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Sep 29: TSoul Benefit Concert to Fight Sickle Cell Disease

TSoul, the popular finalist on Season 12 of NBC’s “The Voice” and son of Local 400 member and representative Kenny Pinkard, is hosting a charity event to raise money to fight Sickle Cell Anemia. The benefit concert will be held Saturday, September 29 at Kilmarnock Town Center Park in Kilmarnock, Va. to help raise money and awareness for the FACES of Our Children Charity.

TSoul and Friends Live: A Benefit Concert to Fight Sickle Cell Disease

September 29, 2018
4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Kilmarnock Town Centre Park
201 North Main Street, Kilmarnock, VA 22482

Purchase tickets online: https://sicklecellconcert.eventbrite.com

For more information regarding vendor spaces or sponsorships, contact Kenny Pinkard 1-804-580-0619 or AL.B 804-205-7651

For more than 15 years, the UFCW has worked with FACES OF OUR CHILDREN (FOOC) – an organization dedicated to raising awareness, support and funding for the fight against sickle cell disease.  UFCW has raised millions of dollars to support FOOC’s efforts to deliver educational programs and materials through the internet, traditional media, schools, and community-based organizations.  FOOC also works to advance public policy and increase government and corporate funding with the goal of bettering the lives of people who suffer from (and ultimately finding a cure for) this deadly disease.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle Cell is an inherited but not contagious, blood disorder where normal round shaped red blood cells change to a quater-moon (sickled) shape. Sickle shaped cells have difficulty passing through small blood vessels so they can jam up. When the cells jam up, the flow of blood and oxygen to body parts are blocked causing extreme pain. It also can cause damage to muscles, bones, and internal organs. Today, approximately 1 in 500 African American children are born with sickle cell disease making it the most common long term illness identified in this population.

In Virginia, 1 in 325 babies are born with sickle cell disease. It is estimated that over 4,000 persons in the Commonwealth of Virginia are potentially living with the disease.

Shop Stewards Save Members from Dust Exposure

Local 400 shop stewards from several plants in Virginia, including DanChem Technologies, pose for a photo at a seminar in May 2017.

Banks Stamps, Jr., has worked at DanChem Technologies in Danville, Va., for 42 years, and he became a shop steward in 2004 after a 10-month-long strike. One of his top priorities ever since has been to build a worker-run safety program to better protect members’ health. Recently, Banks and two fellow shop stewards, Mike Barker and Eddie Dalton, put that program to the test.

The shipping & receiving lead person at DanChem, Banks knew something wasn’t right when UFCW International Vice President Robin Williams came to the plant for a tour. “There were certain areas that management didn’t take her around to,” Banks said. “But I’ve been here so long, I knew what processes were going on.”

It turns out that one particular room was being used to package a newly-produced material for a customer that was demanding a lot of this product. (The specifics can’t be revealed because it’s proprietary information.)

“The product’s put in large tote bin,” Banks explained. “It comes out of a shoot. Then it’s put through a sifter, which vibrates, turning larger granules into a powder. The problem is it leaves plenty of dust in the air. It’s dangerous to inhale and it actually has explosive properties. Making matters worse, there was no ventilation in the room where the packaging was taking place.

“So we’ve been working on eliminating or reducing the dust to safe levels,” he said. “Mike [Barker] and I had a meeting with management. We let them know our concerns and that we expect them to do what’s needed to minimize the dust. We also told them they need to address the heat and lack of ventilation in that room.”

In response, DanChem management acted to make some temporary fixes to the problem. “The company said they would make some adjustments on the machine used for packaging,” Banks said. “They would transfer the product into smaller drums and sift it into smaller packages. They would blow in cooled air on hot days. The people doing the packaging would rotate in and out, rather than doing full 12-hour shifts in the one room.

“We made clear to them that these actions need to be followed by a permanent fix,” he added. “Among other steps, they promised to install a permanent air conditioning system. We’re going to hold them to it and we’re going to have follow-up meetings, getting employee participation to improve on the design of the safety solutions. If they had done this from the start, we wouldn’t have had these problems.”

Banks emphasizes that the positive results so far are, “A result of our activism. Our members have an employee-driven safety program. And we have subcommittees dealing with specific parts, like ergonomics. Management is only looking at the bottom line of their profits, so it’s up to us to bring these issues up and demand action. So far we’ve had some success and if management drags its feet, we have the grievance process, which is often enough to move things forward.

“It’s a constant battle, but we’re going to see this through to stop the dust and every hazard our members face,” Banks said.

Local 400 Member’s Son Hits the Big Time: Performs on “The Voice” April 17th!

TSoul, son of Local 400 member and representative Kenny Pinkard, is a contestant on Season 12 of NBC’s “The Voice.”

Father’s Union Activism Inspires TSoul’s Music Journey

Growing up in a union family in a small town in the Northern Neck of Virginia, Terry “TSoul” Pinkard learned early in life that through dedication and hard work, you can make a significant impact to those around you. That’s exactly what TSoul is doing as he embraces his journey on the NBC singing talent show, “The Voice.”

The son of Local 400 member and representative Kenny Pinkard, who works for Omega Protein, TSoul’s journey has been shaped by his father’s dedication to union activism and changing his community for the better.

“As a kid growing up in such a small town, my outlet and the way I was able to see more of the country was through going with my father to UFCW International conventions,” said TSoul. “There was this one time at the Chicago convention, I think I was around 11 or 12, that I somehow wandered into one of the ballrooms in the hotel, and Michael Jordan and the entire Chicago Bulls team was in there — it was my first time seeing all that TV stuff was real — it made it tangible for me.”

The opportunity to travel with his father led to countless hours in the car listening to music and singing along. The one genre that resonated to TSoul during this road trips was soul music. And that’s defining the path he’s paving for himself as an artist in the music industry.

“It’s a classic genre that many young people my age have forgotten about,” said TSoul. “What’s more amazing is I have a sense that I’m helping to revive soul music and bring awareness to generations today that this type of music exists.”

TSoul told Local 400 that after he sang  Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine” on Tuesday’s show — the first time that song that had ever been performed on the show — his recording of the song was catapulted into iTunes’ Top 10 R&B chart!

“It shows me that I’m doing what I set out to do,” said TSoul. “Stay true to who I am as an artist while educating and impacting younger generations to the classic soul songs.”

Reaching “The Voice” stage was no easy feat for TSoul. He auditioned for the show seven times before making it to the blind audition stage to sing for the panel of celebrity coaches, including country artist Blake Shelton, Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine, R & B singer Alicia Keys and Rock artist Gwen Stefani.

“I got all these nos, but I stayed steady, released more music and more projects,” said TSoul. “It made sense to get it another try this year — it’s really about trusting the timing of your life.”

TSoul began his singing career performing at his local church and entertaining Local 400 members, staff, and community at the Annual Northern Neck Fish Fry and at Gospel Fests in Danville, Va.

Before reaching Hollywood, TSoul sang at his local church and entertained Local 400 members, staff, and community at the Annual Northern Neck Fish Fry and at Gospel Fests in Danville, Va.

“When I sang at the fish fry one year, it was my first time singing in front of strangers or people that weren’t my friends from church,” said TSoul. “And when I received the same response and applause I knew I was on to something.”

For TSoul, music is a healer, which he directly correlated to the union and the work we do together to make the lives of working people better. Now that he’s on “The Voice,” he’s energized knowing that others who are watching him are feeling his passion through their television screen.

“Music is my way of serving people, just as my dad and those he’s worked with at Local 400 have done for countless others,” said TSoul.

Get the latest on TSoul at tsoulonline.com

Vote for TSoul

TSoul made it through the blind auditions, choosing country artist Blake Shelton as his coach. He then went head-to-head with fellow contestants in the Battle Rounds and Knock Out round. What’s next for TSoul? The LIVE shows! The Live show was always the goal for TSoul and this is our chance to back one of our own as the shows go live April 17th.

Here’s how to vote: This year you must vote during the show! (You have to vote during the show, because as the show wraps up people will be sent home.)

  1. Download “The Voice” Official App for Android or iPhone.
  2. Use Twitter to tweet out your vote with the proper hashtags that appear at the bottom of the screen when TSoul is singing!

May 13: DanChem & Ennis Solidarity Picnic

UFCW Local 400 cordially invites you and your family to our DanChem & Ennis employee Solidarity Day Picnic on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Good Year Park in Danville!

Solidarity Day Picnic

Saturday, May 13, 2017
12:30pm
Good Year Park
1901 Good Year Blvd, Danville, VA

The picnic is open to all DanChem and Ennis Local 400 members and their families. We’ll have a DJ and plenty of games for the kids. Please join us!

For more information, contact Donna Waddell at 202-674-7305.