Archive for December, 2009

UFCW’s Spending

The UFCW entices workers to join the union with numerous encouraging statements on its web site. As part of this, the UFCW gives the impression that dues money is guarded carefully, well spent, and keeps the union strong.1

While the UFCW mentions that dues are split between the local union and the International, it does not mention the amount of these transfers. In some cases, more than 40% of what a worker pays in dues does not stay with their own local, but is shipped off to union headquarters in Washington, DC.2

The dues money sent to headquarters does more than pay for “contract negotiations, grievance arbitration and organizing.” Significant UFCW disbursements in 2008 included:3

  • $5.3 million to union officers
  • $40 million to union employees
  • $8.3 million for legal services
  • $3 million for media, press and communications services
  • $3.6 million for airfare
  • $3.8 million for hotels, including $653,499 spent at the Hotel Del Cornado for UFCW’s Executive Board Meeting
  • $500,000 for the 2008 Democratic Party Convention in Denver, CO
  • $1.1 million to ACORN
  • $486,351 to the Change to Win Federation
  • $350,141 to the Service Employees International Union
  • $120,000 to American Rights at Work

UFCW members can decide for themselves whether or not their money is being carefully guarded and well spent.  If you disagree with this spending request a refund or send your dues to charity.


1 http://www.ufcw.org/organizing/organize_your_workplace/faq.cfm, UFCW Web site, Accessed 12/1/09
2 UFCW LM-2 Form Filings, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards, 2008
3 UFCW LM-2 Form Filings, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards, 2008

The UFCW entices workers to join the union with numerous encouraging statements on its web site. As part of this, the UFCW gives the impression that dues money is guarded carefully, well spent, and keeps the union strong.1 While the UFCW mentions that dues are split between the local union and the International, it does […]






The UFCW and Contracts

The UFCW proudly touts its democratic principles; in particular, the union points out the fact that its members get a chance to vote on all contracts the union negotiates on their behalf.1

Unfortunately for prospective members, the UFCW also supports the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).2 One of the key provisions of EFCA is binding interest arbitration. Under this proposal, a government appointed arbitrator would be empowered to dictate contract terms to workers and employers. Those terms would then be binding for two years.3

An unfortunate consequence of binding interest arbitration is that workers would lose the right to vote to ratify contracts. Since the arbitrator’s decision would be binding, and there are no provisions for appeal, workers would be denied the chance to hold their union accountable.4

So much for workers’ rights and their ability to vote on a contract.


1http://www.ufcw.org/organizing/how_we_work/index.cfm, UFCW Web site, Accessed 11/30/09
2http://www.ufcw.org/issues/right_to_organize/index.cfm, UFCW Web site, Accessed 11/30/09
3S. 560, The Employee Free Choice Act, 111th Congress
4Editorial, “Bad check; Employee Free Choice Act Would Harm Employers, Employees And Economy,” Columbus Dispatch, 3/30/09

The UFCW proudly touts its democratic principles; in particular, the union points out the fact that its members get a chance to vote on all contracts the union negotiates on their behalf.1 Unfortunately for prospective members, the UFCW also supports the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA).2 One of the key provisions of EFCA is binding […]






No Friend of the Economy

Bashas’ filed for bankruptcy in July 2009. One of the stated reasons for the filing was the financial impact caused by the tactics of the UFCW.1

Under the union-assisted bankruptcy, Bashas’ closed 10 stores, eliminated nearly 1,000 jobs, and is looking to close 14 additional stores. Bashas’ also owes $55 million to creditors, many of which are local vendors. It has even been reported that some philanthropic organizations that Bashas’ supports could be affected.2

Bashas’ claims they do not know how many people will end up losing their jobs because of the bankruptcy and it was likely that a number of part-timers would be laid off.3

While the UFCW claims to support workers’ rights, their actions have caused many workers to lose their jobs and local economies to suffer.


1 Max Jarman, “Bashas’: Ongoing Union Fight Sapped Grocer’s Energy, Cash,” The Arizona Republic, 7/15/09; Editorial, “At Issue: Attempts At Unionizing, Bullying Of Bashas’,” The Arizona Republic, 7/18/07
2 Max Jarman, “Bashas’ Woes Ripple State,” The Arizona Republic, 7/14/09
3 Luci Scott, “Bashas’ Seeks To Shut 14 More Stores In State,” Arizona Republic, 8/11/09

Bashas’ filed for bankruptcy in July 2009. One of the stated reasons for the filing was the financial impact caused by the tactics of the UFCW.1 Under the union-assisted bankruptcy, Bashas’ closed 10 stores, eliminated nearly 1,000 jobs, and is looking to close 14 additional stores. Bashas’ also owes $55 million to creditors, many of […]






Money To ACORN

Since 2005, the UFCW has given the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) more than $2.3 million in contributions.1 This is the equivalent of more than 15,000 union members’ dues doing nothing other than supporting ACORN.2

While the UFCW was giving ACORN more than $2.3 million, criminal charges were filed against the organization for submitting fraudulent voter registrations in numerous states, such as Missouri, Washington and Wisconsin.3 One newspaper claimed that ACORN has engaged in a “shady, if not flat-out criminal, enterprise nationwide for more than 30 years.”4

After continuous reports of electoral misconduct, the U.S. House of Representatives convened a panel to hear about the organization’s alleged illegal actions. During the hearing the panel heard the statement of an ACORN whistleblower who testified about the mob-like practices of the organization.5

ACORN was also found by the National Labor Relations Board to have engaged in unfair labor practices by interrogating employees about their union activities, threatening them with discharge, and laying off employees who were considering forming a union.6

UFCW members work hard for the dues money they pay to the union. That money should be used to benefit those members, not to shower cash on an organization that practices voter fraud and punishes its workers.


1 UFCW LM-2 Filings, Office of Labor-Management Standards, 2005-2008
2 UFCW LM-2 Filings, Office of Labor-Management Standards, 2005-2008
3 Patrick M. O’Connell and Jake Wagman, “Ex-ACORN Worker Indicted In Voter Fraud Case,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/6/09; Keith Ervin, “Three Plead Guilty In Fake Voter Scheme,” The Seattle Times, 10/30/07; Larry Sandler, “Vote Sign-Up Fraud Probed,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/7/08
4 Editorial, “What ACORN Has Sown,” The Augusta Chronicle, 10/16/08
5 S.A. Miller, “Hill Panel Testimony To Accuse ACORN Of Mob Tactics,” The Washington Times, 3/19/09
6 Association of Community Organizations For Reform and Sarah A. Stephens and Erin Marie Howley and Gigi Nevils, Cases 16-CA-21007-1, 16-CA-21007-2, and 16-CA-21173, 3/27/03

Since 2005, the UFCW has given the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) more than $2.3 million in contributions.1 This is the equivalent of more than 15,000 union members’ dues doing nothing other than supporting ACORN.2 While the UFCW was giving ACORN more than $2.3 million, criminal charges were filed against the organization […]






Money Spent on Politics

 In June 2005, Joe Hanson of the UFCW was one of the dissident labor leaders considering leaving the AFL-CIO. One of their chief complaints was that the AFL-CIO was spending too much money on politics.1

At the time, Hansen wanted to place more focus on organizing workers2. But only weeks later, a new Joe Hansen emerged. After the UFCW joined the SEIU and Teamsters in a new alliance, called the Change to Win federation, Hansen changed his tune and said politics were extremely important.3

Since 2005, UFCW has spent more than $21 million on lobbying and politics. This is equivalent to annual membership dues UFCW headquarters receives from 140,000 workers.4

Although Hansen was critical of others spending too much money on politics before the AFL-CIO split, he continued to spend tens of millions on his political agenda. The real question for Hansen is, when it comes to money in politics, how much is too much?


1 Briand Tumulty, “5 Major Unions Form Dissident Coalition,” Gannett News Service, 6/16/09
2 Briand Tumulty, “5 Major Unions Form Dissident Coalition,” Gannett News Service, 6/16/09
3 “UFCW Bolts AFL-CIO,” Grand Rapids Press, 7/30/05
4 UFCW LM-2 Filings, Office of Labor-Management Standards, 2005-2008

 In June 2005, Joe Hanson of the UFCW was one of the dissident labor leaders considering leaving the AFL-CIO. One of their chief complaints was that the AFL-CIO was spending too much money on politics.1 At the time, Hansen wanted to place more focus on organizing workers2. But only weeks later, a new Joe Hansen […]






Justice At Smithfield

In October 2007, Smithfield Foods filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suit against the UFCW.1 The lawsuit was filed as a result of the UFCW’s relentless campaign of harassment against Smithfield. In particular, the UFCW wanted Smithfield to sign a card check/neutrality agreement.2

The UFCW’s demands on Smithfield would have resulted in loss of control over the company’s business operations as well as turned over the bargaining rights of Smithfield employees to an organization without any evidence that the majority of workers supported it.3

Unwilling to submit to union demands, Smithfield became a target of a UFCW corporate campaign of extortion which included product boycotts, negative publicity and interference with Smithfield customers and a Smithfield spokesperson. The campaign ultimately cost Smithfield around $900 million.4

The UFCW attempted to destroy the business relationship between Smithfield and its grocery retail customers. The UFCW’s purpose was to force grocers drop their brands from the shelves. The union also called for a boycott of the company’s products at retailers across the country. In an attempt to disrupt a business relationship with a celebrity spokeswoman, Chef Paula Deen, the UFCW union organized demonstrations and protests at events where Deen would appear on a tour to promote a new book. UFCW also masterminded a plot to reduce the value of Smithfield’s stock price by mailing letters with falsely disparaging information about the company to financial analysts.5 The UFCW has gone so far as to interrupt a 2007 shareholder’s meeting in an attempt to unlawfully extort and inflict damage.6

In October 2008, the UFCW and Smithfield came to an agreement under which Smithfield agreed to hold a union election.7

Through its campaign against Smithfield, the UFCW has demonstrated that it will go to any length to get its way. Tactics bordering on intimidation and extortion are commonplace for an organization that prides itself on promoting “justice.”


1 Chris Flores, “Smithfield Foods, Union Tactics Questioned,” Newport News Daily Press, 10/21/07
2 Complaint, Smithfield Foods, Inc and Smithfield Packaging Company vs. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Civil Action 3:07 CV641, Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 10/17/07
3 Complaint, Smithfield Foods, Inc and Smithfield Packaging Company vs. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Civil Action 3:07 CV641, Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 10/17/07
4 “Smithfield, Union Agree To Election,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 10/28/08
5 Complaint, Smithfield Foods, Inc and Smithfield Packaging Company vs. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Civil Action 3:07 CV641, Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 10/17/07
6 Kristin Collins, “Union, Smithfield OK Vote,” The News & Observer, 10/28/08; Complaint, Smithfield Foods, Inc and Smithfield Packaging Company vs. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Civil Action 3:07 CV641, Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 10/17/07
7 “Smithfield, Union Agree To Election,” Richmond Times Dispatch, 10/28/08

In October 2007, Smithfield Foods filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act suit against the UFCW.1 The lawsuit was filed as a result of the UFCW’s relentless campaign of harassment against Smithfield. In particular, the UFCW wanted Smithfield to sign a card check/neutrality agreement.2 The UFCW’s demands on Smithfield would have resulted in loss […]






Growth At Any Cost

United Food and Commercial Workers Union president Joe Hansen has set a goal of more than doubling his union’s membership.1 Hansen said that he wants the UFCW to be more proactive and aggressive in recruiting members.2

It’s hard to imagine the UFCW being “more” aggressive. Hansen’s hardball tactics have already tested the boundaries of legality. For example, the UFCW allegedly planted out of date baby formula on the shelves of a grocery chain the union was trying to organize, placing children in danger.3 That same employer was accused of being racist and discriminating against minorities. The UFCW was also accused of illegal activities while trying to force their union into Smithfield Foods.5 Another employer was accused of selling liquor to children in an attempt to stifle their business.

The UFCW’s strategy is to tarnish a business’s reputation while costing them so much money that they either succumb to union pressure or go out of business. The goal is to force the company to agree to card check organizing without a secret ballot combined with a neutrality agreement.6

Companies have had to resort to legal intervention, and in some cases restraining orders, to stop UFCW attacks on their reputation and their workers, disruption of business relationships, and attempted sabotage of stock prices.7

In an effort to rapidly expand its membership, the UFCW has engaged in potentially criminal behavior designed to force companies to submit to their will. Hard to believe Hansen wants to be “more aggressive.”


1 Elliot Zwiebach, “Hansen Sets 3 Million Membership Goal for UFCW,” Supermarket News, 9/1/08
2 Thomas Lee, “New Grocery Union President Vows Aggressive Campaigns,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 3/6/04
3 Mike Sunnucks, “Bashas’ Sues For Defamation,” Phoenix Business Journal, 12/18/07; Complaint, Smithfield Foods, Inc and Smithfield Packaging Company vs. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Civil Action 3:07 CV641, Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 10/17/07
4 Venita Jenkins, “Smithfield Workers Approve Union,” The Fayette Observer, 12/08/07
5 Complaint, Smithfield Foods, Inc and Smithfield Packaging Company vs. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Civil Action 3:07 CV641, Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 10/17/07
6 Chris Flores, “Smithfield Foods, Union Tactics Questioned,” Newport News Daily Press, 10/21/07
7 Cathryn Creno, “Bashas’ Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Union, Others,” The Arizona Republic, 12/18/07; Philip Walzer, “Pork Producer’s Racketeering Case Against Union Begins Monday,” The Virginian Pilot, 10/26/08

United Food and Commercial Workers Union president Joe Hansen has set a goal of more than doubling his union’s membership.1 Hansen said that he wants the UFCW to be more proactive and aggressive in recruiting members.2 It’s hard to imagine the UFCW being “more” aggressive. Hansen’s hardball tactics have already tested the boundaries of legality. […]