Walmart Fights UFCW to Keep Black Friday from Going Dark – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

Walmart Fights UFCW to Keep Black Friday from Going Dark

All News | Dirty tactics | Union Mismanagement 1 Comment

For months, the UFCW and their subsidiary group, OUR Walmart, have been making noises that they’ll be striking at Walmarts across the country during arguably the biggest retail day of the whole year- Black Friday.

Now Walmart is finally fighting fire with fire, and taking legal action against the UFCW:

Wal-Mart filed an unfair labor practice charge against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or UFCW, asking the National Labor Relations Board to halt what the retailer says are unlawful attempts to disrupt its business.

The move comes just a week before what is expected to be the largest organized action against the world’s largest retailer, as a small group of Walmart workers prepare to strike on Black Friday, typically the busiest shopping day of the year.

The response from the NLRB is expected to come sooner rather than later, as Black Friday is imminently approaching, and the impact on Walmart sales could be drastic.

UFCW’s approach here seems to fit the “we hate you, so join us” attitude that we’ve written on extensively here. In this approach, the UFCW is threatening to cut Walmart where it hurts- their bottom line. Rather than negotiating for better wages or making their case in the court of public opinion, they

However, as we’ve seen, this approach does not work well in practice. For all of the previous attempts the UFCW has made to unionize America’s largest employer, Walmart has yet to unionize any of their stores, or even change their attitude towards unionization. But rather than change course, the UFCW has instead decided to double down on attacking the employer.

This is a particularly bad strategy- not only because it only seems to fuel the animosity Walmart has for the UFCW, but because it also hurts the very employees the UFCW claims they are trying to help. Right now, the U.S. economy is not in a particularly good spot, and people are clamoring for whatever jobs they can get.

When a company has a significant loss of revenue, they’re less likely to be able to use that revenue to promote their employees, increase their employee’s benefits, or be able to retain employees especially in a down economy. But by undermining the company’s chief source of revenue, we see a key contradiction between the UFCW’s stated goals of helping employees and their real goals of unionizing more companies at any cost.

One of the origins of the phrase “Black Friday” comes from the accounting practice of using red ink for deficit revenue  and black ink for positive revenue- the Friday after Thanksgiving would the first day some companies would be “into the black,” or finally making a profit for the year. By undermining Walmart, the UFCW is showing their real colors- they don’t mind if the company doesn’t make a profit, as long as they keep getting their dues money from workers to finance their lavish lifestyles.

Walmart Fights UFCW to Keep Black Friday from Going Dark By admin On Nov 23, 2012 All News | Dirty tactics | Union Mismanagement 1 Comment Tags: Black Friday, National Labor Relations Board, NLRB, OUR Walmart, UFCW, Walmart, we hate you so join us For months, the UFCW and their subsidiary group, OUR Walmart, have […]






UFCW’s Spending – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW’s Spending

All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off

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

UFCW’s Spending By admin On Dec 28, 2009 All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off 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 To Walmart- We Hate You – Join Us – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW To Walmart- We Hate You – Join Us

All News | Dirty tactics Comments Off

“A wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
That’s what the UFCW thinks of Walmart, according to Thomas P. McNutt, president of Local 400 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

But of course the UFCW Local 400 has something to lose when it comes to having new jobs in the area—it represents “employees of area Giant, Safeway and Shoppers Food Warehouse stores.” Rather than asking the Walmart employees to join the UFCW family the union attacks and belittles them.

McNutt himself spells it out in a blog post on the UFCW 400 blog:

“For we are family,” he said. “One big family. Just like family, we’ve got to have each other’s backs. We’ve got to treat an attack on one like it’s an attack on all. And we’ve got to always put our family first.”

This “Family First” policy consists of pitting certain employees against other   employees. Walmart is expanding its’ company stores across new areas in Washington, D.C. and other major cities, and the UFCW is opposed to these new jobs at a time where unemployment is all the way up to 9.5% in D.C. Local UFCW chapters have launched campaigns aimed at stopping the consumer giant from establishing stores, with corresponding job opportunities, in new areas.

So what exactly is UFCW claiming Walmart will do?

One of the most prevalent claims against Walmart, the nations largest private employer, is that they achieve their low prices by paying their employees next to nothing. Leading the charge is the “Respect D.C.” project, co-sponsored by the UFCW. One tweet from the @RespectDC Twitter page even went as far as saying Walmart provided “slave wage jobs”:

Walmart jobs do not provide decent, livable wages or health care & are basically slave wage jobs that will hurt local small biz

UFCW does not explain why people line up for these jobs by the thousands.  Maybe is because UFCW claims are demonstrably false, in other words lies. The “Respect D.C.”website has a list of demands (PDF link) that “WalMart will pay every employee in its DC stores the DC Living Wage rate or higher,” which is currently $12.50 per hour.

If the D.C. living wage is currently $12.50 per hour, what exactly is Walmart paying their employees? Apparently just $0.01 less:

At its stores in Washington area suburbs, Wal-Mart pays an average of $12.49 an hour. Although Restivo would not say what wages would be at its District stores, he said the rates would be above that of most union jobs offered by competing grocers and that most jobs would be full-time positions.

Quite far from “slave wage jobs”, employees not in D.C. are actually paid far closer to the “DC Living wages” Respect D.C. is demanding.

Another well-worn knock on Walmart and other large retailers is that they hurt struggling small businesses. According to Andy Shallal, a hard-left anti-war restaurant owner, Walmart is “a big-box bully that depresses wages and crushes small competitors”, and that WalMart’s “track record of destroying local businesses speaks louder than any academic research”.

But what does that academic research actually say? A Competitive Enterprise Institute study (PDF link) found that:

DRCs (discount retail chains) benefitted the communities they entered by increasing wages and employment, and strengthening other businesses that did not compete directly with the new DRC… the presence of DRCs “may create alternative opportunities for businesses that are unable to compete with large discount retail chains,” and “new businesses emerge that provide either services or products that complement the DRC’s offerings.” … Rather than shutting down retail activity, the presence of DRCs actually stimulates dynamic local retail growth.

Clearly the economic case against Walmart is falling apart, so what’s left? Maybe a half-baked assertion that Walmart turns children into criminals? Funny enough, that’s exactly the claim Washington D.C.’s Ward 4 ANC Commissioner Brenda Speaks made in a recent rally against Walmart:

You’re putting kids in jeopardy of getting a record from shoplifting in this Walmart store. For the first time, some kids will have a record- they will start a record- because kids are kids and they will go in those stores and pick up things, and security is going to grab them, and that’s crime.

Mrs. Speaks seems to believe here that Walmart stores specifically will incite children (through no fault of their own) to begin lives of crime. Something about the goods and services Walmart would uniquely provide causes children to inevitably shoplift. (Perhaps the area Giant, Safeway and Shoppers Food Warehouse stores don’t have goods tempting enough to steal?) Sometimes the fiction people believe is truth is the strangest fiction of all.

So what does that leave us with?

The UFCW “Family First” model is fundamentally at odds with employees, consumers, and ultimately, the facts. If their goal is to increase benefits for all workers, they must change their model to account for political realities that may be undermining their arguments.

If the companies their members represent are threatened by competition by Walmart, they should find ways to follow the suggestions put forward by the CEI study, and find ways to provide complimentary services or products.

It is not Walmart that union members should be afraid of. Rather, it is the inability of their unions to adapt to change they should be worried about.

UFCW To Walmart- We Hate You – Join Us By admin On May 20, 2011 All News | Dirty tactics Comments Off Tags: Brenda Speaks, RespectDC, Thomas McNutt, UFCW 400, Walmart “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.” That’s what the UFCW thinks of Walmart, according to Thomas P. McNutt, president of Local 400 of the United […]






UFCW Strikes at Giant and Safeway over Obamacare Hurts Union Companies UFCW Monitor

More UFCW Strikes at Giant and Safeway Over Obamacare

All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off

United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW Local 400 members authorized strikes against Safeway and Giant over Obamacare, could push customers to nonunion stores

The UFCW has authorized strikes against two major unionized grocery stores prominently located in the mid-atlantic region surrounding Washington, D.C. – Giant and Safeway:

Members of United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400 voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to authorize a strike against Safeway, joining their fellow members working at Giant who also voted this morning to authorize a strike against their employer. At both stores, UFCW Local 400 members are fired up about management’s refusal to offer a fair contract.

And the issue at the heart of the strikes should seem pretty familiar to those who have been following our recent coverage of UFCW:

“The big issue at the table has been health care and today, our union brothers and sisters refused to go backward and authorized our local union leadership to call a strike,” said Vivian Sigouin, a Bargaining Advisory Committee member who works at Safeway #1431.

That’s right – UFCW members are worried that they may end up on the Obamacare exchange systems and lose their current health care plans that they’ve bargained for through their union. The irony that Obamacare was pushed for- and celebrated by- the UFCW should not be lost. We’ve already discussed at length about how the UFCW’s support of Obamacare has backfired, and now the union is trying to take it out on employers.

What makes this potential strike fascinating is the area and locality. As mentioned, the vote merely authorizes a strike – whether the strike happens remains to be seen. Strike authorizations are a step in the direction towards an actual picket line, intended to signal to employers that agreements are in danger of dissolution. The actual strike may or may not happen, but the potential strike could actually create more dangers for the unions than their employers.

Over the last few years, the UFCW, in conjunction with their worker center front group, Our Walmart, have been targeting the non-union Walmart. They objected to Walmart’s expansion into the Washington, D.C. area and encouraged the D.C. City Council to pass prohibitive regulations. Despite their best attempts, their efforts failed. Now, even as they threaten to strike the most prevalent union-run grocery stores in the D.C. area, Walmart is opening hiring centers for their two new locations.

The implication is clear – unionized stores like Giant and Safeway face strikes, picket lines and loss of customers. The non-union, enemy of the UFCW evaded their tactics, is creating jobs, and stands to profit from UFCW’s protests. The UFCW is demonstrating what Walmart’s future could look like under union rule, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

Not only that, but the underlying conflict is over policy passed with the help of the union, and later objected to by the same union. Now, not only will the UFCW strikes potentially endanger seasonal profits for Giant and Safeway, but they may also be putting that business right into the hands of their biggest competition. With an example like this, what sane company would join the UFCW?

More UFCW Strikes at Giant and Safeway Over Obamacare By admin On Nov 18, 2013 All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off Tags: giant, safeway, UFCW Local 400 United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW Local 400 members authorized strikes against Safeway and Giant over Obamacare, could push customers to nonunion stores The UFCW has authorized […]






UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised?

All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off

United Food and Commercial Workers Union International President Joseph Hansen’s editorial criticized Obamacare after the UFCW got 28 waivers from the ACA.

In the fallout of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, more and more opposition to the national health care program has arisen. Even prominent Democrats who voted for the bill are now expressing their concerns that Obamacare will turn into a “train wreck.” Now voices are coming from even more surprising places- the leadership of unions who were prominent supporters of the legislation!

The UFCW, who worked incredibly hard to support the passage of Obamacare, is now expressing reservations about the bill now that we’ve passed it to know what’s in it. So why the big change of heart? Apparently, the Affordable Care Act actually hurts unions!

Many UFCW members have what are known as multi-employer or Taft-Hartley plans. According to the administration’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act, the law does not provide tax subsidies for the roughly 20 million people covered by the plans. Union officials argue that interpretation could force their members to change their insurance and accept more expensive and perhaps worse coverage in the state-run exchanges.

Hansen’s editorial explains a number of places where the Obamacare promise has not met reality, chiefly in the promise that people could keep their coverage and their doctors. All of this starts to sound like a big change of heart, until you see Hansen’s real motivation. From UFCW International President Joseph Hansen’s recent editorial:

..the ACA would block these plans from the law’s benefits (such as the subsidy for lower-income individuals and families) while subjecting them to the law’s penalties (like the $63 per insured person to subsidize Big Insurance).

This creates unstoppable incentives for employers to reduce weekly hours for workers currently on our plans and push them onto the exchanges where many will pay higher costs for poorer insurance with a more limited network of providers. In other words, they will be forced to change their coverage and quite possibly their doctor.

So as Obamacare is implemented, more workers will be forced out of the UFCW’s healthcare plans and into the healthcare exchanges. Employers will be forced to cut hours and full-time employees. This also affects the UFCW as their membership struggles to pay their dues and rising healthcare costs.

And the ultimate irony- while the UFCW was a big cheerleader of Obamacare, they were first in line to be exempted from it:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which celebrated the passage of Obamacare as “an achievement that will rank among the highest in our national experience,” secured waivers for 28 different affiliates.

So the UFCW’s crowning achievement is now their biggest anchor. But don’t let their about-face surprise you. They’ve been playing both sides of the issue for a long time, they’re just only now seeing the consequences.

UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised? By admin On May 28, 2013 All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off Tags: Affordable Care Act, Joseph Hansen, Obamacare United Food and Commercial Workers Union International President Joseph Hansen’s editorial criticized Obamacare after the UFCW got 28 waivers from the ACA. In the fallout of the […]






UFCW Strike Stops Red Cross Blood Drive – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW Strike Stops Red Cross Blood Drive

All News | Dirty tactics | Union Mismanagement 1 Comment

For about four years, there hasn’t been a contract between the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 75 and the Red Cross’ Toledo office. Despite multiple trips to the bargaining table, no agreement has been reached.
Now, the UFCW Local 75 is taking a radically extreme step, and stopping an annual blood drive– one with significant local support:

The 25th Annual Interfaith Blood Drive that had been scheduled for June 23 and 24 has been postponed indefinitely because of the Red Cross workers’ strike.

Devorah Shulamit, founder and chairman of the blood drive that is supported by multiple local religious groups and individuals, said the event “has been caught in the middle of a very sad and unfortunate position due to the strike.”

The ongoing strike has centered on health care, with the Red Cross offering plans similar to other charity groups, and the UFCW Local 75 demanding more concessions.

In a statement the Red Cross issued, they clarified their position:

The biggest obstacle in these difficult negotiations is health care. The Red Cross has made proposals consistent with those made elsewhere, and we are disappointed that the union continues to demand more.

The Red Cross has put forward contract proposals consistent with the health, dental, vision and life insurance benefits package provided locally to our non-union staff, including management. We offered multiple plan options at various pricing levels designed to meet the needs of our employees and their families.

The Red Cross has settled 20 contracts with other local labor unions across the country since July 2011. Two of these agreements came after UFCW Local 75 began its strike. This shows we are committed to reaching successful resolutions to negotiations, and we believe a contract should be achieved here as well.

While the health care concerns of UFCW Local 75 may be significant, the Red Cross does significant life saving work. Blood drives are an important way to make sure that blood banks are prepared in the case of emergency. More importantly, donated blood helps save lives.

For the UFCW to continue to fight for special benefits even after other local unions have agreed to similar terms, and to interrupt life-saving services, is beyond selfish- it’s downright wrong.

UFCW Strike Stops Red Cross Blood Drive By admin On Jun 7, 2012 All News | Dirty tactics | Union Mismanagement 1 Comment Tags: Red Cross, Toledo, UFCW Local 75, Union Standoff For about four years, there hasn’t been a contract between the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 75 and the Red Cross’ […]






UFCW Local 700 NLRB Forced Dues on Members Case UFCW Monitor

UFCW Local 700 Forced Dues on Members, Served NLRB Complaint

Latest updates | Union Mismanagement Comments Off

ufcw-local-700-forced-dues-here-foreverFort Wayne Kroger employees alledge unfair labor practices on United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 700 for forced dues, file allegation with NLRB

The UFCW may be adopting a new motto for members- like in the Simpsons quote from Montgomery Burns, “Don’t forget: you’re here forever.” At least UFCW Local 700 is not taking no for an answer when it comes to collecting dues money from Kroger employees:

Eleanor Haynes and Barbara Peter, filed the unfair labor practice allegation with the NLRB against the United Food & Commercial Workers UFCW International Union Local 700 for, they say, ignoring their right to refrain from paying union dues.

The National Labor Relations Board has been shown to heavily favor union issues. Our previous coverage of them here shows they have recently been siding with the UFCW for micro-elections and allowing them to pay members to protest on Black Friday with gift cards.

While the UFCW Local 700 is downplaying the concerns, the case is being represented by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. NRTW Foundation President Mark Mix claims their case is central to upholding the Right to Work law:

“These two Kroger workers followed all necessary procedures to exercise their legally-protected right to resign their union membership and cut off union dues,” said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. “This case underscores just how important Indiana’s Right to Work law is for workers who want nothing to do with scofflaw union bosses.”

If the UFCW Local 700 is indeed continuing to withhold dues money from former members who have done everything necessary to remove themselves from the union, they are in for some real trouble. While the NLRB may not be particularly friendly to challenges to unions, they are still bound by the law and this seems to be a clear case of the union violating the law.

 

UFCW Local 700 Forced Dues on Members, Served NLRB Complaint By admin On Oct 1, 2014 Latest updates | Union Mismanagement Comments Off Tags: forced dues, NLRB, UFCW Local 700, unfair labor practices Fort Wayne Kroger employees alledge unfair labor practices on United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 700 for forced dues, file allegation […]