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The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, representing over 1.3 million workers in grocery, retail, cannabis, packing and processing, and healthcare industries. In March 2023, two UFCW locals in the Puget Sound area, UFCW 21 and UFCW 1439, merged to form a new local, UFCW 3000.
Why the merger?
The merger was approved by the general membership of both locals after months of discussion and planning. The main goal of the merger was to create a stronger and more unified voice for workers in the region, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on essential workers.
According to UFCW 3000 President Faye Guenther, the merger was a strategic decision to increase the bargaining power and organizing capacity of the union. “By coming together as one local, we are stronger together and stronger than ever before. We are now UFCW 3000!” she said in a tweet.
What are the benefits to the members of UFCW 3000?
The merger has brought several benefits to the members of UFCW 3000, including:
- Improved contracts: In April 2023, UFCW 3000 announced that its grocery workers voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract that included a $2 per hour wage increase, enhanced health care coverage and pension funding, and other improvements.
- Increased representation: UFCW 3000 has more than 200 staff members and over 1,000 shop stewards to provide support and advocacy for its members in their workplaces and communities.
- Expanded services: UFCW 3000 offers a range of services to its members, such as legal assistance, education and training, scholarships, discounts, and more.
- Greater influence: UFCW 3000 has a larger and more diverse membership base that can leverage its collective power to shape public policies and social movements that affect workers’ rights and interests.
What are the challenges UFCW 3000?
The merger also poses some challenges such as:
- Integrating two cultures: UFCW 21 and UFCW 1439 had different histories, structures, and practices that need to be harmonized and aligned under the new local.
- Communicating effectively: UFCW 3000 has to ensure that its members are well-informed and engaged in the union’s activities and decisions.
- Facing external threats: UFCW 3000 has to deal with hostile employers, anti-union forces, and changing market conditions that threaten workers’ livelihoods and dignity.
What are the goals?
UFCW 3000 has a vision of building a powerhouse union that fights for all essential workers. To achieve this vision, the local has set some goals for itself, such as:
- Growing the union: UFCW 3000 aims to organize more workers in its core industries and beyond, using innovative strategies and campaigns.
- Coordinating bargaining: UFCW 3000 plans to coordinate bargaining across the USA and Canada with other UFCW locals and affiliates to achieve better outcomes for workers.
- Reforming the union: UFCW 3000 intends to reform the UFCW International Union to make it more democratic, accountable, and responsive to its membership.
How can you get involved?
If you are a member of UFCW 3000, you can get involved in your union by:
- Attending union meetings and events
- Becoming a shop steward or delegate
- Joining a committee or caucus
- Participating in actions and campaigns
- Voting in elections and referendums
- Contacting your union representative or office
If you are not a member of UFCW 3000 but work in an industry that the union represents, you can get involved by:
- Learning more about the union and its benefits
- Signing a union card or petition
- Talking to your co-workers about joining the union
- Reaching out to an organizer or member
UFCW 3000 is a new union for essential workers. It is a union that is stronger together and stronger than ever before. It is a union that is ready to fight for you. Are you ready to join?