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UFCW Disgrace:Grocery Workers Need Your Help!

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Inside Lurker
Post Posted: Sun May 08, 2011 3:54 am

Joined: 01 Nov 2009
Posts: 179
Most of us probably remember UFCW’s Southern California grocery strike of 2003/04

This was the templet for the demise of the grocery industry being considered an acceptable middle class job. Whether through big egos or just plain incompetence the UFCW completely dropped the ball and under estimated the power of the corporate grocery giants. While corporate CEO’s went home at night to their mansions and UFCW’s local leaders retreated to their gated communities (payed for by members dues) 70,000 dues paying members lives and carriers were changed forever. UFCW had "no national plan" to collectively fight these grocery behemoths. Some insiders and critics even allege that the disastrous results of the Southern Cal grocery strike was an collaborate plan between UFCW top officials and corporate grocery giants to lower living standards for UFCW grocery workers making it easier for the grocery giants to compete with companies like Walmart.

After UFCW’s 2003 Southern California debacle some UFCW leaders tried to do some damage control in 2007 by saying all the right things, even advocating an "National Approach".

See here: http://www.ufcw8.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&HomeID=43075

It’s even quoted that UFCW’s International President Joe Hansen has created " a National Bargaining Committee". Had the UFCW actually learned from their mistakes in 2003? We were hopeful.

In 2007 Southern California and Northern California UFCW locals even hinted at collaborating contract expiration dates to bring strength between So Cal and Nor Cal locals. Great words, great thoughts, but would the UFCW really execute this kind of collective strength against their grocery giant business partners? Only time would tell.

Fast forward March 6, 2011 Southern California grocery workers enter into contract negotiations. Keep in mind that Northern California master grocery contracts expire October 8, 20ll. With a little over a month of negotiations grocery’s corporate demands a proposal stuffed with concessions

The UFCW then "rushes" a strike vote As you can see by this video the UFCW members in Southern Cal are already talking about "paying their fair share"! It's obvious by their remarks that their UFCW leaders have taken them into these negotiations with another concessions mind set! Have these UFCW members since 2003 not already "paid their fair share"??? Will the UFCW officers & staff be taking concessions with their salaries and health and welfare? When will these grocery giants making huge profits off the backs of these UFCW members start paying their fare share? What’s up with the hurry on the strike vote? What happened with all the UFCW’s big talk about a "National Approach" and "Collaborating contract expiration dates"? What’s the damn hurry UFCW? Were’s International President Joe Hansen’s "National Bargaining Committee" now?

Interesting that the UFCW is in such a rush to cut a deal with all the big grocers in Southern Cal considering that their members working for Rite-Aid in some UFCW locals are approaching one year and still don’t have a contract. Very sad commentary for UFCW/Rite Aid members, no rush for them!

We may have answers to UFCW’s "rush job" on the Southern Cal grocery negotiations. It has been alleged by some inside the UFCW that the rush job on the So Cal deal is due to an upcoming UFCW event that includes fine dinning, lavish hotel stays and yes... "golf"!

UFCW’s "Person of the Year" gala will be held on June 2, 2011. Please see UFCW Western State Council’s invitation here

The event will be held at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel at a minimum of $179 a night. (And yes this is paid for with members dues money)!

June 1, 2011 golf at Maderas Golf Club in Poway, Ca (San Deigo)

This years UFCW award goes to John Perez . Would seem Perez has a following

For any UFCW member or others interested who would like to view the salaries of the UFCW officials responsible for this extravagant event while 60,000 dues paying UFCW members working futures teeters on the edge of disaster visit this link http://kcerds.dol-esa.gov/query/getOrgQry.do and use this file # 533-806

For any UFCW member, Union Activist or Supporters of Labor who are as outraged and disgusted as we are over UFCW’s lack of priorities when it comes to their dues paying members we are asking you to contact UFCW Western State Council’s Dana Palmer at (714) 670-5580...

DEMAND THAT THE UFCW CANCEL THIS EVENT UNTIL THEIR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MEMBERS HAVE A CONTRACT WITH WAGE INCREASES, INCREASES MADE TO THE PENSION, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, PRESERVATION OF THE GOLDEN 85, LAUNGUAGE THAT PROTECTS WORKERS RIGHTS AND THE ELIMINATION OF THE "NO STRIKE NO LOCK OUT" LAUNGUAGE THAT CHASTISES THE UNION FROM ORGANIZING A "NATIONAL APPROACH" TO BATTLING THE CORPORATE GROCERY GIANTS GREED!

If the UFCW has so much time on their hands to hold such lavish parties on the members dime they surely have the time to achieve the mentioned demands above!

If you'd like to email the Western States Council and voice your outrage their email address is Admin@WSCUFCW.ORG

If you'd like to voice your concerns one step further you can contact the LA Times reporter following the grocery negotiations. Contact P.J. Huffstutter at p.j.huffstutter@latimes.com

Let's make our voice heard! Let's support our working sisters & brothers in the Southern California grocery industry and let them know we understand their struggle and support their fight for an acceptable contract! Let them know we will not accept the abuse of their hard earned dues money! Let them know that we all stand in solidarity buy flooding the Western States Council with phone calls and emails voicing our complaints about the UFCW's disgraceful behavior.

Many think nothing can be done about the grocery industries "race to the bottom"! Many members feel hopeless.

Throughout the country, union leaders are selling concessions and cuts in wages and benefits as being necessary to help "their" employers compete with the non-union employers. The grocery industry and the UFCW are no different. Since the non-union employers base their pay on a per centage of the union pay, cuts to union workers only lead to cuts for the non union, creating a vicious circle. What this really amounts to is union workers competing with non-union workers for who can work cheapest. This violates the very purpose of having a union, which is to eliminate this sort of competition.

The alternative is to organize the members for real raises in wages - a $20 per hour minimum pay in the grocery industry plus full benefits for all members plus their dependents and a pension plan with full health benefits. The members must be mobilized nationally to establish this as the national standard. A direct appeal should be made to all workers to help us win these advances, and it should be explained that this is the start of winning this for all workers in the US. On this basis, this same movement could be directed at the non-union work force, including the non-union grocery workers and the mass movement could help them organize and win the same contract.

This is the alternative to the race to the bottom that we are now facing.

Let's all start working towards the "alternative"! We can start by making our calls of protest to UFCW's Western State Council and letting them know that we are paying attention and we demand that the UFCW act in the best interest of the dues paying members and stop playing "business partners" with the corporate boss!

We thank you for your support and solidarity!
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Laboryes
Post Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 5:15 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
Quote:
In an interview on area radio station KPCC, UFCW Local 770 President Ricardo Icaza made it clear that he is staunchly opposed to collective action. Addressing himself almost apologetically to corporate management and in clear opposition to the sentiment of those he purportedly represents, Icaza declared, “We absolutely do not want to strike.”


“I felt … we had passed the era of the need for strikes. I thought those days were over,” he lamented.

Mickey Kasparian, president of UFCW Local 135, echoed these views, indicating that the scale of the economic crisis in California meant that this was not a time when workers should try to defend their wages and benefits.

“We don’t want to inconvenience the public. We don’t want our members out on the picket lines. Times are tough today. The economy is not exactly at the healthiest,” he said.

Grocery workers should take careful note of what their trade union leaders are saying.


Southern California grocery workers authorize strike

Great article IMO! Every grocery worker under UFCW contract should read this.

_________________
"When people refuse to obey, then democracy comes alive."
Howard Zinn
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ross53
Post Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 7:20 pm

Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: california
Inside Lurker wrote:
What’s up with the hurry on the strike vote?


LI;
The hypocritical idea was to send a message to the grocers that the UFCW members are united in fighting the grocers for a good contract.

The problem is that out of 62,000 members, less of 20,000 took the time to vote,
That is unequivocally a display of “non solidarity”

LI,
You request for support and solidarity is indeed a great idea, the problem, sad but true very few members care, and the majority of them are uncharted
regulars contributors. The once who have understood how the UFCW works, have already made plans and are working very hard in achieving their goal, that is to find another line of work.

Unless we have a radical change in leadership the UFCW leadership will continue to have a lavish life style by prostituting themselves to the need of the grocers at the expenses of the rank and file.

_________________
" I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody" Lilly Tomlin.
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ross53
Post Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 7:32 pm

Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: california
Quote:

Mickey Kasparian, president of UFCW Local 135, echoed these views, indicating that the scale of the economic crisis in California meant that this was not a time when workers should try to defend their wages and benefits.

“We don’t want to inconvenience the public. We don’t want our members out on the picket lines. Times are tough today. The economy is not exactly at the healthiest,” he said.


Mickey my HERO:

Hey Mickey, in 2010 the economy was worse than it is now, so why did you negotiated for nine months with the Fish Market until you got what you wanted?

Hey Mickey you Genius, Why did you forced the Fish Market out of business with your unreasonable demands?

I get it, I get it the Fish Market owners did not give you enough “FREE” fishes!

_________________
" I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody" Lilly Tomlin.
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hawk
Post Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 9:01 pm

Joined: 07 Mar 2010
Posts: 271
I love this sentence.
Quote:
The ones who have understood how the UFCW works, have already made plans and are working very hard in achieving their goal, that is to find another line of work.
Ross53

For those that can break out, I can only wish them the best of luck.

Years ago a job in unionized grocery store use to be a decent paying. Not any more.

I also just love this labour "leader"

Quote:
“We don’t want to inconvenience the public. We don’t want our members out on the picket lines."
Mickey Kasparian, president of UFCW Local 135


I wish I could put into words how inspirational I find this guy. Those are true fighting words; just the thing to scare the companies and their shareholders.
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unionnow
Post Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 10:45 am

Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 848
Location: Gettin the Hell out of retail
I found a higher paying job in a more stable industry after completing my reeducation. It was a slog but I did it.

People need to do the research and get into school and move on.

The National Bargaining commitee is a joke and staffed with the boys. How can you expect change from the people that oppose change?

Having been part of the national plan I can tell you it came out of a small local long under the boot heels of the UFCW leadership. They made some mistakes and took some hard shots but survived the boys attacks.

They delivered a few shots back, counterpunching here and there.

They asked for no recognition, they were just doing their jobs on behalf of the organization and the membership.

The boot heels and the boot lickers had a plan of their own, they still do. "Talk tough, act tough but continue the downward spiral".

The clerks are drowning in propoganda from all sides as it is now. They are psycologically dependent on their leaders and unable to think and act on their own.

There is no future in this business and nothing will stop that reality. The only living wage jobs that will be left are those of the union staffers.

That being said, thanks for the information. At least its out there to discover.

_________________
“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1-2)
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ross53
Post Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 6:35 pm

Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: california
unionnow wrote:

There is no future in this business and nothing will stop that reality. The only living wage jobs that will be left are those of the union staffers.



UN,Hawk:

Having realized that there is no future in working as a unionized grocery workers.
Specially for the Southern California Workers.

We take classes at a community college and with 24-36 months we have a career
For example: Automotive repair & service, Computer repairs, Bar tender, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Dental assistance, ect, ect.

You get the idea. Your future is limited by the self imposed limitation that WE creat.
A bright future is head of “WE” the only obstacle having the burning desire to succeed.

20 or 30 years ago General Motors was the biggest business in the world people who worked for GM as members of the United Auto Workers had a good life, in our days Wal Mart is the biggest business and the people who work inside Wal Mart are depended in government assistance.

The current administration of the UFCW can’t unionize Wal Mart employee, because they have nothing to offer; “except the illusion” that by becoming UFCW they are represented by a union. Sad for the UFCW leadership the people who work at Wal Mart know very well what the UFCW is all about. Therefore Wal Mart workers have no desire to organize.

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" I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody" Lilly Tomlin.
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hawk
Post Posted: Wed May 11, 2011 8:17 pm

Joined: 07 Mar 2010
Posts: 271
Sure I agree the AFL-CIO unions are not the answer.

The corporations now play countries against countries where they use to play state or province against each other. The unions would have trouble fighting this even if they wanted to.

I wish you luck and I hope you are successful. However not every community college graduate will get a job in their new careers. It is pitting individuals against each other. Once these fields get over saturated, the wages there will also drop.

I was reading that some states are refusing federal money for extended unemployment insurance payments as the Republicans think the unemployed got to get back to work.

American wages and benefits are now getting low enough, and worker expectations have been driven so low, that some corporations are bringing some foreign jobs to the USA.

FIAT is moving some production to the US because the "new" UAW has got labour costs lower than the Italians are being paid.

Unreal.
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ross53
Post Posted: Thu May 12, 2011 2:17 am

Joined: 24 May 2006
Posts: 1435
Location: california
hawk wrote:
Sure I agree the AFL-CIO unions are not the answer.
FIAT is moving some production to the US because the "new" UAW has got labour costs lower than the Italians are being paid.
Unreal.


Hawk,

My answer, go to school learn a trade and get out.

Perhaps not the best solution to some people but nevertheless a viable option to better jobs, comparing with the unionized UFCW works.

In reference to Fabrica Italiana Automobilistca Torino aka “FIAT” I agree with you that is in part the reason why they merged with counterpart American auto maker.

For union workers in the USA, the worse is yet to come, sad but true.

_________________
" I always wondered why somebody doesn't do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody" Lilly Tomlin.
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unionnow
Post Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 12:29 am

Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 848
Location: Gettin the Hell out of retail
That is exactly what I did and Doug Slaydon did as well.

Do the research. Automotive repair is big especially with the hybrids and electric vehicles coming on the market. Heathcare is another growing industry driven by demographics.

I have a job offer 10 dollars an hour above my retail jouneyman wage level at the old school wages!

Networking in your field is essential. Even in this depression there are essential skilled fields open for business.

Community colleges are designed for retraining workers. That is their mission. Its fairly fast and cheap.

Ther current college system above that is pure theft. Training people for jobs that dont exist and leaving them with massive student debt.

_________________
“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1-2)
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hawk
Post Posted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:20 am

Joined: 07 Mar 2010
Posts: 271
Retraining for a knowledge job is a good move. Getting a job in a licensed trade is also great.

Be careful were you go to school and what courses you take. Educating the under-employed and new immigrants is a growth racket for private "schools". High promises and low results.

Accredited community colleges are far better, at least in Canada.

When I was 18 years old I went to work for one of Canada's biggest and best employers. During my interview the HR man said that they wanted me to stay with them until I was 65. I signed up for that.

When I was 48, they kicked 2500 of us out on the street and out-sourced our jobs.

Nice. Many employees never recovered. Divorces, drug additions and lost houses were the result for many.

The ones who did not have a marketable skills and those without an education were left stranded.

One electrical engineer never worked again. His wife had to support him and their kids. Supervisors became school bus drivers and security guards.

A lot of people will never get a pension as the company has recently gone out of business.

In the ex-Communist countries a lot of older people wish that they stayed Communist. I can understand why. They may not have had much but none went homeless or hungry.
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unionnow
Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 2:37 pm

Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 848
Location: Gettin the Hell out of retail
Life is brutal but alot less so for us than those living on a dollar a day while food costs skyrocket.

Things change. I have been through massive change in my life. I grew up pre cmos chips.

We gotta think and plan always for change. Being lazy in a fat commie no work job was the good old days but those days are gone as well. (Only the unions have jobs like that now).

I am a slave to the free market. Look, plan think, search, prepare and act make the difference.

The world and our lives are changing too fast. Once great company giants have fallen because they failed to change.

Its not over yet. Dire times are coming. Even the strong westernized countries face total collapse. Imagine what kind of shape the weaker ones are in.

_________________
“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1-2)
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GRUMPY
Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 7:33 pm

Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 204
UN, glad to hear that things have worked out for you. I have always enjoyed reading your posts and listening to you speak.

I am trying to go about things a little differently, by educating myself in how to raise my own food. Long haul, but nothing but time. This is the way this country was back in the day when life was simpler and families were closer.

I feel that this knowledge is more important than anything you could learn in school. How to survive without depending on corp., government, etc.

Also, if people took better care of themselves, health care would not be as big of an issue.

We are being screwed in every direction.
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unionnow
Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:44 pm

Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 848
Location: Gettin the Hell out of retail
Grumpy,

I am doing the same thing, working on growing as much as I can. Some great plants you can root from supermarket stock are Chayote and ginger.

I am doing both. Read up on them. Next step is to build my own solar panels. Its pretty cheap to do on your own if you have some skills. My neighbor is doing that as well and he is running part of his house on them.

Bee keeping is in the works for me as well. I have enough room for a few colonies.

There is a seed bank in Nor Cal that has all natural seeds. That is a must. The seed store is in an actual bank. Heirloom seeds are extremely important.

The man is reaching is hands down your pants at the airport. Gotta get away from the man's hands.

Whats next?

Things are getting down to the knub and its time to focus on family and preparations for whats coming.

Sure wish we could have kicked lovethemselves asses.

_________________
“The burden against Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1-2)
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John Briley
Post Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:11 am

Joined: 21 Nov 2007
Posts: 2157
So the question continue to remain unanswered.

Will the Southern Ca.. UFCW Local Unions have a Deal before or after the Big UFCW extravaganza scheduled for Wednesday, June 1 & Thursday June 2, 2011?

We are now at 17 days and counting!

Ross.... since the UFCW Person of the Year is scheduled down in San Diego, what are the chances that you and other UFCW Member's could provide our UFCW Leadership and their guests with some "informational picketing" @ their golf and dinner locations??

BTW.... Kudos to you IL for a great thread.
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