On May 21, members of UFCW Locals 5, 8, 135, 324, 648, 770 and 1167 traveled from across California to Sacramento for their annual lobby day to rally support for policies that strengthen workers and help them and their families succeed. The lobby day was coordinated by the UFCW Western States Council and members visited legislators that represent California’s diverse geography, economy and people. In these meetings, our members shared their firsthand experiences as grocery workers, pharmacists, and workers in California’s burgeoning cannabis industry. They urged lawmakers to support legislation that would:
• Ensure workers who are on strike or locked out by their employers are eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits, so employees can stand up for justice without fear or losing their homes or having their car repossessed (AB 1066).
• Establish basic safety standards for grocery delivery services, so consumers don’t lose protection from food-borne illnesses when their food leaves the grocery store (AB 1360).
• Protect Californians from unlicensed cannabis businesses, increase transparency in the industry, and lift up legitimate cannabis businesses that abide by safety and labor laws (AB 1417 and SB 581).
• Develop a certification program for produce clerks, service deli clerks and nutrition clerks, providing a pathway to success for workers in a changing grocery industry (AB 1459).
“Having the opportunity to speak directly to my elected legislators helped me understand the difference workers make through our union,” said Marc Zavala, who is a member of UFCW Local 324. “I was encouraged to see that our elected representatives are eager to hear from the working people who are the backbone of California’s economy and are willing to partner with us to enact policies that make real change in workers’ lives.”
UFCW members in California have been hard at work making their voices heard. Earlier in May, members of UFCW Local 1428 joined the growing number of workers speaking out in favor of these bills that put workers and consumers first.