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UFCW: the Demise of Promise

Written by WJS Thursday, 27 November 2008

Measuring the UFCW

In August 2008 the UFCW Convention re-elected its officers and pronounced the existence of a "new" UFCW.

"This convention is not just about who we are, but who we can be."

"I ask you: stand with me, stand for a new UFCW. Stand for a 21st century workers movement."

Apart from the goal of doubling the size of UFCW membership in ten year's time, the details of the "new" UFCW have not been divulged to the membership. What will this "new" UFCW look like? How will it differ from the "old" UFCW? We do not know.

We do know that these are words we have heard before. We know that these are promises that were made thirty years ago at the creation of the UFCW. What we need to know is whether the promises made thirty years ago have been kept - whether there is substance and accomplishment behind the adjectives and air of the UFCW's Convention rhetoric. One other thing we do know: the "new" UFCW will cost its members more, much more.

A majority of Convention delegates voted to approve increases in the funds received by the International from the Locals and to require higher Dues paid by members to the Locals. Revenues paid by members to the UFCW will approach or exceed 1 billion dollars per year.

At the present time, working people, working families are finding themselves pushed closer to the edge of economic hardship, even crisis. The deterioration we all have endured for decades - stagnant or decreasing wages, the loss or vastly increased cost of healthcare, the deterioration of pension funds - has now become unimaginably magnified by the losses on Wall Street and the costs incurred by the passage of the "Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008". The price of this "rescue" will fall upon working families and it will be immense.

The UFCW is requiring its members to do something similar: the payment of more money, much more money, in exchange for a "new" UFCW. Will the "new" UFCW be fundamentally or substantially different from the "old" UFCW? Who will benefit from the investment that members are being required to make?

If it is true that "a man's character is his fate", it is necessary to define the character of the UFCW as it has evolved during the thirty years of its existence. Promises are one thing, performance is another. We need to observe the record of the UFCW and to take its measure.

Part 1 - Measuring the UFCW: Dues and Per Capita, 2008

Part 2 - Measuring the UFCW: A Tale of Two Unions

Part 3 - Measuring the UFCW, The Character of the UFCW

Part 4 - Measuring the UFCW, Survery of California Locals

Part 5 - Measuring the UFCW, Findings and Conclusions

Raw Data on UFCW California Locals

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