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After Continued Violence, UFCW Calls for National Summit on Justice

Public Letter in New York Times Calls on Leaders to Convene, Media to Broadcast a National Conversation

UFCW_logo.svgWashington, D.C. – With acts of violence against police officers and African Americans shaking our nation, today the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union placed an open letter in the New York Times calling for a national and public summit on justice in America.

The UFCW letter was submitted before the deaths of three police officers in Baton RougeSunday morning. It pleads with our nation’s elected officials, civil rights leaders, police and justice officials to jointly address the division and violence we are witnessing. It also asks our nation’s broadcast and cable networks to air this discussion in prime time to help unite the country.

“Even before yesterday’s horrific killings, our hope was that this open letter would encourage Americans to come together and face what divides us,” said Marc Perrone, International President for the UFCW and co-chair of the AFL-CIO Labor Commission on Racial and Economic Justice. “For the sake of all our children, we must believe in a better America. We cannot continue to allow hate to determine who we are and who we can be.”

Excerpts from the ad are below:

“As a diverse union family with over 1.3 million members, such a national summit would give our members and all Americans the chance to hear directly from our national and state elected leaders, civil rights officials, Black Lives Matter movement leaders, local and state police officials, as well as representatives from labor, media, and corporate America.

“It would provide opportunity to listen to difficult truths, to hear the sincerity of fears and concerns so many feel, and to understand the changes that we must make.

“To help focus our nation’s awareness, we believe that all our nation’s major cable and broadcast channels should all agree to televise this national summit in prime time. By simulcasting this summit across all major networks, the call for change would echo across this nation like never before.”

Read the full letter here.


UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about the UFCW www.ufcw.org

Manager Strikes Female Employee At NYC Panera Shop

What has happened to our society?

Two days ago in a Manhattan Panera Bread store a manager completely lost it and punched a female employee, throwing her into a post for quitting in the middle of her shift.

The video is disturbing to say the least.

According to eyewitness reports obtained by Gawker say that the woman was thrown down a flight of stair and out the front door before returning to the shop where the video begins.  She did also slap the manager, prior to him punching her and throwing her to the ground.

Workplace violence is a significant problem, with over two million reports of workplace violence reported annually, however the actually number could be much higher as not all cases are reported.

OSHA recommends, “One of the best protections employers can offer their workers is to establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence. This policy should cover all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel.

A Panera spokesperson tells Gawker:

“Today there were reports of a physical altercation between two associates at our Park Avenue South bakery-cafe. We have a zero tolerance policy for violence and worked swiftly with authorities to investigate. The associates who were determined to be involved no longer work for Panera.”

I do not condone or agree with the woman slapping the manager as I believe that violence is never the answer. Additionally, the manager, obviously a much large man, could have easily restrained the woman until the proper authorities arrived and charges could have been filed.  It is obvious by the way that he tossed her like a rag doll that he did not need to escalate the violence by striking the woman.

I applaud Panera for speaking out against workplace violence of any kind and having a zero tolerance policy.

President Obama Signs Gun Reform Orders, And Yes You Get To Keep Your Guns

Today only 33 days after the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook the people are finally getting real gun reform.  And no the President is not take away all your guns. He even said so today.

“Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen.  There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting, or sport, or protection, or collection.”

In a briefing to the press the President laid out his new executive actions to reduce gun violence.  The President and Vice President both spoke about the need to stop the senseless violence and tragedies that are happening more and more.

President Obama stated: “I’m going to do my part.  As soon as I’m finished speaking here, I will sit at that desk and I will sign a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.”

Some of the items include a universal background check on all weapons sales. A ban on all military style assault weapons with a 10 round magazine limit.  President Obama is also pushing funding out to schools to hire additional resource officers, increasing funding to police departments, and better mental health programs. Read all the proposals.

President Obama stated, “We will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system.  We will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans.  We will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence — even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator.”

This statement to the country won high praise from some of the more vocal organization against gun violence including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“The Brady Campaign stands with the President and Vice President in supporting these comprehensive policy recommendations to address gun violence. The White House has shown tremendous leadership in convening stakeholders and engaging the country in a conversation that the Brady Campaign and so many Americans have been calling for in the wake of Aurora, Newtown, and the 32 gun murders that happen every day in our country …. We also re-affirm the Brady Campaign’s commitment to lead the way toward better public health and safety education programs regarding the almost 300 million guns already in the hands of mostly law-abiding citizens. I strongly believe that now it’s up to us to make real change happen.”

The President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, also commended the President on his actions today in a written statement.

“The tragic events of Newtown must serve as a clarion call for immediate action to keep our communities safe from gun violence and ensure schools are the safe sanctuaries our children need to learn and grow. We applaud President Obama and Vice President Biden for heeding this call for action with a series of common-sense, balanced proposals that will make our nation safer.”

My Congresswoman, Carol Shea-Porter had this to say after hearing the Presidents plan.

“I agree with the President’s comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “I will not and cannot forget the never-ending scenes of families and communities in shock and mourning, and I will not ignore the calls of our citizens to do something to help stop the violence.  I support responsible gun ownership because Americans have a right to hunt or defend themselves, and they also have a right to expect to be safe as they go about their daily lives.”

So as you can plainly see, nobody wants to take away your guns.  We all just want to see our work, our schools, our churches, and our cities be safer places.

American Federation of Teachers Aids In Healing After NEWTOWN Tragedy

I just wanted to take a minute to share a few links from the American Federation of Teachers.  AFT has been instrumental in helping after the tragedy in Newtown CT.

Today I would like to highlight three links that you can use as well to help deal with this tragedy.  The first is the AFT Resource page on dealing with incidences of school violence.  Nobody wants to see violence in our schools but it is inevitable.  Extreme actions like Newtown are extremely rare.  However schools, teachers, and parents have to deal with other violent issues in schools that range from bullying to rape.  Use this resource page from AFT to help find ways to better safeguard our children is school.

Along the same lines, AFT has create a page to help educators cope with traumatic events.   From page:

“Administrators and educators need to be prepared to deal with any crisis that might arise; such preparation will better equip them to respond to students’ emotional needs in the wake of a crisis. These resources may be of help to you in helping your students cope with fear and trauma.”

This page gives tools to help educators learn how to respond to traumatic events, and preventive measures to stop these events before they happen.

Lastly, a very special page. The AFT Connecticut has created a place where you can leave a message of support for students, teachers, staff and the community of Newtown.  That is right, you can send a personal message of support the families in Newtown.   The messages are being collected and distributed to the AFT locals around Newtown.

We will be presenting these messages to our locals, Newtown Federation of Teachers, Local 1727, Newtown Federation of Custodians Local 3924 and Newtown Federation of Education Personnel Local 3785. (AFT-CT)

Please take a moment to send you message of support to these fellow union members who, through no fault of their own, have just endured one of the most tragic events in a decade.



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