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Lipton Contract Negotiations Continue July 10-11

After several long days of talks, we’ve wrapped up with Lipton contract negotiations for the week. We’re back at it July 10-11.

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As we negotiate our first union contract with Lipton, we’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. By signing up for text alerts, you’ll get the latest updates immediately!

To sign up, just text LIPTON to 698-329. 

Your wireless provider’s message and data rates may apply – you may opt out any time by texting STOP to 698-329.

 

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.

Lipton Contract Negotiations Resume June 7

Contract Negotiations Update #6

We have a philosophy as your negotiating committee: all or none of us. Unity and solidarity are how achieve every improvement in our workplace. By sticking together as a union family, we can get the better lives we deserve.

This is our guiding principle as we work towards the best contract possible. We are here to get the best deal for all of us – not some of us. Our goal is to make a positive impact for all of our coworkers.

This week, one of our core team members was unable to participate in negotiations due to business needs at the plant. But we will not be divided. Rather than allow business needs to split up our team, we chose to postpone negotiations.

We will continue bargaining with the company on June 7 when our entire team can participate.

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.

UFCW Members Make Safety A Priority at Tyson Poultry Plant

On a typical day at the Tyson Foods Processing Plant in Glen Allen, Virginia, Local 400 Shop Steward Aleta Johnsons was operating the Packmat bagging machine. All of a sudden, she heard a co-worker yelling, “Stop, stop, stop! Please help — stop the line!”

She ran to the conveyor belt, where she saw five-pound bags of wingettes piling up and falling on the floor. Then, she immediately pulled a switch and stopped the line.

Just 10 days earlier, this would not have been possible. Only managers had the power to stop the line. But thanks to a recently instituted reform worked out between Local 400 members and Tyson management, any worker has the power to halt the entire production line if he or she witnesses a safety hazard, as Aleta did.

“We’re supposed to have 10 to13 people on our line, but since I’ve been working there, we’ve only had six,” Aleta said. “On that day, there were just four and one was a new person being trained while the line was running. It was too much too fast for too few people. That’s why the chicken was piling up and why I stopped it.

“A manager came back, asked what was going on and I explained what happened,” she recalled. “He said, ‘take your time—I’ll try to get two more people for your line.’ They never came, but he told us to work at our own pace. So about 10 minutes later, we were able to get things back up and running, and we adjusted the speed so we weren’t overwhelmed.”

Aleta makes a point of being safety conscious. “One day several months ago, I was rethreading the Packmat machine,” she said. “It’s not supposed to turn on when the door’s open but the trip wire was blown and that’s what happened. It ripped the sleeve off my smock and could have taken my arm off. It scared the living daylights out of me. We had a standing room only emergency meeting afterward to address the problem.”

A combination of union activism and management concerned about the company’s reputation elevated the importance of safety and the need to empower workers to take action. Tyson launched a national program called “We Care,” with the direct input of UFCW. The first plant to implement the program was Glen Allen, thanks to monthly meetings between workers (including Aleta) and plant managers—meetings required by the collective bargaining agreement between Local 400 and Tyson.

“I’ve seen a difference in management since we’ve had these monthly meetings,” Aleta said.
“The atmosphere is a lot different. They’re taking us seriously when we make recommendations and following through. And not just on safety—the meetings also led to improvements in the pay process and our ability to schedule personal days. There are things we need to work on—like better-staffed lines and an end to 10-hour work days—but it’s coming along. And our union has been so helpful in all of this.”

Thanks to these efforts—and the courage and decisiveness Aleta showed—safety protections for Tyson workers are getting stronger every day.

Congratulations to ABC Drawing Winner, Andre Hickman

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

Local 400 member Andre Hickman from Safeway #3250 in Alexandria, Va. is the most recent winner of our Active Ballot Club drawing! Congratulations, Andre!

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!

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!

April 25 & 26: Lipton Union Membership Meetings

This week, we’re holding union membership meetings for all Lipton employees. These meetings are an opportunity to ask questions about the contract negotiations, bring new issues to our attention, and learn more about the union.

Join us for one of the meetings this week. You only have to attend one meeting. All meetings will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk.

Lipton Union Membership Meetings
Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E Constance Rd, Suffolk, VA 23434

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
or
7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
or
7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the bargaining committee, or call Kayla Mock at 571-435-1817.

Lipton Contract Negotiations Advancing Steadily

Contract Negotiations Update #5

Bargaining Sessions Scheduled Through June

As this round of contract negotiations comes to a close, we continue to be proud of everything we have accomplished at the bargaining table.

This process is long and tedious, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through all of the very important issues that affect our work lives at Lipton. We know everyone is anxious to see what has been achieved and we are excited to share the details with you once we have gotten through these negotiations. We continue to make progress on nearly every front and we are confident you will be pleased with the outcome.

Even before our settling first contract, we have already gained so much by standing united. For the first time, we have a voice at Lipton. Already, we are helping shape the policies and procedures that impact us at work. We are now able to sit down together and freely discuss how employees would like to see things work at Lipton. We were able to hold the line on rising healthcare costs, and if we are disciplined, now we have the right to representation in meetings with management.

We are proud of the work we do, the tea we make, and the things we can accomplish when we stand together. We are confident the contract we are building will be a foundation for sustainable lives and futures at Lipton Tea.

In the meantime, don’t forget to join us for one of our upcoming membership meetings. We’ll see you there!

April 25 & April 26: Membership Meetings
Hilton Garden Inn, in the Chuckatuck Room
100 E Constance Rd, Suffolk, VA 23434
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. or 7:15 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.

Sincerely,
Your Negotiating Committee

Never Miss An Update: Sign Up for Text Alerts

As we negotiate our first union contract with Lipton, we’re committed to keeping you informed every step of the way. By signing up for text alerts, you’ll get the latest updates immediately!

To sign up, just text LIPTON to 698-329. 

Your wireless provider’s message and data rates may apply – you may opt out any time by texting STOP to 698-329.

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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!