On June 28, UFCW Local 540 President Felipe Mendez, along with staff and members, met with U.S. Representative Jasmine Crockett (Texas-30) in Dallas to encourage her to support food worker priorities in the upcoming authorization of the Farm Bill. Representative Crockett is a member of the House Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Farm Bill.
UFCW Local 540 Secretary-Treasurer and Packing Director Celestino Rivera and Organizing Director Gonzalo Reyes also attended the meeting, along with UFCW Local 540 members Anthony Tasby and Rhonda Trevino, and UFCW Legislative Representative Robert Lopez. Attendees told the Congresswoman what it’s like to work in beef and poultry plants and the dangers of high line speeds; about the need for fully funding SNAP in the Farm Bill; and how helpful the Farm and Food Worker Relief grant program is for members in the plants and how the floods in west Texas show the need to fund the program. They also told stories of employer retaliation against workers for exercising their right to form a union.
A worker-friendly Farm Bill is a top priority for the UFCW and would include:
1. Support for a resilient food supply chain through fair labor standards.
2. Support for workers with funding for the Farm and Food Worker Relief grant program.
3. Full funding for SNAP to end hunger.
4. Improvements that ensure online grocery and delivery services support good jobs and fair pay.
5. Protections for meat processing workers through line speed requirements.
“It was a pleasure to introduce Local 540 and the UFCW and participate in a discussion with Congresswoman Crockett about priorities to support food workers across the supply chain in the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill,” said Mendez. “Local 540 members’ stories from working in beef and poultry plants to serving the community in grocery retail stores put a face to the policy priorities that support a worker-friendly Farm Bill.”
The Legislative and Political Action Department (LAPAD) is coordinating with locals that have a member of Congress on the Agricultural Committee and reaching out to those offices to set up meetings in districts over an upcoming recess. Locals are encouraged to stay in touch with the LAPAD political coordinator assigned to your region for status updates.
Additional information about what the UFCW is fighting for in the Farm Bill is available here.