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Can Grocery Workers Take Back Their Union?

With more than 50,000 members in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho — mostly grocery and healthcare workers, along with several thousand more in retail, meatpacking and public service — UFCW 3000 is the largest local in the million-member UFCW International. It is the model of an energetic, pugnacious, organizing union, growing labor’s influence steadily in one of America’s most concentrated areas of corporate power. But it is also — and, really, this is why I’m here — the epicenter of a great plot to root out the rotten elements holding back the UFCW, overthrow them, and revolutionize one of the biggest private-sector unions in the country, along with the labor movement itself. If you like scrappy bands of righteous pirates setting out on a grand caper with uncertain chances of success, well, here is the union world’s version.

The driving force behind UFCW 3000’s grand plans is Faye Guenther, the local’s 47-year-old president. She is mounting a 2028 run for UFCW International president. That will, ideally, be the culmination of a multiyear strategy of rallying member support across the country to build a mighty internal caucus that wants to sweep away long-entrenched leadership and make the union more democratic, more committed to new organizing, and more willing to strike — to make one of America’s biggest unions as ambitious to win the class war as Faye Guenther herself.

Read the rest at In These Times

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