On taking care of yourself

Taking the time to take care of yourself has gotten, well, pretty difficult. We are up against the demands of family, school, friends, social calendars and work; all of which are driven by the fast-paced environment technology has created. We are moving faster than any other generation before us.

How we make our environments more palpable, is up to us. It's in the decisions we make and the risks we take; but more importantly it's in the the promises we make -- to ourselves. The promise to take care of ourselves and our well being.

Joining a union can resolve a significant portion of job stressors. A union contract will make your work life much more predictable and provide multiple, written guarantees that protect vacations, raises, schedules, retirement plans, affordable health care options and earn you and your coworkers respect from management. It will also give you the peace of mind that a larger group, the UFCW has got your back.

Working together toward one common goal is how we build bargaining power and how we build strong, healthy and happy communities. Join the movement by placing an inquiry here: bit.ly/ufcw876

Union Myths

Unions fight against the status quo in favor of the people. This means there are a lot of people in power with money fighting against unions and spreading misinformation. Educate your self on these common myths told about unions and learn what's really going on in your workplace.

Myth #1: Unions Make America Less Competitive

    • This statement is disproved by our own history. America’s most prosperous economic period came when union density was the highest, because unions stabilize and strengthen the middle class. 
    • The way to boost competitiveness is to invest in labor, education, infrastructure, and research, not take away the rights of workers.
    • In the 1950’s-1970’s when unions were stronger, the US did not run significant trade deficits. It was only when unions got weaker that the trade deficit exploded. Countries with strong unions and high wages like Sweden and Germany run trade surpluses.

Myth #2: High wages and benefits are job killers

    • High wages are job creators. The more workers have, the more money they will spend. This leads to economic growth and job creation.
    • Consider Walmart and McDonalds in recent news: In Canton, OH Walmart Associates are raising money to support each other because their extremely profitable employer doesn't provide them a living wage and benefits. Walmart Associates are some of the top beneficiaries of tax payer funded state subsidy programs, bankrupting many of these programs that are intended for the needy. Allowing these companies to continue underpaying their workers is a drain on American systems. Unions are helping workers get a fair wage and keeping them off public assistance rolls. Consider also McDonalds who gave budgeting tips to their employees with advice like getting a second job or “selling their stuff.” Jobs should be a source of real income that enable workers to provide for themselves. When workers can provide for their families, they spend more money which leads to job creation.

Myth #3: Teachers Unions are ruining public education

    • The country’s education problems reflect the country’s social problems. Income inequality leads to school funding inequality and homes which struggle to prepare kids to learn. Educators and unions are the scapegoat for such problems when they really are a key part of the solution. The more stable and supported our teachers are in their jobs, the more they will be able to support and educate our kids. 
    • Educators know what it takes to improve schools - they are in classrooms, keeping students engaged, and providing school lunch programs. Without unions, teachers' voices are easily overshadowed by the administration and bureaucracy above them. A union contract is the only way to guarantee that real students' needs are heard, otherwise teachers and support professionals can be silenced when their voice is needed most.

Myth #4: Unions Collect Dues Just to Line their Pockets

    • Unions collect dues so they can provide the best possible representation to their members. Unions work to balance power between the employers and their workers, and the employers have a lot of money to fight with. In order to successfully support their workers, unions need funds to back up what they say in the face of the opposition. Their goal is to put more money in workers’ pockets, not their own.
    • Unions spend tremendous amounts of time training our members through apprenticeship programs, HAZMAT and safety training, conflict resolution, negotiating and more, so that workers' futures don't stay stagnant. This is just one way unions give back to their workers. 
    • We negotiate and arbitrate cases with some of the largest multi-national corporations in the world whose attorney’s make more an hour than I take home in a week. We need to put up a real fight against people with such power and money.
    • If this myth was really true, why is it that unions, in industry after industry, support converting part-time jobs into full time jobs even though this means less dues money?

Myth #5: Unions are Dinosaurs

    • Unions are needed now more then ever. Income inequality between the rich and poor is at its highest in a century. This is greatly attributed to the drop in union membership. As the rich get richer, the more power they have to fight the few institutions that give power to the people. Without unions, the people cannot balance the power held by those at the top. Unions level the playing field for all of their workers.
    • Workers will always need a collective voice to speak on equal terms with their employer, whether the employer is a “good” employer or “bad” employer. If you spend your time working for a person or company, you should have a voice in how that business is conducted. Unions are an organized way for workers to affect change at their job.
What we're up against

Management has a huge incentive to stop unions from being formed (they can keep taking advantage of their workers the way they always do!), so they usually resort to some standard tactics hoping to scare workers out of forming a union. Don't be caught off guard by their lies - know what to expect by checking out some typical tactics below.

Tactic #1 Once an organizing drive gathers some momentum, supervisors usually come around asking for another chance to fix problems on the job. The company may tell you that they didn’t know you and your coworkers were dissatisfied. Your supervisor may well start treating you better and showing new concern for your

well-being.

Fact: Every time workers try to give the company a second chance, they are bitterly disappointed. Companies only offer to fix problems, because they are worried you are going to take some of their over-ruling power by forming a union. Once the pressure is off, the company rarely changes. In most cases, your chance of winning an organizing drive is best the first time around. Don’t be tricked out of your first, best chance to make significant change.

Tactic # 2 Although it is illegal, the company will say that if you form a union, you’ll be bargaining from scratch; so that when you negotiate a contract, you may lose the wages and benefits you already have.

Fact: It is illegal for an employer to threaten to reduce benefits if a union is voted in. When you negotiate a first contract, you start from the pay and benefits you already have and build on them. You are the union, and you and your coworkers decide what to ask for in your contract.

Tactic # 3 The Company will tell you you’ll never benefit from a union contract because they’ll never sign one. Since it is illegal to say this explicitly, they say things like, “Remember we don’t have to agree to what the union wants in the contract."

Fact: Your company is legally required to negotiate with the union you choose, so they will have to negotiate if they want to keep their workers working. Every company talks tough before workers organize; don’t let them bully you. It’s in the company’s interest to keep its employees satisfied and keep the work flowing. Once you present them with reasonable contract proposals, management usually compromises.

Tactic # 4 Although it is illegal, the company may tell you that if the union is voted in they’ll replace you and your jobs by outsourcing to a non-union company.

Fact: It is illegal for an employer to threaten you or your jobs for trying to organize a union. The bottom line is the National Labor Relations Act Section 7 protects your rights to organize and makes it illegal for an employer to outsource your jobs and/or replace you for voting in a union.

Tactic # 5 Management may tell you that a union can force you out on strike whether you want to go or not. They may threaten that if you leave your job for a strike you could lose it forever. They may ask you how your family will survive if you are forced out on strike.

Fact: When a company threatens that a union will force you out on strike, they break the law. No union can force you to strike. No union wants to strike. Strikes only happen when the company refuses to bargain in good faith with the union and its employees. Furthermore, a strike is a decision voted upon by you and your coworkers. If the majority of officers don’t want to strike, there is no strike! Almost 99.9 percent of all union contract negotiations are resolved without a strike.

Tactic # 6 The Company will tell you that the union just wants your money. They may lie about the amount of dues and/or initiation fees you will pay to be a member of a union. They may also tell you, you’ll have to pay dues immediately after voting for a union. This is a Lie!

Fact: 99% of unions do not charge Initiation Fees, which are waived during a organizing drive. As far as dues are concerned, first of all, you will not be charged any dues at all until a Written Union Contract is agreed upon. Most unions also allow you to ratify your contract so you see what your getting prior to paying any dues, but typically, dues run about $8-12/week. In a "Right To Work" state, like Michigan, ALL DUES ARE VOLUNTARY NOT MANDATORY! When you compare your present pay, benefits, working conditions and the lack of job security vs. improvements in pay, benefits, working conditions and job security spelled out in a Written Union Contract, the cost of belonging to any union far exceeds the dues, which our members call JOB SECURITY.

Tactic # 7 Your employer will tell you “The Union can’t guarantee you one cent” and that you may lose your wages and benefits by voting for a UNION.

Fact: Right now you are an at-will employee and can be fired at anytime without any rights or Federal or State laws protecting you! The truth is with a union, you become a "just cause" employee, so that you at least have laws protecting your rights in the event of retaliation and the right to negotiate a legal and binding contract that indeed does guarantee you the wages, benefits, and job security that you deserve!

GUARANTEED PROTECTION:

Under the Law, throughout the entire time you start your campaign, win your union election, are certified by the National Labor Relations Board, and negotiate a written union contract, the law states that an employer CANNOT unilaterally change any present terms and conditions without first negotiating them with your union!

Remember YOU are the UNION! and the last thing your Employer wants is to give YOU and your coworkers the POWER to enforce a written union contract protecting your work and your rights!

The TRUTH: Without a strong union fighting for you and a written union contract protecting your rights, your employer has the ultimate POWER to: fire you without just cause, outsource your jobs, change your shift, lower your wages, cut your hours, and anything else he can think of!

That is why management wants to convince you to not join a union! They keep winning until you and your coworkers stand up for yourselves!