Organizing, Contract Negotiations, and the Legislature.

Everyone, it has been an interesting month. Between organizing new worksites, laying a groundwork for successful bargaining, and our Paid Earned Sick Leave bill has passed both the Oregon Senate and House.

First off, I would like to congratulate both our new Union Members at Food Front and the team that worked so hard to make the process a success. The workers at Food Front Cooperative Grocery in Portland have decided to go union. On June 2nd, workers at Food Front won an outstanding victory with more than 85% of the workers voting to make UFCW their union. I am thrilled with the outcome of this election and the strength it will bring to the workers at Food Front Cooperative. Welcome to UFCW Local 555!

With the Portland Area Grocery, Meat, and CCK contracts expiring in the near future, we have been spending a lot of time preparing for a successful bargain. Expect members from all over the state to weigh in because we are one union! Bargaining surveys are going out in the near future. We are looking at dates to begin meeting with the employer bargainers and we are excited to start the process to continue to strengthen our contracts, our benefits, and our union.

Lastly, for more than three and a half years, UFCW Local 555 has made passing a statewide Paid Earned Sick Leave law a top priority. From the very beginning, helping first to pass this law in both Portland and Eugene, Local 555 members were on the front lines of this fight because we believe that everyone can be healthier and more productive when they are given ample time to recover from sickness.

Our own Secretary-Treasurer, Jeff Anderson, is to be commended. He has spent countless days at the State Capitol working with lawmakers to make sure our union members and other workers in Oregon no longer have to go to work sick. I can say with 100% certainty that without Jeff and his commitment to all working people, Paid Earned Sick Leave would not be happening anywhere in Oregon.

Most of all, I want to thank the more than 20,000 members of UFCW Local 555. Thanks to voluntary donations, UFCW Local 555 was able to invest in field work with our partners by paying for polling, for campaign coordination, and providing printed materials that were crucial in the Portland, Eugene, and statewide efforts.

We are now working with allied organizations in Washington to bring Paid Earned Sick Leave to our members in Southwest Washington as well as other workers in the area.

Dan Clay
UFCW Local 555 President

Facts about Paid Earned Sick Leave legislation:

  • The bill would take effect January 1, 2016, and provide Paid Earned Sick Leave to any worker employed by a company with more than 10 employees.
  • The law allows workers to accrue sick time at the rate of at least one hour of unpaid sick time for every 30 hours the worker is on the clock or 1-1/3 hours for every 40 hours.
  • Employees could earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time a year.
  • Right now, Local 555 members working in grocery stores outside of Portland do not get sick pay the first day they are sick, but must wait till the third day they are out.
  • This bill will allow for members of Local 555 working in Oregon, and almost all working people, to be paid the very first day they call in sick.
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Call Senator Wyden and give him a piece oh your mind!

Script:

“My name is _________. I am calling to urge you to vote NO on Fast Track. This Fast Track bill will send American jobs overseas and prohibits negotiators from dealing with climate change, human trafficking, or currency manipulation. That is completely unacceptable. Please Vote NO on Fast Track.”

Call Senator Stop Fast Track

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Paid Earned Sick Leave passes Senate and House

Moments ago, the Oregon House of Representatives passed our Paid Earned Sick Pay bill. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday the 10th.

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Protected Sick Leave Passes the Oregon Senate!

Our Protected Sick Leave Law just passed in the Oregon Senate 17-13. The bill will go to the House side on Friday. This is a huge win for working families in Oregon.

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KEEP HYDRATED AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE SUN!!!

Longview Fred Meyer – 185 Garden Center employees pictured, Keri Haynes, Michaela Lynds, and Mackenzie Gates, are happy that they have UFCW 555 Representative, Lynda Hart and Steward, Mary Newcomb enforcing the Outdoor Heat Exposure Rule WAC 296-62-095 through 296-62-09560 and WAC 296-307-097 through 296-307-09760.

Employees working in the Garden Center, Apparel Sidewalk Sale, and Courtesy Clerks taking groceries out to cars and bringing in carts are workers having exposure to outdoor heat and are at risk for Heat-Related Illness, (HRI). HRI includes heat fatigue, heat rash, fainting, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Excessive heat exposures are also linked to injuries from falls, equipment operation accidents and other on-the-job incidents due to fatigue, dizziness and disorientation. Outdoor heat exposure could result in HRI which can cause death or serious physical harm.

Between the dates of May 1st and September 30th, each year, with temperatures reaching 89, or more, the employer must provide, cool, CLEAN, drinking water and the opportunity and access to drink one quart of drinking water per hour. The quantity of drinking water required for an entire shift is not required to all be provided at the beginning of the shift. However, the employer must have sufficient procedures in place to replenish the water supply throughout the day, as needed, or they could be fined.

Employees wearing layers of protective clothing, with temperatures reaching 77, this rule would go into effect for them.

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Paid Sick Days moving Forward

Senate Bill 454, the paid sick time bill, passed out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee today by a vote of 14 to 9. The bill, co-sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward and Representative Jessica Vega Pederson, will create a statewide standard so workers all across Oregon can accrue one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a year.

“All people should be able to take a day off to get well the first day they are sick,” said UFCW Local 555 President Dan Clay, “I am pleased to see that this bill is moving forward as the Oregon Legislative session comes to an end.  It has been a long fight, but this is why we work so hard to elect lawmakers who will protect workers’ rights, rather than destroy them.”

The paid sick time legislation now awaits further consideration in the Senate.

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Food Front Coop goes Union!

Yesterday, by an outstanding victory of more than 85% voting yes, the workers at Food Front Cooperative Grocery in Portland have decided to go union. “I am thrilled with the outcome of this election and the empowerment it will bring to the workers at Food Front Coop. Welcome to UFCW Local 555!” – President Dan Clay

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URGENT: TELL CONGRESS TO OPPOSE FAST TRACK, CALL 1-855-712-8441 NOW!

Call Congress FAST

Please call your members of Congress right now at 1-855-712-8441, and urge them to oppose Fast Track because it undermines our democracy and American workers.

To find your members of Congress, please CLICK HERE.

Fast Track was introduced in the previous session of Congress as S. 1900 and H.R. 3830 and would establish a process that allows no amendments and limited debate on trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Once legislators have the Fast Track ticket in their hands, they are free to agree to provisions that will send jobs overseas, reduce the bargaining power of workers, jeopardize health and safety regulations and give corporations more control over our economy and our trading partners’ economies.

Fast Track would open the flood gates to the same NAFTA style, unfair trade deals that have cost millions of American jobs, devastated our manufacturing base, and suppressed health and safety regulations around the world. In short, Fast Track is a nightmare for workers and our democracy and must be defeated.

Once again, please call your members of Congress right now at 1-855-712-8441, and urge them to oppose Fast Track.

If you would like to learn more, be sure to check out this video from Robert Reich, who has summed up the threat of Fast Track and the TPP into a two and a half minute clip. You can also find the national AFL-CIO’s “Fast Facts on Fast Track” HERE.

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The Big Picture: Strengthen Unions

Strong unions mean a strong middle class, which is one way we ‪#‎SaveTheEconomy‬. Robert Reich explains:

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who lost their lives while serving in our country’s armed forces. It’s also a time to consider what kind of country our soldiers are coming home to after serving in the military. Let’s support our veterans who are on the front lines by fighting for a better working America at home.

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