Leaders from across the country, joined together at this year’s Region 8 conference. Highlights included speakers, Esther Lopez, UFCW International Executive Vice President, Robyn Robbins, UFCW International Union, Jim Araby, UFCW International Western States Council, and many more! Our thanks to all who were able to attend and participate! The region is committed to the Women’s Network Mentorship program and bringing a voice to the workplace.
Over 150 Local 431 members and their families enjoyed a beautiful day celebrating Labor Day. After the Parade Union members from all area Unions joined together for a Picnic next to the Mississippi River in Hampton, Illinois to hear from Local, State and National Politicians, including Hillary Clinton.
Region 1 Rapid Response to A & P Displaced Workers
The A&P bankruptcy has been a main priority for many of the Locals in Region 1. Fallon Ager-Nelson (Women’s Network Recorder) is coordinating the A&P Displaced Worker Committee for the Region, which is providing assistance to members impacted by the bankruptcy and has hosted a number of Resource Fairs for these members. A number of Women’s Network Representatives from Region 1 are also actively involved in the Committee and have been promoting the work to our members.
Region 1 was proud to have attended an event in support of Assembly Member Shavonda Sumter, a dynamic leader in New Jersey State government, to thank her for her work on behalf of the displaced A&P workers. She offered assistance to the A&P Displaced Worker Committee and did media outreach in regards to the Resource Fairs that were held in New Jersey.
Workshop Reaches Members Using Social Media
During the annual Region 1 District Council Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey held September 27th-30th, the Region 1 Women’s Network hosted a workshop on using social media to effectively communicate with members generally, and during organizing campaigns. The workshop was facilitated by Janna Pea (RWDSU), Nikki Kateman (Local 338 and Women’s Network Regional Coordinator), and Joe Fedele (Local 1500). Approximately 30 union delegates and staff members attended and the session received great feedback.
Pride in New York City
On June 28th, Women’s Network Region 1 attended the New York City Pride Parade in support of UFCW OUTReach and our LGBTQ membership. Over one million people participated in the
parade, including thousands of union members from different sectors of the labor movement. It was an exciting day and we’re already looking forward to marching in the Pride Parade next year!
Millions of Americans don’t have access to paid sick days and paid family leave, which threatens their financial security, their health, and the health of their families, and our communities.
Existing paid sick days and family leave laws clearly demonstrate that any fears that these policies will have a negative effect on businesses and economies are unfounded. In fact, when surveyed, employers generally support these laws after they are implemented and there have been no signs of economic harm. Looking for a reason to pass the Healthy Families Act (HFA)?
Research shows that:
- Earned sick days and paid family leave help strengthen the economy.
- Paid time off will strengthen families.
- Increases employee loyalty and morale.
- Earned sick days and paid leave protects public health and will make our country a safer, healthier place to live.
- Small businesses support paid time off because it’s good for their bottom line.
- Paid sick days and family leave is good policy – and also good politics.
Download the The Work Family Policy Toolkit at www.hfanow.org/toolkit designed as an aid for those interested in joining the national movement to create workplace policies that help families. The toolkit is packed with information, reports, messaging, stories and more – all focused on paid family leave and paid sick days and why hard working families deserve paid time off.
Let’s move forward to meet the ever- changing needs of today’s families.
Several months ago I was in contract negotiations with one of our larger employers. One of the company’s negotiators informed us that he would have to end at approximately 3:00 PM that day. After being pressed why, he finally admitted that his daughter played sports and that she had a game that evening that he had to attend. He also admitted that he was reluctant to tell us because he didn’t know how we would react.
Yet, he wasn’t the only man in the room who was facing work/family balance issues. One of the attorneys’ explained how, each month, he and his wife struggle to plan their children’s hectic after school schedules. Every day, they try their best to attend their children’s event or escort them to practice. Another man pointed out that due to the hospitalization of a family member, that he would not be available for one of the scheduled meetings.
I chuckled at first, as I thought of the numerous times I found myself in this position as I was raising my daughter, as well as the countless number of working women who came before and after me.
Juggling child care and family related issues can be stressful for both men and women and while I’m happy to experience this cultural shift among my male colleagues and associates, I have no doubt that these men are more involved with family responsibilities than previous generations of men. The American workplace remains stuck in the 1950’s. It’s still operating on the model of Dad as the family’s breadwinner and Mom staying at home to take care of the kids. Today women comprise over fifty percent of the workforce. Despite these changes, women are still viewed as the main child care provider and are therefore expected to take time away from paid work, causing them to receive less pay and overlooked for promotions no matter how hard they work or express an interest in moving up the ladder.
Traditional attitudes and stereotypes have also prevented some men from requesting time-off, flex time, and less traveling. Like women, these men fear not being taken seriously, overlooked for promotions, and not being considered “one of the boys”. It is important that everyone recognize that work conflicts are both women’s and men’s issues, and I urge all men to join or continue this conversation, both inside and outside of their workplace, so that we can move forward to meet the ever- changing needs of today’s families.
Region 8 started its Women’s Network Mentoring program last year with 7 union representatives agreeing to serve as mentors to 7 rank-and-file women members who wanted to learn and become more involved in the union. The union representatives agreed to do 3 simple things:
- Meet with the member monthly for coffee or lunch to discuss how the union works and answer questions;
- Bring the member to a quarterly lunch at the local union office to discuss areas of common interest with the other women involved;
- Bring the member to union events: rallies, meetings and lobbying.
Congratulations to last year’s mentee, Samantha Christian, who was accepted to the International Blue and Gold Program and is currently working as a SPUR on our El Super Contract Campaign.
Region 8 Lobby Actions
On March 24th, Southern California Women’s Network members attended the Los Angeles City Council hearing regarding raising the minimum wage in the City of Los Angeles to $15.25 per hour.
On April 15th, they rallied with thousands of other workers who support a substantial increase in the minimum wage for retail, fast food and home care workers.
UFCW Local 876 launched its Women’s Network in May 2014. Less than a year later they have already developed a robust program for women members to have a significant hand in contributing to surrounding communities and UFCW Local 876 represented work places through the benefits of collective efforts’ strength. “One of the greatest things about the Network is its focus on community” Roger Robinson, UFCW Local 876 president said. “Giving back and building community is what unions do, and this is a great extension of services UFCW Local 876 provides.”
As a newly launched local network, the women of UFCW Local 876 have already executed several successful programs including:
A “Great First Day” backpack project to get school supplies to children in our communities in need.
The development of a bowling fund raising event which is a project to support HAVEN Oakland County’s only comprehensive program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The creation of UFCW Local 876 Women’s Network Facebook page where members can find not only great photos, but important notices, meeting minutes, expectations, successes and national news regarding women’s rights.
by Netsy Finestein
Consultant and Senior Fellow with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Nobody understands better than parents the importance of children’s early years and how they set the course for success in school and in life. In today’s economy, working parents need better access and financial support for quality child care opportunities that give our kids that strong start they need. Here’s what’s been happening at the national and state level:
President’s Budget Includes Comprehensive Early Childhood Education Plan
In early February, President Obama released his fiscal year 2016 budget, which includes significant investments to expand and enhance early childhood education and child care throughout the nation. The proposed budget would increase funding for pre-kindergarten, the Preschool Development Grants program, the Child Care Development Fund, Head Start, Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships and voluntary home visiting programs. The budget also includes an expansion of the Child and Dependent Care tax credit from $1,000 to $3,000 per child, per year that will help families struggling with the cost of high-quality care for their kids.