UFCW Local 700 Forced Dues on Members, Served NLRB Complaint

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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.

 

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Fort 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 […]

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Ohio UFCW Members Pay Over $1 Million for 4 Union Bosses

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Three members of Ohio UFCW Local Union 75 and one of UFCW Local 880 make over $1 Million a year from their members while ranting against income inequality.

A report by Watchdog.org identified 413 union leaders in Ohio UFCW making over $100,000 a year from union dues, and four of the top 50 were members of UFCW local unions:

Of those 413 union officers and employees, 75 were paid at least $150,000 — 25 more than the previous year — and there were 16 paid more than $200,000.

Topping the statewide list were the bosses of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 75 in Dayton. UFCW 75 paid secretary treasurer Steve Culter $355,400, and president Lennie Wyatt $328,116.

You can read more from Watchdog here.

Using the data from Watchdog, UFCW Monitor has compiled the four top paid Ohio UFCW leaders in the table below:

Steve Culter 355,400.00 Food & Commercial Wkrs (UFCW) Local Union 75 Secretary Treasurer
Lennie Wyatt 328,116.00 Food & Commercial Wkrs (UFCW) Local Union 75 President
Robert Grauvogl 200,699.00 Food & Commercial Wkrs (UFCW) Local Union 880 President
Kevin Garvey 176,831.00 Food & Commercial Wkrs (UFCW) Local Union 75 Exec Vice Pres/E-Board

Altogether, these 4 leaders of UFCW local unions in Ohio make a total of $1,061,046.00.

UFCW Local 75 has an active Facebook presence, and has been actively promoting the UFCW’s message nf the evils of income inequality. From a recent post on their Facebook page:

Ohio UFCW Local 75 income inequality

The video talks about how wage growth “stalled” since 1979. It goes on to say that “Corporations, along with lobbyists and politicians, have passed laws to keep wages down for most people, so CEOs and wealthy shareholders could reap ever larger profits.” Unmentioned, of course, are the large wages of the three top earners at the UFCW Local 75, who make a combined $860,347.00 a year.

UFCW Local 880, despite having a president who makes over 200K a year, does not have an active Facebook or Twitter presence. Their blog was last updated in July, newsletter was last updated online in December of 2009. However it is safe to assume not many of the members paying dues every month are making close to what the president of their union is making.

If Ohio UFCW locals are going to rant about income inequality, they should probably start investing in some mirrors first.

 

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Three members of Ohio UFCW Local Union 75 and one of UFCW Local 880 make over $1 Million a year from their members while ranting against income inequality. A report by Watchdog.org identified 413 union leaders in Ohio UFCW making over $100,000 a year from union dues, and four of the top 50 were members of […]

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NLRB Approves UFCW’s Micro-Unit Election at Macys

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National Labor Relations Board upheld United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s Macys Micro-Unit, which may undermine the union

Micro-units have arrived, and the UFCW is one of the first on board, with a small, two-department micro-unit at a Macy’s department store:

Earlier this week, in a 3-1 decision in Macy’s Inc., the NLRB applied its controversial Specialty Healthcare decision in upholding as appropriate a bargaining unit that consists of 41 employees in the cosmetics and fragrances department at a Boston-area Macy’s store, and excludes all other sales employees at the store.

The story goes on to note that these 41 employees constitute only about one-third of the Macy’s approximately 120 employees. Not only that, but the employees are from two different departments, on two different floors of the store. As the NLRB acknowledged, in the two departments, “employees worked in separate departments, reported to different supervisors, worked in separate physical spaces, and there was no significant contact between the employees.”

The UFCW’s support for micro-units may actually blow up in their faces. There are significant risks to the employees in the union, not only from experiencing a degraded level of support, but from competition from other unions:

Micro-units create unnecessary barriers and inherently sow discord between different small groups of workers and lead to different segments of the workforce negotiating against one another. It’s possible that different groups of employees could organize under the auspices of different major unions – some could join the UFCW while others may opt to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for instance. And inordinate amounts of time would be taken up dealing with the different unions’ competing demands.

Not only are micro-units a threat to the experience of employees, but it may actually threaten the position of the union itself. The NLRB’s rush to allow all kinds of smaller sized units to organize may actually undermine the very unions they intend to help. With more fractured representation and more time lost on organizing, employees may not want to stick with this model and reject unions entirely.

The UFCW may think they have the upper hand with the ability to target more employers with micro-unit elections, but they may in fact be setting themselves up for failure. Not only does the micro-unit undermine the union’s position as the best way of representing themselves to the employer, it also means other unions like the SEIU may compete with the UFCW for the same employees.

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National Labor Relations Board upheld United Food and Commercial Workers Union’s Macys Micro-Unit, which may undermine the union Micro-units have arrived, and the UFCW is one of the first on board, with a small, two-department micro-unit at a Macy’s department store: Earlier this week, in a 3-1 decision in Macy’s Inc., the NLRB applied its […]

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UFCW Local 1776’s Double Standard on Lobbying Disclosure

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UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV spent 8% of his time on lobbying and political activities, but is not listed as a lobbyist.ufcw-local-1776-lobby-money

It seems the president of UFCW Local 1776, Wendell Young IV, has been lobbying but failing to register his lobbying activities:

According to U.S. Department of Labor records examined by Media Trackers, Young reported 8 percent of his time as being spent on “political activities and lobbying”…
When confronted by a Pennsylvania Independent reporter, Young replied, “Clearly I do lobby, but it’s not my primary function as president of the union.”
Young was paid $23,421 (8 percent of his $292,765 salary) for political activity and lobbying in 2013. Registration is required by the commonwealth if payment for lobbying exceeds $2,500 per quarter.

This comes despite Young’s dubious claims that “We shouldn’t be held to a different standard than everyone else.” Unfortunately, it took until now for someone to investigate this fact. Despite the fact that lobbying may not be Young’s “primary function,” he makes no bones about the fact that he does, in fact, lobby.

This is not the first time the UFCW Local 1776 has pushed the boundaries of the law to promote policy positions:

Recently, some absurd ads vilifying the prospect of selling wine in grocery stores have blanketed the state. (They claim, “It only takes a little bit of greed to kill a child.”) Those ads were paid for by the UFCW, which funded a similarly over-the-top $1 million ad campaign last year.

The UFCW crossed that legal line by calling its ads—and even payments to lobbying firms—representational activities. Liquor store clerks who’ve jumped through every hoop to prevent their money from being spent on politics are still being forced to fund union political activity.

The UFCW’s actions here are far from transparent and accountable. This willingness to avoid transparency in the matter of money into politics is also entirely hypocritical, as the UFCW Local 1776 actually took part in a “Rally against big money in politics” (emphasis added):

UFCW Local 1776 Representative Eric Thomas took part in a rally of representatives from a variety of groups and PA State Representative Mark Cohen.  The groups gathered to push back on the power of big money in elections.
Thomas said, “The time has come to change the culture here in Pennsylvania and Washington DC.  Citizens United is an assault to our country’s democracy.  Distorting the idea of freedom, Citizens United only works to serve big business and promote corporatist agenda, not your average citizen.”

With apologies to Eric Thomas, the time has come to change the culture in UFCW Local 1776. Disregarding the law is an assault to our country’s democracy. Distorting the idea of freedom, UFCW Local 1776 ignores both the law and the wishes of their membership to push their own agenda, not the best interests of the state.

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UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV spent 8% of his time on lobbying and political activities, but is not listed as a lobbyist. It seems the president of UFCW Local 1776, Wendell Young IV, has been lobbying but failing to register his lobbying activities: According to U.S. Department of Labor records examined by Media […]

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UFCW Local 23 Sues Grocer for Offering Employees Higher Pay

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ufcw-sues-giving-raisesUnited Food and Commercial Workers UFCW Local 23 is filing a lawsuit against Giant Eagle grocery to defend seniority practices

Ironic, coming from the union advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage… Defending this industrial-era practice is stopping a local UFCW union from letting their members earn more money:

Why did UFCW Local 23 oppose higher pay for its members? Because it upended their seniority system, allowing junior employees to make more those with more seniority. Local 23 wanted uniform pay scales—even if that meant cutting some of their members’ wages.

This kind of thinking is very much in line with the kinds of jobs that were prevalent in the days when unions were being started. In those days, there was a real concern that there would be employers that would show favoritism as a method to separate employees from their union. There were many jobs that were interchangeable, such as production lines or industrial positions.

Nowadays, the labor market has changed significantly. While automation has significantly reduced low-level industrial jobs, customer service as a service is becoming a commodity. Manufacturing jobs are disappearing as service jobs increase. This means less people are on production lines and more people are dealing with customers directly in a personal way.

Additionally, there has been a significant shift in attitudes towards long-term jobs. During the industrial era, it used to be more common for one person to stay with a single company for many years. Now millennials, the youngest generation in the job market, are more likely to hop from one job to the next. This undercuts another key benefit of seniority, that employees staying with the company longer get paid more. In an economy where there’s been a lot of turnover and many people have lost their jobs and found new ones, longevity is less and less of a motivating factor in payment.

This shift creates a different motivation for service-based companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. A company known for good customer service can set itself apart from their competitors even if they offer a more expensive product because of the experience customers have buying their product. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration, poor customer service is the biggest reason why people discontinue business with a company.

The fact of the matter is that people respond to rewards. Without added incentive for people to invest more effort into their work, why would they put any more energy into it than what’s required? The concept of seniority only works if there are no additional benefits for additional work. And in today’s consumer service-based economy, that is no longer the case.

Seniority is outdated. What today’s worker needs is a system that rewards extra energy and effort, and rewards doing a good job. These days, seniority only protects those who don’t care to invest more in their own work. The only people who benefit under seniority system are workers who may not care about their work as much, but stay at their jobs longer.

Today’s worker also needs a union that provides benefits for what they need, not just taking their money and spending it on their own needs. And it’s not just UFCW Local 23. The UFCW International has its own share of corruption, mismanagement and scandals that they should be focusing on rather than trying to make sure their workers don’t get paid more.

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United Food and Commercial Workers UFCW Local 23 is filing a lawsuit against Giant Eagle grocery to defend seniority practices Ironic, coming from the union advocating for a $10.10 minimum wage… Defending this industrial-era practice is stopping a local UFCW union from letting their members earn more money: Why did UFCW Local 23 oppose higher […]

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Destroying Entry Level Jobs and Teen Opportunity – via NetRightDaily

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Today’s article brought to you by Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily blog. By By Rick Manning. Originally published Dec. 4, 2013.Minimum-Wage-McDonalds-UFCW

Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker’s wages and more than doubling the overall federal minimum wage this week.

Everyone wants to make more money, so what could go wrong?

Perhaps it would be wise to ask the United Food and Commercial Worker Union (UFCW) members in the Washington, D.C. area.  These union members have priced themselves out of jobs as the consuming public is being trained to scan their own food items, cutting out the middle man.  The union workers are so concerned about their dwindling numbers that they are threatening to strike on December 20th with a major complaint being that the implementation of self-scanning technology is eliminating their jobs.

Now the same Big Labor economic geniuses whose demands for ever increasing benefits and wages threaten the grocery clerks very existence are being equally helpful to entry level fast food workers.  Workers who perform low skill functions for a minimum wage or just slightly higher.

At a time when Amazon has built a drone to deliver packages, and hopes to have them operational with full Federal Aeronautics Administration approval within four to five years, it takes little imagination in our current culture to see a fast food restaurant operating with very few personnel.

You punch your order in at a display screen, or in drive thru, Siri’s younger, more advanced sister, takes your order showing you the results on the screen.  You put your credit card or cash into the ATM like payment system and drive to the pick-up window where you get your food that comes out when sensors tell the machine you are in place to receive it.  The food gets cooked by a series of machines that put the right patty on the grill, drop just the right amount of fries and automatically puts the appropriate soft drink cup under the right beverage.  A lid is attached and your meal is delivered to you when you drive up.

The restaurant has next to perfect food cost controls, and a labor force that doesn’t sleep in on Saturday or shut the restaurant fifteen minutes early because it is slow and they are bored.

Automakers build cars using very exact automation, is it so unreasonable to believe that a burger could be made similarly?

Yet, protestors are going to blithely march around fast food restaurants demanding wages that virtually guarantee mechanized product delivery, a result that has disastrous consequences.

Fast food restaurants are gateway jobs, and are not intended for the vast majority of people to be anything but that – entry level.  This is a great thing.

Teens learn that they have to get to work on time both from getting pinged by their bosses, and by having to stay late due to the tardiness of a coworker.  Teens learn about this FICA fellow who takes a bunch of their paycheck without their ever seeing a dime, and wonder how their $183.75 check for five, five hour days dwindled down to a mere $135.  And most importantly, teens learn that money to go to the movies, pay car insurance and put gasoline in the car has to be earned by trading time, energy and effort in a value creating way.

Read the rest of the article here.

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  Today’s article brought to you by Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily blog. By By Rick Manning. Originally published Dec. 4, 2013. Fast food restaurants will get the joy of having labor unions stage protests demanding an increase in their worker’s wages and more than doubling the overall federal minimum wage this week. Everyone wants to make […]

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NLRB Rules UFCW Our Walmart Black Friday $50 Specials Legal

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National Labor Relations Board rules United Food and Commercial Workers Union Worker Center Our Walmart $50 gift cards to 2012 Black Friday protesters legal

ufcw-black-friday-special

Last year, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) worker center, Our Walmart, organized strikes against Walmarts during arguably the biggest sale day of the year- Black Friday. As we wrote before, the illegal picketing case Walmart had charged was being held in abeyance, on the condition that the UFCW did not continue their protests. However some charges remained, and the NLRB has authorized complaints against Walmart unless further negotiation settles things.

The NLRB has also advised that some challenged actions by Our Walmart were legal, in particular, where the UFCW paid off employees to protest with $50 gift cards:

The National Labor Relations Board concluded in a recent advice memorandum that the United Food & Commercial Workers union didn’t violate federal labor law when it offered $50 gift cards to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. workers who agreed to go on strike on Black Friday 2012.

So the best Black Friday Special at Walmart may be employee-only: walk off the job and hold a sign, get a $50 gift card for free. Ironically, this is a special that prospective Walmart customers should hope isn’t taken advantage of. If a high number of Walmart employees walk off the job, that could spell disaster in stores across the country. Black Friday is commonly recognized as one of the most competitive days for shoppers, and tensions are already high. Add in significantly longer lines, and it could spell panic and hysteria.

However, this Black Friday Special may be the best way for the UFCW to get Walmart associates to walk off the job. It seems that if they’re depending on organizational strength and current interest, they may not get far:

Wilson’s organization sent observers to labor union meetings designed to plan and promote the Black Friday walkouts in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Raleigh. Although touted by union leaders as crucial to the strike’s success, according to Wilson nearly no one attended the events. Only two union activists – not Walmart employees – showed up to the Chicago meeting on November 12. Just four managed to make it to Pittsburgh’s strike planning committee this Wednesday. And an expected meeting in Raleigh earlier this month was cancelled, apparently due to a complete lack of interest.

The article goes on to explain that last year’s protests give no strong indication that this year’s protests will be any better, as turnout for the protests was comparatively miniscule.

“The idea that there’s this mass uprising of Walmart employees trying to unionize the stores when they can’t get more than 500 of them to actually turn out is ridiculous – just an absolute joke,” he concluded.

Even the NLRB had to admit that in one of the cases they heard, not a single Walmart associate identified themselves at one protest, where they later claimed their rights had been violated. According to the advice memo, their rights were not violated because no single protester identified themselves as associates, and none of the managers could identify someone employed at Walmart:

None of the 50 demonstrators identified him or herself as a Wal-Mart Associate, and there is no evidence that managers recognized any member of the group as a Wal- Mart Associate when they were demonstrating on private property and were asked to leave.

Perhaps the best course of action would be for Our Walmart to spend the $50 on outside protesters. That strategy has certainly been proven to work for the UFCW in the past.

The good news is that this Black Friday Special- while ruled legal- may not cause as many headaches for customers as the UFCW would like. And this is one special that shoppers will be all too happy to miss out on.

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National Labor Relations Board rules United Food and Commercial Workers Union Worker Center Our Walmart $50 gift cards to 2012 Black Friday protesters legal Last year, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) worker center, Our Walmart, organized strikes against Walmarts during arguably the biggest sale day of the year- Black Friday. As we […]

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