What Comes Next

Last night was a win for working people. Across the nation, communities stood up, spoke out, and got heard. Here in California, we took crucial seats, including helping flip CA-25 and elect Katie Hill.

You got the job done, but our work is just beginning. Now we need to hold our new leaders accountable, and remind those re-elected that we’re here and we’re a force to be reckoned with.

Stay involved. Sign-up to be a part of our political team and get updates on ways you can help organize for the next fight.

Join the team

Results

When we show up, we win. Here’s a recap of what you helped accomplish:

Candidate Status
Governor, Gavin Newsom WON
Lt. Governor, Ed Hernandez LOST
Secretary of State, Alex Padilla WON
Attorney General, Xavier Becerra WON
Treasurer, Fiona Ma WON
State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond Too close to call
Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara Too close to call
State Senate, Bob Hertzberg WON
State Senate, Connie Leyva WON
State Senate, Mike Eng LOST
State Senate, Maria Elena Durazo WON
State Senate, Ben Allen WON
State Senate, Holly Mitchell WON
State Senate, Bob Archuleta WON
U.S. Congress, Katie Hill WON
U.S. Congress, Judy Chu WON
U.S. Congress, Adam Schiff WON
U.S. Congress, Tony Cardenas WON
U.S. Congress, Brad Sherman WON
U.S. Congress, Grace Napolitano WON
U.S. Congress, Ted Lieu WON
U.S. Congress, Jimmy Gomez WON
U.S. Congress, Norma Torres WON
U.S. Congress, Karen Bass WON
U.S. Congress, Linda Sánchez WON
U.S. Congress, Gil Cisneros LOST
U.S. Congress, Lucille Roybal-Allard WON
U.S. Congress, Maxine Waters WON
U.S. Congress, Nanette Barragan WON
U.S. Congress, Alan Lowenthal WON
State Assembly, Blanca Rubio WON
State Assembly, Ed Chau WON
State Assembly, Wendy Carrillo WON
State Assembly, Freddie Rodriguez AHEAD
State Assembly, Miguel Santiago AHEAD
State Assembly, Sydney Kamlager AHEAD
State Assembly, Ian Calderon WON
State Assembly, Reggie Jones-Sawyer AHEAD
State Assembly, Autumn Burke WON
State Assembly, Anthony Rendon AHEAD
State Assembly, Mike Gipson WON
State Assembly, Al Muratsuchi AHEAD
State Assembly, Patrick O’Donnell WON
U.S. Senate, Kevin de Leon LOST

Time to show up

It’s time to get down to business, people. We’re less than one week from the biggest midterm election of our lives. Workers around the country are proving that when we show up, we win. So let’s get out the vote.

Here are two easy ways you can get involved today:

2. Tell Your Employer You Need Time Off to Vote

Reminder: California law provides you up to two hours off to vote if you do not have enough time to do so during non-work hours.

According to the Office of the California Secretary of State:

California Elections Code section 14000 allows workers up to two hours off, without a loss of pay, to vote if they do not have enough time to do so in their non-work hours. The law requires workers to give their employers two working days’ notice before the election if they will need to take time off to vote.

Be sure to give your employers two working days’ notice before the election if you will need time off to vote

Learn more

 

2. Make Your Voting Plan

Find out where to vote, your registration status, and UFCW 770 candidate endorsements so you can make an informed vote on November 6th.

Let’s go

 

3. Get Out the Vote

CA-District 25 is one of the key seats that could flip the House in favor of working people next week. Take an hour out of your day this weekend and make a huge difference for years to come.

I’m In

This is our chance to get heard. Let’s make some noise.


Open Letter to the Dodgers

To say we are disappointed with you crossing a picket line and betraying the needs of your fellow union members in their time of need is an understatement.

We are furious. And we have a long memory.

There is no excuse for the union players of the Dodgers to become scabs and cross a legitimate, established picket line, especially one created to protest the massive gap between the financial condition of workers and the customers they serve.

The Dodgers had more than ample notice to find another hotel. Heck, the union even gave them a list of other available hotels. You saw the massive pushback against the scab Yankees when THEY crossed the picket line. The Boston City Council passed a resolution supporting the workers nearly a week before you arrived in Boston. The strike had been going on for nearly a month.

But still you chose to betray the poverty-wage workers who change your sheets and clean up your mess, simply because it was a little bit easier for you.

Well, this is one mess your fellow union members will NOT clean up.

The Major League Baseball Players’ Union benefited from the support of your fellow union members in your time of need. Those making barely minimum wage rallied to your side, helping you secure an average $4.5 million annual salary and job security.

But when it came time to choose between supporting those working people who stood with you and a minor hotel inconvenience, you chose to become scabs.

You seem to easily forget the solidarity of the unions that came before you make your job and salaries possible. Without miners being shot for organizing, without garment workers dying in their factories, without workers starving for months on picket lines – you would still be playing for peanuts.

But when it came time to honor that debt, that heritage, you balked.

Shame on you. Your betrayal will not be forgotten nor easily forgiven.

—John Grant, President, and members of UFCW 770


This Moment in Labor History: Fair Labor Standards Act

Today is the 80th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law that gave us the minimum wage, overtime pay, and the ban on child labor.

The effect of this law on the lives of working people has been historic. As Laura Huizar of the National Employment Law Project writes:

“Prior to the FLSA’s adoption in 1938, countless children, some as young as 5, worked day and night and many risked their lives in dangerous mines, factories, and mills. By 1810, ‘about 2 million school-age children were working 50- to 70- hour weeks.’”

Of course, working conditions and wages were just as back-breaking for adults, who could be forced to work around the clock, every day of the week, without limit.

There were a couple of factors that made the FLSA possible—all of which were powered by people. Crucially, the Supreme Court reversed itself and legalized the minimum wage. Before then, there was this ridiculous idea that workers had a constitutional right to be exploited to the point of injury and death. There was a powerful and well organized labor movement with a champion in the White House—and we’re not talking about FDR.

Frances Perkins was the first woman appointed to the cabinet and the longest serving labor secretary in U.S. history. She was brilliant at working with labor leaders and workers to force the president—who gets all the credit today—to do the right thing. Thanks to that Supreme Court decision and a lot of blood and sweat, the FLSA became law.

As we honor the anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act and how far we’ve come, we also have to take a hard look at how much further we have to go. The fact is we’re still struggling for a decent wage. As Huizar also points out, “the current federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 for almost ten years, and almost half (43.7%) of U.S. workers earn under $15 an hour.”

The lessons of the FLSA are clear: No matter how bad it seems (and we’re talking about five-year olds working in factories bad), we can win if we organize and fight to get heard. It was a strong labor movement that made FDR and Congress act. They did it in a single year because working people demanded better.

In just a few days, we’ve got another huge opportunity to get heard. Voting is one small thing you can do now that will make Washington sit up and listen. Commit to vote today and let’s make our own bit of history.


The Power of Your Vote

This year, union groups in Missouri—a state not exactly known for being a bastion of workers’ rights—crushed a bill that would have made it harder for unions to attract new members and funding.

It a was a moment to pump our fist in the air and a reminder of what working people can accomplish when we turn up and vote.

That’s why we need to get heard this November and vote. Sign up today to get started.

I WILL VOTE

The legislation Missouri pummeled is widely seen as an existential threat to workers across the country. So-called “right to work” laws are designed to bankrupt unions and leave workers undefended when corporations come around to pick their pockets. So-called “right to work” laws are designed to bankrupt unions and leave workers undefended when corporations come around to pick their pockets. A better name for them might be: “the right to work for less.”

So far, California hasn’t adopted these staunchly anti-worker laws. But that could change: A group called the Freedom Foundation is aiming to shrink union ranks across California, Oregon, and Washington by flooding the media with messages about how employees can stop paying union fees. The group is feeling especially energized after the Supreme Court’s decision to allow millions of public sector workers to stop paying their own union fees.

These anti-labor groups may have money and they may have power, but they can be stopped when working people stand together and say: “Enough.” In Missouri, a small army of rank-and-file union members worked together with activists to collect enough signatures to put a repeal referendum on the ballot that would boot the anti-labor law. Then they knocked on thousands of doors throughout the state to get the votes they needed. In the end, they struck it down by a margin of more than two to one—not bad for a midwestern state that backed Donald Trump all the way.

Workers are under attack in this country, from Cleveland to Columbia to California, but our victory in Missouri shows us how we win.The stakes couldn’t be higher, and organized labor is still on the ropes, but we can get results when working people decide to come together and push back.

By signing our petition and pledging to vote in November, you can help us fight these forces the most effective way possible: at the ballot box. Sign here: http://ufcw770.org/vote/


Moment of Truth

For eight decades, this union has led the charge to get you and your families a better deal in life–on and off the clock. Together, we’ve cut contracts that raised the bar for wages and benefits, and marched through the streets to secure dignity and democracy for all.

Today, powerful forces are gathering to roll back these gains we earned through 80 years of our blood and sweat. From a resurgent right wing to automation, these forces are out to take away your rights and those of workers everywhere to better pay, better benefits, and a better future.

Make no mistake: This is our moment of truth. We can either shrink back or double-down on our commitment to helping hardworking men and women across California get ahead. You already know the answer: We’re UFCW 770. We don’t back down.

If we’re going to win this struggle, we need to come together, use our heads, and follow our guts. We must remember the hard lessons we’ve learned from 80 years of successful organizing. Then we must adapt them for a workplace that’s changing by the day, by the hour, by the minute.

That’s why we’re launching a new look and website that better connects you with your fellow members, and shares breaking news and cutting edge insights on how we can organize now and fight back.

Although we continue to grow and evolve, at the end of the day this union will always run on the power of people. You work hard for the people in your life. If you work hard in America, we believe you should get paid, get heard, get respect, get ahead, get up, get more.

Look out for the official launch of our new site next week. In the meantime, make sure your fellow members are signed up for 770 news so they don’t miss a thing. Let’s get to work. We got this.

In Solidarity,

John Grant
President, UFCW 770


The Union Effect

At a time when income inequality is skyrocketing across the world, and working class wages are stuck at a standstill, it’s easy to wonder how working people can get ahead. A new three-parts series from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, “The Union Effect in California,” offers evidence for a simple answer: more union jobs.

The report reveals that union contract help working people get more—from better wages, to better medical coverage, to essential retirement plans. Just as importantly, unions lead the march for greater rights for all working people, regardless of whether they belong to a union. Workplace protections, stronger wage theft laws, immigration rights, and criminal justice reform—the list of causes that unions champion on behalf of working people goes on and on.

It’s an eye-opening report for anyone who doubts the impact of unions on the lives of working families. Here are just a few of the lessons learned:

Lesson #1: With union jobs, women and workers of color change the game
For generations, women and workers of color have been shut out of well-paying jobs across the American job market. UC Berkeley found that union contracts help change the game, creating a rising tide that lifts wages for all–especially women and people of color. Union contracts increased wages by 26 percent for women (compared to 15 percent for men) and an incredible 40 percent for Latinos. Overall, union contracts poured an extra $18.5 billion into the pockets of workers and their families.

Lesson #2: Union jobs help working families stand on their own two feet
Hardworking Californians who pour their blood and sweat into 40+ hour work weeks should never have to rely on government assistance. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that minimum wage jobs simply can’t cut it, and many workers turn to government programs for a helping hand. With union contracts, though, union workers and their families stand on their own two feet. Union workers are 30 percent less likely to rely on social safety net programs like SNAP benefits (food stamps) and the Earned Income Tax Credit than their peers at non-union jobs.

Lesson #3: Union jobs fight for your rights on—and off—the job.
Beyond raising wages, unions are crucial to nurturing a freer, more equitable society for all — whether you’re a member or not. UC Berkeley discovered that unions are key in the fight for greater rights for working Californians. For example, starting in the 1970s and up until 2014, California’s prison population increased five-fold. Backed by unions, Prop 47 reclassified non-serious, non-violent from felonies to misdemeanors. As a result, racial disparities in sentence lengths plummeted—falling by 50% in San Francisco alone.

The message is clear: If we want to get ahead, we need to get organized. Learn how you can take action today. Let’s get to work.


The Fight Is On Post-Janus

In the long fight for a better life for working people, the Supreme Court’s decision this summer in Janus v. AFSCME dealt a devastating blow to workers across the nation. In short, the Janus decision means that non-members of public sector unions no longer have to pay fair-share fees, even though they reap the benefits of public unions’ work. The consequences of this decision will reach far beyond workers’ paychecks and job schedules. For the LGBT community, threats to civil rights may even be on the horizon.

Since the ‘70s, unions have amplified the voices and fought for the rights of LGBT people. Unions have secured benefits and protections for queer and gender-nonconforming workers, even in states where local laws leave the door open for discrimination. And unions have negotiated benefits for unmarried “spouse-equivalent” partners, and banned harassment for employees who have gender confirmation surgery. But post-Janus, all those gains are at risk—not to mention that workers from LGBT communities, like workers everywhere, will now have a harder time earning a living wage. That’s especially concerning for trans workers, who are almost four times as likely as cis people to live on less than $10,000 per year.

On top of it all, weaker unions mean that fewer LGBT workers can use grievance procedures when they do experience discrimination. In a labor market flush with arbitration agreements—meaning that workers have to settle any workplace complaints out of court—grievance procedures are one of the best tools to fight mistreatment. And anything that threatens that tool threatens workers themselves, especially the most vulnerable among us.

Conservative groups supported Janus because they know what we know: Unions give employees a voice, and weakening unions means silencing working people. So the Supreme Court’s decision has forced workers everywhere, and especially LGBT workers, to make their own decision. Will we sit back and watch our rights get trampled or stand up, speak up, and fight back?

We may be down, but we’re never out. None of the above is set in stone, because if we decide to band together, we can keep our union strong. Our OUTreach group gives LGBT union members the chance to raise their voices and have each others’ backs. If union members show up and demand that their rights be recognized, then stingy or prejudiced employers don’t stand a chance. You have a say in this story. All it takes is action—powered by members like you.

Interested in being a part of OUTreach? Contact Jean Tong or call 213-201-7120 to get involved today.


A Ray of Hope for Unions

At a moment when union membership has plummeted to historic lows across the nation, Las Vegas’ Culinary Union 226 is beating the odds and proving that working people who get organized get more, even in the most hostile environment.

For 65 years, the deck has been stacked against unions in Nevada, a right-to-work state where workers are not obligated to pay dues, even when represented by a union. At the same time, Local 226 (known around town as “the Culinary”) is not only surviving, but thriving. Today, membership stands 57,000 workers strong, with 95 percent of workers voluntarily contributing full dues.

How have they done it? The secret to the Culinary’s success is no secret at all. A union succeeds when members take the future into their own hands. Organizing and taking action increases participation and benefits for all. Take Richard Blair, a Las Vegas kitchen worker recently featured in the Huffington Post:

When Richard Blair, 63, was working in a kitchen at the Dunes in the 1980s, he didn’t even know he had a shop steward. But as the union transformed into a more bottom-up operation over the years…members like Blair have become the driving force. He is now a shop steward at the MGM Grand and says he has been arrested five times at Culinary protests over the years. Nearly every worker on his list of 20 is a dues-paying member: “everyone but that one guy on swing shift,” said Blair.

Strong connections and active involvement from members—helping co-workers settle grievances, registering voters, picketing hostile employers, and more—has lifted the tide for workers across Las Vegas’ booming hospitality industry. With members willing to take action, the Culinary has negotiated better pay, better contract provisions, and better benefits. From the same Huffington Post article:

According to the union, the average member earns $23 per hour in pay and benefits, including a generous health plan and an employer-funded pension. The union’s health fund offers family coverage with no monthly premium, and last year the union opened its first health clinic to serve members and their families. The housing program, which was created a decade ago through a collective bargaining agreement with the casinos, has shelled out more than $4 million toward down payments and closing costs.

People across the union, from shop stewards to the union’s own former president, credit these benefits with the steady and passionate involvement of rank-and-file members.

We’ve never viewed right-to-work as a hindrance,” said D. Taylor [former president of the Cuilnary]. “Workers are getting screwed whether they’re in right-to-work states or not. You have to have a constant organizing presence and you have to change the culture of your union. It has to be run by great rank-and-file leaders.”

The lesson is clear: when we stand together, we create a better future for our families. The time is now to take action if we’re going to fight back against those who want to roll back dignity and democracy for working people. As Las Vegas cocktail server and shop steward Monie Stewart-Cariaga said: “I appreciate the people who did this before me. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”


 
Form Image