Big wage increases, benefits, and working condition improvements highlight the new contract for RWDSU members at SLS Car Wash in Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York. The new contract raises wages for car wash workers over $1.75 per hour, and brings important safety equipment such as an eye wash station and rubber boots and gloves. And, in a huge win, whenever the day shift washes 600 cars or more during their shift, management will add $400 cash to the tip box. The night shift will see an extra $200 in the tip box for washing over 300 cars. This is the only car wash in New York City with this benefit. Workers in other departments got additional gains; drivers will receive an extra $1.50 per hour, and mechanics will earn an extra $2.50 per hour. “With other car wash contracts coming up, the workers at SLS set a great example with their solidarity and determination. They won a great contract,” said RWDSU Representative and Negotiator Danie Tarrow.
Almost all of New York’s workers begin to get overtime pay after working 40 hours a week, yet farmworkers don't! Take a few minutes to read and share our latest column on the issue below. It's also available in City & State magazine and community papers across New York:
Our union family always comes together in times of need: it's what solidarity is all about. If you can, extend some of your solidarity to RWDSU members affected by last week's eastern Kentucky flooding by donating to our Kentucky Flood Relief Fund. Donations can be sent to: "RWDSU Kentucky Flood Relief Fund" c/o RWDSU 370 Seventh Ave New York, NY 10001
Monday, July 25, 2022 - Delegates, Alternates, and Guests Arrive in Atlanta! RWDSU members came from around the country and across the globe; hundreds of delegates, alternates, and guests arrived here in Atlanta, Georgia to join together for the 24th RWDSU Quadrennial Convention. As attendees registered yesterday and gathered in the days leading up to the convention – it was an exciting time; the first opportunity many of us have had since early 2020 to join together in person as a union. The RWDSU Convention, which begins this morning at 9 am, is the only time every four years when we come together, review the progress we’ve made and the challenges we’ve faced, and set the course of our union for the future. On Monday, as attendees registered for the convention, dozens of RWDSU volunteers helped assemble delegate bags, including materials such as health and safety materials, the political update, the RWDSU Constitution, and the red RWDSU painter’s cap. Be sure to bring your red hat to Thursday’s sessions, so you can proudly show off your RWDSU colors in the panoramic convention group photo. READ THE DAILY CONVENTION REPORT HERE. Tuesday, July 26, 2022 - Convention Day One Focused on Our Challenges, Achievements, and Goals The first day of the RWDSU Convention showcased words, action, and music of inspiration, as the union looked back at the unprecedented challenges of the past four years, the union’s accomplishments in fighting for working people and helping to ignite a reinvigorated national labor movement, and the path forward as the RWDSU continues to lead the charge toward a new wave of activism. Opening with a rousing set by social activist singers the Fruit of Labor from North Carolina, a welcome by Atlanta Mayor André Dickens, and the RWDSU Convention video, the hundreds of delegates, alternates, and guests in the convention hall were fired up, ready for action, and ready to organize to make our union stronger. READ THE DAILY CONVENTION REPORT HERE. CONVENTION VIDEOS: DAY ONE RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: Union Strong RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: Amazon Wednesday, July 27, 2022 - RWDSU Leadership Overwhelmingly Re-Elected RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, Secretary-Treasurer Robert Layng, Jr., and Recorder Joseph Dorismond were elected yesterday morning to serve new four-year terms as the leadership team for the union. The Nominations and Election Committee, headed by retiring RWDSU Regional Director Rick Marshall, conducted the nominations and vote during the election, which resulted in a vote for President Appelbaum and Secretary-Treasurer Layng. Recorder Dorismond was appointed by acclimation. The newly elected officers thanked the delegates for their confidence and support, and pledged to continue working to build a stronger RWDSU. READ THE DAILY CONVENTION REPORT HERE. CONVENTION VIDEOS: DAY TWO RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: Organizing Thursday, July 28, 2022 - Strength In Our Solidarity RWDSU delegates, alternates, and guests discussed and were joined by many speakers who addressed the issues of collective bargaining, political action, and global solidarity. New York Attorney General Tish James opened up the third day of our convention with an electrifying address. A video recorded by Kamala Harris addressing the RWDSU convention also played, and we were joined by many UFCW leaders to discuss the connection between our two unions. Finally, we donned our red RWDSU caps and took the convention group photo! READ THE DAILY CONVENTION REPORT HERE. CONVENTION VIDEOS: DAY THREE Vice President Harris Addresses the RWDSU Convention RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: Collective Bargaining RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: Political Action Friday, July 29, 2022 - Looking to the Future of Our Union And with that, the RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention has adjourned! What an exciting four days that have inspired our entire union family and made us hopeful for the future of our union. Today, we focused on our union’s response to COVID-19 and health and safety work, honoring all the members we’ve lost over the past four years, many of them to COVID-19. We heard an inspiring speech from AFL CIO President Liz Shuler, who also swore in the newly elected Executive Board and Advisory Council. We also received an emotional speech from a treasured member of our union family – Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Jack Wurm, who’s been a member for over 50 years, and were electrified by Georgians Linqua Franca and Rev. Raphael Warnock. CONVENTION VIDEOS: DAY FOUR RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: COVID-19 RWDSU 24th Quadrennial Convention: Social Justice
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2022 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 RWDSU Statement on Amazon's Withdrawal from Newark Air Hub "We welcome any company, including Amazon, that is willing to treat its workers and the surrounding community with dignity and respect, said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Amazon, however, abandoned Newark because it refused to be a good neighbor and a good employer. Like an impetuous child, it walked away rather than comply with responsible community standards. Turnover at amazon facilities in New Jersey is almost twice as high as non-Amazon warehouses in the state. Worker injuries are nearly twice as high as well. Most workers aren’t there long enough, or don’t receive enough hours to receive the benefits that Amazon touts. They treat their workers like robots and drive dangerous and unsustainable production quotas. Until Amazon changes its anti-worker and anti-community practices, we will continue this fight wherever Amazon tries to build." # # # 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: June 24, 2022 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 RWDSU STATEMENT ON SCOTUS DOBBS v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION DECISION “This is a sad day for America. And it is a wakeup call that every one of our freedoms is at risk. We cannot delude ourselves into believing that something can’t happen here – because it is happening right now, and it happened today. Each of us needs to stand up and join together collectively to protect our freedoms,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). # # # 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.
Statement from RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum on the Passage of the Warehouse Worker Protection Act in New York
After the NYS Senate passed the Warehouse Worker Protection Act on June 1, 2022 and the NYS Assembly passed the same bill on June 3, 2022, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum released the following statement: "The warehousing industry is one of the most dangerous as well as one of the fastest growing in New York. Amazon alone opened an additional 30 facilities over the last twelve months, and we know that the serious injury rate at Amazon is 54% higher than the state’s entire warehousing industry. High injury rates and dangerous work quotas, especially at Amazon, simply need to be addressed and thankfully the Warehouse Worker Protection Act helps address this urgent problem. The RWDSU congratulates the New York legislature for passing this important bill, which will improve the lives of countless workers and families by making sure that those who work in warehousing get home safe. We thank Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie as well as the bill sponsors Senator Ramos and Assemblywoman Joyner for their leadership on this important bill and look forward to seeing it signed into law."
RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES CONGRESSMAN MONDAIRE JONES NY-10 (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) endorsed Congressman Mondaire Jones. 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. “In the two years he has spent in Congress and on the House Labor Committee, Mondaire Jones has been a relentless champion for labor as well as for other progressive causes from voting rights and housing justice to social security expansion and LGBTQ rights. He has stood up time and again for the right to organize a union, workplace violence prevention programs, the Pregnancy Fairness Act to address workplace discrimination, and many other crucial legislative campaigns. Importantly, he introduced the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act with Senator Elizabeth Warren, which would transform childcare affordability and address a significant national issue that is a pressing concern for many RWDSU members. We know that his impressive first term is just the beginning for Mondaire Jones. The RWDSU is proud to endorse Mondaire Jones for re-election to Congress. We know that he has the experience, record and promise to continue being a leading voice not only for all New Yorkers but also for workers and their families across the entire country,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “It’s simple: unions built the middle-class and built this country. The RWDSU has been a leading voice for working New Yorkers for decades. From organizing Housing Works, REI and New York City’s car wash workers to taking on Amazon, the RWDSU has a proud tradition of organizing and representing those most in need of a union. I am thrilled to receive the RWDSU’s endorsement in my reelection campaign. Since being elected to Congress, I’ve worked tirelessly to fight for the right of our nation’s workers to unionize, and be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the RWDSU in these efforts. Many of the RWDSU’s members were frontline heroes who steered us safety through the pandemic and I am especially proud and honored to have their support as the first union endorsement for my campaign,” said Rep. Mondaire Jones. # # # 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.
Protect New York’s Warehouse Workers Now! By Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW. Twitter: @sappelbaum Warehouse workers are the backbone of the modern ecommerce economy, yet regulations protecting workers and communities affected by this new industry have lagged far behind its rapid growth. When New York’s warehouse and distribution center workers leave for work every day, they face a job that sees them three times more likely than the average private industry worker to suffer an injury or illness. That’s why New York needs to pass the Warehouse Worker Protection Act (WWPA – A10020/S8922), which helps protect workers from inhumane quotas at companies such as Amazon. A Dangerous Job New York’s warehouse industry has alarmingly high injury rates, and nowhere is this more apparent than when reviewing the data at Amazon, which has opened over 70 new facilities in New York State since 2018. Amazon workers are injured at a rate of six per 100, which is five times the average in New York. While all warehouse work is dangerous, Amazon warehouse workers are 54 percent more likely than others in the industry to get sick or hurt on the job. Research shows that many of these injuries and illnesses are preventable and are the result of management philosophies at these facilities that prioritize speed over workers’ safety. Unsafe work speeds, unreasonable work quotas, dangerous work, and insufficient breaks all contribute to the skyrocketing rate of injuries in the industry. Amazon workers have told RWDSU representatives that their productivity is monitored so closely that they are afraid to take bathroom breaks. While Amazon is the highest-profile offender, workers throughout the industry suffer from higher-than-average injury rates, and many of the same dangerous policies and lack of protection. Addressing the Warehouse Industry Injury Epidemic The WWPA, modeled after similar legislation signed into law in California last year and targeting large facilities and employers, would create important guardrails to protect warehouse industry workers from the brutal line speeds and quotas that are driving injuries and sickness at New York’s warehouses. These inhumane and abusive quotas, and the fear of being disciplined for not making them (even though workers aren’t told and don’t know exactly what they are), pressures workers into denying their basic needs and over-exerting themselves to the point of injury or illness. The WWPA creates transparency for the often arbitrary and ever-changing quotas that many workers at large warehouses are subjected to. The law would inform workers on what their quotas are, and prevents workers from being disciplined if they fail to meet these quota requirements because they need to exercise basic human rights such as going to the bathroom when they need to. New York’s warehouse workers are getting injured because there is no reason for unscrupulous employers to respect their basic humanity. The WWPA would change that, and these workers deserve passage of this important legislation that forces large employers like Amazon to reform the way it treats employees.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2022 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 STATEMENT ON THE REPORT BY THE HOUSE'S SELECT SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS “The RWDSU demanded early on in the pandemic that poultry and meat processing companies do a better job in protecting their workers. We swiftly condemned the utilization of the Defense Production Act. “As we said then, we only wish that the Trump Administration cared as much about the lives of working people as it did about meat, pork and poultry products, when we wanted poultry plants to shut down for deep cleaning and to save worker’s lives. If the Trump Administration had developed meaningful safety requirements for workers early on as they should have, this would not have even become an issue. We demanded that employers and government do better throughout the pandemic; and that saved lives. These employers must be held accountable for the consequences of their blatant disregard of the safety and lives of their employees. “Today's report is just one step towards accountability, but much more must be done to prevent corporations from putting profits over people's lives in the industry,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).