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Most Local 400-Backed Candidates Win in 2018 Elections

Union Members Play Key Role in Recapturing House for Working Families

Led by Local 400-backed candidates, the critically important 2018 mid-term elections resulted in major victories for working families.

Pro-worker forces recaptured control of the U.S. House, with Virginia front and center. Three candidates recommended by Local 400 — Elaine Luria (2nd), Abigail Spanberger (7th) and Jennifer Wexton (10th) — all defeated anti-worker incumbents. These victories alone accounted for more than 10 percent of the seats won nationally to gain a majority.

Three senators backed by Local 400 were re-elected: Tim Kaine in Virginia, Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Ben Cardin in Maryland.

Local 400 won key local races, as well. In Washington, D.C., Councilmember Elissa Silverman was re-elected to her at-large seat despite facing a strong challenge from a corporate-backed candidate. And Marc Elrich won a landslide victory in his race for Montgomery County Executive over two opponents, one of whom was lavishly funded by developers.

In Maryland, while endorsed candidate Ben Jealous lost his race for governor, Democrats maintained veto-proof majorities in the state House and Senate, which means that pro-worker legislation can still become law even over the opposition of re-elected Gov. Larry Hogan.

In West Virginia, pro-worker forces gained seats in the state House and Senate, but not enough to win control of either body.

In total, of 165 candidates recommended by Local 400, 125 won, 36 lost and four are in races yet to be decided.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work put in by Local 400 members to elect candidates who will fight for us, and against billionaires and big business,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “By pounding the pavement, working the phone banks, and getting people out to the polls, our members played a central role in winning back the U.S. House and making gains at every other level of government. This will have important consequences over the next two years in passing legislation that benefits our members and blocking efforts to harm working families.

“I want to congratulate all of our recommended candidates, whether they won or lost, for having the courage to fight for what’s right and to stand up to the big money that’s poisoning our politics,” Federici said.

“This election showed the power of working people to fight back,” he added. “But it’s just the beginning. Now, we have to fight at the federal, state and local levels for policies that will raise workers’ living standards and protect our rights – and gear up for the massively important election of 2020.”

UFCW Local 400 2018 Voter Guide

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018. This is one of the most important elections in recent history. Make sure your voice is heard and make a plan to vote!

Your vote is a personal decision. As your union, it is our job to recommend candidates who share our values and will fight to make a better life for our union family. We have endorsed the following candidates for office because we believe they will fight on behalf of our members and all working families.

Find Your Polling Place

Visit Vote.org to find your polling place and learn everything you need to vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

How Candidates Are  Recommended

Local 400 recommends candidates for office only after an exhaustive process of getting to know them, analyzing their records, and reviewing their positions on issues impacting our members’ lives. These issues include jobs, the economy, workers’ rights, health care, retirement security, workers’ compensation and education. We recommend those candidates judged to have your best interests in mind.

In order to decide on a candidate to endorse, we:

  1. Review the voting records of incumbents on labor issues.
  2. Participate in the AFL-CIO interview process and schedule one-on-one interviews between Local 400 and many of the candidates.
  3. Discuss with other union members and leaders the interviews and the written questionnaires candidates submit.
  4. Make recommendations to the executive boards of the relevant area labor councils.
  5. Participate in state AFL-CIO meetings, where delegates from Local 400 and other unions vote to give labor’s recommendation to a limited number of candidates.
  6. After acceptance, these recommendations are communicated to Local 400 members.

2018 UFCW Local 400 Voter Guide

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
Eleanor Holmes Norton

Mayor
Muriel Bowser

Attorney General
Karl Racine

City Council
At-Lg. Elissa Silverman
1st       Brianne Nadeau

 

MARYLAND

Governor/Lieutenant Governor
Ben Jealous/Susan Turnbull

Comptroller
Peter Franchot

Attorney General
Brian E. Frosh

U.S. Senate
Ben Cardin

U.S. House of Representatives

3rd      John Sarbanes

4th      Anthony Brown

5th      Steny H. Hoyer

8th      Jamie Raskin

State Senate

14th    Craig Zucker

15th    Brian Feldman

16th    Susan Lee

18th    Jeff Waldstreicher

19th    Ben Kramer

20th    Will Smith

21st     Jim Rosapepe

22nd   Paul Pinsky

23rd    Douglas J. J. Peters

24th    Joanne Benson

25th    Melony Griffith

26th    Obie Patterson

27th    Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.

28th    Arthur Ellis

39th    Nancy King

47th    Malcolm Augustine

House of Delegates

14th
Anne Kaiser
Eric Luedtke
Pamela Queen

15th
David Fraser-Hidalgo
Kathleen Dumais
Lily Qi

16th
Ariana Kelly
Marc Korman

17th
Jim Gilchrist
Julie Palakovich Carr
Kumar P. Barve

18th
Al Carr
Emily Shetty
Jared Solomon

19th
Bonnie Cullison
Charlotte Crutchfield
Vaughn Stewart

20th
David Moon
Jheanelle Wilkins
Lorig Charkoudian

21st
Joseline Peña-Melnyk
Ben Barnes
Mary Lehman

22nd
Alonzo Washington
Tawanna Gaines
Anne Healey

23A
Geraldine Valentino-Smith

23B
Ron Watson
Marvin E. Holmes, Jr.

24th
Jazz Lewis
Erek L. Barron
Andrea Fletcher Harrison

25th
Darryl Barnes
Dereck Davis
Nick Charles

26th
Kris Valderrama
Veronica Turner
Jay Walker

27A
Susie Proctor

27B
Michael Jackson

27C
Jason Fowler

28th
Debra Davis
Edith J. Patterson
CT Wilson

39th
Lesley J. Lopez
Gabriel Acevero
Kirill Reznik

40th
Melissa Wells

47A
Diana M. Fennell
Julian Ivey

47B
Wanika Fisher

Montgomery County Executive
Marc Elrich

Montgomery County Council
At-Lg.  Will Jawando
4th      Nancy Navarro
5th      Tom Hucker

Montgomery County State’s Attorney
John McCarthy

Prince George’s County Council
1st       Tom Dernoga
2nd     Deni Taveras
5th      Jolene Ivey
9th      Sydney Harrison

Prince George’s County States Attorney
Aisha Braveboy

 

VIRGINIA

U.S. Senate
Tim Kaine

U.S. House of Representatives
1st       Vangie Williams
2nd     Elaine Luria
4th      Donald McEachin
5th      Leslie Cockburn
7th      Abigail Spanberger
8th      Donald S. Beyer Jr.
10th    Jennifer T. Wexton
11th    Gerald Connolly

 

WEST VIRGINIA

U.S. Senate
Joe Manchin

U.S. House Of Representatives
1st       No Endorsement
2nd     Talley Sergent
3rd      Richard Ojeda

State Senate

2nd     Denny Longwell
3rd      James Leach
4th      Brian Prim
5th      Mike Woelfel
6th      Charles Sammons
7th      Ron Stollings
8th      Richard Lindsay
10th    Stephen Baldwin
11th    Bill Hamilton
12th    Mike Romano
13th    Bob Beach
14th    Stephanie Zucker
17th    Terrell Ellis

State House Of Delegates

7th
Lissa Lucas

8th
David Bland

9th
Jim Marion

10th
Andy Daniel
J.Morgan Leach
Harry Deitzler

12th
Missy Morris

13th
Dem Scott Brewer

14th
Brianne Solomon

16th
Sean Hornbuckle
Matt Spurlock
Vera Miller

17th
Chad Lovejoy
Matthew Rohrbach

18th
Karen Nance

19th
Ken Hicks
Robert Thompson

21st
Phylis White

22nd
Gary Mccallister
Zack Maynard

23rd
Rodney Miller

24th
Ralph Rodighiero
Timothy Tomblin

26th
Ed Evans

29th
Rick Moye

31st
Richard “Rick” Snuffer Ll

32nd
Margaret Anne Staggers
Mell Kessler
Luke Lively

33rd
David A Walker

34th
Brent Boggs

35th
Andrew Byrd
Renate Pore
James Robinette
Doug Skaff Jr.

36th
Larry Rowe
Andrew Robinson
Amanda Estep-Burton

37th
Mike Pushkin

38th
Tom Tull

39th
David “Woody” Holmes

40th
Melissa Huffman

47th
Frank “Ed” Larry

51st
Barbara Fleischauer
Evan Hanson
Rodney Pyles
Danielle Walker
John Williams

52nd
Gary Knotts

53rd
Cory Chase

We Support Elissa Silverman for D.C. Council At-Large

Local 400 is proud to endorse Elissa Silverman for D.C. Council At-Large. Silverman has served on the council since 2014 and chairs the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development.

In that capacity, she championed the passage of the District’s monumental paid family leave law that provides guaranteed paid time off to workers to during critical life events, such as starting a family or taking care of a loved one.

Elissa has only taken money from individuals, refusing any money from corporations or PACs. She is beholden to voters – not to special interests with deep pockets.

Dyana Forester, UFCW Local 400 Director of Political & Community Affairs, issued the following statement regarding the endorsement:

“A vote for Elissa is a vote for someone who gets things done. As a councilmember, Elissa was a consistent and reliable champion for our members. On every issue that matters most to our members, her record is spotless. While others said it couldn’t be done, Elissa successfully championed the District’s groundbreaking paid family leave bill. And she has committed to bring that same grit and determination to tackle one of the most critical issues facing our members today: abusive scheduling.

“If you walk into any retailer in the District and ask the employees what issues effect their work the most, nine times out of ten they will talk about scheduling – not getting enough hours to make ends meet, chronic understaffing, and erratic schedules that constantly change. Elissa has heard our members loud and clear and she is committed to passing Just Hours  legislation to curb abusive scheduling practices in the retail industry.

“She is far and above the best councilmember to fight on behalf of our members. We look forward to her continued service.”

Election Day: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Find your polling place: https://dcboe.org/Voters/Where-to-Vote/Find-Polling-Place

Early Voting: October 22 – November 5

Vote early! Early voting is open in the District of Columbia, October 22 – November 5.

Find your Early Voting Center: https://earlyvoting.dcboe.org/

How Candidates Are  Recommended

Local 400 recommends candidates for office only after an exhaustive process of getting to know them, analyzing their records, and reviewing their positions on issues impacting our members’ lives. These issues include jobs, the economy, workers’ rights, health care, retirement security, workers’ compensation and education. We recommend those candidates judged to have your best interests in mind.

In order to decide on a candidate to endorse, we:

  1. Review the voting records of incumbents on labor issues.
  2. Participate in the AFL-CIO interview process and schedule one-on-one interviews between Local 400 and many of the candidates.
  3. Discuss with other union members and leaders the interviews and the written questionnaires candidates submit.
  4. Make recommendations to the executive boards of the relevant area labor councils.
  5. Participate in state AFL-CIO meetings, where delegates from Local 400 and other unions vote to give labor’s recommendation to a limited number of candidates.
  6. After acceptance, these recommendations are communicated to Local 400 members.

District’s Largest Retail Union Condemns Prosecution of Inauguration Protesters

On Tuesday, January 16th, the executive board of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400 passed an official resolution condemning the “arbitrary, overbroad detention and arrest of hundreds of citizens exercising their right to free speech” during the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017.

During the presidential inauguration last year, more than 200 individuals – including journalists, street medics, legal observers, as well as demonstrators – were surrounded and trapped by police, arrested and charged with the same six felonies and two misdemeanors, with a maximum penalty of up to 60 years in prison.

Over the course of the year, defendants have slogged through months of court dates and legal procedures. In the opening trial against the first group of defendants, which included an independent journalist covering the events that day, prosecutors admitted to having no evidence against any of the individuals but proceeded with the case anyway. A jury found all six defendants not guilty on all charges last month.

Yesterday, prosecutors announced plans to dismiss all charges against 129 defendants, but 59 people are still being charged with a number of felonies and face up to 70 years in prison.

“Several of our members were participating in protests that day, and it is only a matter of happenstance that they were not rounded up, thrown in jail and charged with felonies along with hundreds of others – simply for being there,” explained UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici. “While we are pleased that the Justice Department has chosen to dismiss charges against 159 of the defendants, the truth is, they should never have been arrested in the first place. Rounding up people and forcing them through months of legal headaches simply for being in the proximity of a protest is a clear violation of every citizen’s right to free speech.”

The resolution acknowledges the central role that protest and freedom of speech has held throughout the history of the labor movement. It further states that Local 400 “stands in solidarity with all protesters who face excessive and undue criminal charges.”

The resolution was approved by a majority vote of the executive board at a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday. Local 400 has more than 3,500 members who live and work in Washington, D.C., where the protests occurred.

The full text of the resolution is below:

UFCW Local 400 Resolution in Support of Inauguration Protesters

WHEREAS, more than 3,500 United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 members live and work in the District of Columbia;

WHEREAS, we are proud that our membership reflects the broad diversity of political ideas and opinions of the nation’s capital and our great nation;

WHEREAS, the United States was founded by the courageous actions of political dissidents;

WHEREAS, the right to free speech and free expression of ideas is enshrined in the first amendment of the Constitution;

WHEREAS, the darkest periods of American history are characterized by the persecution of political dissidents by the wealthy and powerful;

WHEREAS, the labor movement was formed by workers bravely exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech;

WHEREAS, members of UFCW Local 400 at times participate in protests and other exercises of their right to free speech, including at the presidential inauguration;

WHEREAS, on January 20, 2017, when tens of thousands of citizens gathered in our nation’s capital to exercise their first amendment right to protest the inauguration of President Trump, a crowd of more than 200 individuals – including journalists, medics, and bystanders – were rounded up without warning and mass arrested without individuated probable cause;

WHEREAS, 190 of those arrested are now facing outrageously inappropriate and draconian multiple felony charges and up to 61 years of prison time for exercising their first amendment rights, and such reprisals constitute a dangerous chilling effect on the right to speak out and all forms of free expression;

THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that UFCW Local 400 wholeheartedly condemns the arbitrary, overbroad detention and arrest of hundreds of citizens exercising their right to free speech while protesting the Presidential Inauguration;

LET IT FURTHER BE RESOLVED, that UFCW Local 400 stands in solidarity with all protesters who face excessive and undue criminal charges, and calls for the dismissal and/or reduction of all charges brought against them by federal prosecutors.

Congratulations to ABC Drawing Winner, Ashley Owens

Local 400 member Ashley Owens from Safeway #4205 in Washington, DC is the most recent winner of our Active Ballot Club drawing! Congratulations, Ashley!

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.

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.

Jibril Wallace: Fighting for Paid Leave

Jibril Wallace has been working at the same Safeway in Washington, D.C. for 28 years, since she was a teenager helping her mother pay the bills. Now her income helps support her two children, ages 18 and 8. Through the years, Jibril moved up from courtesy clerk to food clerk to file maintenance manager, overseeing pricing and tagging. And for much of that time, she had no paid sick days.

“When you were sick, or the kids were sick, you went to work,” Jibril said. “You found a relative who worked in government and had sick leave if you could. Or I’d do the overnight shift and their dad would stay with them, and I’d be there during the day.”

When asked how she managed being sick herself, Jibril said, “I’m not quite sure what that is—you still had to go to work.” For a long time she could get only part-time hours—and part-timers had to be out three days before being paid for any illness. “Your body is giving you a sign that you need to rest,” she explained. “But you’d just medicate yourself, go in and pray you’ll feel better. I had to support myself.”

Jibril described the reckoning she’d go through, imagining the loss of eight hours pay. “I’d already be thinking to next Thursday, what did I have to be planning for financially,” she said. Because hours can fluctuate so much, many employees have to arrange before and after-school care.  Eight hours represents the weekly payment for that care.

But since the District of Columbia’s paid sick days law was expanded to include part-time workers, Jibril has a new peace of mind. “It’s very relieving to know if your kid or you yourself are sick, there will still hours on your check,” she said.

As a Local 400 leader and activist, Jibril makes sure to stay informed and to keep her co-workers informed about their rights. “Management is not going to tell you,” she said. “They tried to play around with it, but it got big, you’d hear it on the news.”

When a manager tried to deny one employee his sick time, Jibril straightened him out. “It’s not coming out of your pocket,” she told him. “It’s the law now.” Jibril is also alerting Safeway workers in Montgomery County, where a strong, comprehensive paid sick days law is now in effect.

Still, workers often aren’t aware of their rights. Jibril described a night stocker who got an infection after having a tooth pulled. “She sent me a picture of how swollen her face was and said she’d been told not to call out.” Jibril told her to take paid sick days. The woman was able to heal and come back to work.

“It’s awesome to know you have that cushion,” Jibril said, “especially when you’re part time. Everybody gets sick, or has a parent or kid who’s sick. This really helps out.”

Original post by Family Values At Work

D.C. Council Advances Expansive Family and Medical Leave Rules

20161208-paid-leave-just-hours-rally

The Council of the District of Columbia not only moved the Universal Paid Leave bill forward on Dec. 6, but restored medical leave to the program. The proposal now includes eight weeks of parental leave, six weeks of family leave and two weeks of medical leave, making it one of the nation’s most generous packages of family and medical leave benefits.

“Today’s vote demonstrates the power of families who united across the District around the shared need for vital benefits,” said Ward 7 resident Dyana Forester of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400, which represents grocery and retail workers, many of whom are workers of color. “Now it’s up to the council and mayor to take the final step to make it a reality.”

The final vote on paid family leave is scheduled for Dec. 20. Mayor Muriel Bowser has still not indicated if she will ultimately support the bill, despite the backing over 80% of Washington, D.C., residents.

Read the details of the paid family leave bill.

Originally posted by Chris Garlock at AFL-CIO