Early last week, over 200 UFCW meatpacking and food processing workers from 35 locals attended national chain meetings and the UFCW Safety and Health Conference in Omaha, Neb. Local union leaders, stewards, and rank and file members gathered from various beef, pork, poultry, and food processing plants. At the meetings, members discussed industry trends, unity bargaining, contracts, organizing, and resolving problems in their plants.
The week started off with a meeting for the female packing and processing workers committee called the UFCW Solidarity Sisters. Throughout the week, members also attended workshops on how to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered workers in plants and also in contracts, legal advice on workers’ rights and contracts, and a communication workshop on best practices and strategies with few resources and funding.
For the second half of the week, members attended the Safety and Health Conference, which is held every two years. Some of the goals for the conference included:
- Emphasizing that every worker has the right to a safe and
- Having the opportunity to talk about the successes and
challenges members face in their fight for a safe workplace.
- Empowering members to be the watchdogs for workplace
safety by providing information about the impact of unsafe
- Exploring solutions that eliminate or reduce workplace hazards.
Workshops at the conference included Understanding OSHA Standards; Stewards’ Roles Around Safety and Health; Advanced Process Safety Management; and Advanced Ergonomics.
A new UFCW safety and health website was launched at the conference. The new website, http://safetyandhealth.ufcw. org/, includes information on trainings, OSHA guidelines in a range of languages, and a safety committee guide, among other resources.