First Ever Contract for Pleasure Chest Workers

Employees at both New York City Pleasure Chest retail location have ratified their first ever union contract. The RWDSU members become only the second group of adult toy workers in the nation to win the protections and benefits of a union contract, along with their fellow RWDSU members at Babeland stores, also in New York. Highlights include guaranteed raises in every year of the contract, accrued vacation time for part-time workers (previously only full-timers accrued vacation time), significant improvements in safety protocols and procedures for workers who are threatened or harassed by members of the public, including the right to close the store and remain on paid-time until the threatening individual(s) have left the premises. This part of the contract addresses one of the main issues brought up by Pleasure Chest workers during their organizing campaign; it’s a unique line of work, and comes with unique challenges. The agreement also creates minimum staffing requirements for busier times, and new trainings for management and staff, including a boundary/ safety/ security training for conflict de-escalation and reimbursement for self-defense classes. The contract also contains strong language around non-discrimination and respect for workers’ gender identity/expression and pronouns.

RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES LAURA GILLEN FOR RE-ELECTION

Gillen is the Right Leader for Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead NEW YORK, NY – Today, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW), announced the union’s endorsement of Laura Gillen for re-election as Supervisor of the Town of Hempstead. “Since taking office, Laura Gillen has diligently ensured that the town’s hard-working people are put first in decision making. Supervisor Gillen has taken great strides to reverse decades long financial harm to workers; and the RWDSU stands with her to continue her work as Supervisor in her re-election campaign,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW).   Continue reading

New Contract for Missouri Tannery Workers

In July, members at RWDSU Local 125 in St. Joseph, Missouri, have overwhelmingly approved a new five-year contract with their employer, National Beef Leathers, where 400 RWDSU members process cow hide into blue leather, which is then sold to vendors who turn it into everything from shoes to car seat covers. The contract increases wages $2.20 an hour over the term on just the General Wage Increase, but half of the plant will also be able to increase wages in the Maintenance, Environmental and Loft Departments anywhere from $1.00-$5.00 an hour on a pay for skill program that the member wishes to achieve. Longevity pay increases based on a member gaining five years seniority and again at 10 years seniority also were made. The members also will receive a $1,000 signing bonus. Numerous improvements in language as well in seniority and funeral leave. The agreement also created eights new positions that will be known as a Flex Employee in the Production Department (that will be a basic relief person in that department). The Union was able to maintain the Company’s medical insurance with little change in the plan starting in January of 2021 with little premium increases to the member. The Bargaining Committee was made up of Travis Garton, Local 125 President, Bobby Mendoza Chief Steward at National Beef, Darvin Waitkoss, Ed Burdette, Ernie Turner, Rashiene Stewart. They were assisted by Dennis Williams Sr. Business Representative for the Central States Council and RWDSU Representative Roger Grobstich.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum's Statement On The Passing Of 32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa

“We extend our deepest sympathy to our brothers and sisters at 32BJ on the loss of President Hector Figueroa. Hector was a champion for workers, standing on the front lines of many critical fights. From the Fight for $15 to the Fast Food Workers campaign, he made a difference for working people. Hector has left a strong legacy of tenacious warriors who will continue his legacy for generations of workers to come. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at 32BJ and with Hector’s family,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

RWDSU President: Amazon Prime Day Event is No Holiday for Workers

“Amazon has a well-documented history of mistreating and dehumanizing its workers in the U.S. and around the world. The stress can be particularly hard on any day, and especially during Prime Day events. But, this year, the toll on Amazon’s workers will be considerably worse. Prime Day has been expanded to two-days and earlier this year Amazon announced a new policy of one-day shipping that effectively doubles the pace of its workers. Amazon fulfillment workers were already facing speeds of 200-300 orders per hour in 12-hour shifts before the new policy. They were struggling to maintain that pace, even before the one-day shipping policy was announced. Testing hundreds of thousands of workers physical limits as though they were trained triathletes is the wrong approach. Operating at these speeds for this duration means Amazon needs to hire more workers, under more sustainable speeds that don’t put worker’s lives in jeopardy. Amazon needs to understand that human beings are not robots,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Schwartz Re-elected President at IJB Convention

On Friday, the Indiana Joint Board held their Convention, re-electing Eric Schwartz as President of the Indiana Joint Board. Schwartz will also continue to serve as the IJB Business Representative. In addition to the officer election, the Convention also hosted guest speaker Northeast Indiana AFL-CIO President Lloyd Osborne. Also addressing the Convention were RWDSU Regional Directors Michael Flanery and Rick Marshall.

Local 1102 NYU Members Win Gains

RWDSU Local 1102 members working in food service at New York University have won a new contract that brings strong wage increases and improved medical insurance coverage. In addition, the company retirement contributions will rise, improving retirement security for members. Local 1102 members at NYU prepare and provide food for NYU students on campus. Pictured is the NYU contract negotiating committee: 1102 Secretary-Treasurer, Thomas Rowland; 1102 staff, Yocasta Reynoso and Sonia Peralta; and negotiating committee members, Sally Bouyer, Hamlet Arnaud, John Cangelosi, Jason Brown, Vincent Robbins, Junior Hernandez, Ramon Espinal, Shondell Rivers, Christopher Smith, Ricardo Tabuteau, Rhonda Saunders, Dina Brown, Shaquinda Adams.

11,000 U.S. Airline Catering Workers Authorize a Strike at Airports Nationwide

Workers who provide food and beverages for American, Delta and United Airlines flights demand a living wage and health care they can afford FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 24, 2019 Contact: Chelsea Connor | cconnor@rwdsu.org | 347-866-6259        NATIONWIDE—Workers who prepare, pack and deliver food and beverages served aboard flights for American, Delta, United and other airlines have voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike when released by the National Mediation Board. It was the largest such vote ever to occur in the U.S. airline catering industry, with more than 11,000 workers voting in 28 cities. The workers are members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, UNITE HERE unions, and are employed by the two largest airline catering subcontractors in the world: LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet.  The three unions collectively represent more than 25,000 airline catering workers. Continue reading

Workers At Valley View Manor Nursing Home in Norwich, NY, Overwhelmingly Vote to Join RWDSU

Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that the workers at Valley View Manor Nursing Home (VVM) in Norwich, New York voted overwhelmingly to join the union. Workers at VVM are fighting for a real voice and fair treatment in the workplace for workers and patients alike including fair scheduling, paid time off, and fair wages. Today’s vote affirms workers’ right to fair representation, a seat at the table, and a real chance to help the patients at their facility. Continue reading

Whistleblowers' Rights Could be at Risk Under New Labor Board

As the Trump administration has appointed new board members and replaced top staffers at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), it has signaled a directional shift in interpreting workers' rights laws. Uber drivers discovered this when a recent NLRB memo undercut their movement to organize for higher wages and better working conditions. While this was a setback for union organizers, an equally consequential workers' rights case, attracting far less notice, is awaiting a ruling by the full five-member NLRB. It involves free-speech rights that, until now, seemed securely protected by the National Labor Relations Act. For about 85 years, the National Labor Relations Act has protected the rights of private-sector workers to discuss job-related concerns among themselves, and — importantly — with outsiders, including the news media. Currently, Google and its parent company, Alphabet, are facing accusations of violating the federal workers' rights law, which has been applied for decades to prevent employers — including President Trump's former Atlantic City resort hotel — from silencing employee complaints. Indeed, companies large and small — including the president's own — have regularly been caught forbidding their employees from giving interviews without supervisory approval, and have been sanctioned by federal regulators for excessively controlling their employees' speech. Now, the president's appointees to the NLRB have a chance to reaffirm — or retreat from — decades' worth of legal precedent protecting whistleblowers' rights.   read more here at CNN