Sep 30, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 30, 2022
Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected]
RWDSU STATEMENT ON NYS LOWERING THE FARMWORKER OVERTIME THRESHOLD
After New York State Commissioner of Labor Roberta Reardon moved to adopt the 2022 Farm Laborers Wage Board’s recommendations, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, released the following statement:
“The decision to lower the overtime threshold for agricultural workers to 40 hours a week is going to transform the lives of New York’s workers and their families. Farmworkers will be able to rest their hard-used bodies and avoid injury, spend more time with family, and have a better opportunity to earn more in wages and be able to sustain their families.
“Farmworkers have for too long been denied the overtime protections so many other workers have had for decades. This is momentous and heads New York on the right path towards economic justice for workers who have sustained and fed us through good times and bad.”
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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.
Sep 21, 2022
by STUART APPELBAUM President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
September 21, 2022
If you want to take part in the new adult use cannabis industry in New York, you will need a labor peace agreement (LPA), and you need to start getting your LPA in order today. If you don’t take care of this now, you’ll regret it; prospective operators who fail to have their paperwork in order will miss out on the first set of licenses.
The RWDSU has been a key stakeholder in helping shape New York’s cannabis industry – beginning prior to the passage of Compassionate Care Act which brought medical cannabis to the state – into a responsible industry that creates good jobs and stronger communities. Part of this effort was to make it necessary for any company entering the industry to obtain an LPA. With the passage last year of the MRTA (Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act) which created the adult-use industry in New York, an LPA is again legally required for anybody seeking to enter the business. It’s part of what made MRTA a responsible piece of legislation centered around making social and economic justice – including for workers – a priority in this new industry and recognizing the importance of creating good jobs for New Yorkers.
An LPA is a written and mutually agreed-upon document between a bona fide, established labor union, and an employer – in this case one that is licensed to operate in the cannabis industry. A cannabis employer agrees to never interfere with a union organizing campaign or to intimidate or threaten workers who are trying to unionize. In return, the union agrees that it will not picket, strike, boycott, or otherwise interfere with a cannabis employer’s business. Essentially, LPAs create a neutral environment that prevents the conditions where workers may feel their only recourse for gaining a voice on the job is through a workplace action. Instead, workers’ rights are respected, and workers are entirely free to determine for themselves whether joining a union is the best path for them.
An LPA does not require employers to have a unionized workforce, and it does not interfere with whom employers choose to hire. It simply means workers can unionize if they want to, and union campaigns can proceed without unfair interference from employers. Cannabis companies will not have to negotiate union contracts unless their workers choose to organize. LPAs level the playing field and ensure fairness when it comes to workers and unions.
And that’s good news for both workers and their employers in any industry; union workforces have lower turnover, better pay and benefits, better relationships with their employers, and workers who see their jobs as a career. They are more invested in both their employer’s success, as well as that of that of the full industry.
Together, New York’s cannabis industry and New York’s unions are building a sustainable new industry that helps build our communities. The RWDSU is making it easy; visit cannabislpa.com for more information on LPAs and to start the process of securing one. It’s quick, it’s easy, and will help you meet one of the requirements to enter New York’s emerging cannabis industry. And if you take care of the paperwork now, you won’t be left behind as this new industry takes off in the Empire State.
You can also read the column in New York Amsterdam News.