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Congress Reintroduces Legislation to Curb Abusive Scheduling Practices

Kim Mitchell, a Local 400 member and Macy’s employee, speaks at a press conference announcing the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts announced the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act, a bill that would allow workers to request greater stability in their work scheduling.

The Schedules That Work Act would provide workers modest safeguards and begin to curb the most abusive scheduling practices. The bill includes a presumption that workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to. The legislation also provides retail workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

Warren was joined by Representative Mark Takano of California’s 41st District and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut’s 3rd District, as well as speakers from the Center for Popular Democracy, the National Women’s Law Center, and UFCW Local 400 member and Macy’s employee Kim Mitchell.

All of the speakers emphasized the toll that irregular and often insufficient scheduling can have on families. Several speakers also mentioned how this issue is compounded by an unreasonably low minimum wage.

Senator Warren described her particular connection to the issue, as the child of a woman who was able to support her family because of a minimum wage job that offered her a regularly scheduled forty hour work week.

Mitchell echoed much of Warren’s sentiment, recalling a time when retail was seen as a more economically viable lifelong career. As a member of Local 400 with a union contract at Macy’s, Mitchell receives her schedule a month in advance. But advance notice alone is not enough to offer workers the stability they need. All of the speakers expressed hope that this bill would help workers keep the jobs they value, and in turn be valued appropriately for the work they provide.

Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, issued the following statement regarding the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act.  

“When a person’s work schedule varies widely from week to week, it brings chaos to both family life and family finances. The Schedules That Work Act is a common sense piece of legislation that will help hard-working men and women have more control over their lives. Smart, flexible, and reliable scheduling is the best way to ensure every family is able to build the better life they’ve earned and deserve.”

When asked about the possibility of some overlap between the Schedules that Work Act and a bill introduced by House Republicans that would allow employers to offer paid time off instead of overtime pay, Representative DeLauro expressed little hope for cooperation and was skeptical that the two bills had potential for common ground.

Updated with a statement from UFCW International President Marc Perrone

Four Candidates Recommended by Local 400 Win Elections in Virginia

The results are in from yesterday’s closely-watched primary election in Virginia. Local 400 recommended candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates in six districts. Four of the candidates won their races:

In House District 31, Elizabeth Guzman won the Democratic primary with 52.16% of the vote. In District 51, Hala Ayala won with 66.34% of the vote. Karrie Delaney won in House District 67 with 65.33% of the vote. And in District 92, Jeion Joyner Ward won with an overwhelming 87.54% of the vote.

In District 42, Tilly Blanding lost to Kathy K. L. Tran. Meanwhile, Josh King was defeated by Jennifer Carroll Foy in District 2 by a mere ten votes.

Local 400 made some of these recommendations in conjunction with Take Action Virginia, a partnership of major community and labor groups representing tens of thousands of the commonwealth’s workers fighting for policies to raise the standard of living and protect people’s rights.

For a complete list of election results, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Members Lead Fight for Maryland Earned Sick Leave Bill

A team of Local 400 members played a pivotal role in winning passage of the Healthy Working Families Act in Maryland.

Local 400 Shop Stewards Darlene Butler-Jones and Bill Osborn had never gone to Annapolis to meet with their state legislators, testified before the Maryland General Assembly or spoken out at rallies before. So when they were asked to help lead Local 400’s campaign to pass the Healthy Working Families Act, they were a bit taken aback. But after four months of working full-time to make paid leave a right for all Maryland workers, they were fired up and thrilled with the results.

“I wouldn’t trade it for a dime,” said Darlene, who is a meat cutter at Giant #347 in Largo. Bill, a dairy clerk at Giant #339 in La Plata, echoed her sentiments, saying, “It was a really enriching experience.”

Darlene, Bill and three of their Local 400 brothers and sisters played a pivotal role in winning passage of the legislation by a 29-18 vote in the Senate on March 16 and an 87-53 margin in the House on April 7. The bill would allow full-time and part-time workers at Maryland employers with 15 or more employees to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to five full days per year for full-time workers, benefiting more than 510,000 Marylanders who are currently unable to earn paid sick leave.

Darlene Butler-Jones (left) poses for a photo with a fellow Local 400 member. Darlene was part of a team of union members gathered support for the Healthy Working Families Act in Maryland.

For Darlene, this was personal. “When I started work at Giant 20 years ago, I was widowed with young children,” she said. “I had no sick leave. When my children came home with bumps and bruises or when they got sick, I had to choose between their health and my paycheck. That’s a position no one should ever be placed into.”

Bill Osborn testified about the challenges the single mothers he works with face. “I see them struggle when their kid is sick,” he said. “If they can’t take their kid to day care, how do single parents make it if they don’t have paid leave?

“It’s only fair to have paid leave,” Bill said. “Employers owe it to their employees.”

Darlene and Bill were invigorated by their experience. “It’s been very educational because I’ve learned a lot—I didn’t know how long and tedious it is to get a law passed,” Darlene said. “But it’s rewarding, too—you get to meet people from all walks of life telling their stories. You realize how sick leave and a higher minimum wage means so much and makes people better citizens and more productive workers.

“Today, I can tell my 12-year-old granddaughter, ‘When you go to work, you’ll have paid sick leave, and you can know that your grandmother and her friends were a part of making that happen,’” she said.

“From the very first day, the first rally in Annapolis, we learned the process,” Bill said. “We encouraged our members to support the bill. We canvassed door to door in certain areas. We sat in on a lot of the committee meetings and legislative sessions. Each of us testified and talked about how it affected us.

“It was so satisfying knowing we were there from right at the beginning to all the way when the bill was sent to the governor,” he said. “It was inspiring and it motivated me to be more involved in other bills and to take steps in our union to help others understand the process.”

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has threatened the veto the Healthy Working Families Act. Darlene, Bill and the three other team members are mobilizing public pressure on Hogan to sign the bill, but if he vetoes it, they’ll fight to get the House and Senate to override his vetoes. If no senator and delegate changes his or her vote, then the override will be successful and the bill will become law.

“If he vetoes it, I’ll be right back doing this all over again,” Darlene said.  “Without a doubt. Call me and I’ll be there.

“Each and every Local 400 member should get out, stand up for themselves, learn about politics and don’t be afraid to talk,” she added. “That’s the real lesson of this experience.”

Local 400 Recommends Candidates in June 13th Virginia Primary

With key issues at stake affecting Virginia members, including a $15 minimum wage, immigrant protections, and the right to union representation, Local 400 has recommended six candidates for the state House of Delegates in the June 13th primary election.

The candidates Local 400 has identified as strongly pro-worker include:

House District 2: Josh King

House District 31: Elizabeth Guzman

House District 42: Tilly Blanding

House District 51: Hala Ayala

House District 67: Karrie Delaney

House District 92: Jeion Joyner Ward

“The Commonwealth of Virginia desperately needs the progressive leadership these candidates will provide,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “In the retail industry in particular, too many Virginia families are struggling to make ends meet even though their employers are as profitable as ever. We need leaders in Richmond who are willing to act to provide opportunities for hardworking men and women to earn a better life.

“The election of good people like our recommended candidates can help shift the balance in the General Assembly and could make possible the passage of laws that will make a profound, positive difference in people’s lives, like a $15 minimum wage,” Federici said.

Local 400 made some of these recommendations in conjunction with Take Action Virginia, a partnership of major community and labor groups representing tens of thousands of the commonwealth’s workers fighting for policies to raise the standard of living and protect people’s rights.

We encourage all members to volunteer their time in the Local 400/Take Action Virginia campaign to elect these recommended candidates. And we urge all of our members in Virginia to vote in the June 13th primary. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the polls on election day, you can request an absentee ballot on the Virginia Department of Elections website. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail is Tuesday, June 6th. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by appearing in-person is June 10th.

May 13: Fill Your Bags for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

Local 400 staff spent the morning volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. to kick off the 25th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

We know better than anyone how hard UFCW members work to put food on the table for America’s families – and our union family also believes that no hardworking man or woman should struggle alone. Which is why we work hard for those in need, supporting our brothers and sisters at the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the food drive, and we want to make this a year for the history books. We hope to top last year’s Guinness World Record—80 million pounds of food collected for the largest single day food drive in world history. Together, we know we can do it, one bag at a time.

Here’s how:

  1. FILL A BAG with non-perishable food items. (See list below.)
  2. TAKE A PIC AND POST IT! Please Tweet it or put it on Facebook with the hashtag #StampOutHunger – and please tag @UFCW400 and @NALC.
  3. PUT OUT YOUR BAG on May 13th before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time.

That’s it! It’s so easy – please help us Stamp Out Hunger and put food on shelves in our local food banks.

What to Put in Your Bag

Fill your UFCW-provided Stamp Out Hunger paper bag with*:

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta or spaghetti sauce
  • Rice
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Canned meals (soup, chili, pasta)
  • 100% juice
  • Peanut butter
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned protein (chicken, tuna, turkey)
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal

*NOTE: DO NOT put in frozen food, homemade food, expired food, or home canned items – or anything in glass containers.

Original post by UFCW International

Congratulations to ABC Drawing Winner, Amadou Diallo

Active Ballot Club drawing winner, Amadou Diallo (left), poses for a photo with his Local 400 union rep, Johnnie Perry.

Local 400 member Amadou Diallo from Giant #780 in Falls Church, Va. is the most recent winner of our Active Ballot Club drawing! Congratulations, Amadou!

All across the country, corporations and the ultra-wealthy are funneling unprecedented amounts of money into our political system. Their goal is to create an unbalanced and unfair economy where wages are as low as possible and profits replace respect for the workers that created them.

The UFCW Active Ballot Club (ABC) seeks to level the playing field. By bringing together thousands of workers, our political concerns can be amplified to a decibel that is impossible to ignore. ABC supports pro-worker candidates and incumbents from all political parties and is the prominent political action committee dedicated to the interests of UFCW members nationwide.

By joining ABC, active members are automatically entered to win a monthly drawing. Learn more about the UFCW Active Ballot Club and talk to your rep about signing up today!

Local 400 Members Speak Out on Capitol Hill

Local 400 members and staff pause for a photo on the steps of the U.S. Capitol as part of the first-ever Local 400 Lobby Day on March 23, 2017.

Local 400 Members Descend on Capitol to Urge Opposition to “Right to Work,” Immigration Raids, Trumpcare

Sometimes it seems like members of congress don’t listen to us. They don’t seem to understand the needs of ordinary, hardworking men and women who just want a better life. All too often, it appears that they’re too busy listening to corporate lobbyists and special interest groups instead of the voters who elect them.

On Thursday, March 23, members of Local 400 decided to do something about it. More than 35 members of Local 400 descended on Capitol Hill to meet with their senators and representatives in congress as part of our first-ever lobby day.

While the House was poised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw 24 million Americans into the ranks of the uninsured, Local 400 activists met with their members of Congress, urging them to oppose this bill (also known as Trumpcare), oppose national “right to work” legislation, and oppose immigration raids on workplaces.

“You are the most important people here today,” Local 400 Mark P. Federici told the member lobbyists before they fanned out across Capitol Hill to meet with their senators and representatives. “You own these buildings. You own these offices. The people you’re meeting with work for us.

“Some people would rather we be quiet,” Federici said. “That’s not what we do. Real people speaking to real power is a uniquely American experience. We deserve to have our voices heard. If it wasn’t for us, nobody would be talking about wages, health care, pensions, and working conditions.”

The members had three central messages for the senators and representatives they met with.

1) Oppose “Right to Work”

Republicans in Congress have introduced national “right to work” legislation that would drive down wages and benefits for working Americans. In the states that have enacted “right to work” laws, including Virginia, earn about $6,000 less per year than those in other states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These laws undermine union members’ bargaining power by letting freeloaders benefit from the dues of their co-workers.

“Sooner or later, everyone needs help,” said Charlene Haley, a shop steward who works at Safeway in Fairfax, Virginia. “And then you have to represent them, even if they haven’t contributed anything. It happens all the time.

“When an employee gets in trouble, I coach them what to say and that’s usually enough so they can keep their job,” she said. “Afterward, they join Local 400 because they understand the value of union membership. But it shouldn’t have to come to that.”

“‘Right to work’ laws are unfair to our members, drain our resources, and push down wages,” Federici said. “That’s why we demand that our representatives join us in leading the fight to defeat this legislation in Congress.”

2) Oppose Trumpcare

While Local 400 members were meeting with their elected officials, the U.S. House was considering the American Health Care Act (Trumpcare), legislation that would undo the Affordable Care Act, take health care coverage away from 24 million Americans, and give massive tax cuts to the ultra-wealthy.

Isoline Pistolessi, a shop steward at Kaiser Permanente’s Falls Church Care Center who just won Kaiser’s National Extraordinary Nurse Award, has seen first-hand the impact of the Affordable Care Act and fears what would happen under Trumpcare. “I’ve seen patients who just got health insurance for the first time; that’s what enabled them to come in and get care. We can’t take that away from them.

“We need to make health care more affordable, not less,” Pistolessi said. “But this bill will send premiums sky-high, especially for older people. That means if we’re ready to retire before we’re eligible for Medicare, we won’t be able to afford health insurance.

“As someone who provides medical care, I’m especially concerned about the impact of this bill on emergency rooms, hospitals and urgent care centers that have to treat everyone who comes in the door, whether they have insurance or not,” she added. “With 24 million people losing insurance, that’s going to be a real problem.”

Taralyn Pike, a shop steward at Giant #748 in Arlington, expressed her concern about Trumpcare’s huge cuts to Medicaid. “My son has had strep throat six times over the last six months,” she said. “He’s on Medicaid. If not for that, I don’t know what I’d do.”

“This bill won’t fix anything that’s a problem with the Affordable Care Act,” said Local 400 Chief of Staff Mike Wilson. “It’s a handout for wealthy people. It transfers wealth from the poor and middle class to the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent. And it makes insurance a lot more expensive.”

In a number of recent collective bargaining agreements, health care for Local 400 retirees has shifted to the state insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, supported by stipends from employers and federal premium subsidies. But Trumpcare could upend that.  “This bill will make it tougher for older people to afford health care,” Federici said. “We represent lots of retirees. I shudder to think about how they will get their health insurance if this bill passes.”

3) Oppose Immigration Raids

The UFCW has bitter experience with immigration raids. In 2006, a series of raids at six Swift & Company meatpacking plants in the central U.S. resulted in UFCW members—including U.S. citizens and green card-holders—being rounded up, detained and criminalized. The rhetoric and policies of the Trump Administration raise the threat that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could launch a new round of raids at UFCW workplaces, and Local 400 members urged their elected officials to oppose any such efforts.

Isoline Pistolessi offered personal testimony about why raids are so wrong. “My family came to this country from the Dominican Republic when I was six years old,” she said. “My father was going to be assassinated and came here as a political exile. Before we left, our neighbors were raided and it was very scary—I could hear the screaming. No one should ever have to go through that—especially here in the U.S.

“I became a U.S. citizen eight years ago,” she noted. “I had to work really hard to get my citizenship. We need to make it possible for others to follow the same path.”

“You walk into any grocery store in our area and it’s like Ellis Island,” Federici said. “We’re proud of that. Our workplaces—and especially our union—offer opportunity for those who come to America to seek a better life. We don’t want to see any ICE raids. And we want our members of Congress to have our backs if any do occur.”

Following the meetings, the members were energized by the supportive response they received from most of the senators, representatives and staff they met with. Many in attendance said they gained a lot from the experience and they would speak to their sisters and brothers about the key issues before Congress and the importance of activism.

“I would definitely do this again!” said Charlene Haley as the group wrapped up for the day.

“Bad things happen when good people stand back,” Federici said. “But good things happen when we speak out and fight back. That’s a lesson we all gained today.”

Check out photos from the Local 400 Lobby Day on Facebook.

Congratulations to ABC Drawing Winner, Tracey Anne Goroza

Active Ballot Club drawing winner, Tracey Anne Goroza (left), poses for a photo with her Local 400 union rep, Johnnie Perry.

Local 400 member Tracey Anne Goroza from Safeway #1300 in McLean, Va. is the most recent winner of our Active Ballot Club drawing! Congratulations, Tracey!

All across the country, corporations and the ultra-wealthy are funneling unprecedented amounts of money into our political system. Their goal is to create an unbalanced and unfair economy where wages are as low as possible and profits replace respect for the workers that created them.

The UFCW Active Ballot Club (ABC) seeks to level the playing field. By bringing together thousands of workers, our political concerns can be amplified to a decibel that is impossible to ignore. ABC supports pro-worker candidates and incumbents from all political parties and is the prominent political action committee dedicated to the interests of UFCW members nationwide.

By joining ABC, active members are automatically entered to win a monthly drawing. Learn more about the UFCW Active Ballot Club and talk to your rep about signing up today!

New Law Guarantees Eight Weeks of Paid Leave for New Parents in D.C.

Photo via Pexels

Starting in 2020, D.C. workers can take up to two weeks of paid sick leave, six weeks paid time off to care for sick loved ones and eight weeks of paid time off for new parents

In a landmark victory for workers in the nation’s capital, the District of Columbia has enacted universal paid leave legislation, providing one of the nation’s most progressive packages of family and medical leave benefits.

The Universal Paid Leave Act provides that workers can take up to two weeks of paid leave to treat their own personal health issues and up to six weeks of paid leave to support a loved one who is seriously ill or dying. New parents will have the right to take up to eight weeks of paid leave, making D.C. the first jurisdiction in the country to provide equal parental leave to all mothers and fathers, regardless of whether they are adoptive, foster or birth parents.

It covers anyone who works in D.C.’s private and nonprofit sectors, including part-time workers, tipped workers, and self-employed residents. It is funded by a 0.62 percent payroll tax on employers. The law provides for the payroll tax collection to begin in 2019 and eligible employees will begin receiving the benefit in 2020.

The D.C. Council passed the measure by a 9 to 4 vote in December, and Mayor Muriel Bowser declined to veto the legislation in February. As with all laws in the District, the bill now goes to Congress for review and is expected to become law in early April.

The overwhelmingly popular legislation was supported by about 80% of District residents. Washington, D.C., now joins California, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island in mandating paid leave. Only 12 percent of Americans have access to paid family leave from their employer, and unlike almost every other nation in the world, the United States does not provide any form of paid time off for new mothers.

“No one should ever have to choose between a paycheck and their family,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “Thanks to the D.C. City Council, most workers in the nation’s capital won’t have to make that horrible choice anymore. They will be able to take care of themselves when they’re sick and take care of their loved ones without sacrificing their ability to feed their families and pay the rent or mortgage. We congratulate all nine Council Members who had the courage to do the right thing in the face of fierce business opposition.”

“Passage of the Universal Paid Leave Act demonstrates the power of families who united across the District around the shared need for vital benefits,” said Local 400’s Dyana Forester, who lives in Ward 7, and helped organize a broad-based coalition of more than 200 organizations that led to victory.

The Universal Paid Leave Act was introduced by Councilmembers Elissa Silverman (I-At Large) and David Grosso (I-At Large). Also voting for it were Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5), Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Robert White (D-At Large) and Anita Bonds (D-At Large).

April 29: March for Climate, Justice and Jobs

Learn more about the People’s Climate March at peoplesclimate.org

Join Local 400 for the People’s Climate March on April 29th in Washington, DC

Climate change is already causing major problems. We see it in record high temperatures, increasingly severe weather, and rising sea levels. And unless we take bold action now, it will only get worse, ultimately threatening human survival.

That alone is reason enough to combat the root causes of climate change. Unfortunately, too many elected leaders are ignoring the facts, and in many cases, they’re making matters worse.

At Local 400, we know we can’t ignore the facts. Our members will be directly impacted by effects of climate change. Across the globe, research suggests climate change will hurt working families the most. It will impose the greatest hardships on lower-income and working class communities because they are especially vulnerable to flooding, toxic air and water, and other environmental problems. And it will devastate our economy, causing massive job losses.

That’s why Local 400 is proudly joining many other labor unions in the April 29th People’s Climate March on Washington.

“It’s no accident that the Trump Administration and congressional extremists are undoing policies to fight climate change and undermining workers’ rights at the very same time,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “Their agenda is to enrich big business and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of working families. They’re putting everyone from Big Oil to union-busting employers first and the interests of hardworking Local 400 members last.

“So we must join together with every individual and organization committed to social, environmental and economic justice to resist Trump’s anti-worker agenda,” Federici said. “That’s what the People’s Climate March is all about. I encourage all our members to join us on April 29th.

The march’s agenda includes support for a $15 minimum wage, a demand for a “just transition” for workers negatively impacted by the shift to clean and renewable energy, and a call for bold investments in communities threatened by climate change.

Join us on April 29th in Washington, D.C. for the People’s Climate March. Learn more at peoplesclimate.org and help the spread the word with these helpful resources.