Sep 11, 2012

A Star Steward

Penny Gibson is a meat-cutter at Kroger, a union member, a political activist, and definitely a star steward for UFCW Local 876.

One of the great things Penny is doing to help her coworkers and her community is helping people to register for this year's election.  With the help of her local union's Voter Registration Toolkit, Penny working hard to make sure all her coworkers, friends, and neighbors, have a voice in November.

Penny has also dedicated her time and energy to the Protect Our Jobs effort, a drive to put a measure on the November ballot allowing voters to decide on a proposal to add the right to collective bargaining to the Michigan constitution. She secured over 50 signatures, the most of any Local 876 steward. With collective bargaining under attack in so many states across the country, Michigan has a chance to lead the charge for the basic freedoms of speech and association that collective bargaining represents.

Penny says she's dedicated herself to protecting collective bargaining in part because “many young workers do not realize it is their union contract that provided that raise, that $3 prescription refill, and that week-long paid vacation up north. It is not the company that provided these benefits, it was the union who negotiated these on our behalf.”

With Penny on the case, those young workers will be activists in no time! UFCW member activists and stewards keep their union running. To learn more about how to get involved with your local union, email or send us a message on Facebook.

Sep 10, 2012

What Will Romney do for...Energy?

Big oil companies already benefit from generous tax cuts, so why does Mitt Romney's plan stand to give them even more benefits? After taking into account all of the tax breaks for the top five oil companies, Romney's plan would potentially benefit them by $4 billion a year.

Here's why these companies do NOT need more tax cuts, and why Romney's energy plan is not good for America:
  • According to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Big Oil earned a combined $137 billion in 2011, or $261,000 per minute.
  • Big Oil advocates claim that they need the existing tax breaks to create jobs and increase oil production. But even with these tax breaks, some of these companies have produced less oil and laid off thousands of workers over the past six years. In fact, an analysis by the House Natural Resources Committee Democrats found that “ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP combined to reduce their U.S. workforces by 17,500 jobs between 2005 and 2010.”
  • Big Oil and gas companies, their lobbying arm the American Petroleum Institute, and various oil-funded nonprofits have already spent more than $20 million on paid advertising to oppose President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Big Oil tax breaks, and generate public support for oil drilling off protected coasts and other oil issues too.
  • His plan, following the lead of the Ryan budget, would force huge cuts to critical programs including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Gov. Romney is apparently willing to increase the deficit to continue tax breaks for Big Oil companies and cut their taxes even further.

Padding Big Oil's pockets
credit: Center for American Progress Action Fund
The continuation of tax subsidies for Big Oil reflects the industry’s longstanding political influence.

America needs to pay close attention to the specific plans Romney has in mind for our country if he were to win the 2012 election. The facts show that President Obama's actions while in office, as well as his plans for the future, are what's best for young Americans, working families, and the middle class.

Sep 7, 2012

Members Come Together to Spread Message of Solidarity at the Southern Workers Assembly

On Labor Day, UFCW Local 1208 members gathered with other workers at the Southern Workers Assembly in Charlotte, North Carolina to collect information about workers’ rights and the benefits of having a union voice on the job. Members also discussed the issues they face at the workplace and showed support for one another.

“We have rights, and we have to express them. We shouldn’t be scared of our supervisors,” said UFCW member Julius Powell.

The Southern Workers Assembly was the first of its kind for southeastern union groups. Workers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Tennessee attended, though some came from as far as California, New York, and Michigan. Workers from both the private and public sector spoke about the importance of having a voice on the job and the struggles of being in right to work states. Southern workers who are traditionally excluded from labor movements, including undocumented immigrants and former convicts, spoke at the assembly as well.

Among other groups that attended were Southern International Worker Justice, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee.