The Center for Union Facts is launching UFCWShopSmarter.com, a new website that highlights the United Food and Commercial Workers’ (UFCW) spending history. According to the site’s data, which was taken from the union’s LM-2 filings over the last five years (2015-2019), the UFCW has spent big on staff and officer salaries, luxury hotel stays, airline flights, and much more — all on its members’ dime.
The website is part of an ongoing national education effort that aims to be a resource for current and potential union members who want to know how their union is spending members’ dues. Visitors to UFCWShopSmarter.com are invited to take an in-depth look at the last five years of UFCW spending information, watch a video explaining the union’s high-flying lifestyle, and hear a testimonial from a worker who fought to decertify the union.
The UFCW has grown in prominence during the pandemic as one of the main unions representing essential workers, including grocery store clerks and meat packers. Union President Marc Perrone even penned an opinion piece alongside vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. But the union has actually lost over 25,000 members since 2016 — likely because union membership isn’t the best deal for workers.
In fact, according to one source, the UFCW International has a long history of questionable spending. A recent investigation found that over the last four years, the UFCW’s top leadership has “managed to siphon at least 6 million dollars in members money to a fund of questionable legitimacy.”
These millions were paid to one consulting firm in particular in an attempt to bolster union membership. But, as this source notes, “since taking over in 2015, nothing has stopped the steady decline in membership of the UFCW for a net loss of 40,000 members realized under Perrone’s tenure.” So why was so much spent to achieve so little? Perhaps only Marc Perrone knows the answer to that question.
According to the union’s LM-2 filings between 2015-2019, other spending includes:
- $11 million on airline flights;
- $19.8 million on hotels and events;
- $5 million on lawyers;
- $22 million on public relations and consulting;
- $215 million in total compensation for employees and officers.
Once they see the final bill on how the UFCW spends members’ dues, prospective members won’t be rushing to join, and current members will be looking for a way out.