Statement From RWDSU: Cannabis Legalization Provides Opportunity for Working People

  STATEMENT FROM THE RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION Cannabis Legalization Provides Opportunity for Working People   (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo re-affirmed his commitment to legalize cannabis in New York in his State of the State address. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) currently represents workers in the medical marijuana industry. Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU and John Durso, President of Local 338 RWDSU issued the following joint statement:   “As a labor union, a key component of the work that we do in advocating for working men and women is related to fighting for economic and social justice. Legalizing cannabis will take great steps towards undoing the harm that drug policies have caused to the very communities in which our members live and work. Additionally, as the representatives of the workforce of New York’s medical cannabis industry, we provide a unique perspective as to how to create a regulated system that addresses the individual concerns of workers, the community, and the industry as we regularly interact with all three of these crucial stakeholders and we believe the Governor should hear the concerns of workers in this process. We are looking forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to ensure protections that guarantee the creation of jobs that provide good wages and benefits, crucial criminal justice reforms and equity standards for meaningful participation at every level of this new industry,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and John R. Durso, President of Local 338 RWDSU.

RWDSU Celebrates the Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (right) reviews an RWDSU contract with RWDSU Local 3 members employed at Bloomingdale's in New York City in the 1960s. This week, Americans everywhere salute the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Dr. King's legacy has special meaning. We take special pride that, in 1968, the RWDSU was the first union anywhere to negotiate a contract guaranteeing Dr. King's birthday as a paid holiday. The RWDSU was among the earliest supporters of Dr. King's grassroots drive to challenge racial injustice in the South.   In Chicago during the 1960s, RWDSU provided an important forum for Dr. King to speak out against poverty in America's cities.  Later, thousands of RWDSU members stood shoulder to shoulder with other Civil Rights Activists during the historic 1963 March on Washington. Dr. King saw the Civil Rights struggle and the labor movement as closely linked.  He was a constant ally of Union Activists and most have forgotten that Dr. King was in Tennessee to support a Living Wage for Sanitation Strikers on that terrible April day in 1968 when he was slain at the age of 39. Dr. King spoke about the importance of the Labor Movement on many occasions. "Our needs are identical with Labor's needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, and health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community. That is why negroes support Labor's demands and fight laws which curb Labor. That is why the Labor-hater and the Labor-baiter is virtually always a twin-headed creature spewing anti-negro epithets from one mouth and anti-labor propaganda from the other mouth," Dr. King said in a speech in 1961. In reflecting on the life and work of Dr. King, the RWDSU recognizes the fight he began is not over until equality for all is a reality, and it is up to our generation of RWDSU members to complete his mission.  

Over 500 Iowa Cereal Workers Win With RWDSU

On January 9, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s (RWDSU) Local 110, announced that the workers at General Mills’ production facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa voted to join the RWDSU in their fight for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace, as well as needed paid time off and fair wages through a collective bargaining agreement. Workers finally have a right to fair representation, a seat at the table and a real chance to stop the bleed out of their long-held benefits. “We’re proud to welcome the workers of General Mills into the union. Once again, they show that the best way for working people to protect themselves and their families is the join together in a union,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “We’re extremely happy for the vote these courageous workers took today and that they believed in making their voices heard for change and we’re equally honored they believed in RWDSU, Local 110 to represent them. We also look forward to begin building a positive working relationship with the company and the continuance of good paying full time jobs in Cedar Rapids for many years to come,” said Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “I’m proud to say I’m now part of the RWDSU and I know everyone who works alongside me knows that representation from the union will change our future here. It’s about time General Mills workers had a real seat at the table with the company and we’re ready to get to work on a fair contract,” said Tim Sarver, General Mills worker. The vote to unionize by workers at General Mills was conducted on January 9, 2019 during two NLRB election sessions. RWDSU will represent approximately 520 workers at the manufacturing facility in contract negotiations. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production, sanitation and maintenance at the facility. General Mills’ workers joined Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the Quaker facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. See more at KCRG ABC Channel 9    

Seattle City Council Members Deliver Cautionary Message About Amazon

At a press briefing at the RWDSU's office in New York City, Seattle City Council Members, Amazon employees, and New York elected officials discussed the impacts of Amazon’s Headquarters in Seattle and what the new Amazon HQ2 deal means for New York's communities and workers. An overflow crowd and large press contingent came to the event to hear the stories of Amazon's impact on Seattle's communities. See more about this story and reaction to the event: Bloomberg tv: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-01-08/seattle-city-council-members-deliver-cautionary-message-about-amazon-hq2-video Crains: https://www.crainsnewyork.com/real-estate/seattle-city-council-members-visit-nyc-caution-against-amazon-hq2Epoch: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theepochtimes.com/seattle-council-reveals-possible-effect-of-amazon-expansion-to-new-york_2759891.html/ampGeekWire: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.geekwire.com/2019/seattle-officials-visit-new-york-warnings-amazon-thought-bury-us/amp/ Yahoo Finance: https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/seattle-city-council-members-visit-155759797.html Brinkwire: http://en.brinkwire.com/news/hq2-fight-continues-as-new-york-city-and-seattle-officials-hold-anti-amazon-summit/ The National Herald: https://www.thenationalherald.com/226049/sen-gianaris-meets-with-seattle-council-members-to-discuss-amazon-deal/ Gizmodo: https://gizmodo.com/new-yorkers-have-the-opportunity-seattle-didnt-as-they-1831554106

More Amazon warehouse employees push to unionize

A group of workers at Amazon's Staten Island fulfillment center are seeking to unionize, in the latest attempt by employees of the online retail giant to organize against the company's labor practices. What are the details? Employees of the New York facility announced the union push led by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Dec. 12. The RWDSU issued a report Nov. 28, accusing Amazon of having a history of "deadly and dehumanizing working conditions." Read more about it at The Blaze

New York Union Hopes To Bring Cannabis Workers On Board

Calvin Hughes Dec 31, 2018 If New York State moves to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019, one labor advocate wants to see cannabis workers unionized. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) hopes to fold the "many thousands of workers" who will be involved in New York's purported legal cannabis industry into their ranks. And based on the size of that prospective workforce, unionizing the industry could add a lot of muscle to the labor movement in New York. "It's going to be big," RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum told New York Post, adding that his organization will ensure that employees in the new industry are treated right. "We think the best way to create decent jobs is through unionization." read more about it at Civilized: https://www.civilized.life/articles/new-york-union-hopes-to-bring-cannabis-workers-on-board/

Statement From RWDSU: NY Cannabis Legalization Provides Opportunity for Working People

(NEW YORK, NY) – Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the planned legalization of cannabis in New York State. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) currently represents workers in the medical marijuana industry. John Durso, President of Local 338 of the RWDSU and Stuart Appelbaum, President of the RWDSU issued the following joint statement: “As a labor union, a key component of the work that we do in advocating for working men and women is related to fighting for economic and social justice. Legalizing cannabis will take great steps towards undoing the harm that drug policies have caused to the very communities in which our members live and work. Additionally, as the representatives of the workforce of New York’s medical cannabis industry, we provide a unique perspective as to how to create a regulated system that addresses the individual concerns of workers, the community, and the industry as we regularly interact with all three of these crucial stakeholders. We are looking forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to ensure protections that guarantee the creation of jobs that provide good wages and benefits, crucial criminal justice reforms and equity standards for meaningful participation at every level of this new industry,” said John R. Durso, President of Local 338 of the RWDSU and Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Workers, Union Push Back Against Amazon at NYC City Hall

The RWDSU joined community activists and elected officials today at City Hall in New York City to push back against the Amazon HQ deal in Queens that sees one of the world's richest companies set to receive billions of dollars in subsidies and handouts. The press conference was held ahead of City Council hearings on the Amazon HQ deal. Workers who perform back breaking work every day at Amazon’s Staten Island distribution center were on hand to tell their stories.

Prominent Opponents of Amazon’s HQ2 Deal for New York City Dismiss Quinnipiac Poll as Meaningless

New York, NY – Today several prominent opponents of Amazon’s HQ2 deal for New York City dismissed Quinnipiac’s new poll on Amazon as meaningless. They noted that opposition to the HQ2 deal continues to grow every day and that the $3 billion backroom deal to help Amazon open a new corporate headquarters in New York City has been widely criticized for weeks. “This Quinnipiac poll means nothing. The reality is that opposition to this terrible Amazon HQ2 deal for New York City continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Amazon knows it is facing widespread opposition among New Yorkers across the city. That’s why Amazon went shopping for a new PR firm to help sell a $3 billion backroom deal that’s been criticized from every angle. This poll does nothing to change the fact that Amazon’s current HQ2 deal for New York City is fundamentally bad for workers and communities,”said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW. “This poll doesn’t come close to reflecting the reality in our communities, which stand united in opposition to the #HQ2Scam. Not a single community member with whom we’ve discussed the terms of this deal has said they support it. On the contrary, local residents are outraged by an enormous State and City giveaway to the world’s wealthiest man, and the displacement and immense pressure on our already-strained infrastructure that will certainly follow. Our community continues to rise and will defeat this bad deal,” said Deborah Axt, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York. “This poll is trash and should be thrown away with the rest of today’s garbage. No Quinnipiac pollster has spent real time on the ground in Long Island City and surrounding communities in recent weeks. We have. We know that the level of anger toward Amazon and the HQ2 deal is intensifying and spreading. More and more New Yorkers know that Amazon’s expanded presence in New York City will accelerate gentrification and displacement and endanger our communities,” said Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change.