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Sep 12: Join Us for the Moral Day of Action!

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Join us for the “Moral Day of Action” in Richmond on Monday, September 12!

Moral Day of Action
10:30am @ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
815 East Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23219

On Saturday, August 13, we made history in Richmond. Thousands and thousands of us marched through the streets of Richmond to demand economic justice for the 64 million Americans working for less than $15 an hour. The march brought together people from across the country working too much for too little – from Kroger associates to fast food workers to childcare providers and even college professors.

Now, we’re taking our message to Virginia legislators. On Monday, September 12, we’re rallying to call on the governor, state legislators and candidates for office to move away from extremist politics and policies that benefit the few and move toward policies and laws that are just and fair and guarantee a better life for the majority of the people. As we rally in Richmond, simultaneous rallies will be held at state capitals throughout the country as part of a national Moral Day of Action. Join us!

10:30am @ St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
815 East Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23219

About the Moral Day of Action:

On Monday, September 12, 2016 at State Capitols around the nation, at 11 AM in every time zone, justice will roll across the country as faith leaders from diverse traditions, people impacted by poverty, racism, and injustice, advocates, and activists come together rally and to deliver to our elected leaders and candidates the Higher Ground Moral Declaration, which calls on governors, senators, state legislators and candidates for office to move away from extremist politics and policies that benefit the few and move toward policies and laws that are just and fair and guarantee a better life for the majority of the people.

The Moral Declaration that has already been delivered to the RNC as well as the DNC will be read, proclaimed, and delivered to our Governors, US Senate candidates and state party officials. The format will be simple and will be the same in every state.

The Moral Day of Action on Monday is part of “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values,” a national tour to redefine morality in American politics and challenge leaders of faith and moral courage to be more vocally opposed to harmful policies that disproportionately impact the poor, people who are ill, children, immigrants, communities of color, and religious minorities. The first part of the national revival tour has over 19 stops from April 2016 to January 2017 including New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington DC, Tennessee, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Virginia.

The Revival is co-led by the Rev. Dr. James A Forbes Jr. and the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, architect of the historic Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina. They will be joined in some states by other national social justice leaders, including the Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, acting executive minister of the United Church of Christ’s Justice and Witness Ministries, and Sister Simone Campbell, leader of the “Nuns on the Bus” and executive director of the Catholic social justice lobby NETWORK in Washington, DC.

Print the Flier (PDF)

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Thousands Gather in Richmond for Historic Fight for $15 March

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On Saturday, August 13, we made history in Richmond.

Thousands and thousands of us marched through the streets of Richmond to demand economic justice for the 64 million Americans working for less than $15 an hour. The march brought together people from across the country working too much for too little – from Kroger associates to fast food workers to childcare providers and even college professors.

The march culminated the first-ever national Fight for $15 convention, which brought together thousands of underpaid workers to strategize next steps for our growing movement.

The Fight for $15 movement shows us what we can accomplish when we stand together. It all started four years ago when fast food workers in New York went on strike. Since then, it has grown to thousands of cities across the world and has scored victory after victory for working people. Just last month, we passed legislation to raise the minimum wage in Washington, D.C. to $15 an hour by 2020. New York and California have already done the same thing. Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles have also gone to $15.

Marja Tippin, a teacher from Oakland, California, explained the importance of the movement to millions of hardworking men and women:

“We need to get a livable wage across the board, and possibly, hopefully, end poverty. We work really hard to provide, and can’t maintain, and that is not right. This is not the American dream, at least not the way I was taught.”

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, leader of North Carolina’s chapter of the NAACP who recently made headlines after delivering a speech at the Democratic National Convention, was a featured speaker at the convention. With his piercing moral perspective, the reverend put the crisis facing underpaid workers today in stark relief:

“Right now you’re helping to fight for a third Reconstruction in this country. Labor without livable wages is nothing but a pseudo-form of slavery. When you pay people more, it’s good for them, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for America.”

It’s time for an economy that works for us ALL. It’s time for $15 and union rights. We are thousands strong, and we are tired of struggling to get by no matter how hard we work. We deserve better. We know that by standing together, we’ll get the better lives we deserve.

Photos on Facebook

Check out photos from the march on Facebook.

August 13: March for $15 at Kroger

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On Saturday, August 13, thousands of people like us will be marching through the streets of Richmond calling for a $15 minimum wage and union rights. Can you make it?

March for $15 at Kroger
1:30 pm, Saturday, August 13
Monroe Park, Richmond, VA
Part of the first-ever Fight for $15 National Convention

The Fight for $15 has grown to become a household name in our country for a reason. Thousands of hardworking men and women have refused to stay silent about the challenges of making ends meet on today’s poverty wages.

Just look at the facts. Nearly 64 million Americans work for less than $15 an hour, including many members of Local 400. Over the last few decades, the real value of our wages has plummeted. Today, the minimum wage in Virginia is only $7.25. But in 1968, it was $1.60 –equivalent to $11.08 today. Not only that, we’re more productive today than we were in 1968. If the minimum wage kept pace with our productivity, it would be $18.85 today!

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Even if you make more than the minimum wage, your pay is affected too. When the value of the minimum wage goes down, so does the value of your paycheck. It’s simple: the lower the bottom goes, the deeper we all sink. That’s why we’re fighting to raise wages up and down the scale – because like the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.

It’s not that Kroger can’t afford to pay more. Kroger made $2.4 billion in profits last year. Kroger’s CEO, Rodney McMullen, was richly rewarded for your hard work: he got a 17% pay raise this year. He now makes $11.2 million a year. A part-time Kroger associate making $9 an hour would have to work 1,204 years to make what he made last year alone.

We’re tired of CEOs getting all of the reward off of our hard work while we struggle to make ends meet. We’re tired of working harder than ever but earning less than we did decades ago. It’s time for change.

Join us on Saturday, August 13, for a historic Fight for $15 march through Richmond. We’ll be marching with thousands of McDonald’s cashiers and airport baggage handlers, truck drivers and early education teachers, retail employees and home care workers. And so many others.

To those of you that doubt us, those of you that think we’ll never get $15 an hour (or worse, think that we don’t deserve $15 an hour) – think again. We’re already doing it. Just last month, we passed legislation to raise the minimum wage in Washington, D.C. to $15 an hour by 2020. New York and California have already done the same thing. Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles have also gone to $15.

This isn’t just a fight worth winning, it’s a fight we ARE winning. Help us keep up the momentum! Join us on Saturday, August 13 to Fight for $15 at Kroger!

Print the Flier (PDF)

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District of Columbia Set to Enact $15 Minimum Wage

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Nation’s capital will join Seattle and San Francisco to become third major city to enact $15 minimum wage

On Tuesday, July 21, the District of Columbia City Council passed historic legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour in a major victory for the “Fight For $15” movement. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has pledged to sign the bill, which will make the nation’s capital the third major city to pass a $15 minimum wage, along with Seattle and San Francisco.

The $15 hourly wage could impact as many as 114,000 working people in the District, or around 14 percent of the city’s workforce, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute.

On July 1st, the city’s minimum wage will increase from $10.50/hour to $11.50/hour under previous legislation championed by Local 400 and others. The new bill will provide annual increases to the minimum wage beginning in 2017 until it reaches $15/hour in 2020. After that, it will be adjusted for inflation each year.

Yearly Minimum Wage Increases in Washington, D.C.

July 2016 – $11.50

July 2017 – $12.50

July 2018 – $13.25

July 2019 – $14.00

July 2020 – $15.00

Local 400 has been leading the Fight for $15 in the District of Columbia and other states where our members live and work. But while we praise the D.C. Council members and Mayor Bowser for enacting the $15 minimum wage, we’ve also called on them to take two other steps essential to improve the lives of D.C. workers:

Pass Just Hours legislation (also known as the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act) to guarantee stable hours and predictable scheduling for  men and women working in chain restaurants and retail stores in the District.

Pass the Universal Paid Leave Act to help low-wage workers safeguard themselves and their families in the event they are without income for an extended period.

“While wage increases are a crucial and necessary step, wages alone are not enough to give every hardworking District resident a fair shot at a better life,” said Local 400 President Mark P. Federici. “We look forward to seeing the Council demonstrate this same leadership in passing Just Hours legislation, which will guarantee District workers won’t struggle with too few hours on too short notice, as well as Paid Family Leave, which will bring the U.S. up to speed with other developed nations by providing reasonable accommodations to workers who choose to start a family.

“It’s important that all workers earn the income that would allow them to support a family—and that their jobs provide the predictability and flexibility that allow them to actually raise a family,” Federici said. “That’s why paid leave and fair scheduling practices are so essential—because parents must be empowered to both provide for and be present for their children.”

Take Action

Do you live or work in Washington, D.C.?

Call the city council at (202) 724-8000 and Mayor Muriel Bowser at (202) 727-2643 and urge them to pass the Hours and Scheduling Stability Act and the Universal Paid Leave Act.

For the latest information on each bill, visit dcjusthours.org and dcpaidfamilyleave.org.

Virginia Members Take Concerns to Legislature in Annual AFL-CIO Lobby Day

by Rick Howell

The Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee ignored the voices of working Virginians and once again struck down a proposal to increase the state's minimum wage, currently a paltry $7.25 per hour.

The Virginia Senate Commerce and Labor Committee ignored the voices of working Virginians and once again struck down a proposal to increase the state’s minimum wage, currently a paltry $7.25 per hour.

Monday, February 1, dawned unusually warm as a team of UFCW Local 400 activists walked from the Richmond Marriott to the state legislature to participate in this year’s “Lobby Day” activities.

Each General Assembly session, the Virginia AFL-CIO invites activists from various labor unions to help make the case to lawmakers for that year’s labor agenda.

Many Virginia legislators, Democrat and Republican, are determined that the state’s “right-to-work” law wind up in the Constitution of Virginia. They passed that measure last year, and would like to see it pass in 2016 and be on the ballot this fall.

However, as UFCW activists discussed this with lawmakers, there was talk about moving it to 2017, to avoid “long lines” at the polls in a presidential race. This prompted Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse-Mays to say “If they’re worried about long lines, why don’t we have early voting?”

Our activists watched as the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee killed a bill that would have raised the minimum wage. This happened in spite of testimony from one woman, who asked: “Have any of you had your water turned off, because you paid the gas bill? Or had your gas turned off when you paid the water bill, because you couldn’t pay both?”

Her questions were met with silence. Once again, the GOP-controlled Virginia legislature was refusing to respond to the needs of hardworking men and women struggling to make ends meet.

Nevertheless, it was an opportunity to show our presence as an organized labor force in a state long run by businessmen. Some legislators, including Sen. John Edwards, Del. Charniele Herring, Del. David Toscano, and Del. Jeion Ward, met with our delegation and we had the opportunity to thank them for their long support of organized labor.

The fight against “right to work” and the struggle to raise the minimum wage will continue in Virginia, and UFCW Local 400 will be there!

UFCW Local 400 staff and members were out in force at the Virginia General Assembly as part of the AFL-CIO's annual lobby day.

UFCW Local 400 staff and members were out in force at the Virginia General Assembly as part of the AFL-CIO’s annual lobby day.

Rick Howell, pictured on the left, is a UFCW Local 400 member from Roanoke, Virginia, where he has worked for Kroger for many years. Rick is also a writer and journalist. You can read his regular column in The Bedford Bulletin.

 

 

 

 

 

#PayVA Campaign Continues Though November Elections

Last year, Local 400 and its labor allies succeeded in raising the minimum wage in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia, leaving Virginia lagging behind at $7.25/hour.

To get Virginia’s living standards closer to the level of its neighbors, Local 400, the Virginia AFL-CIO and many other state advocacy groups joined together in the #payVA campaign, backing legislation sponsored by Sen. David Marsden (D-Fairfax) and Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) to lift the minimum wage to $10.10/ hour by 2017. A similar bill passed the Virginia Senate last year on a 20-20 party-line vote, with Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam breaking the tie in its favor, but it was defeated in the Republican-controlled House.

This year, the Virginia Senate is controlled by Republicans 21-19 after the scandal-tainted resignation of Sen. Phil Puckett. Yet despite having only a one vote margin, Senate Republicans stacked the Commerce and Labor Committee with 11 of their members to only three Democrats. So when the committee considered Sen. Marsden’s minimum wage bill, it was defeated on a party-line vote, 11-3. Del. Plum’s bill was also voted down in the House Commerce and Labor Committee.

“It’s anti-democratic to stack committees in this way, and it’s anti-worker to block the minimum wage bill, denying the full Senate and House the right to vote on this urgently needed legislation,” said Local 400 Secretary-Treasurer Lavoris “Mikki” Harris. “That’s a set-back, but not a defeat, because we are going make sure voters in this fall’s elections know where their senators and delegates stand on the minimum wage. We will keep fighting until all workers in Virginia have the same minimum wage as our brothers and sisters in neighboring states.”

Local 400 members are out in force battling for a higher minimum wage. Activists have been in stores getting signatures on cards for the General Assembly and recruiting volunteers. And members have come to the state Capitol in Richmond to participate in the Virginia AFL-CIO lobby day and to testify at committee hearings on the bill.

Join the fight in Virginia:

  • To raise the minimum wage to $15
  • To guarantee retail and service workers the right to full time hours
  • To repeal the harmful, unfair “right to work” law so all workers have a voice on the job

“Many politicians in both parties now talk the talk about the need to reduce inequality and get wages on the rise again,” Harris said. “A higher minimum wage is where we find out if they can walk the walk. We are going to make sure it’s the number one issue in November, when all members of the General Assembly are up for election.”

 

In Case You Missed It: Minimum Wage is on the Up & Up!

MinimumWage_ALLIn case you missed it January 1, 2015 the minimum wage increased in 21 states, including Maryland and West Virginia. (D.C.’s wage increased July 1) Be sure to check and double-check your pay checks.

 

And those that are included in the West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio Kroger bargaining agreement you should all be getting pay increases as well. Click here for more information.

Hundreds Rally & March In Support of Walmart Associates “Fight for $15” and Full Time Hours

Photo by Chris Garlock.

Photo by Chris Garlock.

Report by Union City—Hundreds of labor and community activists shut down K Street on Thursday as they marched on the Walton Family Foundation’s 18th Street offices to call out the big-box giant for paying low wages while amassing huge wealth for the Walton family. “This is so empowering!” 14-year Walmart Associate Cindy Murray told Union City. “It’s not just about Walmart workers, it’s about everyone who’s underpaid, under-appreciated and overworked in America. We’re taking our country back!”

The Waltons are now worth more than 150 billion dollars, more than nearly half the workers in the country combined. A huge sign saying “Waltons are Robbing America” led the demonstration, along with dozens of Walmart workers with bullhorns. Demonstrators tried to deliver a petition from Walmart workers across the country calling on Walmart to publicly commit to raise pay to $15 an hour and provide consistent, full-time work, but the foundation claimed to be closed for the day. Undeterred, the crowd of activists promised “We’ll be back!” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the crowd that “sometimes it’s not enough to rally and march” and fifteen Walmart strikers and activists were arrested after sitting in at 18th and K Streets; in New York City, 25 were arrested during a simultaneous Walmart action there.

Photo by Chris Garlock.

Photo by Chris Garlock.

If the Waltons fail to respond, protesters promise to return to Walmart stores on Black Friday. The march was preceded by a rally at the AFL-CIO at which a number of political and community allies, including DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Maryland State Senator Roger Manno pledged their support for the “Fight for $15.”

Check out the photos from the event here! Our favorites? The aerial views of the street take over! 

You can also track the discussion from the event by searching for the hashtag #Fightfor15 on Twitter

Montgomery and Prince George’s Minimum Wage Increase Officially in Effect

UFCW Local 400 and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO pictured with leader of the minimum wage legislation, Montgomery County Council member, Marc Elrich. Photo by Karlyn Williams.

UFCW Local 400 and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO pictured with leader of the minimum wage legislation, Montgomery County Council member, Marc Elrich. Photo by Karlyn Williams.

Montgomery County political, labor and community allies gathered Wednesday morning to celebrate the start of Montgomery County’s new minimum wage, which goes into effect that day. The group, which came together earlier this year to support the regional effort to raise the minimum wage convened at the National Labor College in Silver Spring to raise awareness about the new increases.

Last fall, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the District of Columbia agreed to coordinate their efforts toward establishing increased minimum wage laws in a region-wide effort. Each jurisdiction adopted legislation toward meeting that goal. Montgomery County, which previously followed the State minimum wage, established a new County minimum wage law that takes a graduated approach. In its first phase, the County minimum wage will increase from the state minimum of $7.25 per hour to the new County minimum of $8.40 per hour. This increase will result in approximately $2,400 more in gross pay per individual each year based on a 40-hour work week at the minimum wage. The law applies to work performed in the County for all private sector employers with two or more employees working in the County. The individuals who are most likely to benefit from the wage increase include food service workers, housekeepers and cashiers.

 “Montgomery County workers will see an increase in the minimum wage to $11.50, to be phased in over four years, starting with an increase to $8.40 today,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett.  “I believe that a higher minimum wage for Montgomery County is justified, given the higher cost of living in the County as compared to the rest of the State. I commend all the Councilmembers who voted for this law and especially Councilmember Marc Elrich for his leadership.”

Click here to view photos from the event on our Facebook page!

Edited and modified from Union City’s Wednesday morning report.

Raising the Wage and Your Health in D.C. !

After a decade of frozen salaries, D.C. and states across the country are taking initiative, and pulling working families out of poverty by raising wages. However, the laws only benefit constituents, when the community is part of putting them into practice and when the public is educated of their rights as workers!

This morning, Local 400 joined by D.C. area allies held a press conference at Flava @ Wa-zo-bia Restaurant to celebrate the first increase in the minimum increase and the District’s paid sick days law expansion! After the press conference supporters canvassed local businesses and restaurants to inform workers, business owners and customers of the new laws!

“Today is a day to celebrate the work we accomplished together, the power that we can have together, and that is something we can all be proud of,” said Rev. Graylan Hagler, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ.

These laws will allow more D.C. residents to meet basic needs, address rising inequality in the city, and help boost the local economy. When the District’s working families earn enough money to cover the basics, it helps the whole D.C. economy. Right now, a mom or dad working full-time at a minimum wage job in the District earns $17,160 a year—which is below poverty for a family of three. Making such low wages, combined with the risk of losing wages or even their job when they’re sick, means many have to rely on public assistance to keep their families afloat. Check your pay stubs!!!!

Minimum Wage Increases:

July 1, 2014—$9.50
July 1, 2015—$10.50
July 1, 2014—$11.50
*wages will continue to rise with inflation

Paid Sick Days Access:

The new paid sick days law allows D.C. workers to earn paid leave from work when:
– you or your family members are sick or have a medical appointment
– you need to receive services related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault
*In effect now! You start earning sick leave on your first day on the job. Depending on how many people work for your employer, you can earn between 3 and 7 paid sick days.

Think you have been denied paid sick days or Proper Pay? Email: knowyourrightsdc@gmail.com