FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2020 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 STATEMENT ON NYC COUNCIL PASSAGE OF INT. 1145 New Law Could Lead to Price Gouging of New York’s Most Vulnerable and Essential Worker Wage Cuts (NEW YORK, NY) – Yesterday, the New York City Council passed Int. 1145. Disguised as a consumer protection and small business bill, Int. 1145 eliminates item pricing. But in practice, it eliminates the transparency established by the Truth in Pricing law, harming New York’s most vulnerable consumers and slashing essential workers' wages. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), RWDSU Local 338 and the NYC Central Labor Council, issued the following joint statement on Int. 1145: “We are disappointed that the New York City Council passed Int. 1145 and we oppose the implementation of it. “Heavily cloaked in rhetoric, this bill is a hand-out to large retailers who are looking to find cost savings at the expense of their workforce. Without clear pricing labels on items, seniors and New Yorkers who are sight, hearing or otherwise impaired will be vulnerable to price gouging and deceptive practices at stores across the City. Workers in supermarkets and other retail stores could see a reduction in hours and therefore, wages as a result of the implementation of this legislation. New Yorkers spent the past year heralding these same front-line workers as ‘heroes’; and implementing this bill could slash these same workers’ pay. “If the New York City Council really wants to support brick and mortar small businesses we need to find solutions that strengthen them without negatively impacting the general public or their workers. “Implementation of this law will harm New York’s most vulnerable consumers and workers at a time when the City needs our economy to rebound swiftly. This is not a way to help us do that.” Currently, shoppers are clearly able to see what an item in-hand costs. They are able to discern what a specific item size or variety costs and can compare before it ever goes in their cart. Consumers can also easily cross reference the cost of an item as it is scanned at checkout against the price listed on the item for accuracy. Int. 1145 shifts the burden and labor from the retailer on to the consumer who must now locate a scanner within the store and, assuming it works, scan their own items to determine pricing before checkout. Without item prices shoppers can easily be duped into paying more and workers' hours could be cut, decreasing their wages. # # # 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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 22, 2021 RWDSU Contact: Chelsea Connor, [email protected], 347-866-6259 Local 338 RWDSU Contact: Nikki Kateman, [email protected], 347-668-2860 UNION CANNABIS WORKERS AT PHARMACANN RATIFY NEW CONTRACT Workers at New York Cultivation & Processing Facility Win Significant Wage Increases and Benefits (Hamptonburgh, NY) – Late yesterday, Local 338 Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union (RWDSU)/United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), announced that workers at PharmaCann, which operates as Verilife in New York, have ratified a new three-year union contract. The bargaining unit covers approximately sixty workers who work at the company’s cultivation and processing facility in Orange County. “I’ve worked for PharmaCann for over three years. Joining Local 338 has been beneficial for myself, as well as my coworkers. There’s awesome perks and benefits such as ratification bonuses, zero cost to members healthcare and annual raises. While the cannabis industry is rapidly growing in New York, our union has kept us growing in the company and personally,” said Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member Alycesyn Siler, who is a production tech at PharmaCann. “I am very proud of our new contract. We have competitive starting rates, raises for established employees, bonuses, and a more flexible PTO system with more days. The addition of the 401k match gives us a great tool to help us invest for retirement,” said Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member Kevin Gilmartin, who has worked at PharmaCann for two years as a cultivation tech. “Our members are dedicated to ensuring that New York’s medical cannabis patients are able to access safe and quality products. They work hard for PharmaCann and proved that to the company at the negotiating table. With strong starting salaries for new hires, wage increases for current workers, and improved benefits for workers and their families, this contract continues to set a standard for not just careers at PharmaCann, but also what we should be creating in New York’s emerging cannabis industry.” said Joseph Fontano, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. The PharmaCann contract was ratified by the members of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW after months of negotiations. The contract will be in effect for three years and includes critical wage and benefits enhancements, including: Annual wage increases and milestone bonuses over the term of the contract. The hourly rate of pay for members will increase an $1.25 per hour in the first year and 3.75% in the second and third year of the agreement. The union secured language in the contract that significantly increases the minimum starting rate for all new hires. Workers will receive additional paid time off and two new paid holidays. The company will provide workers with an increase to their annuity benefit, as well as a new 401K matching program to ensure access to retirement security. Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW represents approximately 500 workers at seven medical cannabis companies in New York State who are employed across the industry’s supply chain. The union will be entering into contract negotiations with PharmaCann on behalf of the workers at the company’s four dispensaries next month. PharmaCann is a multi-state cannabis company currently licensed to operate in seven states. # # # 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). Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW proudly represents approximately 13,000 working men and women employed in a variety of different industries across New York State including, food retail, pharmaceutical retail, health care and human services, transportation, and medical cannabis. For more information, please visit our websites at https://link.edgepilot.com/s/ae66ce73/4TMWLj1n3US9abSwHQk94w?u=http://www.rwdsu.org/ or https://link.edgepilot.com/s/7c016a12/kNfnSwfTqECCyoqV7aOJyA?u=http://www.local338.org/ Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW or /Local338 Twitter:@RWDSU or @Local338
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 18, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES TIM ALEXANDER FOR CONGRESS (Atlantic City, New Jersey) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) endorses Tim Alexander for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members throughout the United States, including 10,000 members in New Jersey, and for more than 80 years, has fought for the rights of working people across the country. “As a former union worker and grocery store clerk, I am honored to earn the support of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union,” said Democratic candidate Tim Alexander. “These workers and their families are the backbone of our communities. They heroically continued to work and provide for all of us during the pandemic. Right now, the 2nd district doesn’t have a representative who fights for working people, but together with the RWDSU I know we can change that next November.” “Local 108 is proud to endorse Tim Alexander because he understands the needs of our members and their families,” said Charles Hall Jr., President RWDSU Local 108. “As a former supermarket worker, with an outstanding record of community service and advocacy, we know that Tim will be a strong voice in Congress for our members.” “Many Local 262 members have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. Our members need representatives in Congress who will stand up for workers’ rights and ensure an equitable recovery from the pandemic,” said Danny Righetti, President RWDSU Local 262. “We know that Tim Alexander will stand up for our members and for this reason and many more Local 262 is proud to endorse his campaign.” # # # 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.
RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES CONGRESSWOMAN CAROLYN B. MALONEY FOR RE-ELECTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 15, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES CONGRESSWOMAN CAROLYN B. MALONEY FOR RE-ELECTION (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) endorsed Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney for re-election. The RWDSU represents 100,000 workers in a wide range of industries, including retail, grocery, pharmacy, food service, food processing, distribution, cannabis, building services, warehousing, nursing homes, non-profit and car wash workers. And as of last week, the RWDSU now proudly represents New York’s first unionized farm workers. “Essential and frontline RWDSU members kept us all going during COVID-19 crisis. Throughout it all, we had a fighter and a friend in Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. From championing the PRO Act to introducing her Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act that provided our essential workers compensation if they or family became sick from COVID-19, Congresswoman Maloney has stood firmly with Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union members, which is why we are proud to endorse her for re-election to represent NY-12,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “The RWDSU has always fought to ensure workers are treated with dignity and respect, and I am grateful for their support in my re-election. I am proud to represent many RWDSU members who work and live in my district and to have been RWDSU’s partner at the federal level, passing legislation like the PRO Act and introducing my Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act. These measures will not only help our recovery from the COVID-19 crisis but will solidify treatment of labor union members for generations to come,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. # # # 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.
That a dozen field hands working at a vineyard out on Long Island’s North Fork won formal recognition of their union shouldn’t really be any big deal. Since 1938, the New York Constitution has said: “Employees shall have the right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” But it took 83 years for that high-minded promise to be made real for farm workers, who until now have been barred by law from exercising that fundamental right. So the Sept. 27 certification by the state Public Employment Relations Board that the Pindar Vineyards workers have chosen as their negotiating representative Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/United Food & Commercial Workers is historic. Bravo to RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum and Local 338 President John Durso. read more at NY Daily News
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 6, 2021 Haga Clic Aquí para Ver la Noticia de Prensa CONTACTS: Chelsea Connor, [email protected], (347) 866-6259 Nikki Kateman, [email protected], (347) 668-2860 HISTORIC CERTIFICATION FOR FIRST FARM WORKERS UNION IN NEW YORK STATE Agricultural Workers at Pindar Vineyards Have Been Certified to Join Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW (MINEOLA, NY) – On September 27, 2021, the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) certified Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW as the union to represent twelve agricultural workers employed at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, New York. This is the first union certification in New York State after the 2019 passage of The Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which grants agricultural and farm workers the right to collectively bargain. Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, first filed to represent the vineyard’s field workers on May 28, 2021. “My coworkers at Pindar and I joined Local 338 because we want dignity and respect. Our work should be valued and only by receiving equal treatment and things like sick days and paid time off to spend with our loved ones will it be. We know that being a union member will help us get the recognition we deserve for all of our efforts,” said Rodolfo M., Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW member and worker at Pindar Vineyards. “When New York passed the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, there was a fundamental understanding that agricultural workers needed key protections that they have lacked for decades, including the right to join a union. PERB’s historic certification is the next step in securing dignity and respect for the essential workers who ensure we have food and beverages on our tables. We are incredibly proud to represent the workers at Pindar Vineyards and are looking forward to securing a strong collective bargaining agreement,” said John Durso, President of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. “For the first time we can call farmworkers in New York State union members. For far too long, farmworkers have worked to nourish our communities without necessary workplace protections for themselves or their families. It was a decades-long struggle to win farmworkers’ right to organize in this state, and now workers at Pindar Vineyards are seeing the seeds they planted come to fruition by becoming the first in the state to be recognized as a union. Now they can begin negotiating the first ever union contract for farm workers in New York. The workers at Pindar Vineyards have made history and are the beginning of what we are sure will be a growing union presence for the state’s farmworkers,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “We welcome our first farmworker siblings into the labor family. The historic PERB certification means for the first time, and because of the passage of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, farmworkers will be part of a union that will give them the dignity and respect they deserve. This is the culmination of a decades-long fight centered upon one simple premise: that farm workers deserve fairness, equality, and justice. We are extremely proud of the efforts of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. Congratulations to the farmworkers and Local 338 President John Durso on this historic achievement,” said Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO. “When we corrected the labor law to give farmworkers the same basic rights as other workers in New York and rid our state of a Jim Crow sin, we dreamt of the day workers would answer the call to organize for better wages and working conditions,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos. “Welcome, Pindar Vineyards workers, to the labor family and congratulations on choosing RWDSU Local 338. You’re stronger together when negotiating a fair contract with your employer.” “Congratulations to RWDSU Local 338 and its talented organizers and my longtime friend John Durso, in this great union victory for the people of our state,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan. “Our historic farmworkers rights legislation took a long time but thanks to the hard work of so many, especially New York’s AFL-CIO labor movement, important worker protections are finally beginning to happen.” “This decision marks a significant step in the journey to achieve a seat at the table for our sisters and brothers. Decades ago, Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. was asked by farmworkers to stand alongside them in their struggle to change the laws which denied them dignity. Today, we are proud to continue working with RWDSU 338 as they represent workers in negotiating fair and decent contracts. New York’s labor movement has done incredible work in the midst of very challenging circumstances. True justice for farmworkers is closer than ever,” said Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. Executive Director the Rev. Richard Witt. New Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW members at Pindar Vineyards in Peconic, New York. # # # Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW proudly represents approximately 13,000 working men and women employed in a variety of different industries across New York State including, food retail, pharmaceutical retail, health care and human services, transportation, and medical cannabis. For more information, please visit our website at www.local338.org Facebook: /Local338 Twitter: @Local338 Haga Clic Aquí para Ver la Noticia de Prensa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 4, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 RWDSU STATEMENT ON HAITIAN IMMIGRANTS SEEKING REFUGE, FACING BRUTALITY (NEW YORK, NY) – The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) issued the following statement on Haitian immigrants seeking refuge in the United States: “This year alone, Haitians have faced a devastating earthquake, which killed over 2,000 people, including thousands of homeless Haitians, and a destructive hurricane season, which has ravaged homes and left many with nowhere to go and no homes to return to. Haiti, with political instability, gang violence and the shocking assassination of its president, has become the most unsafe place to live in the Caribbean. For many, simply surviving a day is considered a heroic act. “Haitians are being forced to migrate and are coming to the United States seeking refuge and relief. Many have swum through shark infested waters and crossed several countries on foot just to get to the United States, climbing mountains, wading through rivers, being mauled by wild animals. They are being raped, and tragically many have died in trying to get to the United States. Like many other immigrants before them, they come with a desire to build a better life for themselves and their families. “The inhumane treatment of Haitians we have witnessed at the United States border in Del Rio, Texas, is shameful and unacceptable. The images of border patrol agents beating Black Haitian immigrants on horseback harkens back to slavery and colonialism. They are inexcusable 21st century images of faces we’ve seen in history books too many times. They harken back to the faces of pain and suffering at the hands of slave owners cracking whips on Black slaves’ backs. Migrants seeking a safer life are human beings, not animals. This is not what America is about! “We, the RWDSU, believe that Haitians deserve respect and dignity and should be given the opportunity to make the United States their home either as refugees or be granted asylum. “Haitians fought in the Revolutionary War in Savannah, Georgia. Pierre Toussaint, a former slave from Haiti who moved to New York with his owner, became a philanthropist, and raised money to build St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Jean-Baptiste Point DuSable was the first settler in Chicago, Illinois. They fought in WWII alongside the American soldiers. “They are a part of our history. Haiti is a part of American history, and Haitian immigrants deserve better.” # # # 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.
Urban CNY News Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Reuben R. McDaniel, III and Jessica Garcia have been appointed to the board of Office of Cannabis Management. The Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management will create and implement a comprehensive regulatory framework for New York’s cannabis industry, including the production, licensing, packaging, marketing and sale of cannabis products. “New York’s cannabis industry has stalled for far too long – I am making important appointments to set the Office of Cannabis Management up for success so they can hit the ground running,” Governor Hochul said. “I am confident Mr. McDaniel and Ms. Garcia will serve the board with professionalism and experience as we lead our state forward in this new industry.” Jessica García is Assistant to the President of the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Union, UFCW, a national labor union representing workers along the food supply chain, as well as workers in non-food retail and healthcare. She previously served as Deputy Political Director for the RWDSU, where she worked to advance the union’s legislative and political agendas. Prior, she served as Director of Programs and Organizing at New Immigrant Community Empowerment and spent her early career advocating for fair funding for public schools in New York City. She currently serves as chair of board of the New York Committee for Safety and Health and the Advocacy Institute, vice-president of the Rural & Migrant Ministry board of directors, and member of the board of the Costa Rican-based organization, Vivir El Sueno. Originally from Honduras, Jessica is a graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and Harvard University.
Wally Waugh, 57, a front-end manager at a Stop & Shop supermarket in Oyster Bay, New York, makes over $1,150 a week. He is a union member. Adam Ryan, 33, a sales clerk at a Christiansburg, Virginia, Target, makes $380 to $460 a week. He is not. A sustained four-year labor squeeze in the retail industry - combined with independent movements to push minimum wages in U.S. states to $15 an hour - is providing unions more power to bargain longer, and to give workers more regular hours and better pay, said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, professor of labor and employment law at Indiana University Bloomington. Workers often fear that retailers will move to close stores and warehouses or fire people who try to organize. Amazon's agents allegedly warned that the company could shut the Bessemer, Alabama, facility if a union took root, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Amazon denied threatening a warehouse closure or layoffs. Reuters found that one factor behind the widening wage gap is that unionized retail workers tend to work more hours per week, and more predictable hours, than nonunionized workers, as illustrated by Ryan and Waugh. Waugh's full-time schedule is largely stable at 40 hours per week, set by his contract with Stop & Shop, which is owned by Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize (AD.AS). He earns more when he works overtime, on Sundays or on holidays, according to the RWDSU, which represents him. Target's Ryan, meanwhile, works a variable schedule from 25 to 30 hours a week, depending on the store's anticipated traffic. Ryan said that even if Target raises his hourly base pay, he will not necessarily earn more per week. "Fifteen dollars an hour doesn't mean anything if that raise in wages is offset by a reduction in hours," he said. Twenty-seven percent of U.S. retail and wholesale workers worked 34 hours a week or fewer in 2019, according to the BLS. Read the story at Reuters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 3, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 “This vaccine agreement with Tyson shows just how critical it is for companies to meet with unions before making unilateral mandates. We’re proud to have secured paid time off for workers to get the vaccine and additional paid time off should they experience any symptoms, vaccine locations at our facilities, and a job exchange plan to ensure workers with medical and religious exemptions can maintain employment in areas with low interpersonal contact. This historic agreement will protect workers and our communities, and is a clear blueprint many other industries can and should follow.” - Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).