A Look at the United Food and Commercial Workers Union
Frontline workers have been heavily impacted by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is the leading representative for these frontline workers’ rights. It represents 1.3 million frontline workers, making it the largest private sector union in the United States and the fifth largest labor union.
According to their website, the union represents workers in many industries. They advocate for the following:
- Better wages and benefits
- Better work-life balance
- Fair scheduling and leave
- Access to affordable healthcare
- Workplace safety
- Employee rights and workplace equality
- Improving public health
- The right to retire
With many issues to fight against and well over a million members to represent, UFCW has to employ the most effective management strategies to succeed. Let’s explore how this union sets the standard for management practices and how you can replicate their model. We’ll discuss the following topics:
- Issues Frontline Workers Face
- How You Can Manage Your Union Like UFCW
Without further ado, let’s explore how UFCW achieves its goals and advocates for its members.
Issues Frontline Workers Face
UFCW represents frontline workers from many industries. Here are just a few industries they serve:
- Manufacturing facilities
- Food processing
- Meatpacking industries
UFCW members have been in the public eye recently due to the unique struggles frontline workers have faced throughout the pandemic. While other workers had the ability to simply work from home, frontline workers are by definition those who have to work in person. Because of this, frontline workers are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. Healthcare workers are seven times as likely to have severe COVID-19 symptoms than other workers, making them the highest risk group. The unparalleled safety concerns frontline workers encounter, as well as the impending recession, have made them susceptible to burnout and, ultimately, attrition.
Even without a global pandemic, UFCW management has a lot on its plate. After all, managing over a million people is no cakewalk. Frontline workers earn lower wages on average than other parts of the workforce and more than one-third of these workers live in low-income families. Moreover, frontline industries are mostly made up of women and people of color, reinforcing societal achievement barriers.
Evidently, UFCW has more issues to juggle than ever before. So, how do they do it all and stay effective? The answer is simple: union management software.
Challenges UFCW Faces that Could be Solved with Management Software
The digital revolution has yielded the creation of effective union management software solutions, such as UnionWare, which can solve numerous management dilemmas. Here are some of the biggest issues UFCW handles and how they use UnionWare to streamline their operations.
Frontline workers experience more burnout than other members of the workforce, and it’s no secret why. For healthcare workers, constant fear of COVID-19 exposure, slow communication with management, and work overload from treating both COVID-19 patients and general patients were the main culprits. Even outside of the healthcare profession, frontline workers have been resigning at such a high rate that the remaining employees have to work harder to compensate. In fact, up to 40% of their frontline managers are in the first year of a leadership role and lack people skills, leading to frustration from their subordinates. This attrition rate is a problem because it decreases UFCW’s membership rate.
How UnionWare Can Help
UnionWare is a great tool for helping your members feel more satisfied and stay in their positions. With its plethora of member management tools, you’ll be able to address any complaints you get from your members. For example, UnionWare’s email list feature facilitates communication between you and your members so everyone’s on the same page. Moreover, the Cases expansion module allows you to address any grievances or claims from your members in a timely and effective manner.
The pandemic has made the United States economy volatile, leading to financial uncertainty and insecurity. While frontline wages have risen in response to the Great Recession of 2008, they’re still one of the lowest-paid sectors of workers. Furthermore, these increases have not kept pace with the inflation rate, making wages consistent with the cost of living out of reach for many frontline workers.
How UnionWare Can Help
Your union might be struggling as well because of foregone dues payments. UnionWare offers automated dues collection, giving both you and your members peace of mind. Plus, it’s all online, making it simpler than ever for your members to submit their payments the way they want. And with UPay, you have peace of mind that dues from members relying on payroll-deducted collection will remain incoming if those deductions become interrupted.
For many, COVID-19 has disrupted and rewritten our way of life. The luxury of simple in-person meetings is now uncertain. This poses a significant management concern, as you need to be able to communicate effectively with your members in order to achieve your goals. While in-person meetings have made a resurgence, the future of meetings and gatherings is still evolving.
How UnionWare Can Help
UnionWare offers the infrastructure to communicate no matter the circumstances. It has the capability to centralize all data and documents, reducing the need for in-person correspondences and keeping people safe. Plus, it can streamline the bargaining process to protect members in high-risk jobs.
How You Can Manage Your Union Like UFCW
Now that you’ve seen all you can accomplish with UnionWare, you might be wondering how you get started. There are a few convenient ways you can learn more about the software:
In the digital age, the best way you can provide value to your members and save time is by using powerful software to help you manage your union. UnionWare is the leading union management software solution that’s equipped to address any problem your organization faces, big or small.