RWDSU Calls Out False Attacks on NJ Gov. Candidate Murphy

Today, a baseless attack ad about Gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy hit the airwaves. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which endorsed Murphy early on in his candidacy, and has been a strong voice for immigrant workers regardless of their status responded: “Creating incendiary baseless attacks only serve to distract us from the real issues that need to be discussed. These Trump-like tactics do not belong in New Jersey period,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “We support Phil Murphy and his plan to make New Jersey a ‘Sanctuary State’ – immigrants built the foundation of our country and continue to enhance our communities. By making New Jersey a place where immigrants regardless of their status can thrive will make the state thrive. Phil has no connection to the Jose Carranza case whatsoever – and that case is not an example of all undocumented immigrants – it’s an outlier, and one Phil had nothing to do with. As Governor, Phil’s plan to make New Jersey a ‘Sanctuary State’ will actually make our communities safer, when undocumented immigrants can report crimes or suspicions without fear of deportation our local law enforcement can better protect us all – and perhaps even prevent outliers like Jose Carranza from committing them in the first place.”

Local 374 Member - "Honey Bunches of Oats" Star - Retires

Do you recognize RWDSU Local 374 member Diana Hunter? You might – she’s the star of popular TV commercials for Honey Bunches of Oats cereal that have aired for several years. Hunter, who has worked at Post Cereal in Battle Creek, Michigan, for 40 years, is retiring. Hunter’s charm and unbridled enthusiasm for Post cereals and her job won over fans and made her both a local and internet celebrity. In an Oats commercial she's featured in, Hunter famously called the main ingredient of Post cereals "sparkle flakes." Here’s to many more years of sparkle and an enjoyable retirement!

Workers at Vosges Chocolate Store Join RWDSU

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that the workers at Vosges Chocolate Store in Soho, New York City, voted unanimously to be represented by the RWDSU in their fight for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace, as well as job security and fair wages through a collective bargaining agreement.  Continue reading

Statement From RWDSU President Appelbaum on Mayor-Elect Randall Woodfin

Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) highlighted the work of members in the Birmingham Mayoral race in support of Randall Woodfin, who won his hard-fought campaign against an eight-year incumbent last night. RWDSU members look forward to working with him on legislation that will give workers a voice in Birmingham for the first time in years.   Continue reading

Local 338 Awards Scholarships

Local 338 is proud to congratulate the winners of its 2017 scholarships, 21 young men and women, who are either Local 338 members or the children of Local 338 members and were recognized for their academic and extracurricular achievements. Book Award Scholarship winners who have received $500 towards the cost of their first semester’s required readings: Susan Abramovich, Mohammed Al Muhaymin, Crystal Bernard, Kristi Cahill, Brittany DiGrigoli, Delia Morales, Ashley Seepaul, Kristina Shaw, Lisa Spinosa, Gabriella Stramera. Local 338 Scholarship winners who have received $1,500 towards their first year of college: Alex Bisogno, Christina Bogue, Kelly Conigliaro, Robert Dickey, Paul Golombek Kenneth Lund, Sean Montiel, Freddy Murgida, Ryan Obes, Jolie Sangiorgio. Emanuel Laub Scholarship Award: A special congratulation to Maciej Zielonka for winning the Emanuel Laub Scholarship Award, which is named in memory of the Local 338’s late President. Maciej will receive a total of $6,000 ($1,500 each year for the next four years) towards his tuition at Yale University.  

New Saks Contract Has National Impact

In September, members of RWDSU Local 1102 at Saks 5th Avenue’s iconic flagship store in Manhattan ratified a contract that will reverberate nationwide. The hard-fought contract, which was settled shortly before the deadline, repelled the company’s outrageous demands to eliminate employee commissions when a customer paid with an “earned gift card” or “Saks First” loyalty points – a change which would have slashed employee pay by up to 10 percent. The union’s hard-fought victory is not only a win for the approximately 100 Local 1102 members in Saks’ women’s shoe department, but is also a triumph for hard-working Saks employees in stores across the country, as the company has indicated that, because of Local 1102’s arguments against these arbitrary programs, it will halt a previously-planned nationwide implementation.     Under the new agreement, the company will retain the present commission structure by preserving the union employees’ 10 percent commission on sales of women’s shoes. Further, the union negotiated the right to have employees’ sales goals adjusted to account for their use of vacation and other paid time off. Finally, Local 1102 negotiated a contract ratification bonus for Saks’ unionized workforce.   “I am taken aback by the company’s response to our concerns about changes to the commission system and their interest in not just retaining the system in New York but for my friends and colleagues at other stores,” said Gil McGarvey, sales representative and Local 1102 Shop Steward and Executive Board Member. “In all my years at Saks never have I felt more heard by the company – and the union is the reason we were heard.”    “I am exceptionally proud of, and humbled by, the hard work and selfless dedication of our nine-member negotiations team,” said Alvin Ramnarain, President of Local 1102. “This contract is a huge win for both our members and also for workers across the country who would have received drastic pay cuts. Saks, after speaking with its corporate partners, agreed to back off its demands, and actually informed us that, because of the arguments presented at the bargaining table, that they would quash this program nationwide. We are grateful that Saks understood that when they invest in their people and let them sell, their business will thrive. This is clearly a case where the union difference will have a positive effect on Saks’ profits, and that’s a win for our members and the company. What is clear today is that when workers stand together, we can win.”

RWDSU Marches with Spectrum Workers

On Monday, the RWDSU joined thousands of workers and activists in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge and a rally in Foley Square to support striking Spectrum IBEW members and demand that the communications company negotiate a fair contract with its employees. Spectrum—whose CEO made almost $100 million in 2016—is proposing drastic health care cuts for unionized workers and their families and wants to eliminate pensions and job security. The company also refuses to amend its discipline policy that punishes workers for making multiple visits to a household, when most technical problems are a result of aging equipment. Buildings aren’t properly wired, equipment is old and outdated and workers are forced to take the blame for cable speeds that often fall so short of advertised performance that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of defrauding consumers.

Union Plus Offers Help for Members Affected by Irma

If you are a union member who participates in certain Union Plus programs and have been affected by Hurricane Irma, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant program. Union Plus Disaster Relief Grants of $500 are available to eligible participants of one of the following programs: •     Union Plus Credit Card Program2 •     Union Plus Life Insurance •     Accidental Death Insurance •     Union Plus Auto Insurance or •     Union Plus Mortgage Program   Click here for more information

RWDSU Members Come Out to Support NYC Candidates

RWDSU members in New York City worked tirelessly yesterday, September 12, in support of Eric Gonzalez for District Attorney and for candidates in key City Council Races. RWDSU-backed candidates won in all 40 races that have been called so far. President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) highlighted the work of members across New York City in support of Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn who won his campaign for District Attorney tonight as well as in critical City Council Races across the City. RWDSU members door knocked, phone banked and did visibility for the union’s endorsed candidates over the summer and on Primary Day to ensure candidates who would advocate for union values through their offices won tonight.   “I am proud of the work our members did to put the strength of the RWDSU behind so many candidates that will fight to ensure that workers are heard in local government,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Eric Gonzalez knows the plight of low-wage workers and has diligently fought to recover stolen wages across Brooklyn in the District Attorney’s Office – we know his win tonight is a win for working people. Carlina Rivera, Keith Powers, Francisco Moya, and Justin Brennan know what hard working families need in New York City to live and work here – and we know they will work closely to ensure that laws that impact working New Yorkers will protect our city's working woman and men. Congratulations to all the candidates and winners and we look forward to working together on issues that affect our members and low income New Yorkers.”

NY Governor Announces Forthcoming Scheduling Hearings

On September 9, before the Labor Day Parade, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo directed the Commissioner of Labor to schedule public hearings on employee scheduling concerns. The New York State Department of Labor will hold these hearings to solicit public comment on how best to address what's known as "just-in-time," "call-in" or "on-call" scheduling, common practices that allow employers to schedule or cancel workers' shifts just hours before or even after it starts.    The RWDSU has been a leading voice against on-call scheduling and the devastating effect it has on the lives of workers.   Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said, "On-call scheduling is devastating for retail workers. You need to put your life on hold and be available for work - regardless of whether you will be called-in or paid. If you are a part-time worker, the uncertainty of your schedule means you can't arrange for a needed second job. If you are a parent, you don't know if you are going to need child care. If you want to continue your schooling, you can't sign up for classes without knowing your availability. Today's action by Governor Cuomo will help to create another layer of protections for workers and ensure that workers will gain more control over their own lives and their ability to earn a living."   Before regulations are formally advanced, the New York State Department of Labor will solicit input from workers and industry professionals on how best to ensure that workers can better predict their schedules and are compensated when subjected to just in-time/on-call scheduling practices.