What is a union?
A union is an organization of employees seeking collective bargaining with their employer. By joining together as a single bargaining unit, workers are able to leverage their work against the company’s profits in order to ensure protections such as fair pay, workplace safety, affordable health care, etc. under a legally binding contract with the employer.

Who runs the union?
The members of a union run the organization. Proposals for negotiations are taken from our members through surveys, in-person consultation, or via a representative negotiating committee from the bargaining unit. The President of the Union works with an Executive Board of various members to allocate the Local Union’s finances and handle other Union business.

How does the union work?
After a majority of workers in your workplace vote for a union, a negotiating committee composed of co-workers will represent you. The negotiating committee will then survey workers to see what they want in their contract. With the assistance of union negotiators, the committee will bargain with management to negotiate a contract. Legally, both sides must bargain in “good faith,” meaning they must be willing to work together and reach an agreement on a contract. Issues typically discussed are wages, benefits, and working conditions. Once a majority of workers approve a contract, it immediately goes into effect.

What does UFCW stand for?
UFCW stands for United Food and Commercial Workers, but that’s just the beginning of the various fields of work for our members. UFCW members are employed in diverse sectors of the economy. We are the baggers, clerks, meat cutters, and cashiers at your local supermarket. We help fill your order in the pharmacy. UFCW members work in food processing plants, warehouses, and clerical settings. We help care for the elderly and others in need of assisted living.

What benefits can the union guarantee?
When workers come together with the strength of the Union behind them, they have the power to bargain and a collective voice that could not be achieved without a union. Because it is the workers who make the decisions about their contract, no guarantees can be made. However, once the Union is voted in, the contract will be legally binding and the Union will make sure it’s enforced.

When UFCW members aren’t in collective bargaining, what do they do?
The Union is always working to ensure contracts are being enforced in the workplace. We also help make our communities a better place to live and support lawmakers who look out for the concerns of working families. While good union jobs with solid health and pension benefits give our families peace of mind, the UFCW is about more than jobs and paychecks. We want all workers to fully participate in the benefits of the economy that they help sustain. No one who works hard every day and plays by the rules should be left behind in our economy.

Does the Union participate in politics?
Yes. We often join with community and religious groups to resolve issues of local concern, from funding community improvement projects to supporting our fellow workers in labor disputes. In 2006, UFCW Local 1059 was an active participant in gathering signatures so Ohio’s workers could finally get the fair raise in the state minimum wage that they deserved. In 2011, UFCW Local 1059 members were part of the successful effort to protect our firefighters, police officers and teachers by repealing Senate Bill 5. The staff and rank-and-file members of UFCW Local 1059 take our civic responsibilities very seriously.