RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS FOR ATLANTA MAYOR IN RUN-OFF Highlights Bottoms’ Pledge to Leave No One Behind, Especially the Working People of Atlanta (ATLANTA, GA) – Today, Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), whose membership includes 10,000 men and women in Georgia, announced the union’s endorsement of Keisha Lance Bottoms for Atlanta Mayor. This endorsement comes just days after Bottoms edged ahead of a crowded field and prevailed as the democratic contender in the runoff election scheduled for December 5, 2018. Earlier this year, the Southeast Council of the RWDSU hosted its very first Mayoral Forum in the city, where members and community leaders heard from candidates on the issues that matter most to Atlanta voters. The union has been a strong political force across the city for all working people and today, the Southeast Council of the RWDSU pledges it’s support for Bottoms. “Atlanta is stronger when our elected officials write and enforce laws that uplift working people, Keisha Lance Bottoms has pledged to ensure that no Atlantan is left behind and that all working people will have a voice in her administration, which is why we are proud to endorse her campaign today and put the full force of the Southeast Council of the RWDSU and our 10,000 members behind her,” said Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU).
RWDSU Local 108 donated time and financial support to area churches this Thanksgiving to help provide holiday meals for needy families in the Newark, New Jersey area. Local 108 members helped churches provide Thanksgiving dinner meals for over 1000 families. The local works with Local 108 employers including supermarkets to provide the meals. “The staff of Local 108 feels it is a good thing to reach out and lend a helping hand to people in need in the community. There are so many people in need of help, I wish and pray that we could do more,” said Local 108 President Charles N. Hall, Jr.
A new three-year contract for Local 835 members at Bunny Bread increases wages for Shipping Clerks and Drivers by two percent annually and maintains their health insurance. With the employee contribution remaining the same for the life of the agreement, the company will be absorbing a five percent increase in year three. The contract also protects workers’ pensions, and adds a fifth year of vacation after 20 years of service. Holiday pay will also be increased for drivers. The workers are employed at Bunny Bread in Edwardsville, Illinois. The Bargaining Committee consisted of Chief Steward Michael David Fricker and Indiana Joint Board President Dave Altman.
Hempstead, New York — On November 14, 2017, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW delivered 200 turkeys donated by Local 338 members to several food pantries and charitable organizations throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County as part of the union’s annual “Turkey Drive.” The donated turkeys will then be used to provide Thanksgiving meals or distributed directly to families in need who are served by these charities. Donations from the “Turkey Drive” were made to The INN in Hempstead (Nassau County), food pantries based on the campuses of Suffolk County Community College and Nassau Community College, Union Grove Missionary Baptist Church in the Bronx, Project Hospitality on Staten Island, and The Sharing Community in Yonkers (Westchester County). “We are incredibly grateful to Local 338 for their generous donation of turkeys for guests of The INN,” said Jean Kelly, Executive Director. “The holidays are a particularly difficult time for our fellow community members who are hungry. This donation allows our soup kitchen guests who do not come in for a meal to enjoy a Thanksgiving at home with their families. Each turkey will be distributed to a family in great need. On behalf of our guests, we thank you for your spirit of giving.” “Helping those in need is central to our mission at Local 338 and we believe in doing what we can to support those less fortunate,” said John R. Durso, President of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. “Many families in the communities that we live and work in rely on local charities and food pantries to make ends meet and we are proud to make these donations to help them have a wonderful Thanksgiving.”
STATEMENT FROM RWDSU PRESIDENT STUART APPELBAUM Members in Nassau County Worked Tirelessly in Support Laura Curran and Jack Schnirman NEW YORK, NY – Tonight, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) highlighted the work of RWDSU Locals 338 and 1102 on Laura Curran and Jack Schnirman races in Nassau County, Long Island. RWDSU members door-knocked and phone banked for the new Nassau County Executive and Comptroller throughout the fall and on Election Day to ensure candidates, who would advocate for union values, won tonight. “Nassau County needs strong leaders who will fight to ensure that workers’ voices are heard and that every dollar is used diligently to help hard-working people across the county – Laura Curran and Jack Schnirman are those leaders. Members of RWDSU Locals 338 and 1102 have been working with Laura and Jack throughout their campaigns and we know that they will make Nassau’s communities fiscally healthy while providing much needed support to the services and programs that matter to our members – like early childhood programs, workforce development programs, and infrastructure projects that improve transportation in the county. Although the results haven’t been certified yet, the candidates have declared victory and we congratulate them tonight,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
STATEMENT FROM RWDSU PRESIDENT STUART APPELBAUM Members in NYC Worked Tirelessly in Support of Bill de Blasio’s Re-Election Campaign and in Key Council Races, Securing Wins for RWDSU Endorsed Candidates NEW YORK, NY – Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) congratulated Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James and Comptroller Scott Stringer, who won their re-election campaigns tonight as well as candidates in critical City Council races across the city. RWDSU door-knocked and phone banked for the union’s endorsed candidates throughout the fall and on Election Day to ensure candidates, who would advocate for union values, won tonight. “We were the first to endorse Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign because we know in his second term he will continue to fight for working people throughout the city, just as he always has. Mark Gjonaj, Elizabeth Crowley, Margaret Chin and Justin Brannan had hard fought general elections and we are still awaiting the results for Elizabeth and Justin. Our endorsed candidates know what hard working families need in New York City to live and work here – and we know they will work closely with us to protect our city's working women and men. Congratulations to all the candidates and winners especially our new City Council members Mark Gjonaj, Francisco Moya, Keith Powers, Diana Ayala, Alicka Ampry-Samuels, Carlina Rivera, Adrienne Adams and Kalman Yager. We look forward to working together on issues that affect our members and low income New Yorkers,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU).
STATEMENT FROM RWDSU PRESIDENT STUART APPELBAUM RWDSU Members Help Deliver Gubernatorial Win for Phil Murphy in New Jersey – a Real Voice for Workers Across the State NEWARK, NJ – Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) congratulated the work of members of RWDSU Local 108 and Local 262 in New Jersey whose tireless efforts helped ensured victory tonight for Phil Murphy for Governor and Sheila Oliver for Lieutenant Governor in New Jersey. RWDSU members door-knocked, mailed and phone banked for the union’s endorsed candidates across the state throughout the fall and on Election Day to ensure candidates, who would advocate for union values, won tonight. “Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver are elected officials who will work for the people, and we are proud to have been an integral part of their win tonight,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Phil and Sheila have put forth a plan to help workers that will ensure they have a voice not just in Trenton but across New Jersey. They have pledged to create new good paying jobs with strong labor standards, to establish a child care tax credit and close tax loopholes for the rich, and to raise the minimum wage to $15. But perhaps even more critical – they will oppose any effort to turn New Jersey into a right-to-work state. I am proud of the work our members at Local 108 & Local 262 have done and we look forward to working with Phil and Sheila in their new roles as Governor and Lieutenant Governor.”
On November 4-5, RWDSU members from Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia came together in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for the annual Six-State Conference. It was the largest such meeting in many years, attracting over 160 members, many of them shop stewards and many of them first-time attendees, for important training to help them serve fellow members. In addition to a steward training course, which focused on handling grievances and duty of representation responsibilities, there were sessions dedicated to workplace health and safety and also political action and involvement. Officers and representatives from throughout the RWDSU were also on hand for a special tribute to retired RWDSU Regional Director Randy Belliel, who was honored for his dedication to the members of the RWDSU throughout his 40-year career of union activism in the Midwest. "This is a special organization where everyone from the top on down fights to make lives better for working people, and I am proud to have spent my life working with everyone here," Belliel said.
A New York Times article details how NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio - buoyed by early support of unions like the RWDSU - is cruising toward re-election. read it here
Today, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced the union will join JustLeadershipUSA’s #CLOSErikers coalition, making RWDSU the first union to support the long overdue closure of the violent and corrupt jails on Rikers Island. RWDSU has been on the front lines of several historic civil rights and political battles and criminal justice reform is no different – and as a #CLOSErikers coalition member RWDSU will be a forceful voice for the long overdue closure of this violent facility. “For far too long Rikers Island has been a point of no return for so many young people. Their days, weeks, months and sometime years of violent and needless detention there irreparably changes the course of their lives forever – it’s a place that needs to close and we need to take the money wasted there and reinvest it in local communities,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “No one should be detained in a facility like Rikers and we should work to build programs that reduce incarceration instead of building facilities that foster violence like the jails on Rikers Island. The RWDSU is joining JustLeadershipUSA’s #CLOSErikers coalition to actively change the criminal justice system and reduce crime and incarceration by helping people earn fair wages and build communities that offer real opportunities and meaningful alternatives to incarceration.” Continue reading