UFCW700 Updates


UFCW Local 700 Endorses Mel Hall for Congress

Mel Hall, Candidate for Congress (IN-2)

UFCW International Vice President and Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning announced the endorsement of Mel Hall for Congress in Indiana’s 2ndDistrict. The lifelong Hooiser and former CEO of Press Ganey, a health care patient satisfaction survey company, Hall has dedicated his career to creating jobs and helping hardworking Hoosier families succeed. Hall will fight for all working families in Congress, just like he has for his entire career.

UFCW Local 700 supports candidates who will stand up for the issues most important to our members, like higher wages, paid sick leave, and other policies that help them to enjoy more economic stability.

“Mel knows what it takes to create jobs and opportunity for Hoosier families. We need a champion for the working class in Congress, that’s why we’re supporting Mel,” said Chorpenning. “We look forward to knocking on doors and talking to voters about why Mel is the most qualified to fight for us in Washington.”

UFCW Local 700 Announces Endorsement of Karen Salzer for State Rep

Candidate for Indiana House of Representatives (HD-20) and UFCW Local 700 Union Representative Karen Salzer

INDIANAPOLIS, IN —Today, UFCW International Vice President and Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning announced the endorsement of Karen Salzer for Indiana State Representative (HD-20). Salzer, a Union Representative at UFCW Local 700, has dedicated her career to creating more opportunity for people in Northwest Indiana. Prior to her current position at Local 700, Salzer was a leader in the grocery store where she worked and a staple in the community.

UFCW Local 700 supports candidates who will stand up for the issues most important to our members at the Indiana Statehouse. Continued inaction by Statehouse leadership on issues like living wages, paid sick leave, and other policies important to the economic health of our state have left Hoosier workers behind. These issues will be at the forefront of both Karen’s candidacy and her legislative agenda once elected.

“Karen fights for better lives for our members every day in her professional life; we know she will be a champion for all hardworking Hoosiers as State Representative. We need an advocate like Karen at the Statehouse in Indianapolis,” said Chorpenning. “We look forward to supporting Karen’s candidacy thoughout the election cycle as the most qualified candidate in House District 20.”

Union Prepares for Upcoming Contract Negotiations with Kroger in Ft. Wayne

The contract between UFCW Local 700 and Kroger Ft. Wayne expires on August 4, 2018. The agreement covers almost 2500 workers in 24 stores in the Ft. Wayne area.

UFCW Local 700 recently formed our Union Bargaining Committee, comprised of Union leaders and representatives, ten members who work in Ft. Wayne Kroger stores, and UFCW International staff. A Federal Mediator conducted training for the Committee.

During bargaining, we will only be negotiating wages, language, and the meat pension; health care coverage and retirement benefits for clerks are negotiated as part of the Indianapolis Kroger agreement that expires in May of 2019. We have requested to reopen the Ft. Wayne contract several times since members in Indianapolis approved a higher wage scale in November 2015; we are committed to reaching an agreement that raises wages, increases opportunity, and keeps members safe at work.

The Union Bargaining Committee will reconvene later this month to review contract proposals. Our first negotiation session is scheduled for June 28.

If you’d like to receive bargaining updates, please email bkelly@ufcw700.org with subject Ft. Wayne Kroger.

Should you have any questions or want further information, please contact your Union Representative.

UFCW Local 700 Welcomes Union Rep Billy Brown

Union Representative Billy Brown

The members and staff of UFCW Local 700 build a strong union and help create more opportunity for all workers in our community. We are proud to provide our members with professional member services and representation.

We’re glad to welcomeUnion Representative Billy Brown to the UFCW Local 700 team. With over thirty years of experience in union work, Billy brings a wealth of leadership and knowledge to this role. He started with Kroger in 1984 and became a member, Steward and Executive Board Member at UFCW Local 1000; he worked his way up from a bagger to a Produce Manager. After that, he worked for UFCW Local Unions throughout the Midwest, and as a Regional Director for AFSCME, a union representing public sector workers.

“I wake up every morning with the goal of making someone’s life better,” Billy says.

Outside of work, Billy enjoys sports – especially the Dallas Cowboys – and playing golf.

Billy’s territory includes Bloomington, Columbus, Morrisville, Martinsville, and Southern Illinois. He can be reached at bbrown@ufcw700.org or (317) 316-1448.

UFCW Proudly Partners to Stamp Out Hunger

UFCW is America’s food union. Our hard-working members make and sell the things that American families eat every day, and our role in creating a better life continues beyond the factory and the store. That’s why every year, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) has supported the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) in their “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive to combat hunger across our nation.

On Saturday, May 12, letter carriers will collect bags of food from homes and donation drop off sites across the country.  Will you join us in helping to feed our local communities?

How you can participate:

  1. Fill up your Stamp Out Hunger bag with non-perishable food items. See our list of suggested, union-made items below for ideas:

Fill your Stamp Out Hunger bag with:

  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Pasta or spaghetti sauce
  • Rice
  • Canned fruits and veggies
  • Canned meals (soup, chili, pasta)
  • 100% juice
  • Peanut butter
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned protein (chicken, tuna, turkey)
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal

DO NOT put in frozen food, homemade food, expired food, or home canned items – or anything in glass containers.

  1. Snap a pic of yourself with your filled bag and Tweet it out or put it on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #UFCW and #StampOutHunger.
  2. On May 12th, put your bag out before your letter carrier’s normal pick-up time. The earlier, the better!
  3. Feel GREAT – knowing your donated food stays in your local community and will feed families in need where you live.

Safety on the Job Should be a Core American Value

On April 28—Workers’ Memorial Day—UFCW Local 700will once again join workers in Indiana to remember those who
have been injured or have lost their lives in the workplace here in the U.S. and around the world. It is a day to renew the fight for strong safety and health protections.

While decades of struggle by workers and their unions have resulted in significant workplace safety laws, including the passage of the mine safety law and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, too many workers in the U.S. and around the world are still suffering or dying on the job. Here in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 5,000 workers lost their lives on the job in 2016 alone, which is a 7 percent increase from recorded fatalities in the workplace in 2015. Millions of America’s workers continue to suffer from injuries and illnesses at work, and women, older workers, and temporary and foreign-born workers are especially at-risk.

At a time when workplace fatalities are rising, our leaders should be focused on doing everything they can to keep workers safe. But the current Presidential administration is instead working to repeal worker safety regulations, including rolling back a rule that required employers to keep accurate records of workplace injuries and illnesses, and considering a proposal to allow companies to increase line speeds in pork and poultry processing plants. The proposal to trim the federal budget has also resulted in the decrease of federal workplace safety inspectors at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, undermining the ability of the agency to protect the health and safety of American workers.

UFCW Local 700 and our union employers have joined together to keep our members safe at work, and to address safety and ergonomics in plants. Millions of Americans eat foods that we pack and process – we want them to be safe, too.

The focus on worker and consumer safety doesn’t always exist in non-union packing and processing plants. Our Local Union Representatives and Stewards met with UFCW International Staff and Senior Tyson Management. We worked together to lead in worker engagement and safety.  At Tyson, we stop product lines when product builds up; that’s different than anywhere else in our industry.

Protecting the hard-working women and men who have made our country great should be a core American value.If our leaders are sincere about putting America’s workers first, then they will disavow any and all efforts to weaken and eliminate workplace safety and health protections.

UFCW Local 700 Spring Scholarship Program Open

UFCW Local 700 is proud to award $22,000 per year in scholarships to members or dependents.

Applicants must be UFCW Local 700 members in good standing, or their legal dependents; have graduated or will graduate from high school or are currently enrolled in college or trade school; must have completed the SAT or ACT; and must be accepted to an accredited institution OR met the requirements and enrolled in a two-year community college, technical, or trade school.

Twice a year, we award $11,000 in scholarships: Five at $1,000 each and twelve at $500 each.

Click here for details on scholarship program.

Applications available:

Applications must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2018.


UFCW Local 700 Welcomes New Staff Member: Union Representative Justin Patterson

UFCW Local 700 Union Representative Justin Patterson

The members and staff of UFCW Local 700 build a strong union and help create more opportunity for all workers in our community. We are proud to provide our members with professional member services and representation.

We’re glad to welcome Union Representative Justin Patterson to the UFCW Local 700 team. Originally from Augusta, Georgia, Justin has extensive experience in the retail industry. He started at Marsh as a bagger when he was a teenager, then went to work at Kroger in 2011. Over his career, Justin had a number of roles, but his favorite was as a Meat Manager at Kroger.

Justin said that moving from nonunion retail to a union shop was a transformative experience for him. He loves his new role with UFCW Local 700, “I feel like a superhero, like I’m a voice. The union is like the sword and shield that protects members when they’re at work.

Outside of work, Justin enjoys spending time with his family and children, and riding motorcycles.

Justin Patterson can be reached at JPatterson@ufcw700.org  or 317-435-2979. 

His territory includes Kroger (Former Marsh stores), Restaurant Depot, Lebanon, Crawfordsville, Zionsville, and Bloomington.

UFCW Local 700 Applauds Passage of SB1

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 700 represents nearly 14,000 members in the supermarkets and packing and processing plants throughout Indiana. These hardworking men and women are professionals who serve our community every day by producing and selling items that end up on kitchen tables all around our state.

“We are pleased to see that SB1 was passed by the legislature and look forward to the governor signing it into law,” said UFCW Local 700 President Joe Chorpenning. “SB1 encourages Hoosiers to spend their hard-earned dollars within Indiana’s borders. Permitting the sale of carryout alcohol on Sundays in Indiana retailers means more hours on the schedule for workers in our state. This leads to higher paychecks and more opportunity for workers and their families; it means more money in our local economy and a stronger state for all of us.”

UFCW Local 700 Welcomes Membership Rep

UFCW Local 700 Membership Rep Samantha Mansfield

UFCW Local 700 is proud to announce the addition of Samantha Mansfield as a Membership Representative. In this role, Samantha will primarily be responsible for leading the Union’s portion of New Member Orientation programs.

Growing up in Kokomo, Indiana, Samantha was familiar with the United Auto Workers (UAW). When Samantha moved to Ft. Wayne and got a job in the Dairy Department at Kroger, she had the opportunity to become a union member herself, and chose to join UFCW Local 700. Being part of the union is important to Samantha because “we get to better our jobs together.”

In her spare time, Samantha and her daughter like to spend time outdoors.

You can reach Samantha at SMansfield@ufcw700.org.