Looking for ways to get involved with Black Friday Protests?

Walmart – the country’s largest employer – is making $16 billion in profits every year from the hard work of its 1.4 million workers.  The people who own Walmart, the Walton family, are the richest family in the country.  The Waltons add over $8.6 million to their $150 billion fortune every day, and their family alone is as wealthy as 43% of all American families combined.

There is no problem with success in business, but there is a problem when people like the Waltons are profiting at the expense of the people who make their business successful.  Essentially, the Waltons are robbing Walmart workers of a decent living by paying the majority of workers less than $25,000 a year and manipulating their hours to ensure they don’t qualify for benefits.  Walmart and the Waltons also take more than $8 billion a year out of our pockets when taxpayers are forced to subsidize food, healthcare and housing for Walmart-employed moms and dads who can’t earn enough to get by.

From Wednesday, November 26th to Black Friday, November 28th there are actions happening across the state to call attention to the greed of the Walton family.  Join us.  Stand side-by-side with Walmart employees who just want to support their families and are sticking a fist into the air for a decent wage.  This is part of an international campaign, with workers in ten countries protesting Walmart and calling for change.

The Black Friday events happening within the jurisdiction of UFCW 555 are listed below. We encourage you to attend an event near you and support these workers in their struggle for respect.

Wednesday, November 26, 9am-noon
Klamath Falls Walmart Rally
3600 Washburn Way
Klamath Falls, OR

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, 10am-Noon
Medford Walmart Rally
1360 Center Dr.
Medford, OR

Friday, November 28, 10am-Noon
Portland Walmart Rally
4200 SE 82nd Ave.
Portland, OR
(Come hear our own UFCW 555 Secretary Treasurer Jeff Anderson speak at this event.)

Friday, November 28, Noon-2pm
Eugene Walmart Rally
4550 W 11th Ave
Eugene, OR

Friday, November 28, 1:15 pm
Corvallis Walmart
1840 NW 9th St.
Corvallis, OR 97330

Friday, November 28, 5:15 am
Sherwood Walmart
212320 SW Langer Farms Pkwy
Sherwood, OR 97140

Call (503) 598-6326 for more information.

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UFCW Local 555 emerging as a political force in Oregon

By DON McINTOSH, Associate Editor

Oregon’s largest private sector union has worked to build up its political muscle in recent years, after years of punching below its weight. The union, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 555, represents 19,000 workers in Oregon and Southwest Washington, most at chain grocery stores like Fred Meyer, Safeway, Albertsons, and QFC.

Secretary-treasurer Jeff Anderson says Local 555 used to stick to negotiating and enforcing collective bargaining agreements, and didn’t see politics as central to its mission. But after his 2008 election to union leadership — on a slate with president Dan Clay — Local 555 worked to increase political engagement in order to win through legislation what it had trouble gaining in contract bargaining.

I’m sick of being on defense. I want to take our organizations and go on offense.” — UFCW Local 555 secretary-treasurer Jeff Anderson

Member donations to the Active Ballot Club (ABC) — UFCW’s political action committee — totaled $329 a month when Anderson and Clay took office. Today, Anderson says Local 555 members contribute over $30,000 a month, all of it in voluntary contributions of as little as a $1 a week from roughly 6,800 members. That’s on top of a 50-cent per member per month assessment that pays for political education efforts among union members. The surge won recognition from Local 555’s parent union as Local 555 became one of its top five most politically active locals. Cash and in-kind contributions by Local 555 to Oregon political campaigns totaled close to $380,000 this year.

Local 555 has put its war chest to work in distinctive ways, and has had a string of successes.

It was the only union to back marijuana legalization in a big way, contributing $75,000 to the successful campaign to pass Oregon’s Ballot Measure 91. That’s in sync with UFCW’s national policy of support for opening up (and unionizing) new hemp and cannabis industries.

Though Local 555 isn’t affiliated with the Oregon AFL-CIO, it’s active in local AFL-CIO affiliated central labor councils, and it’s big supporter of a union-led minor political party, the Oregon Working Families Party. The Working Families Party’s door-to-door canvass is a key part of Local 555’s political effort. In two hard-fought but successful paid sick leave campaigns, the canvass, backed by funds from Local 555, helped mobilize public support.

Portland mayor-elect Charlie Hales stands with members of Local 555 at a Dec. 10, 2012 press conference.

For years, Local 555 had tried to negotiate “first day” sick leave into its grocery contracts — which offer paid sick leave only after workers have been out for two days. But it was unable to wrest that concession from giant corporations like Kroger — in a low-profit-margin industry with low-cost nonunion competition like Walmart. So when an August 2012 poll commissioned by Local 555 showed strong support among Portland voters for paid sick leave, union leaders sensed it was possible that a community coalition could win politically — for all workers — what Local 555’s employers had refused. Local 555 backed Charlie Hales for mayor, and Amanda Fritz for commissioner. Both won election in November 2012. The following March, the Fritz-sponsored ordinance passed unanimously, making Portland the fourth local jurisdiction in the United States to require paid sick leave. Eugene passed a similar ordinance in July 2014.

And in the February 2014 short session of Oregon Legislature, Local 555 won another reform important to its members: After many years of trying, it got a law passed that ended criminal penalties against cashiers for mistakenly selling alcohol to minors, replacing it with civil fines instead.

Local 555 has pursued unconventional electoral approaches, like backing long-shot candidates in areas of the state not traditionally favorable for pro-union candidates. It’s a strategy suited to Local 555’s geographically diverse rank-and-file: About half of its 17,000 Oregon members are in less populous areas of the state.

This election cycle, Local 555 went after the two most iconic tea party candidates for Oregon Legislature.

When conservative talk radio host Bill Post ran for the House District 25 (Newberg/Keizer) seat vacated by Kim Thatcher, Local 555 gave heavy support to Independent candidate Chuck Lee. The Working Families Party canvassed over 17,000 doors in the district, and Local 555 contributed $50,000 in cash and close to $30,000 in-kind contributions. In the end, Post won with nearly 55 percent of the vote.

In House District 23 (Dallas), Local 555 defended incumbent Republican Jim Thompson against a primary challenge from far-right conservative Mike Nearman. After Thompson lost, Local 555 backed Democrat Wanda Davis to the tune of $15,000. Nearman won with close to 52 percent to 37 percent for Davis.

“We wrestled with the tail of the tiger,” Anderson said. “They won, but strategically, we won, because all this money that would have gone elsewhere came in to defend the two Tea Party candidates.”

Anderson said taking the fight to new territory led anti-union funders to spend heavily to clinch the two races. Over $230,000 was spent to elect Post, and just under $200,000 to elect Nearman.

“We believe that taking our message to the red counties, in a populist environment, can win.”

 

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Major Victories in Oregon and SW Washington

If you were watching the election results trickle in last night, or you woke up this morning and saw the results, you may have noticed something.  A wave of anti-labor and anti-working family candidates won across the country, but that wave stopped here in the Northwest.  With the hard work of the Active Ballot Club and coalition partners, we had some major victories in Oregon and SW Washington.

In Oregon, we re-elected Governor John Kitzhaber and Senator Jeff Merkley.  These proven leaders will continue to fight for working families in Oregon.

We sent Representatives Peter DeFazio, Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader, and Suzanne Bonamici back to Washington, D.C. to represent working families.

We were able to increase our majority in the Oregon Legislature, paving the way for our state-wide protected sick leave efforts, and other pro-worker issues.

We were able to defeat Measure 90 and protect our elections system from huge out-of-state special interest groups.

In SW Washington, we won a number of legislative and county commissioner seats.  This will ease the political burden of our brothers and sisters in the Washington UFCW Locals as these elected officials will work hard to pass pro-worker legislation. Unfortunately, Bob Dingethal did not win his bid for a Congressional seat, but it was a good fight all the same.

This was all made possible thanks to the Active Ballot Club.  Instead of billionaires writing giant checks, the ABC works through tens of thousands of workers from all over the jurisdiction giving a small amount every week. Using the ABC powerhouse we have built over the past few years, we have created a strong coalition of partners that work hard on behalf of working people everywhere.  Thank you for all your support, there are good things to come.  If you would like to join the ABC and be a part of something huge, you should contact your Union Representative.

With the election over, the ABC will be setting its aim on the Oregon and Washington legislatures.  The ABC and this Union will never stop fighting for the middle class.

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Did you remember to vote?

Today is Election Day! If you have not yet voted, there is still time. While it’s to late to mail in your ballot, you can drop it off at a drop box. The links for both Oregon and Washington Drop Box sites are below.

Oregon – http://www.sos.state.or.us/dropbox/

Washington – http://www.ballotdrop.org/wa/

UFCW Endorsements – http://ufcw555.com/ballots-are-out-its-time-to-vote/

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Ballots are out! It’s time to vote!

Many of you have received your ballots in mail by now, and the rest of you should have them by this weekend.  These candidates are endorsed by the Active Ballot Club (ABC) and your Local 555 Elected Leaders. The list also indicates which candidates have been endorsed by the Working Families Party.  We must stand together to support candidates who will work to secure effective legislation for working families.  Please remember to vote by November 4th!

OREGON

State and Federal                 

Governor                                 John Kitzhaber                        Working Families Party Endorsed

United States Senator             Jeff Merkley                            Working Families Party Endorsed

Congress 1st District               Suzanne Bonamici                  Working Families Party Endorsed

Congress 3rd District              Earl Blumenauer

Congress 4th District              Peter DeFazio                         Working Families Party Endorsed

Congress 5th District              Kurt Schrader

State Senate Districts                       

Senate District 3                     Alan Bates                              Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 4                     Floyd Prozanski                      Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 6                     Lee Beyer                                Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 7                     Chris Edwards

Senate District 8                     Sara Gelser                              Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 11                   Peter Courtney                        Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 13                   Ryan Howard                         Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 15                   Chuck Riley                            Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 17                   Elizabeth Steiner Hayward     Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 19                   Richard Devlin                        Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 20                   Jamie Damon

Senate District 21                   Diane Rosenbaum

Senate District 22                   Chip Shields

Senate District 23                   Michael Dembrow                  Working Families Party Endorsed

Senate District 24                   Rod Monroe

Senate District 26                   Robert Bruce

State House Districts            

House District 5                      Peter Buckley                          Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 8                      Paul Holvey                            Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 9                      Caddy McKeown

House District 10                    David Gomberg                      Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 11                    Phil Barnhart                           Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 12                    John Lively

House District 13                    Nancy Nathanson

House District 14                    Val Hoyle

House District 16                    Dan Rayfield

House District 17                    Richard Harisay

House District 18                    Scott Mills                               Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 19                    Bill Dalton

House District 20                    Paul Evans                              Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 22                    Betty Komp

House District 23                    Wanda Davis                          Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 25                    Chuck Lee                               Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 27                    Tobias Read

House District 28                    Jeff Barker                              Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 29                    Susan McLain                         Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 30                    Joseph Gallegos

House District 31                    Brad Witt                                Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 33                    Mitch Greenlick

House District 34                    Ken Helm                                Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 36                    Jennifer Williamson                Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 37                    Julie Parrish

House District 38                    Ann Lininger

House District 39                    Bill Kennemer

House District 40                    Brent Barton                           Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 41                    Kathleen Taylor                      Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 42                    Rob Nosse                               Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 43                    Lew Frederick                         Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 44                    Tina Kotek                              Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 45                    Barbara Smith Warner            Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 46                    Alissa Keny-Guyer                 Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 47                    Jessica Vega Pederson            Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 48                    Jeff Reardon                           Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 49                    Chris Gorsek                           Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 50                    Carla Piluso

House District 51                    Shemia Fagan                          Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 52                    Stephanie Nystrom                 Working Families Party Endorsed

House District 54                    Craig Wilhelm

Local Positions                      

Clackamas County Clerk                                David Robinson

Columbia County Commissioner                    Henry Heimuller

Columbia County Judge District 9                 Cathleen Callahan

Deschutes County Commissioner                   Jodie Barram   Working Families Party Endorsed

Hillsboro City Council Ward 2                       Kyle Allen

Keizer City Council    Roland Herrera

Marion County Commissioner Position 1       Diana Dickey  Working Families Party Endorsed

Polk County Commissioner Position 2           Danny Jaffer   Working Families Party Endorsed

Springfield City Council                                 Denise Bean

Yamhill County Commissioner                       Sal Peralta       Working Families Party Endorsed

Yamhill County Sheriff                                  Tim Svenson

Ballot Measures                    

Ballot Measure 88-Drivers Cards                   Support           Working Families Party Endorsed

Ballot Measure 90-Top Two Elections           Oppose

Ballot Measure 91-New Approach Oregon    support            Working Families Party Endorsed

A Fair Chance for All, Portland City Ordinance        Support

 

WASHINGTON

Federal          

Representative in Congress 3rd District         Bob Dingethal

State Legislature       

17th Legislative District Position 1                Monica Stonier

18th Legislative District Position 2                Maureen Winningham

49th Legislative District Position 1                Sharon Wylie

49th Legislative District Position 2                Jim Moeller

 

Local  

Clark County Commissioner Position 3          Craig Pridemore

Clark County Treasurer                                   Doug Lasher

Clark County Prosecuting Attorney                Tony Golik

Cowlitz County Prosecuting Attorney            Ryan Jurvakainen

 

Ballot Initiative 1351, Reduces Classroom Size         Support

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Enron Billionaire Joins Growing List of Big Businesses and Out-of-State Billionaires Behind Measure 90 “Top Two” campaigns

Texas billionaire John Arnold, who made his fortune as an Enron executive, has just dumped $500,000 into efforts to support Measure 90’s “Top Two” primary. Arnold joins the growing list of big businesses and out-of-state billionaires behind the campaign that would dramatically change Oregon elections and limit voter choice.

Arnold is best known from his days as Enron executive. But since retiring from Big Oil, Arnold has shifted his energy to become one of the chief champions for anti-worker policy. Rolling Stone named him a key supporter of the attempts to “declare war on public pensions” in their 2013 coverage of Wall Street’s efforts to get rich by looting public workers’ pension funds. Arnold is so committed to slashing benefits for working people, he attempted to grant $3.5 million to PBS to air a series called “The Pension Peril.” PBS returned the donation, but not before the media began calling Arnold the “Wolf of Sesame Street.”

Arnold joins a handful other big corporations and out-of-state billionaires that are pushing the “Top Two” elections in Oregon. In total, nearly $2 million has poured into the Yes on 90 committees, demonstrating the size and scope of corporate influence already present in political campaigns.

Don’t let big corporations and out-of-state billionaires change our elections. Measure 90 would make it easier for Big Business to elect candidates who support their narrow corporate and anti-worker agenda. It’s time for us to stand up and say no. Protect Our Vote: No on 90.

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United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555 is pleased that the minimum wage will increase

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 17, 2014

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555 is pleased that the minimum wage will increase

Tigard, Oregon – UFCW Local 555 is pleased that the minimum wage will increase by 15¢ to $9.25 in 2015.  Oregon has one of the highest minimum wages in the US and we are proud to be part of making that happen. However, this wage is not enough for workers to support their families. 2015 is the year to further increase the minimum wage and take a critical step towards ensuring all of Oregon’s workers their families get a fair shot.

About UFCW Local 555

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 555 represents around 19,400 workers in Oregon and Southwestern Washington.  Our membership is comprised of workers in retail, manufacturing, health care and many other industries. We are a diverse group of workers that have grown into being the largest private sector labor union in Oregon.  Local 555 has a rich history dating back to 1936.  Our local is chartered by the UFCW International Union, joining us with over 1.3 million workers across the United States and the World.

Media Contact:
Miles Eshaia
Communications Coordinator
UFCW Local 555
meshaia@ufcw555.org
Cell- (503) 780-7403
Work- (503) 598 – 6365
PO Box 2355
Tigard, OR 97281-3555
https://www.facebook.com/UFCWLocal555
http://ufcw555.org/

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Stand in Unity with Ikea Workers!

IKEA made headlines this summer when the company pledged to raise minimum wages at each store to match local living wage levels. The furniture giant was widely praised as a leader in the retail industry.

There’s just one problem: while new hires will see higher wages, current IKEA employees like me aren’t getting a raise, even though we’ve invested years in building this company.

IKEA workers across the country came together to start a petition because we believe that we all deserve a raise. If IKEA wants to be recognized as a responsible employer, it needs to raise standards for all workers. And we need your help to hold the company accountable.

Will you call on IKEA to ensure that longtime employees get a living wage too?

IKEA’s getting credit for being a responsible, high wage employer, but I still can’t pay my bills and save money for my future. I’m tired of working two part-time jobs and barely getting by. Sign the petition if you think a living wage job includes access to full-time hours.

We think that investing in workers will lead to happier employees, better retention, and higher sales growth. That’s why we’re asking IKEA to offer full-time jobs to every worker who wants one, and to raise pay for all workers, not just new hires.

We’re calling on our coworkers, our customers, and workers throughout the retail industry to join us in supporting this petition.

We know that when workers speak together, companies listen. Together, we’ll convince IKEA  to do what’s right.

Thank you for standing with us.
Dan Stillwell, IKEA Pittsburgh

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Join us for a Labor Day Picnic!

Every year, members and the staff of UFCW Local 555 participate in Labor Day activities all across our jurisdiction. We all come together on this special day to celebrate the hard work you have done all year, and to remember the battles fought for the respect and dignity of hard working people in this country. We invite you and your family on September 1st to join your Union Brothers and Sisters at a Labor Day Picnic so we may celebrate together!

Flyer All Areas for Labor Day Picnic

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UFCW 555 Strike Reunion and BBQ

Were you part of the strike in 1994?  Can you believe it’s been 20 years? UFCW 555 is hosting a BBQ. Come celebrate and say hello to people who became like family during the 1994 strike this Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 11am to 2pm at the park attached to the Hollywood Fred Meyer.  The address is 3030 NE Weidler Portland OR.  See you there!

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