We’d like to wish all the moms in our UFCW family a happy Mother’s Day, and thank all the hardworking members who are mothers. Our international union has been sharing the stories of several UFCW moms from locals across the country this month. You can read their stories here: http://www.ufcw.org/blog/
Like the thousands of other UFCW mothers in our union family, their stories of perseverance, dedication, and bravery are an inspiration to us all, and a reminder of how being in a union is truly about relationships and standing up for one another.
Raising a family is a wonderful experience, but it can also be challenging. For workers who earn low wages, or who can’t get full-time hours, it’s hard enough to support themselves, let alone a family. That’s why working moms sticking together in our union is so important.
When they belong to a strong union, working moms are far more likely to earn good wages and benefits that enable them to support themselves and their families.
Union members have fought hard for collective bargaining agreements that make it possible to be a working mom or parent, including flexible and reliable scheduling, for both part-time and full-time workers. Being able to create a schedule that allows for someone to pick up their kids when they are off of school can make a huge difference in caring for one’s family, and can save a working mom from having to pay for childcare, an increasingly expensive cost.
Union workers are also able to bargain for policies that give them reliable scheduling, so they have access to their schedules in a reasonable amount of time before their shifts, and can plan for when they need childcare, et cetera.
Knowing you will have enough hours to work in order to make ends meet is another aspect of fair scheduling. Many workers, especially in the retail and retail food industry, are often subject to “on-call” scheduling, meaning they have to be at the ready to be called in to work a shift at just a moment’s notice—making planning for childcare, attending higher education programs, or other family leave almost impossible. On-call workers are also commonly notified at the last minute that they no longer need to come in, meaning they missed out on wages that they had been counting on—for gas, food, bills, or other expenses. With a union voice, workers can fight back.
Union moms also know that having affordable health insurance is very important. Many UFCW members have shared how their families have been through hardships, had accidents, or lived through devastating illnesses—but the insurance in their union contracts meant they weren’t stuck with huge medical bills and they were able to get the help they needed, whether for themselves or their families.
All of these things, as well as having respect on the job and the ability to speak out and stand together are what being part of a union family means. Having each other’s backs and being there for one another in times of need are what family is all about.
On Mother’s day and every day, we are proud of our UFCW moms. We continue to fight for good union contracts and support legislation that takes care of the hard-working mothers in our union family, and hard-working Americans across the country.