I like being a union member because when we go into negotiations with the company to bargain over wages, benefits, vacation pay, retirement, etc., we are not alone. When we are all united, the company cannot step on us. The differences between working for a company with a union and one without a union is like apples and oranges. You can’t compare. With a union, you are part of an organization that stands up for you. Union members have job security and stability—we can look down the road and plan our lives.” – Richard Wright, union member since 1982 at Stop & Shop.
I was part of the negotiations committee when we bargained with Stop and Shop this year. We were facing a company that wanted to take away all the benefits we have fought for, take away holidays, rip apart our pensions, bring new workers in at lower pay rates. I watched our union fight back against the company to get back what the company wanted to take away from us and also to go above and beyond what we had to improve our benefits and pay. In a time when companies are trying their best to take away from workers, our union is there to say that the workers are the backbone of the company and they deserve more than what you’re offering. The union represents us so that we can go into work every day and just do our jobs—not have to worry about health care, affording our homes, buying groceries, putting gas in our car. Our union gets us healthy wages and vacation time so we can spend time with our families without worry – Judy Snarsky, union member since 1987 at Stop & Shop.
The UFCW is the Union for Co-op Workers
“We stand together. I think our union is the best thing that ever happened to the co-op. People had this false idea that the union was coming in to take over. It wasn’t the union coming in to take over, it was all the workers coming together for change.” – Adam Grandin, UFCW member, Green Fields Market.
Around a million grocery workers across North America are united in seeking better lives for themselves and their families through the United Food and Commercial Workers or UFCW. They work in all kinds of grocery and retail markets, from huge national chains like Kroger to small neighborhood stores. All have realized that they can have both a more successful company and a more successful career by uniting and standing for a better place to work.
Co-Op Workers Are Building a Better Tomorrow
“The retail food cooperatives at which we work will never achieve their full potential, in terms of being just workplaces, or in terms of their full economic impact or their influence within the local community without the voices of their workers being heard, their ideas enacted and their creativity given free rein.” –David Gowler, UFCW member, River Valley Market
Across the country, millions of Americans have found the solution for sustainable, affordable food. Food co-ops have revolutionized our relationship with the grocery store, with our friends and neighbors and our environment. Governed collectively and not driven by profit, these organizations are finding innovative ways to bring fresh food into every community.
Sometimes, though, despite being built around the principle of everyone being heard and having a voice, co-ops stray from their true mission. Workers can find their co-op run more like a corporation and less like a community organization. But by sticking together, co-op workers can bring their work back to its roots.
United with a voice at work by joining the UFCW, thousands of co-op workers across America have been able to rebuild their workplaces. These co-ops have improved relations with their workers, recognize the value of the hard work of co-op workers and use innovative techniques for worker-management collaboration for a more successful co-op. Because the co-op and the union are both democratically-run organizations, co-op workers are able to create an a channel of communication with their employer to make improvements.
An Innovative Union
“As a grocery coop employee, I am proud that my union is part of the sustainability movement– and we look forward to deepening out engagement with these issues. Living wages and food security are cornerstones of any truly sustainable community.” – Rachel Marcotte, UFCW member, PCC Natural Markets
As America’s food union, the UFCW drives innovative approaches to sustainability at all levels of the industry. The 1.3 million members of UFCW work in every aspect of the food industry – processing, packing, retail, agriculture and meat production, as well as beverage, wine, beer and liquor production – and their union drives uses these diverse voices to unite for better workplaces at all levels of the food industry. As a member of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, UFCW Locals take in active role in creating a sustainable food chain.
The UFCW is a respected voice on for better agriculture and trade policies. Working with communities, we’re leading the way for real solutions to urban and rural food deserts. We’re pioneering new food distribution techniques based on community ownership of both retail and production through “food hubs”. We’ve driven the national conversation on the impact of gigantic agriculture and retail corporations on America’s food and health.
UFCW members across the country only have this influence because we stand together, unite and make real changes together. You should be part of building a better future with us.