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
Standing down the road from the Salisbury Township adult care facility where she has worked for the past four years, Ruth Santamaria donned a red union cap, clutched a megaphone and gripped a sign that read, “Every day is Halloween at ManorCare. They suck workers’ blood.” Santamaria was among several employees who joined representatives from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union — the union HCR ManorCare workers voted to join — at a rally Tuesday afternoon at the busy intersection of Cedar Crest Boulevard and Fish Hatchery Road, a football field from HCR ManorCare at 1265 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. read more about it at The Morning Call
(NEWARK, NJ) – Today, President Charles N. Hall Jr. of Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced the union’s endorsements of the re-election of State Senator Stephen Sweeney, Elliot Isibor for State Senate, Anthony Romano for Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor, Ted Green for East Orange Mayor, and Bergson Leneus for East Orange City Council. Hall announced the union will put the full force of its 10,000 members across New Jersey behind these campaigns, to ensure their victories on November 7, 2017. The RWDSU previously endorsed Phil Murphy for Governor and Sheila Oliver for Lieutenant Governor, this slate of endorsed candidates represents the change we need in New Jersey. Stephen Sweeney re-election for State Senate: “Senator Sweeney has led the fight to increase the minimum wage in New Jersey, and has been a fierce advocate for family and disability leave. For all of these reasons we are putting our full support behind his re-election campaign and we look forward to continue working with him on critical legislation that helps working people across New Jersey,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Elliot Isibor for State Senate: “Ellior Isibor is the real change we need in our State Senate – and we are proud to support his campaign to fix our pension system, create real budget reforms and worker training programs across the state,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Elliot has pledged to work with our members in Morris, Essex and Passaic County to ensure good union jobs are created and supported in the communities that need them the most and our members are already encouraging their neighbors to get out and vote.” Anthony Romano for Hoboken Mayor: “Hoboken needs a mayor who will put working people first – Anthony Romano will be that Mayor,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Anthony is a third generation Hoboken resident, he has served as a police officer and as a teacher in our community – he knows the importance of unions first hand and he knows the needs of working people in Hoboken. We are proud to announce our endorsement of his campaign for mayor today. Our members, many of whom live and work in the City of Hoboken, serve in critical part-time positions across the city, from crossing guards, to parking enforcement officers, to shuttle bus drivers, to court attendants and sanitation workers – we are encouraging our members to support him on the ground and look forward to working with him as mayor.” Ted Green for East Orange Mayor: “As City Council Chairman Ted Green has been serving his community for over 25 years – and today we are proud to stand behind him in his bid for Mayor of East Orange,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Ted has lead the fight for legislation and programs that protect homeowners from foreclosure, create job training and apprenticeship programming, and promotes criminal justice reform. His work has had a direct impact on our members and now we will have a direct impact on his campaign.” Bergson Leneus for East Orange City Council: “The East Orange City Council passes critical legislation that helps our members – and we know Bergson Leneus will work with our members to write bills that will help our members live, work and thrive in East Orange,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “We’re ready to get to work on Bergson’s campaign and hit the doors.”
On Saturday, October 21, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was confirmed by a vote of the full Democratic National Committee (DNC) as co-chair of the resolutions committee along with Lottie Shackelford. The resolutions committee helps set the policy agenda for the Democratic Party. Appelbaum, who is also a member of the DNC executive committee, served on the resolutions committee prior to his appointment as co-chair. “I was honored to be nominated by DNC Chair Tom Perez to this important position. Despite the divisive and empty rhetoric from Donald Trump, the Democratic Party remains the political voice for the hopes and aspirations of our nation’s working people,” Appelbaum said.
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.”
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!
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
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