After the Strike

Brothers and sisters, 

I’d like to take a moment to pause and reflect on the historic movement that swept through the streets of Los Angeles – and what it means for you and the future of our union.

First and most importantly: this is one of the proudest moments I’ve had in 40 years as a member of UFCW 770. Our members turned up in droves to stand with our teachers, literally, in the pouring rain no less (which is saying a lot in L.A.).

Many people thought this wasn’t our fight. But wherever working people are striving to make a better life, 770 members will be there. That’s a testament to your hard work and unbreakable spirit, and the powerful community you’re creating.

Make no mistake: our union brothers and sisters of UTLA have inspired Angelenos across the city to speak up for working people. But how did they do it? Here are some lessons we can learn:

1. Bargain for the Common Good

It’s a subtle shift, but potentially revolutionary: bargaining for the common good. As Steven Greenhouse from the New York Times pointed out, L.A. teachers didn’t fight just for wages or benefits. They fought for their students and communities. As we look ahead to our Grocery contract, we need to show how our cause can lift up our communities and improve the lives of our customers and the families we help feed every single day.

2. Go Public

The week the strike started, three-fourths of Angelenos were polled supporting our public teachers’ cause. That goes to show that when you stand up for the public good, the public stands up for you. We need to give customers, families, and supporters a reason to believe in our fight, and simple, easy ways to stand with us.

3. Strikes Work

Strikes are a very last resort, and they take organization, mobilization, and cooperation. But they can be a powerful way to rally people to our cause and force management to sign a better deal. We only take this path as a last option, but our teachers proved that with the public on your side, a strike can make change possible.
What are your ideas? How can we move customers to see themselves in our fight for a better deal? You work in your communities every day, so who would know better than you?

Drop us a line or simply reply to this email and share your thoughts. We need the wisdom of every store, plant, pharmacy, and dispensary to win this fight. Let’s get started. We got this.

Email us

And now we go,

John Grant
President
UFCW 770


We’re Listening

Brothers and sisters,

It’s a New Year and with it brings new challenges – contract negotiations for our Grocery members, a fight for fair scheduling, and the steady creep of automation into our workplaces.

We want to hear what’s on your mind. What’s happening in your workplace and your community? What concerns do you have about your job? What are your ideas for a better future?

Today we’re launching the UFCW 770 Listening Campaign.

Each month we’ll reach out to you by phone, text or email to ask what you think on a variety of issues. It will be quick, I promise, and we’ll raffle off giveaways to those who participate.

Click here to complete our first survey – it will take less than 3 minutes – for your chance to win $50 for the New Year!

Complete the survey no later than Friday, January 29th for your chance to win.

Complete Survey

The wisdom of this union is in every shop, dispensary, pharmacy, and plant. Your feedback is crucial to make sure we’re focusing on the issues that matter most to you.

We’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

As John says, now we go,

Kathy Finn | Secretary-Treasurer | UFCW 770


Register Now: 6th Annual UFCW 770 Healthy Day 5K

When

President’s Day, Monday, February 18, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Race starts at 9:30 a.m.

Where

Ventura Community Park, 901 S Kimball Rd, Ventura CA 93004

Everyone is welcome! Make it a fun and healthy day out with family, friends, and union members. Take a 5K walk or run along a path that is paved, flat, and easy!

Visit our health fair vendors for a free health screening, donate blood on the mobile truck, or learn CPR.

All registered participants will receive a T-Shirt, medal, raffle ticket, and lunch!

Register Now

Pre-registration cost is $30.00 
All proceeds benefit Leukemia and local charities in our communities

Are you a Local 770 PPO Member?
Earn $$ for your HRA! The 5k walk/run is a healthy activity. 5k participation will earn up to $150.00 for your Health Reimbursement Account. We will provide forms for you at the registration table, it’s easy!

See you at the starting line!


Stand with LAUSD Teachers and Families

On Monday, January 14, 30,000 educators in LAUSD will take a stand to improve classrooms and learning conditions for our kids.

UTLA members are going on strike for:

  • Smaller class sizes

  • More nurses and counselors

  • Fair wages

  • Accountability for charter schools

As a union member, you understand how critical and crucial labor actions like these are in creating long and lasting change. We need to stand in solidarity with our teachers and join them in this fight, because the more workers who come together, the more unstoppable we become.

According to the Los Angeles Federation of Labor, here are some ways that you can support the strike:

1. Get Loud on Social Media

Never underestimate the power of a hashtag. You have the power to invite more people into the conversation.

Follow updates on www.WeArePublicSchools.org and tell your friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that you won’t cross the picket line. Use your own message or the one prepared below. And don’t forget to use these hashtags: #StrikeReady #RedForEd #UTLAstrong.

I, a member of @UFCW770, stand with @utlanow educators and will not cross the picket line. Join me now to improve classrooms and schools for our kids. https://wearepublicschools.org/ #StrikeReady #RedForEd #UTLAstrong.

 

2. Be a Part of the Leadership School for Education and Action

Join parents, students and other union members at the Leadership School for Education and Action, an exciting week-long program full of political education and action.

See this PDF for details.

3. Join the Picket Lines

Want to join the picket line? You can adopt one or several schools and join the picket lines before or after school.

Here’s how:

  • Click on the magnifying glass to search within the map.

  • Enter your home or work address to find the campuses closest to you
  • Click on the small red book icon for the exact address name and phone number of the school.
  • Help LA Federation of Labor track support for teachers by filling out this form.
  • Check www.WeArePublicSchools.org for picket and rally times.

Where we go from here

Members:

While many people savor time off over the holidays, 770 Brothers and Sisters are clocking-in for extra shifts to make sure those holidays go off without a hitch. For those of you on the job and to those who enjoyed a hard-earned break: thank you. I’ll respect your schedule and make this New Year’s message quick. I just need a minute of your time.

This union is powered by people. Never has that fact been more obvious to me than when sitting at a gathering of our GOTV volunteers just a few weeks ago. Many of these members had never stepped foot on a political campaign before. Yet they faced the sun and heat of Nevada with courage, canvassing for weeks on end to help workers win a historic victory in a right-to-work state. Not bad.

It’s this can-do spirit that makes you and your brothers and sisters the people I’m proud to wake up and fight for every day. To capture this spirit, though, and the wisdom that lives in each and every store, dispensary, pharmacy, and plan across this union, we’re trying something a little different this year.

In 2019, we’re launching a listening campaign to hear directly from you. You may get a call, email, or text soon, and I hope you’ll take the time to give us your honest feedback. What’s your top concern in a new contract? What are the news and issues keeping you up at night? What are your priorities both on and off the clock?

You’ll be hearing a lot more of this from Kathy in the coming weeks. For now, though, please make sure you’re following us on social so you can be heard.

Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us on Twitter

 
From a new Rite Aid contract to winning back a 100% unionized Farmer John’s plant, you got the job done in 2018. We’re just getting started.


Why we organize

Members,

You know firsthand: what we do is tough work, and we have to do it every day with a smile on our faces. So, we all need that special motivation to get up every morning and fight for a better life.

For me, that’s my kids. I want to teach them to hold their head up. When I look in their eyes, I see the future. They’re the next generation of workers who need to demand what they deserve. I’m here to show them how to walk the walk.

We all have people in our life who inspire us to organize. Join me and post a photo with the family member you’re ready to fight for today.

The upcoming Grocery contract is going to be a tough fight. Let’s show management that we’re not going anywhere, and we have every reason in the world to keep fighting.

Post Your Photo
We got this,

Lisa Marie, UFCW 770 Grocery Steward


This is a new era

Members,

You’re busy, so I won’t take up too much of your time. I’ve got a super quick request that’ll take one minute, but make a big difference.

You know by now: this is a new era for our union, and a new chance to get the benefits and rights we deserve. We’re fired up, and we’re ready. But we have to let management know we mean business.

Tag your co-worker or fellow member in the video above and ask them to step up to the challenge for next year’s contract push. 

Management may have the money, but we’ve got something special: people like you. Challenge your co-worker to step up and play a leading role in organizing next year. That way we can show companies that we won’t back down.

Tag Your Friend
We got this,

David Quezada, UFCW 770 Grocery Steward


How we won in November

They said it couldn’t be done.

In a right-to-work, anti-union state like Nevada, they said voters wouldn’t elect candidates who fight for working people.

They were wrong.

Last week, we regrouped to look back at the historic victory UFCW 770 members helped win in Nevada. Leading up to the Midterms, a group of fired up members took paid leaves from their jobs to travel to Las Vegas and get out the vote.

The results were huge. Thanks in part to 770 members knocking door-to-door, voters elected the first Democratic governor in Nevada in two decades, Steve Sisolak, and kicked out Republican Senator Dean Heller, who helped pass last year’s corporate tax cut.

It was a big moment for working people, especially in a fiercely anti-union state.

More importantly, our GOTV volunteers are bringing their energy and hard-earned lessons back home to California to keep fighting.

Here’s what we learned:

1. It’s never too late to start organizing

You don’t need to be an experienced campaigner to make a difference. In fact, many of the members who traveled to Nevada were volunteering for the very first time, like Nicole Parraz, a Food4Less cake decorator from Palmdale.

“This was my first experience organizing with the union and it opened my eyes to just how important the union is. I met a lot of great people, and it was a life-changing experience. It made me want to continue to help organizing.”

2. Attitude is everything

Tracy Cason, a 770 pharmacy assistant at Kaiser Permanente for 20 years, was also a first-time political volunteer in Nevada. For her part, she wasn’t sure how to canvass or talk to voters, but jumped in with enthusiasm – and it paid off.

“I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but when I watched the election results, I was so happy. All that hard work, all that heat. It paid off. To make a difference was such a good feeling.”

3. We need to keep the momentum going

Ludmila Blanco from CVS has been politically active literally since she was a child. She knows that it’s “constant fight” against employers for better rights — and that we need to stay vigilante if we’re going to keep winning.

“As a Salvadoran child, my parents were politically active here. At the age of five, I was marching in downtown LA for the war to stop in El Salvador. I was taught that we need to stand up, and peacefully fight, and not give up. Being part of the union is bringing [my identity] – this is me, this is the fighter that I’ve been since I was a child. We ought to fight for our rights.”

If you’re interested in fighting for your rights and pitching in during organizing campaigns like Ludmila, sign up below and we’ll get you started on everything you need to know.


Hang tough

Members,

With the grocery contract negotiation right around the corner, I can’t stop thinking about the strength I saw in all our members at the Grocery Stewards Conference back in October.

In my 40 years of working in the grocery market, I’ve never been so excited about the future of this union. When I looked out and saw hundreds of stewards standing together with their fists in the air, it hit me: we can do anything we set our minds to if we hang together.

Watch the video above and learn why I’m fired up to fight for you. Then leave a comment to let employers know you’re ready to fight for a better deal.

We all have our own versions of what we think makes a fair contract and collectively, they create a shared vision and a strong union. If we hang tough, stand together and bring that same energy to the upcoming grocery contract negotiation, we will win. We’ll win better benefits, higher wages, and the respect we deserve.

I’m proud to be a part of this union with you. Let’s get ready to get a better deal.

Leave Your Comment

We got this,

Jennifer A. Gates, 770 member 


My Friend, Michael Four

Michael was more than just our attorney for over 35 years; he was a huge part of our UFCW family. Personally, he was my mentor and my very dear friend. He was such an extraordinary person with a unique combination of personality traits that made him the one and only Michael Four.

I first met Michael in the late 80’s when I was a law student clerking at Schwartz, Steinsapir, Dohrmann & Sommers. For the 6 years that I worked at SSDS as a law clerk and associate, Michael was the best boss without exception (no offense to the other SSDS attorneys all of whom I love). His direct style, supportive nature and approachability made it easy for a young associate to ask questions, debate ideas and strategies and come to a thorough understanding of the task at hand. This made it so Michael rarely had to make corrections to my work although, according to him, he always had to find at least one thing to correct on every brief I wrote so he could justify signing his name to it.

Michael was a dedicated and steadfast advocate for working people. Our union representatives always requested Michael to handle their discipline arbitrations because, in the end, win or lose, the members felt the best possible case was presented to the arbitrator. The members especially liked to see their managers squirm under Michael’s cross-examination. Michael has also been the one constant in our industry-wide arbitrations since the early 80’s. His knowledge of our industry history is irreplaceable. Michael was incredibly liked and respected by opposing counsel and all the arbitrators we work with.

Michael always wanted to be in the mix because he truly cared about every development impacting our organization and our members. During our most challenging negotiations, he called frequently for updates and was always available to offer bargaining advice or emotional support. Particularly, during our 2003/2004 strike, which until now was the most difficult time in my career, Michael handled all of the litigation and was still available to take calls whenever anyone needed his support or encouragement. After the strike, Michael worked to recover $70 million for our Ralphs members who were unlawfully locked out.

Over the 30 years I’ve known him, Michael became a very dear friend of mine. We shared a life-long love for the Grateful Dead and went to shows together frequently, including “Fare Thee Well” in Chicago in 2015. We first went to a Dead show together in 1990 and our last show was this last July when Michael was thrilled to be at the show with his sons.

Michael and I also shared a love for our families and constantly up-dated each other about our kids successes and challenges. Michael even brought his mother to Chicago in 2015, not to the Dead show, but so she could visit her family in Chicago. When Michael’s parents moved to Los Angeles, he struggled with the challenges of helping to care for his parents, but he never failed to take them shopping on Saturdays. Michael loved his family. Even though I didn’t spend much time with Michael and Karen together, Michael talked about Karen frequently and I always felt a part of their lives. He spoke proudly about Karen’s career achievements and shared other interesting details about their lives, including their plans to retire in Santa Fe.

Michael’s unique personality included anxieties and some neurotic behaviors but he dealt with them with such an honest and upbeat self-deprecating humor that they were endearing rather than annoying. His intelligence and dedication made him the best attorney while his humility and humor made him fun to work with and a pleasure to be around.

Last week, Michael and I had planned to prepare for an upcoming arbitration after I chaired my first executive board meeting. Rather than coming after the Board meeting, Michael came in the morning to watch me chair the meeting. He said, jokingly, that John wanted him there to make sure I didn’t do anything crazy but I’m sure he was there to share that milestone with me. He genuinely cared about people both personally and professionally. Literally everybody liked Michael. He will be remembered lovingly and profoundly missed by so many.

—Kathy Finn, Secretary-Treasurer, UFCW 770


 
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