The UFCW’s Civil Rights and Community Action Department is leading the effort to help our members and all hard-working people with prior nonviolent felonies get their records cleared and register to vote.
The Cannabis Workers Rising Division teamed up with UFCW Locals 75, 876 and 951 to host expungement events in Ohio and Michigan.
More than 70 million Americans have a criminal record that creates significant barriers to employment, economic stability, and successful reentry into society. Thousands of legal and regulatory restrictions prevent these individuals from accessing employment, housing, voting, education, business licensing and other basic opportunities. Because of these barriers, nearly 75 percent of people who were formerly incarcerated are still unemployed a year after being released.
Since 2016, the Civil Rights and Community Action Department has partnered with locals and allies to expunge the criminal records of some of our members and other workers in the community free of charge so that they can register to vote and have access to other services, such as affordable housing and education. To date, the UFCW has helped hundreds of people navigate their state’s expungement and sealing laws and clear their records. Last year, the UFCW formalized an agreement with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) to further assist with our expungement efforts.
“We must support workers who are committed to rectifying their mistakes, redefining themselves, and making meaningful contributions to society,” said Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department LaQuita Honeysucker. “We do that by providing them with a second chance to fully access the ballot box, contribute to their communities, and succeed.”
While expungement clinics have been utilized by several locals for their current members, they have also been utilized by organizing campaigns. Last year, the Cannabis Workers Rising Division teamed up with UFCW Locals 75, 876 and 951 to host expungement events in Ohio and Michigan. The locals hosted these events with local cannabis companies, community organizations, and elected officials, and were able to help over 300 people start the process of expungement and the journey to a better life with a clear record. Expungement clinics are also being included in the current poultry organizing campaign in Waco, Texas.
If your local is interested in working with the UFCW International to help people clear their records and change their lives for the better, contact Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department LaQuita Honeysucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 2017, the NACDL, Prison Fellowship, and other national partners have recognized April as Second Chance Month, a time to reaffirm the importance of helping people who were formerly incarcerated reenter society. You can find more information about NACDL and Second Chance Month events here.