Advocacy and Community Involvement

The UFCW’s dedication to improving the lives of working people goes beyond the worksite. We partner with local groups and are active and engaged in national dialogue on a number of important issues affecting our community.

Immigration

Our Union is responsible for representing and protecting UFCW members and is committed to ensuring that all working people—immigrant and native-born—are able to improve their lives and realize the American dream.

Our country’s outdated immigration policy is incapable of dealing with the 21st century immigration patterns or economic realities.  We need comprehensive immigration reform to end the cycle of exploitation that exists in today’s workplaces—exploitation that drags down wages, benefits, and working conditions for all workers.

In 2007, the UFCW filed a class-action lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement in an attempt to stop federal officials from conducting workplace immigration raids. “Thousands of workers, citizens and legal residents who broke no law, committed no crime and who were not even alleged to have broken a law or committed a crime were criminalized for showing up at work, and they and their families suffered the horrible consequences,” said UFCW International President Joseph Hansen in the suit.

On September 24, 2007, the UFCW announced the formation of a national commission created with the mission of exposing injustice witnessed during ICE workplace raids, educating the public, and making clear recommendations as to how the government should treat its citizenry.

Wage Theft

The UFCW spearheaded the effort to pass the Wage Theft Prevention Act and has long worked to strengthen legislation to ensure workers are paid at the proper rate for the hours they work.  The Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) took effect on April 9, 2011 and requires employers to give written notice of wage rates:

  • To each new hire
  • To all employees by February 1 of each year

The notice must include:

  • Rate or rates of pay, including overtime rate of pay (if it applies)
  • How the employee is paid: by the hour, shift, day, week, commission, etc.
  • Regular payday
  • Official name of the employer and any other names used for business (DBA)
  • Address and phone number of the employer’s main office or principal location
  • Allowances taken as part of the minimum wage (tips, meal and lodging deductions)

The notice must be given both in English and in the employee’s primary language.

Under prior law, liquidated damages only covered up to 25% of the unpaid wages. Now, the law provides for liquidated damages on up to 100% of the unpaid wages.

Food Equity Initiatives

The UFCW has also been vocal in the fight against food deserts. The UFCW successfully launched two major supermarkets into previously underserved areas in the Bronx and has advocated for similar community benefits agreements in urban and rural food deserts across the country.