Our Vote Is Essential
The number one priority of UFCWVotes will always be supporting our right to vote and exercising power in our communities and country. Voting is the most important way to make sure our local, state and national governments work better for hard-working people. Holding politicians accountable and supporting the issues that matter isn’t something we only do at the ballot box. UFCWVotes engages our elected representatives on essential workers’ issues and our legislative and regulatory priorities every day. Together, we can and do make government better for working people.
Key Federal Legislative Priorities:
- Support hazard or premium pay for essential workers
- Support priority testing and vaccination during pandemics
- Support the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act
- Support the Food Worker Pay Standards Act
- Oppose independent contractor misclassification
- Support the Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act
- Support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Stabilize the multiemployer pension system
- Support TPS holders
- Support the Seasonal Worker Solidarity Act
- Support the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act
- Support the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act
Support Essential Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has put a spotlight on the essential work UFCW members provide in communities across the country. Members of our union family have risked their health and safety to ensure that our nation’s food supply is safe, grocery store shelves are stocked, and people have access to medication and the health services they need. These hard-working men and women deserve not only our nation’s gratitude, but adequate protection from COVID-19 at work, provision for their health, and financial security.
- Hazard pay for all essential workers
- Priority testing and vaccination for food workers
Strengthen Workers’ Right to Form Unions and Negotiate at Work
Every worker has the right to join with coworkers and organize a union. We must strengthen labor laws so we can negotiate fairly with employers to improve workplaces. Irresponsible employers intimidate pro-union employees and suppress workers’ efforts to act on their rights. They must be held accountable.
More unionized workers would improve the economy for working people. When workers negotiate together, they are more likely to have employer provided health insurance, paid leave, and higher wages. Industries with higher union density pay higher wages and provide better benefits even to non-union workers.
In the “gig” economy, companies are increasingly misclassifying workers as “independent contractors,” dodging payroll taxes, not paying fair wages or overtime, and denying workers the right to organize a union and negotiate together for better wages and working conditions.
- Support the right of all workers to negotiate free from fear, intimidation, or interference from employers and safeguard the right to strike
- Penalize employers that violate the rights of their employees
- End “independent contractor” classification abuses by irresponsible companies
- Eliminate “Right to Work” laws
- Ensure federal government contracts only go to companies that pay living wages, provide a safe workplace, affirmatively notify workers of their rights, and do not interfere with workers’ ability to join a union and bargain collectively
Specific legislation includes: PRO Act, Food Worker Pay Standards Act
Protect a Healthy and Safe Food Supply Chain
Nearly one million UFCW members are employed in the food processing and retail food industries. Protecting our food supply chain and making sure all American have access to safe and nutritious food is important to the UFCW. Food insecurity touches every community in America. SNAP serves as the first line of defense against hunger and should be expanded. We believe that no one who works hard should go hungry. SNAP provides vital support to working families in hard- working communities.
Keeping our workers safe while we put food on our nation’s tables has been made even more challenging during the pandemic. Increasing line speeds in meat processing plants increases injury during the best of times. During a pandemic, it limits workers’ ability to maintain safe social distancing. Inconsistent enforcement of mask mandates puts the health of food retail workers at risk, as well. The UFCW knows that food safety requires safe and healthy food workers.
- Keep line speeds in meat processing plants safe, reducing injury and the spread of COVID-19
- SNAP online purchases should only be allowed through authorized retailers providing good jobs and benefits to workers in the food supply chain – from cashiers to delivery drivers.
Specific legislation includes: Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act
Secure Retirement for All
Everyone deserves a steady, reliable income once they leave the workforce. We need a strong pension system, expanded Social Security benefits, and fair wages so working families can build up retirement savings over the course of their careers.
The shift from traditional employer sponsored pensions to individual savings has left many workers with insufficient or no retirement savings at all. The economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the importance of stabilizing the multiemployer pension system and protecting workers from bankruptcy. Americans who lose their jobs when businesses declare bankruptcy should receive the pay and benefits they were promised and earned. Frontline workers should never have to take a back seat to CEO payouts or Wall Street profits.
- Stabilize the multiemployer pension system
- Prioritize workers’ pensions when businesses declare bankruptcy
Specific legislation includes: Butch Lewis Act and Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act
Full Rights and Equal Protections for Immigrant Workers
Immigrants and refugees have enriched the fabric of our communities and our workforce since our nation’s founding. Our current immigration system is badly broken, allowing unscrupulous companies to exploit immigrant workers by paying guest workers less than they would pay American workers, while sending those with legal work permits home to countries devastated by war and disasters. We need to create a fair immigration process that enables people to contribute to our communities, lifts labor standards, and empowers workers.
- Support the renewal of all Temporary Protective Status (TPS) designations and the creation of a permanent legal pathway for working people on TPS
- Create a new framework for the H-2B temporary guest worker visa program to prevent discrimination and displacement, elevate labor standards, respond to real labor market needs, end captive employment, respect family unity, ensure access to justice, and afford immigrant workers a path to citizenship
Specific legislation includes: the American Dream and Promise Act, Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency or SECURE Act, Seasonal Worker Solidarity Act
Make All Cannabis Jobs Good Jobs
The UFCW is the nation’s largest union of workers in cannabis-related businesses, with 10,000 members and growing. Because of federal restrictions, cannabis workers face unique economic, health and safety challenges. When employers and their employees gain access to conventional banking, workers get the economic security of a steady paycheck, as well as the peace of mind knowing their payroll taxes and benefits are being properly funded.
Big corporations are gearing up to control the cannabis sector. But in this unique moment, we have the opportunity to ensure a newly legalized industry is one that provides good jobs, supports states’ budgets, and brings healing to communities most impacted by past policies and laws. The UFCW believes that it is essential that the cannabis industry operates under labor-friendly standards that promote safety, equity, justice, and economic security for its workers and consumers.
- Deschedule cannabis and fund social equity programs for individuals and communities most harmed by the war on drugs
- Allow banks to serve cannabis businesses without risking federal prosecution
- Ensure strong job standards for all cannabis jobs
Specific legislation includes: SAFE Banking Act, MORE Act