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Can Grocery Workers Take Back Their Union?

On a gray October evening, half a dozen insurgents huddle around a table in an upscale diner across the street from Sea-Tac airport, considering their battle plans. “I don’t want to get shot in New Jersey or New York, and those guys will fucking murder us,” says the consigliere. “Yeah,” the boss muses. ​“They will hella murder us.” “I’m more afraid of some people who have threatened to shoot us out here than those people out there,” says one of the generals. “The chances of us getting shot,” concludes the ringleader, ​“are fairly high.”/

UFCW Local Leads Fight To Win Strongest Tenant Protections

Grocery and retail workers helped win the strongest tenant protections in Washington state last November for the 100,000 renters in the city of Tacoma. First we had to beat the mayor’s and city council’s attempt to bring a competing watered-down ballot measure. And then we had to overcome a vicious and deceptive landlord opposition that smashed all previous political spending records in Tacoma. “We’ve created incredible goodwill in the community just as we gear up for a tough contract fight,” said Michael Whalen, who helped initiate the campaign as a dairy clerk and shop steward at Fred Meyer.

UFCW Convention: Reformers In Motion

The United Food and Commercial Workers is one of the country’s largest unions, with 1.2 million members in the U.S. and Canada, two-thirds of whom work in grocery stores. Like other unions, it has lost membership over the last decade, but it has managed to double its assets. Reformers in the union are asking why. The UFCW caucus Essential Workers for Democracy has proposed a slate of amendments to expand rank and file power in the union and put resources into organizing and strike action. The proposals will be considered at the union’s convention starting today in Las Vegas. The convention is held every five years.

UFCW Reformers Look To 2023

Next April, 1,200 delegates from the Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) will gather in Las Vegas for the union’s international convention. A new reform group, Essential Workers for a Democratic UFCW, is gearing up for a fight. The group describes itself as a coalition of rank and filers, local leaders, and not-yet-union workers. Drawing inspiration from the caucuses that have recently won landmark reforms in the Teamsters and Auto Workers, it is pushing for change in three areas: union democracy, new organizing, and coordinated bargaining. The reform group is encouraging rank-and-file supporters to run for convention delegate on its platform. The effort has its strongest public backing from the union’s largest local: Local 3000, formed this year by merging Locals 21 and 1439.
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