It Takes a Team: Great players make a great Union

UFCW 8-Golden State is one of the great teams of the American Labor Movement, so it shouldn’t surprise any one that our 35,000 members also excel in almost every variety of athletic competition.

This issue of Voice of Action looks at the personal triumphs of several UFCW 8 members who are committed to excellence on the playing fields, as well as in their homes and work places.

Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re also sharing the stories of two members of our Union family who have triumphed over that terrible disease.

We are inspired by the fighting spirit of these women, just as we are inspired by our athletes’ struggles to push beyond their perceived physical limitations.

On pages 6-7, we shine a light on yet another enterprise that requires intense focus and a commitment to excellence: building the strength of our Union team through organizing new work places in every corner of our jurisdiction.

Our UFCW 8 Organizing Summit, June 30-July 1 in Sacramento, brought members and staff together to share strategies and sharpen their skills.

Lifeblood of our organization

I told the participants that organizing is the lifeblood of our organization and that we would die without it. I also told them that organizing is the duty and responsibility of every one of our members, because the strength of our Union determines our ability to negotiate successful contracts.

At UFCW 8, a successful organizing campaign is the equivalent of a game-winning grand slam or a buzzer beating three-pointer. It’s our knockout punch, our three minute mile, our perfect wave. You get the idea.

Like a successful sports franchise, a strong Union team consists of several essential parts (I’m a football fan, so we’ll be using that sport to carry this metaphor forward.).

Our men and women on informational and strike picket lines are the blockers: their determination is crucial in communicating our message and often fending off potential labor disputes before they happen.

Every team needs a rooting section, the loyal supporters who get everyone in the community excited about winning. They are our members.

We have coaches: our officers, our District Union Representatives and our stewards.

We have our special teams: our organizers, our actuaries, our benefits experts and our office staff.

Choose your team

Many of our Union members are fans of the Oakland Raiders, while many others follow the San Francisco 49ers. These two teams have brought more than their fair share of champion ships to the Golden State.

I’m a Detroit Lions fan, which may not say much about my judgment, but it says plenty about my fierce loyalty and commitment to underdogs.

If you aren’t already committed to a team, you might consider rooting for the Green Bay Packers, a team that is named for Wisconsin’s meat-packers.

That great team is owned by their community. In Green Bay, everyone stands up and cheers for their team. That’s like a great Union.

That’s like UFCW 8! Our members, stewards, staff and officers are champs, and we are going ALL THE WAY.

Solidarity works!