Our Voice


President Bob Blair: Workers Have Earned a Better Future

BobBy UFCW 227 President Bob Blair and published in the Louisville Courier Journal on August 31st, 2016

While most Americans view Labor Day as the last long weekend of the summer and another day off work, this is the one day we should all stop for a minute and recognize the countless number of men and women across Kentucky and Southern Indiana who make our community work, even on Labor Day. We can look around and find many examples of our neighbors who are committed to creating a better life for themselves and their families.

Like Jolly Paw, a member of our UFCW 227 union family, who works at JBS in Butchertown. Jolly Paw fled Thailand in 1984 and lived in the Maelek Refugee Camp for 24 years before he, his wife and children were allowed to come to the United States in 2008. As the refugee camp leader, Jolly Paw made sure people were treated fairly and helped resolve differences among people.

He came to America and works hard every day to provide his family a better life. Jolly Paw doesn’t just look after his immediate family, but his union family also. As a Union steward he makes sure they are safe and treated fairly. On Labor Day, we celebrate our neighbors like Jolly Paw.

There are many stories like Jolly Paw, and they are rarely given the attention that an idiotic celebrity, athlete, or politician can attract with a single tweet. This Labor Day we have an opportunity to ignore anyone whose words and actions seek to divide us and acknowledge what this day is truly about. It’s about real people.

In fact, the history behind this national holiday was the result of one of the most intense and violent struggles for workers’ rights. In 1894, during a time of severe economic and social unrest, thousands of workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest the way George Pullman, founder and president of the company, treated his workers. To put down the strike, Pullman gained the support of President Grover Cleveland, who ordered federal troops to intervene — leading to a bloody confrontation and the deaths of more than 30 Pullman workers.

Soon afterward and amid growing criticism of the brutal response to the striking workers, President Cleveland established Labor Day as a national holiday.

It’s been 122 years since the Pullman strike, and still today, millions of hard-working Americans are struggling like never before in low-paying jobs with erratic schedules and little to no benefits. Families in Kentucky and Southern Indiana are no strangers to what happens when manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas and replaced with part-time jobs.

It is the sad reality that, in addition to flat wages and incomes, too many American workers face dangerous workplaces, exploitation, and mistreatment every single day. Many are also too afraid to reach for a better life because of threats from an irresponsible employer or they have been told to believe that they have not earned the opportunity for something more.

Here in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, hard-working men and women who choose to become part of a union family soon realize they don’t have to struggle alone. UFCW Local 227 represents workers at Kroger, Meijer, JBS and Tyson to name a few. In our union contracts, members have guaranteed pay raises and a process to make it right if they are treated unfairly among many other benefits.

Whether someone is a union member or not, the fact is that no one in America should have to struggle alone. Every hard-working person deserves a better life because they’ve earned it.

This Labor Day and in the days leading up to Election Day, we must speak out for each other and our communities. We can start by honoring the sacrifices of people here who have worked hard and made contributions to our shared prosperity in Kentucky, Indiana and this country.

Yet, if we are really going to change this country for the better, it must begin with all of us realizing that Labor Day is not about one last summer day. It’s about the day where we all realize the power we have to come together and define a better future for all hard-working families.

Bob Blair is the president of UFCW Local 227 in Kentucky and Southern Indiana representing more than 25,000 men and women. 

You can read this on the Louisville Courier Journal web site by clicking here.

Join Us on Labor Day to Celebrate a Better Life

IMG_1597-2Labor Day was created to pay tribute to America’s hard working men and women. This year, we invite you and your family to join with our union family at events where hard working people are coming together celebrate a better life. We hope to see you this Labor Day, Monday, September 5th!
Picnic at the Louisville Zoo
Tickets: $7.00 ($9.00 at the gate)
Tickets Include: Access to the zoo, free parking, food and drinks, car show and inflatible kids rides
Zoo Hours: 10am – 5pm
Food Served: 11am – 3pm
Picnic at Masterson Station Park in Lexington
Admission is free
Enjoy a car, motorcycle and tractor show, live music, food and a petting zoo
Hours: 11am – 4pm
March with UFCW 227 in the 130th Anniversary of the Booneville, IN (just outside of Evansville) Labor Day Celebration!
Free UFCW 227 shirt for all members who march
Line up: 8:15am
Parade Begins: 9am
Space is limited. Reserve your spot today by calling 800-443-5191 between 8:30am and 5pm. Dial “0”.

Member Spotlight: Harold Jarboe, Kroger 352 Regency Center, Lexington

Harold JarboeIf you’ve shopped at the Regency Center Kroger (352) in Lexington chances are, when checking out, you’ve heard UFCW 227 member Harold Jarboe declare, “Everyday is a holiday, every meal is a feast, every night is a New Year’s Eve and celebrate everyday like it’s your birthday!”

Today Harold says his main goal in life is “to make people happy”, however, when speaking with Harold today it’s difficult to realize the unbelievable challenges he has faced and overcome while still having such an amazing outlook on life.

At the early age of 18, Harold was in the back of a police car in leg shackles and in hand cuffs having a psychotic manic episode. He was taken to Eastern State Hospital where he was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. By 1986 he had been arrested several more times, had 8 more episodes and was admitted to Eastern State for the third time.

Struggling with a major mental illness, being suicidal and young with no support, Harold decided to take responsibility for himself because no one else would. He was able to work with caregivers to get his condition under control with medication. Of course, he could not drive due to his condition and lack of funds, so for many years he would walk, ride bicycles or take the bus.

On July 11, 1990, Harold came to work for Kroger and became a member of UFCW 227. It was at Kroger that he met his wife, Angel. They now have their own car and were able to purchase their first home about 6 years ago. More recently, they expanded their family with their first pet, a cat that they love dearly.

For 26 years Harold has been a part of our union family as a Customer Service Clerk. Harold enjoys surprising people with random acts of kindness by doing things like cooking brownies and giving them away, making barbeque, broccoli casserole and surprising his neighbors with the food he prepares. He now speaks to family support groups at Eastern State Hospital to assure them that their loved ones diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder can have a great life too.

Harold wakes up every day by reminding himself that he is going to “spread the joy, love and happiness”. He says that he is “so blessed to come a billion miles and to have the life that he has.”

Next time your in the area of Regency Center Kroger (352) don’t forget to stop in and say hello to Harold, a member of our union family, whose incredible story and outlook on life inspire us and remind us that “Everyday is a holiday, every meal is a feast, every night is a New Year’s Eve and celebrate everyday like it’s your birthday!”


Sunday, July 24th is UFCW 227 Family Day at Beech Bend Water Park!

13698189_10153607010311555_1098054597659618351_oTickets are $15 (normally a $30 value!)

Tickets Include:

Free Ticket to the Drag Racing Event

Free Sunscreen

Free Parking

Kids 2 and under eat free

Getting to Beech Bend is Easy!

Louisville – 1 1/2 hrs., Evansville – 1hr 45 min, Hopkinsville – 1hr, Somerset 1 1/2 hrs, Lexington – 2 hrs, Owensboro – 1 hr 15 min, Clarksville – 1 hr 15 min

Contact Kristah Lavalle at (502) 582-3508 ext. 609 or klavalle@ufcw227.org to purchase your tickets today!

Join Us Saturday, July 9th at the Kentucky Speedway!

speedwayUFCW 227 members can purchase tickets for the Kentucky Tower for $60 (a $109 value!)

Saturday, July 9th

The race begins at 7:30pm

Tickets are limited. Offer ends Monday, July 4th.

This discount is available only through UFCW 227.

To purchase your ticket contact Kristah Lavalle today!

(502) 582-3508 ext. 609 or klavalle@ufcw227.org

Kings Island Ticket Discounts: Anytime passes & Union Days

kingsislandSummer is just around the corner, we know that you work hard and we want you to be able to play hard too- but without breaking the bank!

One of our most loved summer discounts is the Kings Island Union Days. Last year we had hundreds of members enjoy time with their families at Kings Island for a lot less than they would pay anywhere else.

This year we have made a few changes to make it easier to enjoy this perk that comes with being a UFCW 227 member!

We have Union Days!

  • Spring Union Days- are weekends in May (the 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 28th, and 29th). These tickets are $25.00 each with $10 parking.
  • Summer Union Days- are July 4th thru July 17th. These tickets are $29.99 each with $10 parking.

For those of us who work weekends Union Days can be difficult to take advantage of, so this year we negotiated ‘Good Any Day’ tickets too!

  • Like the name says these are GOOD ANY DAY!
  • They are $37 each for adults and $33 each for kids under 48 inches tall, and anyone over 64 years old. *This is still less than you will pay almost anywhere else!
  • Parking is available for $12

The good news doesn’t stop there! This year all of our discounted tickets will be available for purchase online!

To purchase Union Days tickets go to www.visitkingsisland.com/save and enter in the

username: UFCW227 and password: BANSHEE

To purchase Good Any Day tickets go to www.visitkingsisland.com/save and enter in the

username: kiufcw227 and password: kingsisland

*Convenience fees apply: $5.99 for the first ticket; $1.00 for each additional ticket. To purchase your tickets with cash contact your Union Representative.

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 17th in Kentucky

Amy and HillaryPrimary Election Day is Tuesday, May 17th in Kentucky and the polls will be open from 6:00am – 6:00pm. To find out where you vote go to www.GoVoteKY.com.

Hard working families have a lot at stake in 2016. We need to elect candidates who will work for an economy that benefits us all, not just a few.

Here is a list of the UFCW 227 recommended candidates in the May 17th Primary Election.

President Hillary Clinton
Congress 3rd John Yarmuth*
Congress 4th Calvin Sidle
Congress 6th Nancy Jo Kemper
State Senate 5 Leslie J. Stith
State Senate 7 Julian M. Carroll*
State Senate 13 Reggie Thomas*
State Senate 17 Charlie Hoffman
State Senate 19 Morgan McGarvey*
State Senate 21 Janice Odom
State Senate 29 Johnny Ray Turner*
State Senate 31 Ray Jones*
State Senate 33 Gerald A. Neal*
State Senate 35 Denise Harper Angel*
State Senate 37 Perry B. Clark*
State House 2 Jesse Edward Wright
State House 3 Gerald Watkins*
State House 5 David Ramey
State House 6 Will R. Coursey*
State House 7 Joy Gray
State House 8 Jeffrey R. Taylor*
State House 10 Dean Schamore*
State House 11 David A. Watkins*
State House 12 James R. “Jim” Townsend
State House 13 Jim Glenn*
State House 14 Tommy Thompson*
State House 15 Brent Yonts*
State House 16 Martha Jane King*
State House 20 Jody Richards*
State House 22 Wilson Stone*
State House 24 Terry Mills*
State House 25 Michael D. Dile
State House 26 Brenda “Susie” Board
State House 27 Jeff Greer*
State House 28 Charles W. Miller*
State House 30 Tom Burch*
State House 31 Steve Riggs*
State House 34 Mary Lou Marzian*
State House 35 Jim Wayne*
State House 37 Jeffrey Donohue*
State House 39 Russ Meyer*
State House 40 Dennis Horlander*
State House 42 Reginald K. Meeks*
State House 43 Darryl T. Owens*
State House 44 Joni Jenkins*
State House 45 Pam Sigler
State House 46 Alan Gentry
State House 47 Rick W. Rand*
State House 48 Maria Sorolis
State House 49 Linda Howlett Belcher*
State House 50 James DeWeese
State House 53 James M. Sargent
State House 54 Bill Noelker
State House 55 Tobie C. Brown
State House 56 James Kay*
State House 57 Derrick W. Graham*
State House 58 Cyndi Powell Skellie
State House 61 Kevin Napier
State House 62 Chuck Tackett*
State House 64 Lucas Deaton
State House 65 Arnold R. Simpson*
State House 67 Dennis Keene*
State House 70 John Sims, Jr.
State House 71 Buzz C. Carloftis
State House 72 Sannie Overly*
State House 73 John M. Hendricks
State House 74 James E. Davis
State House 75 Kelly Flood*
State House 76 Ruth Ann Palumbo*
State House 77 George Brown, Jr.
State House 78 Thomas M. McKee*
State House 79 Susan Westrom*
State House 81 Rita H. Smart*
State House 84 Fitz Steele*
State House 85 Tommy Turner*
State House 86 Jim Stewart III*
State House 87 Rick Nelson*
State House 90 Tim Couch*
State House 91 Cluster Howard*
State House 92 John W. Short*
State House 95 Gregory S. Stumbo*
State House 96 Jill York*
State House 97 Hubert Collins*
State House 98 Lew Nicholls*
State House 99 Rocky Adkins*
State House 100 Kevin P. Sinnette*
Louisville Metro Council 2 Barbara Shanklin
Louisville Metro Council 4 Barbara Sexton Smith
Louisville Metro Council 6 David James
Louisville Metro Council 8 Chris Kolb
Louisville Metro Council 14 Cindi Fowler
Louisville Metro Council 16 Gill Holland
Louisville Metro Council 24 Madonna Flood
Louisville Metro Council 26 Brent Ackerson
Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Fein
Jefferson County Family Court Judge Gina Kay Calvert