I hope this finds you and your family well in the "new normal." That's an interesting way to put it, isn't it? The term assumes that everyone is now re-entering the working world. The term of course was coined by big business and driven directly into our legislative halls to not only re-open all commerce, but to receive financial support to do so. It is a gross manipulation of an economic opportunity. And one that has unfortunately made its way into the psyche of our communities.
This self-serving messaging has left the grocery worker behind once again leaving them and their unions to fight for available federal funding. UFCW 876 has launched multiple programs since February when word of federal funding surfaced.
On February 26, 876 pushed for federal funding to be allocated through the Michigan's COVID Recovery Plan for the funding of essential worker vaccines. On March 31, 876 pushed for recognition through the American Rescue Plan when millions of dollars became available. On May 22, 876 pushed hard yet again to be recognized through available COVID-19 state funds; and on June 24, efforts were focused on Michigan legislators for the recognition of essential workers through the COVID-19 Relief Fund.
Efforts towards the COVID-19 Relief Fund can be accelerated by constituent influence. That's you! The most compelling arguments for recognition will come from you. I encourage you to visit our website, ufcw876.org, and download the template letter, print and send to your legilstor. Most companies and supporting legislators feel confident they have skirted around the heavy responsibilities of the pandemic; our job is to remind them they have not.
For every COVID-19 Relief Fund letter written and sent by you, I will recognize with a UFCW 876 themed thermal cup. Here's how to get your cup. Go to UFCW876.org and download the letter template, print, fill in the blanks with both your concerns and legislator address, create the envelope, stamp it and take a photo of your completed effort. Email that image to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or complete the letter and email it to your legislator and blind copy us.
Today, passage of the Pro Act is the latest effort to further secure worker protections UFCW 876 members deserve. The bill would address multiple worker-related protections: power to organize, protect striking workers, penalize employers who retaliate against pro-union workers, repeal right-to-work laws and provide unionization pathways).
On another note, communication between union and worker is key! And your steward certainly proved that in June! Over 200 stewards and alternates were in attendance of the Annual Steward Conferences held in three locations across the state. I'd like to say I was surprised by the turnout, but I was not. Your Steward Nation is the most engaged and progressive groups to date! This advocacy group has grown into a family who talk freely and share openly which allows even greater progress to be made - together. Thank you, Steward Nation, for being #876Strong!
As for the 25 Year Member Celebrations, we have had to move the dates from our initial announcement due to state mandates that surround COVID-19. The new dates are October 22 for Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant and November 6 for The Motor City Casino in Detroit. Members who are eligible to attend can expect to receive a save-the-date postcard in their mailboxes this September with the invitation following closely behind. You know I would love more than anything to see you and your guest on this super special night(s).
President Dan Pedersen