From your Union President, Greg Frazier
The theme for the 9th Regular UFCW Convention was: Essential, Value, Strength, and Future. While UFCW workers have always known they were essential, the national health crisis of the past few years truly highlighted just how essential UFCW members are to their communities. UFCW members bring value to their workplaces and communities every day. The value of belonging to our Union family comes with benefits that many nonunion workers do not have, including better wages, affordable health care, education benefits, immigration assistance, and Union discounts on thousands of products, services, and entertainment. When workers stand together as a Union, they have bargaining power and a collective voice that they simply do not have when they are not unionized. Strong Unions benefit all workers. The future of working families and the middle class depends on a united voice that can stand up to powerful corporate and political interests.
The last few years have been a remarkably difficult time for everyone, but our Union family felt the impacts of a global pandemic and a changing world more acutely than most. The COVID-19 pandemic, an increasingly volatile political landscape, and a changing labor movement have all posed unprecedented challenges but have also created a remarkable opportunity to strengthen UFCW.
We have spent this time fighting for and organizing with the essential members who make up our Union, and those efforts have solidified the fact that a better future begins with all of us.
The pandemic touched UFCW members and every aspect of our Union. We will strengthen our Union family by working together to address specific needs. We will capitalize on this exciting and monumental moment in the labor movement. As interest in unions grows and organizing campaigns experience previously unexpected success, the American people’s faith in unions remains strong, even as their faith in other national institutions falters.
The continued faith is a direct result of the value that our Union and all unions bring to the workplace. We can maintain that faith because of the hard work UFCW members have done to stand together while fighting for a better future.
Organizing to grow and strengthen our Union is a crucial priority and will remain one in the years ahead. The core industries of retail grocery, meat cutting, non-food retail, meatpacking, food processing, and health care will remain the UFCW’s goals. We have achieved remarkable success in strong contracts and members’ rights for continued success in the future. The UFCW is leading the way in Digital organizing, which brings the tools we used during the pandemic to cultivate thousands upon thousands of leads. These tools include social and web-based media tools, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Zoom video meetings, WhatsApp, You tube, Instagram, WeChat, TikTok, and many more. Organizing an entire worksite now can take place remotely and at times where more workers are available to join in.
Protecting the future of our members through pension reform is vital and we must continue to ensure our members’ futures are protected, even after they leave the workplace. To do this, the UFCW has prioritized strengthening our members’ pension by fighting for critical pension reform efforts and working to prevent legislation that harms those plans. Recently, the UFCW played a central role in securing legislative pension reform through the American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance Program. This program protected millions of workers in multi-employer pension plans who faced significant cuts to their retirement benefits.
We may have our hands full with corporate greed and other challenges ahead, but being united in strength with value, makes the future of our essential work irreplaceable. replaceable.