NYC Councilmember Francisco Moya and NYS Assemblymember Aridia Espinal: True stories of salon and car wash workers show cruelty of subminimum wage
Laboring long hours in grueling conditions merits standard base pay plus tips As lifelong New Yorkers who have had the privilege to serve in the state Assembly and the City Council, we have observed first-hand how difficult it is to work in car washes, where employees, largely immigrants and people of color, must toil for long hours just to make ends meet. These workers, who have historically been victims of wage theft and other wage and hour violations, deserve to make at least the minimum wage. But state regulations allow car wash owners to pay their workers less than the state minimum wage.This is unfair and must end. Continue reading
ICE Raids on Fresh Mark Plants Unconscionable – Union Will Not Tolerate Egregious Action NEW YORK, NY – Yesterday, in an egregious show of force by the Trump Administration, the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided three Fresh Mark meat-processing plants in Ohio, represented by the RWDSU. 2,800 people come to these three plants every day to work, but yesterday 140 were detained and separated from their scared families. Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union responded: “We are outraged by the actions of Donald Trump. 140 people couldn't go home to their families last night, and their children were left on their own to fend for themselves – that is unconscionable. Yesterday, Donald Trump sent in ICE agents to separate hard working immigrant families in an egregious show of force. Our union is a union of hard working people, which includes immigrants; and we stand with all immigrant workers, who are trying to support their families and better their lives. Our union will not stand for violence against immigrants; we will not stand for tearing families apart and we will not stand for the terrifying tactics of the Trump Administration. The RWDSU is committed to assisting workers affected by this ICE raid and will continue to fight against any and all heartless attacks on immigrant workers seeking to provide for their families,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Continue reading
RWDSU members testified today at Department of Labor hearings in the Bronx, New York, as workers and activists gathered beforehand to call for an end to the so-called “tip credit.” Car wash workers are among those affected by regulations which allow employers to pay sub-minimum wages in many industries, under the supposition that tips will make up and exceed the difference. In reality, the policy can act as a vehicle for wage theft, leaving workers earning poverty wages below the minimum wage. Workers told their stories at the hearings and the rally, explaining how the tip-credit system creates uncertainty and sub-minimum wage pay.
The RWDSU has scored another major nursing home victory, this time at Mountain View Care & Rehab Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A unit of 76 certified nursing assistant employees remained united and overwhelmingly voted 35-2 to be represented by the RWDSU. The RWDSU currently represents hundreds of nursing home employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Mountain View employees began organizing less than a month ago. They wanted to make improvements in their benefits and have a voice in negotiating their working conditions. Danielle Albano, a certified nursing assistant and organizing committee member, said, “we wanted nothing more than to better our future and make change at our facility. We united together on all shifts and quickly organized as a cohesive group around job security, a voice in the work place, dignity and respect and most important of all continuing to give quality care to our residents.” “When we first me these Mountain View employees, I knew that they had concerns over their wages and benefits that needed to be addressed,” said RWDSU Organizer Paul Bazemore. “The workers quickly created a strong, vocal and outspoken organizing committee representing all shifts. The committee truly did an amazing Job. They organized their facility within weeks. The worker’s negotiation committee is preparing to meet with the Company to negotiate a fair and equitable contract that will provide great benefits for the workers while continuing to focus on providing the absolute best possible care for residents.
RWDSU members employed at Hugo Bosca Leather in Springfield, Ohio, ratified a new contract that brings good yearly raises, increases retirement benefits, and protects health care coverage without any cost increases to members. Local 379 members at Hugo Bosca manufacture high end leather products for retailers including Macy’s.
Individual labor unions, like any organized constituency, sometimes have interests that conflict with the greater public’s. Police unions have an interest in protecting their officers from legal liability; the public, in ensuring that those who are supposed to “serve and protect” us have ample incentive not to shoot us dead. Coal miners’ unions have an interest in perpetuating their industry; the public, in perpetuating climatic conditions conducive to human life. But these conflicts do not render organized labor — as a whole — a “special interest group” like any other. While certain unions may be an obstacle to the greater good on discrete issues, they are collectively a uniquely effective vehicle for realizing that good on the issues that matter most to working people. read more at NY Magazine
RWDSU Local 108 members at Woodlands Genesis health care center in New Jersey have ratified a new contract, their first union agreement since joining the RWDSU last year. The strong first contract was ratified by 100 percent of the membership. The contract brings some of the changes that workers sought when the joined together to join the union. For the first time, workers will be receiving shift and weekend differentials. They've also won four extra Holidays: MLK, Memorial Day, Easter and a floating Holiday. In addition, workers will see a 60 percent reduction on their contribution to the health Plan and a 2 percent wage increase for members under 5 years of service and a 2.5 percent or more increase for members over 5 years of service depending of the shift.
Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced the union’s endorsement of New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul on her re-election campaign. Continue reading
NEW YORK, NY – Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced the union’s endorsement of Letitia James for Attorney General. The announcement comes on the heels of the Public Advocate’ historic announcement launching her statewide campaign. “Whether through legislation or on the picket lines fighting corporate greed, Letitia James has always stood with labor. The RWDSU is proud to now stand with Tish. as she has the experience, passion and commitment to lead our state as Attorney General. Now, more than ever, when the rights of workers, people of color, immigrants and women are being threatened, we must have a leader who has our values and is up to the challenge. We know Tish James will be that leader,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “From the two-day weekend, to the minimum wage, and child protections, the labor movement has been at the forefront of so many great progressive actions. I am proud to have the endorsement of the RWDSU, one of the largest and most active unions in New York and across the country. I have always been a champion for working people, and as Attorney General I will be the guardian of worker’s rights to ensure that no matter what federal administration, or what corporate interest may challenge us, we will always protect the women and men of labor,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Democratic Sen. Marisol Alcantara. The former member of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference faces a primary challenge this year from Robert Jackson, a former New York City councilman. “Marosol Alcantara is a strong voice for working people in Albany and we are proud to endorse her re-election campaign today,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. read more about here: