hurt America’s working families.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka recently made it clear how strongly the labor federation opposed Fast Track:

The Trade Promotion Authority bill submitted today by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus and Senate Finance Ranking Member Orrin Hatch is out of date, poorly conceived and bad for American workers. For that reason, the AFL-CIO opposes this legislation in the strongest of terms and will actively work to block its passage.

As we’ve seen previously, such deals increase our trade deficits and they often do so at the detriment of not only the American economy, but the rights of workers in the countries we trade with. The North American Free Trade Agreement alone has led to the displacement of 700,000 jobs. Workers in countries like Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Jordan and Bahrain have been the targets of detention, persecution, threats and murder. These deals frequently lead to increased corporate profits and control of the world economy and less and less life, liberty and happiness pursuit for workers.

Working families and their advocates are standing up against these trade deals and things like Fast Track that make these deals less democratic and accountable to the people. In New York, a group of lawmakers and union and environmental activists took to the steps of City Hall to protest Fast Track.

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said that the TPP proposal “will not provide adequate transparency, accountability or oversight. It fails to protect American workers and American jobs.” Rep. José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) echoed those sentiments: “Fast-tracking is simply a way in my opinion, of doing things without Congress really knowing about it. We’re always told that these trade agreements will create jobs and a better environment, and then five years later we find out it’s not true.”

Sign the petition and tell Congress that repeating failed policies is not the way to create jobs and grow 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.

Walmart Illegally Retaliated Against Workers Speaking Out For Higher Wages, Against Income Inequality

The National Labor Relations Board issued the largest-ever complaint against Walmart today for breaking federal labor law by violating workers’ rights. The complaint alleges Walmart illegally fired and disciplined more than 117 workers, including those who went on strike last June to speak out for better jobs.

The NLRB asserts illegal activities in 14 states at 34 stores and shows that company executives conceived—and oversaw implementation—of an unlawful retaliation policy for store managers to execute. The complaint—the largest ever against Walmart in both size and scale—names 63 individual store managers and company spokesperson and vice president of communication David Tovar’s illegal threats made to employees.

Walmart workers, part of the national organization OUR Walmart, have been taking the country’s income inequality head on by standing up for better wages at the country’s largest employer. While the majority of Walmart associates are paid less than $25,000 a year, Walmart makes $17 billion in annual profits and the Waltons—the richest family in the country—have a combined wealth of $144.7 billion.

“Walmart thinks it can scare us with attacks to keep us from having a real conversation about the poverty wages we’re paid,” said Barbara Collins a fired Walmart worker from Placerville, CA, who is one of the 117 workers named in the complaint. “But too much is at stake—the strength of our economy and the security of our families—to stay silent about why Walmart needs to improve jobs. Now the federal government is confirming what we already know: we have the right to speak out, and Walmart fired me and my coworkers illegally. With a new CEO taking over in a few weeks, we hope that Walmart will take a new direction in listening to associates and the country in the growing calls to improve jobs.”

The complaint details the Board’s decision to prosecute the company for its illegal firings and disciplinary actions against workers standing up for better jobs.

The Board’s action will provide additional protection for Walmart’s 1.3 million employees when they are calling for Walmart to publicly commit to paying workers a minimum of $25,000 a year for full-time work. The complaint addresses threats by managers and the company’s national spokesperson for discouraging workers from striking and for taking illegal disciplinary actions against workers who were on legally protected strikes.

If Walmart is found liable, workers could be awarded back pay, reinstatement and the reversal of disciplinary actions through the decision; and Walmart could be required to inform and educate all employees of their legally protected rights. While historic, the complaint alone is not enough to stop Walmart from violating the law. Since the start of the year, Walmart has continued to retaliate against workers who speak out for better jobs.

“Shoppers, workers and activists all stand with Walmart workers calling for a decent day’s pay so they can support their families and contribute to the economy. We’ve never seen a complaint against Walmart of this size or scope, and we’re glad the NLRB is taking action. Walmart’s attacks on its own employees and cannot go unchecked,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs With Justice. “We are proud to stand with workers calling for respect from Walmart.”

“Walmart workers are bravely leading the national movement to end low wage work,” said Bill Fletcher Jr., chairman of the Retail Justice Alliance. “Walmart is a major driver of the widening income inequality gap with its low wages that set the standard for retail jobs. We cannot get our economy moving again when the largest employer breaks federal law in an effort to keep wages down. Walmart needs to start following the law and improve jobs by paying workers a living wage.”

Today’s complaint addresses charges filed one year ago in advance of Black Friday 2012, when Walmart managers escalated their efforts to threaten and discourage workers from going on legally protected strikes. David Tovar, spokesperson for the company, even went so far as to threaten workers on national television, saying “there would be consequences” for workers who did not come in for scheduled shifts on Black Friday.

“Walmart workers like me are calling for better jobs for all Americans,” said Colby Harris, a fired worker from Lancaster, TX. “It’s not right that so many of us are struggling to get by on less than $25,000 a year while the Waltons have more wealth than 42% of American families combined. Today the federal government confirmed that Walmart is not above the law, will be held accountable, and I have rights.”

Additionally, the complaint covers the illegal firings and disciplinary actions that occurred after 100 striking Walmart workers took their concerns to the company’s June shareholder meeting in Bentonville. Support from investors, Walmart workers and the general public continued to grow after tens of thousands of shareholders heard from workers who are OUR Walmart members at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

When these workers returned to work, Walmart systematically fired and disciplined them despite their legally recognized, protected absences. This included disciplinary action against at least 43 workers and the firing of at least another 23 worker-leaders.

Prior to the extended strike in June, American Rights at Work/Jobs with Justice released a white paper documenting Walmart’s extensive and systematic efforts to silence associates. At that time, there were more than 150 incidents in stores across the country, with few signs that Walmart would soon stop targeting those who speak out and act collectively.

In other labor charges against Walmart, workers have been winning. In California alone, the National Labor Relations Board recently decided to prosecute Walmart for 11 violations of federal labor law from some threats made around Black Friday in 2012.

In Kentucky, one settlement was reached between Walmart and Aaron Lawson in which Walmart fired Lawson after he distributed flyers and spoke out against the company’s attempts to silence those who called for better wages and consistent hours. As part of the settlement, Walmart agreed to rehire Lawson and provide full back wages for the time that he was out of work.

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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.

The Jungle and the Meat Packing Industry Today

Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle shed light on the labor conditions in the Chicago Stockyards helping lead to labor reform and establish work standards that still are the bedrock for workplace safety today. But meatpacking still remains a dangerous job. Joining in the conversation is Professor of Labor Relations, School of Labor and Employment, Steven Ashby, and UFCW Local 1546 Director of Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing Jon Willigman on WBEZ 91.5 FM.

Click here to listen to the broadcast.

 

 


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.