Union Contract Now Part Of A Balanced Breakfast At General Mills

First Union Contract Ratified by Workers Stops Bleed Out of Long-Held Needed Benefits   (CEDAR RAPIDS, IA) – Today, Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that over 500 workers at the General Mills processing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa have ratified their first union contract. The worker-led negotiation committee worked tirelessly to secure a strong contract that stops the bleed out of long-held needed benefits. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production and maintenance at the facility.“I am thrilled to know we will all be going to work tomorrow with the peace of mind of a strong union contract. Over 500 families can sleep well tonight knowing their needed benefits are secure for the next three years. The strength of our union during these first contract negotiations was extraordinary. I am proud to say that a union contract is now part of every balanced breakfast that comes from our General Mills plant,” said Tim Sarver, 37+ year General Mills worker.“Our worker-led negotiations committee was able to get the company to move on four key areas of the contract that members took grave issue with; protecting the outsourcing of their jobs, no maintenance of their benefits, unfair scheduling and marginal wage increases. That is outstanding for a first contract and I am incredibly proud of their tireless work. This contract proves that it is possible for General Mills to be a responsible employer in our community, and we’re proud to say they now are. The impacts of this contract will reach far beyond the over 500 workers at General Mills; it impacts their 500 families, and a large part of our local Cedar Rapids economy. Our union is proud of the committee and we look forward to a productive working relationship with the company for years to come,” said Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).“Today’s ratification vote at General Mills proves yet again that working people can improve their lives when they join together in a union. This win by these 500 RWDSU members tonight adds to our union’s long string of strong contract wins for workers in the cereal industry - including at Quaker Oats and Post cereals. The best way to start your morning is with breakfast made by RWDSU union members,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The General Mills contract was ratified after three voting sessions that took place on Thursday, November 14, 2019.The General Mills contract will be in effect for three years and includes critical provisions such as: Workers will receive an additional six days paid time off, each year of the term of the contract. The union secured language in the contract that would require the company to ‘meet and confer’ with the union prior to any sub-contracting or plant closure. The union also secured language in the contract that ensures the maintenance of long-held needed benefits for workers in conjunction with the General Mills network of production facilities. Scheduling was preserved in the contract to keep the current three-shift system. The contract limits the amount of temporary employees, and adds several new full-time entry-level positions, which will also be covered by the terms of the contract. As a first contract, workers will now have the protections of the grievance procedure and just-cause. Annual general hourly wage increases over the term of the contract and workers will receive a ratification bonus.   RWDSU represents approximately 520 workers at the General Mills manufacturing facility in contract negotiations. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production and maintenance at the facility. Workers at the facility produce and supply iconic brands such as; the original Cheerios and other flavor varieties including Honey Nut, Frosted and Multi-Grain, and Lucky Charms cereal, as well as fruit snacks including Gushers, Fruit Roll Ups, and Fruit by the Foot, and Betty Crocker ready to spread frosting. General Mills’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the Quaker Oats facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa. This announcement comes among a string of organizing and contract wins across the country for the RWDSU. The union continues to win organizing campaigns in Right-to-Work states like Iowa, bringing a union voice for workers. The RWDSU has continuously secured strong contracts across the country in food processing and distribution among many other industries. Today’s ratification is another win by members of the RWDSU.

OVER 500 WORKERS AT GENERAL MILLS REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT ON NEW CONTRACT – NARROWLY AVOIDING A STRIKE

Workers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Set to Ratify First Contract on Thursday (CEDAR RAPIDS, IA) – Today, Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that over 500 workers at the General Mills processing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa have reached a tentative contract agreement with the company. The worker led negotiation committee worked tirelessly to secure a strong tentative agreement that stops the bleed out of their long-held needed benefits package. The committee will recommend workers vote in favor of this agreement. The contract could be ratified as early as Thursday. “Our membership stood strong in the face of a strike, and I am incredibly proud of our worker-led negotiations committee’s dedication to bringing us back from the brink last night. General Mills moved significantly away from the ‘last, best and final’ offer that would have taken away benefits we’ve had for over 30 years. Our committee unanimously recommends this contract for ratification. I am confident we will all be going to work with the peace of mind of a strong union contract soon,” said Tim Sarver, 37+ year General Mills worker. “Not a single one of our union members at General Mills ever wanted to walk out of the facility and go on strike. They were pushed to the edge by a company that has for far too long been slowly stripping away their long-held needed benefits. The fact that the company came back to the table immediately following a 99% no vote on a bad contract shows the strength of our members and the impact their work has on the company every day. Even more encouraging, our worker-led negotiations committee was able to get the company to move on four key areas of the contract that members took grave issue with; protecting the outsourcing of their jobs, no maintenance of their benefits, unfair scheduling and wage increases. Now it goes to a vote of the membership,” said Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The ratification of the General Mills contract is scheduled for Thursday, November 14, 2019. News on the ratification vote and details on the agreement will be shared when available. The negotiations committee expects it will be ratified. RWDSU represents approximately 520 workers at the General Mills manufacturing facility in contract negotiations. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production and maintenance at the facility. Workers at the facility produce and supply iconic brands such as; the original Cheerios and other flavor varieties including Honey Nut, Frosted and Multi-Grain, and Lucky Charms cereal, as well as fruit snacks including Gushers, Fruit Roll Ups, and Fruit by the Foot, and Betty Crocker ready to spread frosting. General Mills’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the Quaker Oats facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa. This announcement comes among a string of organizing and contract wins across the country for the RWDSU. The union continues to win organizing campaigns in Right-to-Work states like Iowa, bringing a union voice for workers in previously vehemently anti-union workplaces. The RWDSU has continuously secured strong contracts across the country in food processing and distribution among many other industries. Today’s tentative agreement is another win by members of the RWDSU.

General Mills Strike Narrowly Avoided for Now

(CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA) – Tonight, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s (RWDSU) Local 110, announced that productive negotiations have resumed for workers at General Mills’ production facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The company and the worker-led negotiations committee met on Thursday after 99% workers voted down the “last, best and final” contract offer from General Mills. Conversation will continue into Friday in an effort to avoid a strike slated for next week. The union is citing productive conversations and movement on the contract with the company as a reason to keep workers at the facility for now. “Tonight we can report that productive conversations have resumed at General Mills and that together we have avoided a potential strike at this time. We formed this union earlier this year to stop the bleed out of long held necessary benefits. After our initial conversations with General Mills, in the wake of voting down the bad contract this week, we are confident we have movement on our top four issues with the contract and that real negotiations can resume. We look forward to rebuilding a productive relationship with the company and hope to report a strong contract soon,” said Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The RWDSU represents approximately 520 workers at the General Mills manufacturing facility in contract negotiations. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production, sanitation and maintenance at the facility. The facility produces iconic brands such as; the original Cheerios and other flavor varieties including Honey Nut, Frosted and Multi-Grain, and Lucky Charms cereal, as well as fruit snacks including Gushers, Fruit Roll Ups, and Fruit by the Foot, and Betty Crocker ready to spread frosting. General Mills’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the Quaker Oats facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa.

New Contract Ratified for Workers at Quaker Oats

(CEDAR RAPIDS, IA) – Today, Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that nearly 700 workers at the Quaker Oats processing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa have ratified a new contract. The worker-led negotiation committee worked tirelessly to secure a strong contract that guarantees annual wage increases among other provisions that will improve workers’ jobs and their work-life balance. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production at the facility, which produces and supplies most of America’s Quaker Oats products. Iowa is a Right-to-Work state, and the RWDSU has 100% union density at the Quaker facility. This means everyone in the bargaining unit is a proud union member. “Working at Quaker Oats knowing we have a strong union contract makes my family feel secure. In this contract our union has ensured workers here remain strong. We are proud to be the economic engine of our community especially at a facility that has been operating here for over a hundred years. Today we ratified a contract that I know will ensure I can support my family – that matters. Our negotiations team led by my coworkers did an incredible job swiftly ensuring our wages and benefits would grow for years to come,” said Maurice Anderson, who has worked at Quaker Oats for 18 years. “Our worker-led negotiations team secured a contract that ensures our community can thrive for years to come. We are incredibly proud of what they have done here. Workers at Quaker Oats have made the brand what it is today. In this contract the company has shown that they know that our union members have fueled their growth. Quaker Oats has shown that it’s possible to be a responsible employer in Cedar Rapids, other companies should learn from them,” said Shane Forbes, President of Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The Quaker Oats contract was ratified after three voting sessions that took place on Thursday, November 7, 2019. The Quaker Oats contract will be in effect for four years and includes critical provisions such as: Annual general hourly wage increases over the term of the contract equaling 10% over the proposed new four-year term, and workers will receive a signing bonus as well. Significant wage increases for new workers on wage progression. Vacation enhancements, including day-at-a-time use. Protections against being forced to work during holiday weekends. (i.e. Labor Day weekend etc.) There were also numerous improvements to the contract language, which will help workers on the job and with work-life balance.   Quaker Oats’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the General Mills facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa. This announcement comes among a string of organizing and contract wins across the country for the RWDSU. The union continues to win organizing campaigns in Right-to-Work states like Iowa, bringing a union voice for workers in previously vehemently anti-union workplaces. The RWDSU has continuously secured strong contracts across the country in food processing and distribution among many other industries. Today’s contract is another win by members of the RWDSU.

99% OF WORKERS VOTE DOWN GENERAL MILLS CONTRACT PROPOSAL

(CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA) – Tonight, 99% of the workers at the General Mills’ production facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa have voted down General Mills’ contract proposal. The workers are members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s Local 110. The union called General Mills to share the results of the vote, and the parties have mutually agreed to meet in the morning. However, the worker-led negotiations committee noted that unless General Mills can move on four critical contract provisions at stake, workers will have no choice but to walk out. “What I’ve seen happening at our union hall this week is the true definition of solidarity. Our members stand strong at General Mills. By standing together and showing the company the real impact this could have on our families, we have shown what having a union is all about. This contract has the potential to change the lives of so many in our community. Unless General Mills makes real substantive changes to the contract, we will be forced to go on strike. It all depends on what the company brings to the table tomorrow,” said Tim Sarver, a 37+ year General Mills worker. “Cedar Rapids, Iowa was built on cereal, and General Mills cereal needs to ensure our city continues to thrive. This worker-led negotiations committee has shown our city what it means to stand up to corporate America tonight. They are doing so to protect their jobs, their families, and our local economy. The fact that the company has agreed to come back to the table tomorrow shows that they know their workers are critical to their own success. In order to avoid a strike however, General Mills needs to make real changes to this contract. We are confident our negotiations team led by workers who have spent a combined 130+ years at the facility will do everything they can to avoid a strike. If General Mills doesn’t move however, they could irreparably harm hundreds of families in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We hope after tonight, we can build a positive working relationship with General Mills that will lift up the hard work our members do every day, let’s see,” said Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Workers are the real backbone of a company’s success, and General Mills needs to understand that and invest in its workforce. General Mills is Americas’ #1 cereal brand; and their workers deserve a strong contract. These workers cannot, and will not, be treated as disposable,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: In the wake of the vote, the union called General Mills to share the results of the vote, and the parties mutually agreed to meet on the morning of Thursday, November 7, 2019. However, the worker-led negotiations committee noted workers may still walk off the job if there is no movement on the key four areas that workers have raised concerns about. The 520 workers represented by RWDSU Local 110 at General Mills voted on the contract at the local union hall on November 6, 2019. Votes were cast in three groups that correlated with the current shifts at the General Mills facility. The first votes were made at 6:00 a.m. CDT, and voting concluded at 4:30 p.m. CDT. 99% of workers voted to reject the company’s contract proposal, which would have rolled back some of the needed benefits they receive. At their last negotiations meeting, General Mills had presented a “last, best and final” offer to workers. The offer did not include any real protections of a labor contract, and contains insufficient raises, no maintenance of benefits over the term of the contract, and no other provisions that would support workers at the facility and their families. The contract also sought to install unfair scheduling practices, and third-party subcontracting that could move jobs from Cedar Rapids to non-union facilities nearby or abroad.   When General Mills presented their “last, best and final” offer, it triggered a contract vote – which took place on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Workers felt the company left them with little choice – either approve a bad contract or else go on strike.  Workers at General Mills voted to join the RWDSU on January 9, 2019. Winning the right to fair representation, a seat at the table and a real chance to stop the bleed out of their long-held benefits. Throughout the contract negotiations workers have been fighting for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace, as well as needed paid time off and fair wages. General Mills’ last offer provided almost nothing new for workers, potential job losses, and unfair scheduling practices. The RWDSU represents approximately 520 workers at the General Mills manufacturing facility in contract negotiations. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production, sanitation and maintenance at the facility. The facility produces iconic brands such as; the original Cheerios and other flavor varietiesincluding Honey Nut, Frosted and Multi-Grain, and Lucky Charms cereal, as well as fruit snacks including Gushers, Fruit Roll Ups, and Fruit by the Foot, and Betty Crocker ready to spread frosting. General Mills’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the Quaker Oats facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa.

Nearly 700 Quaker Oats Workers in Iowa Reach Tentative Agreement on New Contract

Workers in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Set to Ratify New Contract with Guaranteed Annual Wage Increases (CEDAR RAPIDS, IA) – Today, Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that nearly 700 workers at the Quaker Oats processing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa have reached a tentative contract agreement with the company. The worker led negotiation committee worked tirelessly to secure a strong tentative agreement that guarantees annual wage increases. The committee will strongly recommend workers vote in favor of this agreement. The contract could be ratified as early as Thursday. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production at the facility, which produces and supplies most of America’s Quaker Oats products. Quaker Oats’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the General Mills facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa. This announcement comes among a string of organizing and contract wins across the country for the RWDSU. The union continues to win organizing campaigns in Right-to-Work states like Iowa, bringing a union voice for workers in previously vehemently anti-union workplaces. The RWDSU has continuously secured strong contracts across the country in food processing and distribution among many other industries. Today’s tentative agreement is another win by members of the RWDSU. The ratification of the Quaker Oats contract is scheduled for Thursday, November 7, 2019. News on the ratification vote will be shared when available, the negotiations committee expects it will be overwhelmingly ratified. If ratified, the Quaker Oats contract will be in effect for four years and includes critical provisions such as: Annual general hourly wage increases over the term of the contract equaling 10% over the proposed new four-year term, and workers will receive a signing bonus as well. There were numerous improvements to the contract language, which will help workers on the job and with work-life balance.   Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) issued the following statement: “When we began contract negotiations with 100% union density at the facility, we knew we would bring home a fair contract for the hard working men and women at Quaker Oats. We have built a positive working relationship with Quaker Oats over the years that has lifted up the hard work our members do every day. Today’s tentative agreement is proof of that. The bargaining committee feels this is a strong contract that will support hundreds of Cedar Rapids families over the next four years. It’s nice to see one of Cedar Rapids’ top employers recognizing their workers’ skill and impact on their company in a substantial way through this agreement.”

Amid contract dispute, union workers picket outside homes of General Mills leaders

On Monday, many of them hoped to show the plant’s management that they’re fed up. Members of Local 110 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said General Mills’ contract offer isn’t fair. Workers are looking to secure higher pay and hold on to their overtime and premium weekend pay, along with their healthcare and retirement benefits. Union members said more than 300 people picketed in different places around the Cedar Rapids area on Monday night, including a group of more than 50 workers, who chanted and held signs outside the home of General Mills’ plant manager in Robins. read more and see video at 9 ABC Iowa

As Housing Works Launches Union-Busting Campaign, Elected Officals Demand Workers' Concerns are Heard

Less Than a Week After 100+ Housing Works Workers Walked Out Over Workplace Concerns Over 50 Elected Officials Are Demanding a Real Neutrality Agreement Be Signed by Management   (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, a delegation of City & State elected officials delivered a letter signed by more than 50 elected officials to Housing Works management demanding they sign a neutrality agreement with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The delegation and sign-on letter comes less than a week after 100+ Workers across Housing Works’ New York City locations walked off the job to demand the non-profit hear their workplace concerns. During the walkout workers also attempted to deliver Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULPs) that they filed with the National Labor Relations Board to their employer. The union has been demanding management sign a neutrality agreement that ensures a fair unionization process free from pressure or coercion of any kind. After the walk-out workers returned to work later that day to make sure their clients’ care was not disrupted. NYC Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams, Assemblymember Gottfried (Health Committee Chair), Senator Robert Jackson, Senator Julia Salazar, Assemblymember Walter Mosley, Assemblymember Michael Blake, and Assemblymember Yuh-line Niou were joined by other representatives from the New York State Senate and Assembly, and the New York City Council, and representatives of the RWDSU to deliver the letter (attached). Jumaane D. Williams, NYC Public Advocate: “I'm disappointed to have learned an organization whose work and mission I've supported over the years has allowed a situation like this to not only manifest, but also fester. The very people charging these complaints are members of the community Housing Works is charged with serving. These workers have the right to unionize in the same way they have the right to healthcare and safe housing.  Unionizing for fair treatment is empowering, union busting is a shame. I'm calling on the leadership at Housing Works to do the right thing.” Corey Johnson, NYC Council Speaker: “I stand with workers and urge Housing Works to sign a neutrality agreement and respect your employee’s rights to form a union. Your work fighting HIV/AIDS and homelessness is inspiring. Your workers need to be able to exercise their rights in order to carry on the advocacy our city needs.” Richard N. Gottfried, NY State Assembly Health Committee Chair: “We support Housing Works, and we support the workers at Housing Works. People want to make a living and be treated with fairness and respect; that’s what having a union is all about.” Robert Jackson, NY State Senator, District 31: “I was disappointed to learn of the opposition of Housing Works management to unionization. The workers have expressed their issues and concerns with proceeding within the NLRB framework, and Housing Works has shamefully denied their request for a signed neutrality agreement. I hope Housing Works management has a change of heart and agrees to come to the table. I thank the RWDSU and the courageous rank-and-file workers of Housing Works who are engaging in this fight to exercise their rights to collectively bargain over their conditions of employment.” Yuh-Line Niou, NY State Assemblymember, District 65: “Refusing to sign a neutrality agreement sends a bad signal of union busting to the hard workers at Housing Works. The workers deserve to be able to exercise their right to join a union without pressure or coercion of any kind. We need a real, formal commitment for neutrality from Housing Works. No company should be actively working to prevent their workers from organizing and unionizing. Our workers deserve to have concerns regarding pay, benefits, workloads, and workplace protections addressed. If our workers decide a union process is the best way forward, then our workers should be free to do so.” Brian Grady, Housing Works – Downtown Brooklyn, Housing Coordinator: “I’ve been the Housing Coordinator at Housing Works for over a year and a half. I had high hopes for Housing Works but after working here for a while I’ve found that there is a high turnover because of many structural issues. Low pay, problems with paid time off, and the lack of a living wage at this job are demoralizing for us. With a union, we can fix Housing Works and make it a good place to work.” Maren Hurley, Housing Works – Midtown Manhattan, Reentry Group Facilitators with the SMART Department: “Our clients are concerned at the high turnover rates and the lack of response from management to both staff and clients on this and other concerns. Working for Housing Works is a constant ethical crisis, not only for our wellbeing but also that of our clients, that can and needs to change. We as reentry service providers recognize that we work in a para-military environment, however we do not consent to endangerment of our safety through mishandling of sexual harassment incidents, exposure to extreme temperatures and retaliation by leadership.” Adrian Downing-Espinal, Housing Works – Midtown Manhattan, Harm Reduction/Substance Use Councilor: “It’s demoralizing that an organization with Act Up roots, which is a model for radical organizing would be so against a grass roots union movement. It’s also shocking that it would do business with a ‘union avoidance’ law firm that is the antithesis of progressive values. I came to Housing Works because of the mission and the values of the organization. There is a solid core of workers who are committed to the Housing Works mission, but a lack of will from management to support us in our fight for a union voice.” Jessica Quashie, Housing Works – Former East New York, Care Navigator: “There are multiple instances where a Departmental Supervisor has made me feel uncomfortable. For instance, he has misgendered trans and gender-non-conforming colleagues of mine in my presence and frequently discusses workers genitals in relation to their gender. There have been several other unprofessional interactions with him that have made me feel uncomfortable working with him. When I reported these instances to my direct supervisor and asked not to have to interact with him at work, she said that she would take care of it. However, nothing has changed. I feel that a union is necessary at Housing Works to prevent this type of harassment from occurring and to deal with it in a concrete way in instances where it does. Going through my direct supervisor and the HR channels available to us is not working. We need an independent voice for the workers to protect us from abusive supervisors and make clear what kind of conduct is and is not appropriate in the workplace.” Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU): “When workers at Housing Works came to our union with their workplace concerns, I was shocked to hear some of the issues they face every day. That’s especially surprising at an organization that so many New Yorkers, myself included, so firmly believe in. It is clear that Housing Works has strayed very far away from its original progressive values in dealing with its workforce, and it’s deeply troubling. When attorneys, care navigators, housing coordinators, maintenance workers and social workers stand shoulder to shoulder they should be heard. The workers at Housing Works have bravely come forward with their stories and our union will support them every step of the way in their fight to form a union. “We presumed that a progressive non-profit like Housing Works would respect the right of their workers to join a union. Instead their progressive messaging is just a façade for the truth. Housing Works management is behaving just as anti-union as much of corporate America. In fact, H&M, ZARA and countless others have signed neutrality agreements that go far above and beyond what Housing Works is willing to do. Their refusal to sign a neutrality agreement and their hiring of a ‘union avoidance’ attorney demonstrates their true intent. Workers walked out today to make clear that they need change in their workplace. These workers will not be stopped, and our union will be there with them throughout.” More About the #FixHousingWorks Campaign:  For months, workers at Housing Works have raised serious concerns about their workplace environment to management. With conditions only worsening, workers believe that union representation is the best way for them to address their concerns. Workers have described unmanageable caseloads, lack of training, discrimination and harassment, and health and safety issues. Workers have raised concerns about pay and benefits, including that their health insurance doesn’t provide adequate coverage for workers transitioning genders. These workplace issues are central not just to employee welfare, but to client care as well.   Housing Works provides housing assistance, and health and wellness care to thousands of New Yorkers living with HIV+/AIDS, as well as raising funds for its work through a number of book, clothing, and furniture retail thrift stores. Workers believe in the mission of the organization and want the same standard of care for employees as it provides for clients. Workers are urging Housing Works to reach a formal neutrality agreement with the RWDSU so that they can exercise their right to join a union free from pressure or coercion of any kind. Unfortunately, the process overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is all too often used by anti-union employers to keep workers from unionizing. Under the Trump administration, this problem has only gotten worse.  Housing Works actions have thus far shown an anti-union animus and a refusal to be neutral despite claiming otherwise. A signed agreement would show real commitment to neutrality and to an orderly and respectful process. Workers are urging the non-profit to live up to its progressive principles and reach such an agreement so that workers can fully exercise their rights. 

General Mills Union Could Call for Strike Next Week in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS — Members of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 110 will vote Wednesday on whether to call a strike at General Mills’ Cedar Rapids manufacturing facility for as early as next week. The union represents some 520 workers at the Cedar Rapids facility, at 4800 Edgewood Road SW. The bargaining unit members perform production, sanitation and maintenance work, according to a news release from the union.   read more about it in the Iowa Gazette  

Strike Looms for Workers at General Mills Cereal Company

(CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s (RWDSU) Local 110, announced that the workers at General Mills’ production facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa may go on Strike as early as next week.   At their last negotiations meeting, General Mills presented a “last, best and final” offer to workers. The offer did not include any real protections of a labor contract, and contains no significant raises, no maintenance of benefits over the term of the contract, and no other provisions that would support workers at the facility. The contract also seeks to install unfair scheduling practices, and third-party subcontracting that could move jobs from Cedar Rapids to non-union facilities nearby or abroad.     On October 3, 2019 workers voted to authorize a strike. When General Mills presented their “last, best and final” offer, it triggered a contract vote – which will take place on Wednesday, November 6, 2019. Workers will have no other choice than; either voting for an empty contract or going on strike.   Workers at General Mills voted to join the RWDSU on January 9, 2019. Winning the right to fair representation, a seat at the table and a real chance to stop the bleed out of their long-held benefits. Throughout the contract negotiations workers have been fighting for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace, as well as needed paid time off and fair wages. General Mills’ last offer provides almost nothing new for workers, potential job losses, and unfair scheduling practices which means the likelihood of a strike looms heavily.   “The best way for working people to protect themselves and their families is to join together in a union and to fight for a strong contract. The workers at General Mills are doing just that. These workers must not be treated as disposable by General Mills. The Company can, and must, do better. If workers are forced into this zero-sum game, they will stand strong. This is a workforce where many members have spent 20-30 plus years working at this iconic American brand and the fact that the company won’t recognize the hard work they do every day is outrageous,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).   “When we began contract negotiations, we looked forward to building a positive working relationship with General Mills that would lift up the hard work our members do every day. It is clear, however, that General Mills never shared this desire. Presenting a ‘last, best and final’ offer with countless loopholes that can harm workers is no contract offer at all. We hope that General Mills will rethink this empty contract and come back to the table so we can ensure they are part of the continuance of good paying full time jobs in Cedar Rapids for many years to come. If not, workers will have no choice but to go on strike, we don’t want that, General Mills can’t want that, and it will only hurt the Cedar Rapids economy,” said Roger Grobstich, Vice President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).   “I’ve worked at General Mills for over 38 years, I’ve stared them directly in the eyes through months of contract negotiations and I am stunned, to say the least, by their ‘last, best and final’ offer on our contract. I know everyone who works alongside me knows that representation from the union and a fair contract will change our future here. We will not back down. General Mills cannot get away with this, we are united and if we have to we will go on strike and shutdown this plant,” said Tim Sarver, General Mills worker.   RWDSU represents approximately 520 workers at the General Mills manufacturing facility in contract negotiations. The workers in the bargaining unit handle production, sanitation and maintenance at the facility. General Mills’ workers are members of Local 110 of the RWDSU, which also represents workers across town at the Quaker Oats facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and at Coles Quality Foods in North Liberty, Iowa.