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Workers Stand for a Union at Farmer John with Local 770

Locals 75 and 1059 Partner with Kroger to Help Toledo Schools as Walmart Abandons Them

Workers at Farmer John Food Service in Vernon, Calif. celebrate their union victory.

Toledo Federation of Teachers President Kevin Dalton announces the gift of 130 $100 gift cards to Toledo teachers with representatives of the Toledo School District, the Ohio Federation of Teachers and UFCW Locals 75 and 1059.

On August 26, around 140 workers at Farmer John Food Service in Vernon, Calif. (Los Angeles) voted to stand together for a voice at work with Local 770. The workers at the plant, wholly owned by Hormel Foods, mostly make pre-cooked sausage and bacon. “We needed a union because there was no respect in our workplace,” said Maria Alonzo, who works in the pre-cooked sausage department at Farmer John Food Service. “All of us that believed and wanted a union stood strongly together although the company tried to intimidate us.” Workers at the sister Farmer John plant to this one (literally across the street) engaged in a multi-year battle for recognition and a good contract with Local 770. With that victory under their belt, the new union activists weren’t content to rest on their laurels. Instead, they held meetings, signed petitions and talked to their coworkers at Farmer John Food Service about forming a union at their work. The Farmer John Food Service workers join more than a quarter-million UFCW members in the union for food processing and meat packing workers across North America. They also are part of a union that includes almost 7,000 other Hormel workers. OP

August 30, 2011 Volume 11, Issue 9

Today, the Toledo Federation of Teachers presented more than 130 Toledo teachers with $100 gift cards to help stock their classrooms with supplies for the new school year. These cards were made possible by the efforts of Locals 75 and 1059 along with the local unionized grocery store, Kroger. Earlier this month, Walmart offered to make a similar donation to Toledo schools, but with one large caveat. The president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers, Kevin Dalton, had to agree to be a part of a public relations campaign thanking Walmart. “I know our classrooms need supplies, but I also know Toledo, and our country as a whole, needs jobs that treat people like human beings and pay enough to live on,” said Dalton, a former first grade teacher. “When a company like Walmart asks for a public thank you from teachers for a classroom donation, that’s not charity, it’s marketing.” “We know that times are tight, but Toledo teachers stood up for all Ohioans by refusing to be part of Walmart’s ‘charity as a marketing’ scheme,” said Randy Quickel, President of Local 1059.

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“This is a company that likes to buy the good will of local communities by making a PR show of its charitable donations” said Lennie Wyatt, President of Local 75. “If Walmart really cares about Toledo school children, then it should offer their parents jobs that can put food on the table. Kroger does that. There’s no reason Walmart can’t.” OP

Congresswoman Works a Day at Safeway with Local 5 Members

President Hansen, Secretary of Labor Solis, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán and Eliseo Medina of SEIU help launch National Labor Rights Week or Semana Laboral.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Local 5 member Gail Notmeyer greet a customer while working in the Linda Mar (Pacifica), Calif. Safeway last Thursday.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) spent August 25 “walking a day in the shoes” of Local 5 members in Pacifica, Calif. She took on a shift in the Linda Mar Safeway working primarily in the floral deparment and bagging groceries. Speier worked hand-in-hand with Local 5 members and wore her union pin for her shift. Speier said she plans to use her experiences to better understand her consituents and to arm her in a continued fight for workers’ rights. OP

Ambassadors, Hansen, Solis Kick Off Labor Rights Week UFCW President Joe Hansen, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and the Ambassadors of Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala joined together today in Washington, D.C. to rededicate themselves to the rights of migrant workers, regardless of citizenship, and mark the beginning of Labor Rights Week or Semana Laboral across America.

August 30, 2011 Volume 11, Issue 9

As part of the week, events will be held across the country to educate workers about their rights under the law. This year, the focus of Labor Rights Week is on “Women in the Workplace.” Migrant women are at risk of wage theft and safety violations, sexual harassment, workplace violence and gender discrimination. OP

NLRB Stands with Workers, Says Target Broke the Law at Valley Stream Store The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has sided with Local 1500 and workers at the Target store in Valley Stream, N.Y. and said that Target broke the law during a recent union election there. The Board found evidence that Target illegally threatened to close the Valley Stream store if workers unionized, illegally gave workers the impression they were being surveilled and illegally prohibited workers from talking to coworkers about the union in non-work areas. Despite their rhetoric, Target has dropped all their unfair labor practice charges against Local 1500 as they face multiple rounds of charges for their illegal conduct in the run-up to the June 17 vote which the workers narrowly lost. This shows, once again, the broken process faced by American workers as they try to form unions and the need for real reform to the NLRB election process. OP

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OnPoint Vol 11, Issue 9