Beyond Wages and Benefits

The most important benefit of being part of a union is that you and your co-workers have a voice in decisions that affect your work life. And by acting together, union members can improve working conditions, benefits and wages for themselves and improve the communities we all live in.

At the same time, a tough economy in our state means more and more people are facing hard times. If you or a co-worker is in immediate crisis, or have other needs like banking, discounts on purchases, or help with filing your taxes, the following information may be helpful.

The services and assistance referenced here are made in an attempt to provide helpful information to our members. UFCW 21 cannot assure the quality or accuracy of the information provided by the organizations and institutions. As always when doing banking, housing, financial or other important consumer decisions, you should read information closely to insure your protection.

UFCW Scholarships

UFCW 21 offers many scholarships for students. Scholarship applications become available in the beginning of the year and the deadline to apply is February 15. Click here to download the 2015 UFCW 21 Scholarship Application.

In addition, each year the UFCW International awards scholarships as well.

General Assistance

2-1-1 Community Information Line. By dialing "211" on your local phone, you'll reach this information line which offers expert assistance and help accessing community resources such as help with rent, food, and low cost legal services.

Puget Sound Labor Agency offers an online service at gotsimplysaid.com designed to help people in need. Supported by UFCW 21 and other unions and community groups, the Labor Agency offers a food bank, a wheelchair and mobility program, and an emergency assistance program to provide help with bills for families in need.

Food

Basic Food (also called Food Stamps): 1-888-436-6392. Basic Food provides money to buy food using an Electronic Benefits Transfer Card (EBT). EBT cards work like debit cards. You can spend your monthly benefits in participating grocery stores. To find out how much your family's monthly benefit could be, call the Family Food Hotline at 1-888-436-6392.

Banking and Home Loans

Personal Banking

UFCW 21 members receive special benefits at local Seattle Bank as part of a unique partner banking program, such as 5,000 rewards points (a $50 value) when they open a Seattle Bank checking account, and great rates on CDs and other savings products. This includes Seattle Bank’s unique Family Savings account, which allows families to work together to earn a better interest rate.  Go to www.seattlebank.com/UFCW21  or call 206-568-7800 to learn more.

About Seattle Bank: locally owned and managed in the Puget Sound, Seattle Bank’s mission is to build a great community bank for the Pacific Northwest - one grown out of local values, and focused on the needs of this region. They are dedicated to giving back to, and growing, the community; their partner banking program is one way in which they expand that community to the employees and members of their banking partners, like UFCW 21. They pledge to be active in making your neighborhood a better place to live, to take the time to give you knowledgeable financial advice when you need it, and to reinvest your deposit dollars right here at home in your community.  Member FDIC.

Home Mortgages

UFCW 21 has partnered with local mortgage company Seattle Mortgage to offer all UFCW 21 members a 0.25% credit on the cost of their mortgage loan, (and a 0.50% credit if they’re also a customer of Seattle Bank). That’s worth up to $1250 on a $250,000 loan, or up to $2,250 on a $450,000 loan – and is backed by our personal, actually-answers-the-phone kind of service.  To learn more, go to www.seattlemortgage.com/UFCW21 or call 206.282.0440.

About Seattle Mortgage: locally owned and managed since that 1944, Seattle Mortgage Company, a subsidiary of Seattle Bank, is one of the oldest and most respected mortgage companies in the Puget Sound. As a local company with no large processing centers, they are able to be more attentive to you, your needs, and your home ownership dreams. And because their mortgage experts are local and dedicated to this community, they're personally invested in your success, know the intricacies of the neighborhoods they serve, and can play an involved role in helping you make the best financial decision on your home loan. 

Foreclosure Mediation Law 

Washington State law gives you the right to a face-to-face meeting with your lender when you are at risk of foreclosure on your home.

You are eligible for foreclosure mediation by law if:

  •  You are a homeowner who lives in owner-occupied property, and;

  • You are in default on your mortgage and have not yet received the Notice of Trustee’s Sale

You must request foreclosure mediation through a housing counselor or an attorney.

Equal Housing Lender

The Union Plus Mortgage Program can make buying or selling a home or refinancing a mortgage easier and more affordable. Features for UFCW 21 members include Home Planning Partnership Program workshops every month, as well as first-time home buyer programs, member-only savings, and mortgage assistance in the event of layoff, disability, or strike. For more information call 1-866-910-2247.

Union members, their children and parents are eligible to participate in the Union Home Services Program and can receive a 20% rebate on the commission of a home purchase or sale. This can amount to several thousands of dollars. To learn more, call: 1-877-779-0197.

Union Plus offers free and confidential credit counseling and discounted debt assistance. Call 1-877-833-1745.

Unemployment Insurance

Need to get unemployment? Call 1-800-318-6022.

Crisis and Suicide Hotlines

24-Hour Crisis Line - Call 1-866-427-4747 for immediate help for individuals, families and friends of people in emotional crisis.

The National Suicide Hotline - Call 1-800-784-2433 to reach the National Suicide Hotline.

Domestic Violence

Washington Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-562-6025

"Peace in the Home" domestic violence line: 1-888-847-7205 connects domestic violence victims to a social worker of their language & culture in the Seattle area.

Seniors and Families

Senior Services: 206-448-5757 (TDD: 206-448-5025). Ask to speak with the Information and Assistance Department.

Important Information for Families: ParentHelp123.org or hotline at 1-866-585-1123 helps Washington State families apply for health and food programs online, and locate resources in their local communities. The website has health information for pregnant women, parents of new babies, and families with children.

Health Care

Apple Health Insurance for Kids: 1-877-543-7669. A family of four making less than $47,000 (47,700) and a family of three making less than $39,000 (39,580) are eligible for free coverage for their children through apple health for kids. A family of four making less than $71,000 (71,550) and a family of three making less than $ 59,000 (59,376) are eligible for low cost coverage for their children through apple health for kids.

Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) Helpline: 1-800-562-6900.

The Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) Helpline provides free health insurance education, assistance, and advocacy to all Washington residents.

Health and Wellness Benefits

UFCW 21 members at different workplaces have different benefit plans. The health plan you have depends on your contract.

UFCW 21 members at Safeway, Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, Bartell, Rite Aid, and many other stores receive benefits through the Sound Health & Wellness Trust. Representatives of both UFCW 21 and representatives of employers are jointly responsible for running Sound Health & Wellness.

UFCW 21 members at several other health care facilities are also covered by Sound Health & Wellness. Many health care workers, as well as some other retail and industry workers, are covered by their employer-based plans. Again, these are bargained as part of your contract.

For more information on the Sound Health and Wellness plan, visit soundhealthwellness.com.

For all information and questions related to a different benefit plan (such as an employer-administered plan), please contact your employer.

If you believe your employer is not providing the benefits in your contract, contact your Union Representative.

Education Program

We believe in the promise of America. A promise that our children can lead better lives than ours. A promise that with hard work and standing up for our rights, we can make a decent living that includes a good wage, health care, and retirement.

As part of that belief, there are many opportunities for members to learn to advance their learning and skills. A key part of that can be in becoming a Steward, getting involved as a leader in a Bargaining Committee or Contract Action Team.

Members are also encouraged to get active in the political and lobbying work to make better laws and get strong candidates elected to office and there are chances throughout the year to participate in these activities. 

Another opportunity is our annual scholarship program. Download the 2015 UFCW 21 Scholarship Application

Free Tax Preparation

FREE TAX PREPARATION AT SEATTLE UFCW 21 OFFICE

It is that time of year – when we need to do our taxes. But we don’t need to pay someone. There are many Free Tax Preparation places to go.

Free tax preparation is available for taxpayers whose household income is less than $62,000. All tax preparation is conducted in English, and other languages as stated in the schedule.

PLEASE BRING WITH YOU:

  1. Valid PICTURE identification.
  2. Current tax return.
  3. All income statements: W-2s, 1098, 1 099 for you and spouse.
  4. Social Security Cards for you, spouse, all household members.
  5. Proof of other income for you and spouse.
  6. Monthly bank statements.
  7. Homeowners: property tax information.
  8. Home Purchase Credit information, if you bought a house in that year.
  9. Voided check for faster refund.

For sites in other communities call 2-1-1.

Be sure to call the 211 number from the area code where you would like to receive the tax service.

Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor are one of the most widely-read sections of a newspaper and a powerful way to deliver a message to thousands of readers and decision-makers.

Tips for Writing Your Letter

A letter-to-the-editor is a rare chance to have your exact words read by a wide public audience. Because newspapers receive thousands of letters and they only publish a handful each day, your letter needs to stand out of the crowd. Following these 7 tips will increase your chance of getting your letter printed.

  1. Be personal. Say how and why the issue affects you and your family.
  2. Be opinionated while being reasonable and showing respect for others.
  3. Be timely. Relate your letter to something that is in the news right now.
  4. Be real. Quoting legal language or policy studies can cause eyes to glaze. Effective public outreach uses common sense language. People care about their homes, health, jobs and loved ones as well as basic American values of freedom, integrity and accountability.
  5. Be creative. By using a counter-intuitive argument or an interesting or humorous turn-of-phrase you will catch the editor's attention.
  6. Be focused. It is a waste of limited time, space and energy to repeat your opponent's point of view.
  7. Follow the rules. If you limit your letter to 200 words and include your name, address and day time phone number, you will comply with most paper’s rules. 

Contacts for your local newspaper

ABERDEEN 
The Daily World       
letters@thedailyworld.com

AUBURN
Auburn Reporter
mklaas@auburn-reporter.com

BATTLE GROUND
The Reflector
staff@thereflector.com

BELLEVUE
Bellevue Reporter    
cgroshart@bellevuereporter.com

BELLINGHAM
The Bellingham Herald 
letters@bellinghamherald.com

BLAINE
The Northern Light  
editor@thenorthernlight.com

BOTHELL  
Bothell-Kenmore Reporter   
anystrom@bothell-reporter.com

BREMERTON
Kitsap Sun   
letters@kitsapsun.com

CHENEY       
Cheney Free Press  
cfp@cheneyfreepress.com

ELLENSBURG
Ellensburg Daily Record    
letters@kvnews.com

EVERETT  
Everett Herald   
letters@heraldnet.com

FEDERAL WAY    
Federal Way Mirror  
ahobbs@fedwaymirror.com

The Federal Way News       
fwnews@robinsonnews.com

GRADVIEW
Grandview Herald     
editor@thegrandviewherald.com

KENT
Kent Reporter
lpierce@kentreporter.com

KIRKLAND 
Kirkland Reporter   
cwood@kirklandreporter.com

New Member Meeting

UFCW 21 also holds New Member Meetings to help explain the benefits of having a union and how the union works. Members receive a $50 credit toward their initiation fee for attending a New Member Meeting in their 1st six months.

New member meetings are held quarterly at each regular General Membership Meeting.