Taking Care of Each Other

One value of having a union at work is someone has your back. That’s part of what it means to be union – standing united to protect and support each other in times of need. Because we all deserve fair treatment and respect regardless of our age, income, gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion.

Our union has trained over 1,000 member leaders, your co-workers. These UFCW 21 leaders represent workplaces across the state to help make sure our rights are protected and workers aren’t bullied. The more workers stand together, the more our union will be a force for positive change that can push back against irresponsible and selfish corporations, CEOs, and politicians who use their huge wealth to influence policy.

Injustice, income inequality and racial inequities are still very much a part of daily life in America. While progress has been made, recent headlines show that injustices are still there. Women are paid far less per hour than men for doing the same work. That’s not right. People of color, especially African American youth, are disproportionately put in prison, victims of pollution, discrimination in hiring and police practices, and on and on. Just one example is from Flint, MI where people, disproportionately people of color, have been poisoned by drinking lead contaminated water. That’s not right. A front-runner for the President says that an entire group of people should be refused entry to the United States because of their religion. That’s not right.


Sue Wilmot (Checker, Safeway Bainbridge Island) joined by a MaryAnn Schroeder (Meat Wrapper, Safeway Seattle) right and left of the speaker, take part in a candlelight vigil opposing the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric in our society. Sue and others came together around the memorial site of the Japanese expulsion from Bainbridge as a way to raise awareness of a past time when fear led to hundreds of thousands of people with Japanese ancestry being rounded up and put on trains and jailed. That was not our finest hour as a nation and we today have the responsibility to resist reliving these dangerous decisions. 

Some Good News

The good news is that people are standing up and taking action. UFCW members in Flint are coming together to support their community and UFCW 21 members here in Washington are supporting them through donations at our winter General Membership Meetings. UFCW 21 members have been marching in the streets to support Black Lives Matter and pushing against unfair hiring practices.

More good news is that most people in our society agree that injustice, income inequality and racist, sexist, and anti gay/lesbian/transgender policies and speech are bad. Most people in America agree that workers who want a union at work should have one without interference from their employer. However, most people believing something is not enough. People need to take action in order to resist and push back against fear and hatred. 

Making Lives Better

When we take action in a union, we can make change for the good. When we work together to organize workplaces and achieve strong contracts that are enforced we improve lives. When we advocate for new and improved laws and take collective action with our community partners we can make things better for everyone. When we commit to action, we move our workplaces and communities away from fear and intolerance and toward economic, political and social justice. That is the mission of UFCW 21.