Minneapolis, MN. Affordable Care Act (ACA)/ObamaCare What it Means to our Taft Hartley Fund (Insurance) By Matt Utecht

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1 Fact Finder Minneapolis, MN Local 653 Vol. 51 No. 6 July 2013 Affordable Care Act (ACA)/ObamaCare What it Means to our Taft Hartley Fund (Insurance) The looming implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly referred to as ObamaCare, as it stands today could have a dramatic impact on our Health and Welfare Fund as we know it. If you recall, the ACA and lack of specific information on its impact on our Health and Welfare Fund is the reason we ended up with a one-year contract this past March. In the five months since the Minneapolis Retail Meat and Grocery contract negotiations were held, more detailed information on the ACA continues to be released by the state and federal government at a snail s pace. As it stands today, we (the union, employers, and the American public as a whole) still have far more questions than answers as to what the final impact of the ACA will be on us all. Please take the time to read the following articles and questions and answers on the ACA/ObamaCare. My objective for printing all this information is not to create some sort of panic, but rather to be as transparent as possible with our membership concerning major issues facing this union, be it good news or bad. It s my firm belief that the membership of this union be well educated on the issues of the day, and I want to keep it that way. You should know that your local union is very involved with the UFCW International Union in communicating with members of the United States Senate and Congress to have the ACA amended to protect our Taft Hartley funds across the country. (See Jim Schommer s article on page 4). The following article was written by our International UFCW President, Joseph T. Hansen, and printed in The Hill on May 21, Treat Nonprofit Healthcare Fairly By Joseph T. Hansen (International President) If you already have health insurance through your job and because many of you are members of unions, you do nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change your coverage or your doctor. Let me repeat: Nothing in this plan will require you to change your coverage or your doctor. Those were the words spoken by President Obama at the AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh on Sept. 15, Since then, Congress has passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and it has been signed into law. It has withstood a challenge before the Supreme Court. Regulations have been issued, exchanges created, and open enrollment is set to begin in a matter of months. Unfortunately, what also has become increasingly clear with each passing day is that the president s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers. For decades, unions have negotiated high quality, affordable health insurance through nonprofit Taft-Hartley plans one of the few reliable private providers for lower income individuals. These plans are mutually agreed upon between union members and participating employers and provide insurance to millions of American workers. In addition to being a long-standing and successful provider, these plans have been models of efficiency, achieving better cost savings than for-profit insurance carriers with medical loss ratios often exceeding 90 percent. That means 90 cents out of every dollar go to patient care. Savings in healthcare can free up money for wages and pensions, and thus drive the economy forward for all of us. But as currently interpreted, the ACA would block these plans from the law s benefits (such as the subsidy for lower-income individuals and families) while subjecting them to the law s penalties (like the $63 per insured person to subsidize Big Insurance). This creates unstoppable By Matt Utecht incentives for employers to reduce weekly hours for workers currently on our plans and push them onto the exchanges where many will pay higher costs for poorer insurance with a more limited network of providers. In other words, they will be forced to change their coverage and quite possibly their doctor. Others will be channeled into Medicaid, where taxpayers must pick up the tab. In addition, the ACA includes a fine for failing to cover full-time workers but includes no such penalty for part-timers (defined as working less than 30 hours a week). As a result, many employers are either reducing hours below 30 or discontinuing part-time health coverage altogether. This is a cut in pay and benefits workers simply cannot afford. For example, a worker making $10 an hour that has his or her schedule cut by six hours a week would lose $3,100 a year in income. With millions of workers impacted, this would have a devastating effect on our economy. Beginning next year, states are required to have health insurance exchanges up and running to cover the growing uninsured population in this country. The ACA offers a subsidy to lower-income individuals and families so they can afford to purchase this insurance. As many of our members fall into this category, we believe the subsidy can and should apply to nonprofit plans. All we want is equality where our plans are treated the same as for-profit insurers. The Obama administration has refused our request, citing legal hurdles. But since the treatment of Taft-Hartley plans is not fully described in the ACA, we believe the regulatory process is exactly the appropriate place to deem them qualified health plans eligible for subsidies. Any objective review of the evidence and reasonable definition of what our funds provide leads to this conclusion. We d be open to a legislative fix, but ultimately this is the administration s responsibility. They are leading the regulatory process. It s their signature law. We don t want a handout. Our members want to keep the healthcare they currently have. Let me repeat our members want to keep the healthcare they currently have. We just want them to be treated fairly. Hansen is the president of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union and chairman of Change to Win. 290_3.indd 1

2 Pg 2 - Fact Finder - July 2013 Fixing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Call or write or visit the websites below to these Minnesota Government Officials to demand the Obama Administration recognize Taft-Hartley funds as Qualified Health Plans eligible for subsides under the ACA. Senator Amy Klobuchar: klobuchar.senate.gov Senator Al Franken: franken.senate.gov Representative Betty McCollum: mccollum.house.gov Representative Keith Ellison: ellison.house.gov TOPLINE MESSAGES: The Obama Administration said Americans who liked their current health care could keep it. As currently interpreted, that is simply not true for millions of workers. The ACA creates an incentive for employers to dump part-time workers currently in Taft-Hartley plans onto the exchanges where many will pay more and get less. Employers are using the ACA to reduce hours for full-time workers and drop part-time coverage altogether, a cut in pay and benefits workers cannot afford. Please urge the President to fix this law. ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS: For decades, unions have negotiated high quality, affordable health insurance through non-profit Taft-Hartley plans one of the few reliable private providers for lower-income individuals. These plans are mutually agreed upon between union members and participating employers and provide insurance to over 20 million American workers. But as currently interpreted, the ACA would block these plans from the law s benefits (such as the subsidy for lower-income individuals and families) while subjecting them to the law s penalties (like the $63 per insured person to subsidize Big Insurance a government handout they do not need). This creates a powerful incentive for employers to dump part-time workers currently in Taft-Hartley plans onto the exchanges where many will pay more for less coverage. Others will be channeled into Medicaid where taxpayers must pick up the tab. In addition, employers are using the ACA to reduce hours for full-time workers and drop part-time coverage altogether. A worker making $10 an hour that has his or her schedule cut by six hours a week would lose $3,100 a year in income. With millions of workers impacted, this would have a devastating effect on our economy. All we want is equality where our plans are treated the same as for-profit insurers. The ACA offers a subsidy to lower-income individuals and families so they can afford to purchase insurance. Since many of our members fall into this category, fairness dictates that the subsidy can and should apply to nonprofit plans. Any objective review of our funds, which have a decade s long record of providing quality affordable health care to millions of Americans, leads to this conclusion. We believe the regulatory process is the appropriate place to deem Taft- Hartley funds Qualified Health Plans eligible for subsidies under the ACA. We don t want a handout. Our members want to keep the healthcare they currently have. THIS LAW MUST BE FIXED NOW! 290_3.indd 2 6/27/13 9:41 PM

3 In closing, we will keep you informed on changes and effects of the ACA as they become available. Please take the time to write or call your United States Senators and Congress members. We all need to make our voices heard on this issue! -- Matt Utecht July Fact Finder - Pg 3 290_3.indd 3

4 Your Union Hard at Work on Capitol Hill During National Lobby Day By Jim Schommer On June 18 and 19, over 150 UFCW members and staff went to Washington, D.C. to talk face-to-face with members of the United States Senate and Congress about the important issues facing working men and women, most importantly about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Local 653 sent five staff members President Matt Utecht, Paul Crandall, Steve Milner, Bill Spartz, and me to talk with our elected officials. Our chief concern was to ask our legislators to contact White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and demand the Obama administration recognize Taft- Hartley funds (our type of healthcare plan) as Qualified Health Plans eligible for subsidies under the ACA. Congressman George Miller briefing UFCW staff on the Affordable Care Act It Just Gets Better By Steve Milner In the May issue of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal there was a very nice article about Tres Lund, CEO of Lund Food Holdings. It was about his vision of improving his stores and the expansion that has been going on over the last couple of years, and what is planned for the near future. The great customer service and quality products the company is known for are now mixed with price promotions, BOGOs, daily price events, and a weekly ad. All of this is adding up to increased sales at the stores. Lunds and Byerly s prices are more competitive than they have ever been. Their product mix along with the new price points make the stores a must-shop destination. With all this new activity going on they are still running the company like a well-oiled machine. I am proud to represent the employees of Lund Food Holdings, and the many opportunities that go along with all of this expansion. There are not enough good things that can be said about this company and its future. Union Yes United We Bargain Divided We Beg Left to right: Jim Schommer, Steve Milner, Matt Utecht, Congressman Collin Peterson, Congressman Rick Nolan, Paul Crandall, Bill Spartz, and Bernie Hesse from Local 1189 We were scheduled to meet with Senator Al Franken, Congressman Richard Nolan, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and Congressman Keith Ellison. I was very impressed with how hard they worked to make sure they saw us. Senator Franken was on the floor giving a speech but had us brought over to the Capitol to meet him. Both Congressman Nolan and Congresswoman McCollum gave us all the time we needed to explain our issue. At the last minute Congressman Ellison had to miss our meeting for a vote, but we talked to his chief of staff, Kari Moe, Ph.D. In Senator Klobuchar s office we were only able to talk to two of her legislative assistants. Everyone was very receptive to our concerns with the ACA and agreed to draft a letter and make a call to the White House to voice our very serious concerns regarding Taft-Hartley Funds relative to the ACA. All in all it was a very productive two days in Washington. So what do we need from you as a member? We need you to contact your representatives in Washington. See page 2 for contact information. Request that they contact the Obama administration to urge them to recognize Taft-Hartley plans as Qualified Health Plans eligible for subsidies under the ACA. Please take a few minutes to help with this. It is our future. In the last couple of years they have: Totally remodeled the Golden Valley location and added the Creations Café. Remodeled the Byerly s in Maple Grove. Remodeled the Ridgedale Byerly s, and added the Creations Café. Begun remodeling the Lunds store in Wayzata. Opened a stand-alone pet store, Bone Marche, in St. Louis Park. Built a new store on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Begun building a new store in downtown St. Paul. Begun building a new concept store in downtown Wayzata. Announced plans to rebuild the Byerly s store on France Avenue in Edina. Pg 4 - Fact Finder - July _3.indd 4

5 Walmart s National Week of Action By Jim Schommer June 1 through June 7, 2013 was the first week-long national action against Walmart. Through Organization United for Respect (OUR Walmart) associates have been standing together and speaking up for change, including better working conditions, such as increased flexibility and availability of hours in scheduling, respect for the individual, and increasing the pay of associates so that they earn at least $25,000 per year full-time. Walmart s response to this has been retaliating against, and trying to silence those who speak out. Associates began an extended strike in protest of Walmart s illegal efforts to silence the calls for a change of course at Walmart. Throughout the week, more than 100 workers nationwide joined the strike and Ride for Respect to Bentonville (Walmart s headquarters where the annual shareholders meeting was held on June 7)--a week-long nationwide caravan in the spirit of the civil rights movement during which workers and supporters voiced the direct impact that Walmart is having on their lives and the economy. Local 653 held our Walmart Day of Action on Friday, June 7. The entire staff--including President Matt Utecht--visited 11 Walmarts in our jurisdiction, leafleting cars and talking to customers and employees of Walmart about their substandard wages and hours. The employees and customers were very appreciative of us out working for them on their behalf. As we move forward with more actions we may be calling on you the members for your help and support. An active informed membership is what makes a union strong! (President Matt Utecht talking to an employee at the Monticello Walmart) Semana de Acción Nacional de Walmart Por Jim Schommer Del 1 de junio al 7 de junio del año 2013, se llevo acabo la acción nacional de una semana contra Walmart. Mediante la Organización Unidos por Respeto (OUR Walmart) los asociados han estado unidos y expresándose por el cambio, incluyendo mejores condiciones de trabajo, como el incremento de flexibilidad y disponibilidad de horas de horario, el respeto al individuo, y el incremento de salario para los asociados para que ganen al menos $25,000 al año y de tiempo completo. La respuesta de Walmart a todo esto ha sido la venganza, y tratar de silenciar aquellos que expresan sus derechos. Los asociados comenzaron una huelga en protesta al Walmart en contra de los esfuerzos de esta para silenciar las llamadas al cambio dentro de Walmart. Durante la semana, mas de 100 trabajadores a través de la nación se unieron a la huelga y la marcha por el respeto hacia Bentonville (las oficinas centrales de Walmart a donde la reunión de inversionistas se llevo acabo el 7 de junio) --- una caravana semanal nacional con el espíritu del movimiento de los derechos civiles durante el cual los trabajadores y sus apoyos expresaron el impacto directo que Walmart esta impactando en sus vidas y en la economía. Aquí en la local 653 nosotros tuvimos nuestro Día de Acción Walmart el viernes, 7 de junio. Todo el personal, incluyendo al presidente de la unión Matt Utecht, visitaron 11 Walmarts dentro de su jurisdicción, distribuyendo panfletos y platicando con los clientes y a los empleados de Walmart sobre sus bajos salarios y sus horas de trabajo. Los empleados y los clientes apreciaron mucho el que nosotros nos esforzáramos trabajando por ellos en su favor. (Business Agent Greg Larson talking to an employee at the Brooklyn Park Walmart) Mientras damos pasos hacia adelante con mas acciones, le estaremos llamando a usted como miembro por su ayuda y su apoyo. La membresía activa e informada es lo que hace a un sindicato fuerte! July Fact Finder - Pg 5 290_3.indd 5

6 The International UFCW and Local 653 are Taking Steps to Cure Cancer! By Matt Utecht United Food & Commercial Workers have supported The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) for more than 30 years raising a total of $46 million earmarked for blood cancer research. Since our partnership with LLS began, survival rates have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled. Local 653 has been a contributor to this national achievement by hosting an annual bowling tournament, golf events, Bag for a Cure and more. Let s walk to the end of cancer together. Join the UFCW Local 653 Light The Night team today. Simply visit to register online. When you do, you will get a personal online fundraising page and a mobile app to collect pledges on your Smartphone! On Sunday, Sept. 22, our team will step onto Target Field to participate in the Light The Night Walk to help raise awareness and funds to support the nearly one million people in North America living with a blood cancer. Invite friends and family members to join our team, too, for an inspirational and memorable evening. During this leisurely walk, participants carry illuminated balloons - white for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of loved ones lost to cancer. Hundreds of us will form a community of caring, and bring light to the dark world of cancer. As our team captain, I encourage you to become a Champion For Cures by raising $100 or more to help people fighting cancer live better, longer lives. A Champion For Cures will receive night-of-walk benefits, including a 2013 Light The Night T-shirt and a wristband which entitles you to food and refreshments. Light The Night Walk funds treatments that are saving the lives of patients today. LLS is making cures happen by providing patient support services, advocacy for lifesaving treatments and the most promising cancer research anywhere. And it s all happening now. Not someday, today. The money UFCW Local 653 raises will provide: Lifesaving cancer research Financial assistance to cover patient expenses for transportation, medication and testing Free educational materials and events Programs such as the Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection program and Family Support Groups Advocacy for better treatments and healthcare reform Comprehensive, personalized assistance through the LLS Information Resource Center. I look forward to walking to the end of cancer with you! Pg 6 - Fact Finder - July _3.indd 6

7 Goodbye to Fella Bill Duehn By Paul Crandall Sadly we say goodbye to Bill Duehn, who passed away on April 22, Bill was a business agent for Local 653 for 19 years and a meat cutter for Red Owl for 23 years. If you knew Bill at all, you will know he had an infectious smile and his presence lit up the room wherever he was. Bill loved his work with passion and loyalty second to none. He was very proud of his meat cutting trade, and still had the Red Owl pride his whole career. As a union business agent, I was very fortunate to ride along on Bill s route, and participate in organizing, house calls, hand billing, and picketing on the strike line. Bill was a vital cog in former Local 653 President Eugene Utecht s staff and was often called on for special projects and advice by the union President. Family was extremely important to Bill, who always talked about his wife Joan and his children, and later became a proud grandfather who wouldn t miss a softball or basketball game. I want to express our deepest sympathy to Bill s family and want you to know he is remembered here at the local union fondly and will be greatly missed. At left is a Fact Finder article from 1985 that expressed Bill s love and pride for meat cutting, and a picture of his last day of work for Local 653. I want to share a poem that was printed in Bill s memorial bulletin that truly describes Bill s memory: After Glow I d like the memory of me to be a happy one. I d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when day is done. I d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways, of happy times, and laughing times and bright and sunny days. I d like the tears of those who grieve to dry before the sun. Of happy memories that I leave behind - when day is done. -- Helen Lowrie Marshall When I started work as an apprentice meat cutter, I had no idea that I had to join the union... It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. July Fact Finder - Pg 7 290_3.indd 7

8 Land of Promise By Nancy Vaillancourt Several years ago Steve Milner wrote an article featuring Gerry and Sharon Ernst from Elk River Cub, and the Land of Promise Memorial Center dedicated to the memory of their daughter who passed away at the age of 11, and to Gerry s brother. Land of Promise was originally a 35-acre farm on Lake Beebe in Buffalo, Minnesota, that Gerry s grandfather purchased in It has now been transformed into a nondenominational church camp. The old barn was made into a chapel that accommodates 75 people. It is a stress-free retreat center where many groups have come to enjoy the gardens, fishing, and other water activities. Over the years many things have changed at the Land of Promise. The gardens are beautiful as ever as they add new and different perennials and annuals every year. Gerry couldn t even guess how many different flowers they have. Along with the flowers they now have a fountain, and they also have pavers with names of loved ones placed through the gardens. In 2006 the Land of Promise also started to have weddings on the grounds. Gerry performs about 12 weddings a year. He is an ordained minister through International Ministerial Fellowship. Gerry is also the Chaplain at the Wright County jail. Sharon recently retired from the Elk River Cub and will be spending more time working in the gardens. They both spend about hours per week maintaining the memorial garden. They also have volunteers that help them. The church has about 40 members, with services held every Sunday. Many members have rededicated their lives there, gone through water baptisms, been married, and have even held some funerals there. I want to thank Gerry for asking about details on renting Hall 653, as he thought it would be great to offer it to people using Land of Promise for their ceremonies. It led to a great conversation, and then to this article. It was great hearing about your and your wife s life passion. For a chance to win tickets to the MN State Fair, mail this entry form to: UFCW Local 653, Attn: Tickets, rd Ave N, Maple Grove, MN Name: Address: Would like 2 or 4 tickets (circle one) Biggest Loser 2013 It s Not Too Late By Nancy Vaillancourt Remember--it s not too late for you to enter our Biggest Loser contest. All members are encouraged to join us! We have approximately 50 participants so far, and we would love to have more join in. My progress is going slow. I will admit it s been hard staying on track, especially on days off. I have walked about 45 minutes on a treadmill, but only a few times. I had really hoped to have a little more of a routine down by now, including a little bit of weight training. I had also hoped to be down 15 pounds by now, but I am only down 9. So the struggle continues, and I have a lot of work ahead of me. The biggest hurdle to overcome is having no motivation. I m hoping that gets going more with the warmer weather around the corner. Wishing all of you continued success. Feel free to call and keep me updated. I look forward to hearing from all of you! Pg 8 - Fact Finder - July _3.indd 8

9 UFCW Local rd Avenue North Maple Grove, MN or Matthew P. Utecht, President Richard Milbrath, Secretary-Treasurer CORPORATE CUB FOODS: Apple Valley, Bloomington, Burnsville HOTC, Burnsville South, Chanhassen, Eagan West, Eagan East, Lakeville, Lakeville South, Rosemount, Savage, Shorewood Paul Crandall, Assistant to the President Brainerd / Baxter Cub Foods - S.A.V.E Foods - Baxter Super One - Crosby Super One - Pequot Lakes Supervalu - Byerly s St. Cloud Business Representatives GREG LARSON JERRY S CUB FOODS: Bloomington, Brookdale, Eden Prairie, Knollwood, Lake Street, Nicollet, Rogers, Southdale, West Broadway JERRY S FOODS: Edina, Eden Prairie, Jerry s Enterprises DOUG RIGERT Ingebretsen s - Everett s Foods - Nelson Meats - Swanson Meats - Cooper s County Market - Sullivan s Supervalu - Almsted s Fresh Market - Village Market - Jubilee Foods - Bergan s Supervalu - Cub Foods Shakopee - Driskill s Foods - Oxendale s Market FRESH SEASONS MARKET: Minnetonka, Victoria JERRY S FOODS: Jerry s Sausage Ours Resort - Lutsen, MN Available to all active dues-paying UFCW Local 653 members and retirees receiving a UFCW Local 653 pension! STEVE MILNER LUNDS: Lake Street, Central, Edina, Richfield, Minnetonka, Bloomington, Wayzata, Navarre, Plymouth, Hennepin, Lunds Kitchen, Trainers/Drivers BYERLY S: Edina, Golden Valley, St. Louis Park, Ridgedale, Burnsville, Chanhassen, Eagan, Maple Grove BONE MARCHE : St. Louis Park BILL SPARTZ Anoka Care Center - Bryn Mawr - Park Health & Rehab - Golden Living (Bloomington & Chateau) - Innsbruck Healthcare - Oaklawn Healthcare - Gold Cross - Brede s - Hirshfield s CORPORATE CUB FOODS: Monticello KOWALSKI S MARKETS: Lyndale, Eagan, Hennepin, Chicago, Eden Prairie Amenities Indoor-Fully equipped kitchens, HDTV, Blu-ray/ dvd player, fireplace, porch/deck, beddings, towels, and soap. Outdoor- Charcoal grill, deck chairs, swing set, horseshoe pit, and a beautiful view of Lake Superior. Ideal location for quiet little retreat or a family reunion. No matter the season, there are plenty of activities you can choose fromwhether it be nature hikes, snowmobiling, skiing or fishing. You will enjoy the many scenic views the North Shore has to offer. OPEN YEAR-ROUND! Anoka Care Center NANCY VAILLANCOURT CORPORATE CUB FOODS: Blaine North, Blaine South, Brooklyn Park North, Brooklyn Park South, Coon Rapids South, Crystal, Champlin, Fridley, Maple Grove, Silver Lake Road, Rockford Road, New Brighton, Vicksburg KNOWLAN S FESTIVAL FOODS: Andover, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park CUB FOODS - Coon Rapids (Williston), Minnetonka (Haug) JERRY S CUB: Elk River ORGANIZER: JIM SCHOMMER RAINBOW FOODS: Apple Valley, Blaine, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Chaska, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Lake Street, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Plymouth (6th Ave), Plymouth Station, Quarry, Richfield, Savage, St. Louis Park, Uptown KING S COUNTY MARKET: Andover MATT UTECHT KING S COUNTY MARKET: St. Francis July Fact Finder - Pg 9 290_3.indd 9

10 I Didn t Know By Greg Larson This is an answer we hear quite often in daily conversations with our members. It may be an honest answer and to some degree understandable, but it is also one that we should not hear so often. Let me explain why: 1. We have a published union contract book which covers our agreement with the employers. Have you ever read it completely? 2. We publish a newsletter called the Fact Finder. While none of us are journalists like a Scott Pelley, Peter Jennings, or Diane Sawyer, we do try to inform you as to what is currently happening. Take the time to read each publication. I assure you that at the year s end you will have learned a lot from it. Besides that there are upcoming events posted, forms to fill out and send in to your union for several sporting event tickets, and several other ticket drawings. 3. Health and Welfare will issue you a benefits booklet when you become eligible. Read it and understand the procedures you are to use when benefits are needed. Any questions regarding health insurance or pension should be directed to Wilson McShane-Corporation at They are more than happy to help you. 4. Most employers have handbooks which state their company policies. Read it so you know what is expected of you in the performance of your duties. I am well aware that by reading all of the above, you will not have ALL the answers-- nobody does--but you will be better informed. We also have union meetings eight months of the year (October through May) which we encourage you to attend. UFCW Local 653 is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and a business agent on duty. I would like to offer some suggestions and procedures that may be helpful. 1. If you are going on a leave of absence, be it medical, FMLA, military, personal, or if you are leaving the industry, call your business agent at or If you have questions about medical, dental, pension, optical, life insurance, or disability, call Health and Welfare so you know the procedures that must be followed. Wilson McShane is the company that administers those benefits and their phone number is or Remember--we cannot help you if we do not know what is happening. Be Informed Stay Informed Yo No Lo Sabía Por Greg Larson Esta es la respuesta que frecuentemente escuchamos en las conversaciones diarias entre nuestros miembros. Podría ser una respuesta honesta y hasta cierto grado entendible, pero también es una respuesta que no debemos escuchar frecuentemente. Permítanme explicarles porque: 1. Hemos publicado un libreto del contrato del sindicato el cual cubre nuestros acuerdos con los empleadores. Lo ha leído usted completamente? 2. Hemos publicado un boletín llamado el Fact Finder. Mientras que ninguno de nosotros es periodista como un Scott Pelley, Peter Jennings, o Katie Couric, nosotros le tratamos de informar de lo que esta sucediendo. Dedique tiempo para leer cada publicación. Les aseguro que al final del año habrán aprendido muchísimo. Además de los eventos venideros, formatos para llenar I mandar a su sindicato para obtener boletos para eventos deportivos, y varias rifas de boletos. 3. Salud y Bienestar le pondrá a su disposición un folleto de beneficios una vez que usted se convierta en elegible. Léanlo y entiendan los procedimientos que usted debe de utilizar cuando usted necesite sus beneficios. Cualquier pregunta sobre el seguro de salud o pensión de ser dirigida a la Corporación Wilson McShane al Ellos le ayudaran con placer. 4. Muchos empleadores tienen folletos los cuales describen las políticas de la compañía. De nuevo, léalo para que usted sepa lo que se espera de usted en el desenvolvimiento de su trabajo. Estoy seguro que con todo lo antes leído, usted no tendrá todas las respuestas nadie las tiene pero usted estará mejor informado. También tenemos reuniones sindicales durante ocho meses del año (de octubre a mayo) a las cuales le invitamos a asistir. También, su oficina sindical esta abierta durante cinco días de la semana de las 8:00 a.m. a las 4:00 p.m. de lunes a viernes, con un agente sindical en turno. Habiendo mencionado lo anterior, me gustaría ofrecerle las siguientes sugerencias y procedimientos que podrían ayudarle. 1. Si usted va a tener una ausencia, ya sea de familia, FMLA, militar, personal, o si usted va a dejar la industria, llame a su agente sindical al o SI usted tiene preguntas medicas, de pensión, seguro óptico, de seguro de vida o discapacidad, llame a Salud y Bienestar para informarse sobre los procedimientos que usted debe de seguir. La Wilson Mcshane es la compañía que administra dichos beneficios y su número de teléfono es o Recuerde nosotros no le podremos ayudar si usted no sabe lo que esta pasando. Infórmese Manténgase informado Pg 10 - Fact Finder - July _3.indd 10

11 Legislative Review By Bill Spartz The legislative session has come to a close and the Democratic-led House and Senate have moved many things. I know we have a number of conservatives in our membership and I will reflect on this session acknowledging that fact. In the previous legislative session Labor had been pushed into a corner and was defending itself against Right to Work legislation. Labor was successful in staving off that legislation and went to work on getting a majority in the Minnesota House. Not only did Democrats get a majority in the House, but in the Senate, also. For the first time in over 20 years the Democrats hold the majority in the House, Senate, and Governor s office. Depending on one s point of view, you can describe the session as a success, failure, or don t care. The fact of the matter is some things got done that will not make everyone happy. As far as labor issues are concerned, I can tell you we supported an increase in nursing home wages and the legislature passed an increase in facility rates of 5%. While newspaper articles have stated that employees will get a 5% increase, it is not written that way. More information will be available next month. Hard-working nursing home employees are going to see a raise for the first time in five years! We as a local also supported a raise in the minimum wage. We did not favor either the House or the Senate bills, which differed greatly--so much so that they were not able to pass a bill that increased the minimum wage in the state of Minnesota. It remains at $6.15 an hour, a full $1.10 below the Federal rate. The legislature also passed bills guaranteeing all-day kindergarten for Minnesota children, and froze tuition in our higher education schools. Quality education is one of the things that make this the great state it is to live in. Legislation was passed that allows private daycare providers to organize, as well as home health care workers. Groups have already come out and filed a lawsuit asking for this legislation to be thrown out. A bill allowing gay marriage also was passed. These bills were passed before the budget bills. I for one would like to have seen them get our fiscal house in order before dealing with these issues. Tax increases and revenue increases to balance the budget are yet to be realized for our financial success for Minnesota. The biggest problem we have is the group I spoke about earlier the don t care group. As that group continues to grow, the power to the people becomes less effective. So don t be shy--let your legislators know if they did good job, bad job, or where they can improve. Revista Legislativa Por Bill Spartz La sesión legislativa ha finalizado y la cámara legislativa y el senado dominados pro los demócratas ha puesto en movimiento muchas cosas. Yo sé que tenemos un numero de conservativos entre nuestra membresía y reflexionaré sobre esta sesión legislativa reconociendo esta situación. En la sección legislativa laboral la labor ha sido relegada a una esquina y se ha defendido por si sola contra la legislación Derecho a Trabajar (Right to Work por sus siglas en ingles). La Labor tuvo éxito para sobrepasar dicha legislación y paso con el apoyo de la mayoría en la cámara de Minnesota. No solamente los demócratas consiguieron la mayoría en la cámara, pero además en el senado. Por la primera vez en más de 20 años los demócratas mantuvieron la mayoría en la cámara baja, el senado, y la oficina del Gobernador. Dependiendo de como lo vea uno, podríamos describir esta sesión como todo un éxito, fracaso, o sin importancia. La realidad es que le lograron algunas cosas y no hará feliz a todos. En lo concerniente a temas laborales, les puedo decir que apoyamos un incremento salarial a los trabajadores del cuidado de enfermería personales y la legislatura pasó un incremento de 5%. Los trabajadores tan esforzados de las casas de enfermería personal van a ver un aumento por la primera vez en cinco años! Como una local sindical también apoyamos el incremento del salario mínimo. No dimos apoyo a la cámara baja o al senado en dicha legislación, la cual era muy diferente era tanta la diferencia que no pudo pasar la legislatura del salario mínimo en el estado de Minnesota. El salario mínimo permanece a $6.15 por hora, con un $1.10 por debajo del salario dictaminado federalmente. La legislatura también paso las legislaturas que garantizan el kindergarden por todo el día para los niños de Minnesota, y congelo las colegiaturas en nuestros centros de alta educación. La educación de alta calidad es una de las razones para vivir en este gran estado. La legislación pasó legislaturas que permiten a los centros de cuidado privados para que se organicen, y también a los trabajadores de casas de cuidado personal. Unos grupos han surgido para demandar que dichas legislaturas se anulen. Una legislatura que permite a las parejas del mismo sexo para que se casen también pasó. Estas legislaturas pasaron antes de las legislaturas de presupuesto. Yo personalmente pienso que deberíamos de haber puesto en orden nuestra situación fiscal antes de encarar dichos temas. Los incrementos de impuestos e incremento de ingresos para balancear el presupuesto tendrán que convertirse en realidad para tener un éxito financiero en el estado de Minnesota. El problema mas grande que tenemos es el del grupo del cual hablamos anteriormente el grupo a mi no me importa. Así como dicho grupo crece, el poder de la gente pierde su efectividad. No sean tímidos déjele saber a sus diputados si han hecho un buen trabajo, un trabajo malo, o a donde pueden mejorar. July Fact Finder - Pg _3.indd 11

12 UFCW Local 653 Members: Knights of Columbus - Marian Hall 1114 American Blvd. W. Bloomington, MN Retiree s Club Meeting Notice Thursday, July 18 10:00 a.m Cards 12:00 p.m. Lunch 1:00 p.m. Speaker For more information: Thea Gullekson: Char Hanson: or Marlen Wahl: United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local rd Avenue N. Maple Grove, MN or Change Service Requested NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit No Twin Cities, MN MN Timberwolves a Go to the Member News and Events Page for a chance to win tickets to the MN State Fair! Service Is Our Strength By Rick Milbrath The unknown is what the union retail meat and grocery industry often fears when they learn that another big box nonunion superstore like Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, or Target Superstore is going up in their area across the United States, encroaching on long-time meat and grocery jurisdictions. Formal market assessments claim that when another superstore goes up, the meat and grocery industry faces a potential loss of business. Many other small businesses of all types in these communities, when hearing of this news are asking, What should I do close my business, relocate it, or hunker down and see what happens? None of the above seem like easy answers. So, in order to compete with the superstores in our industry, employers and employees must first check their attitudes. We have to accept the fact that there will be change in our business and affirm that we have the ability and desire to accept that change. Without the right attitude, employers and employees could and would defeat themselves. It is up to all parties involved to figure out how to make it a positive change rather than an adverse one. Starting with our own customers especially our best customers is just where we should begin. Making these consumers feel like royalty by giving them extra attention goes a long way in retaining their loyalty. Along with that we should also be identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the new superstores. You should avoid playing into their strengths, which usually includes price. Getting into a price war with these companies and their deep pockets could be fruitless and short-lived. Service, without question, is one weakness where they come up short. Service, which studies and research will confirm, is what consumers value when it comes to shopping the retail meat and grocery industry. Service is what has built this industry for decades. Consumers love to be pampered in every which way possible even when it comes to grocery shopping. If we can continue to improve in the service arena, we are setting ourselves up for some leaps and bounds over the nonunion superstores. When we hear about companies that are cutting more and more hours, they are not only cutting payroll, but also the two things that set us apart from the superstores--service and cleanliness. These two items are the first things consumers will sit up and notice, and silently drift away once they re eliminated, leaving price being the only factor. If we can continue to find ways for our companies in the union retail meat and grocery industry to compete with the big box stores, the question of what should I do? should not be part of the equation. 290_3.indd 12

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