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

Sub-Minimum Wage Pay Coming to an End for Downstate Car Wash Workers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2019 Contact: Chelsea Connor | cconnor@rwdsu.org | 347-866-6259      HUGE VICTORY AS ASSEMBLY PASSES A.6346-C JUST ONE DAY AFTER THE SENATE PASSED THIER BILL ENDING SUB-MINIMUM WAGES FOR DOWNSTATE CAR WASH WORKERS Carwasheros Call on Governor Cuomo to sign the Bill Into Law NEW YORK, NY – Today, in a huge win for New York’s car wash workers and the culmination of their seven-year campaign for justice in the industry, the New York State Assembly passed A.6346-C. This comes just a day after the Senate passed S.4030-A. The new law would require car wash workers downstate for the first time to be paid the full minimum wage. The law is an important step towards ending the injustice of the tip-credit loophole which enables employers to deduct tips from workers’ wages and opens the door for unscrupulous employers to steal their wages. Now, car wash workers are urging the Governor to sign their bill into law quickly and finally put an end to their washed-out-wages. “No worker should earn below the minimum wage – ever, and this law will change the lives of thousands of car wash workers in New York,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “For far too long car wash workers in New York have earned poverty wages under the tip credit law. Today, the New York State Assembly made clear that our legislature recognizes that this abhorrent loophole has left immigrant workers susceptible to wage theft. As a result of the work of both chambers passing this legislation, over 5,000 workers will now have a chance to earn fair wages for their work. Governor Cuomo has long been a supporter of justice for car wash workers and we look forward to him signing this bill into law. We applaud the leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie and lead sponsor Assemblymember Marcos Crespo for taking this historic measure today to lift up and protect car wash workers.”   # # #   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

Senate Passes S.4030-A Ending Sub-Minimum Wages for Car Wash Workers

Carwasheros Call on the Assembly to Pass A.6346-C Swiftly – and End the Tip Credit Once and For All   NEW YORK, NY – Today, the New York State Senate passed S.4030-A, which will require car wash workers downstate for the first time to be paid the full minimum wage. This is a big step in correcting an injustice for workers and towards ending the tip-credit loophole – which enabled employers to deduct tips from workers wages. Now, car wash workers are urging the Assembly to pass their bill quickly to put an end to their washed-out-wages. “No worker should earn below the minimum wage – ever,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “For far too long car wash workers in New York have earned poverty wages under the tip credit law. Today, the New York State Senate recognized that this abhorrent loophole has left immigrant workers susceptible to wage theft. As a result of the work of Senator Jessica Ramos and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins passing this critical legislation, over 5,000 workers will now have a chance to earn fair wages for their work. We are excited to work with Assemblymember Marcos Crespo and Speaker Carl Heastie on moving forward on the coordinating bill in the Assembly and ending this loophole for good.” # # # 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.

Local 262 Officers Elected

Danny Righetti has been elected new Local 262 President, and was sworn in with other Local 262 officers in May. (l to r) Former Local 262 President Pat Sperduto, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, new Local 262 President Danny Righetti, and former Local 262 President Ron Mancini.

Union Voice Win for 65 Certified Nursing Assistants at Bloomsburg in Pennsylvania

Certified nursing assistants at the Bloomsburg Care and Rehabilitation Center in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, voted overwhelmingly to join the RWDSU on May 30, after a campaign that saw workers demanding fairness and job security. The unit, with over 65 certified nursing assistant employees, overcame an aggressive employer campaign waged against their wishes to win a union voice. Daily letters, captive audience meetings, and scare tactics proved no match for a strong group of workers who simply want the respect and voice on the job that comes with joining the RWDSU. The RWDSU represents thousands of these workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and the union’s reputation is helping organize more health care facility workers in the region. The Bloomsburg employees quickly began organizing themselves. They knew they needed change after losing paid time off benefits and working through short staffing, extremely high and unaffordable health care benefits, no wage increases for two years, and most of all the lack of dignity and respect from management. “We were tired and fed up of losing benefits, we stood up and fought for our rights, I’m so proud of my co-workers. We demanded fairness, job security and most importantly giving quality care to our residents,” said Bloomsburg worker Julia Bachert. The Bloomsburg CRC organizing campaign moved rapidly, going from start to an election in less than two months. Thanks to an outspoken organizing committee on all shifts, the certified nursing assistants united as a cohesive team, remained strong, and recruited other leaders and supporters. “These workers united and demanded change, and sent management a clear message that they deserve fairness on the job and a guaranteed contract,” says RWDSU Organizer Luis Lopez.

RWDSU Endorses Farah Louis For City Council

Union Highlights Louis’s Work Fighting to Protect the Rights of Workers (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced the union’s endorsement of Farah Louis in her Primary Election bid to represent the 45th Councilmanic District in New York City. “Farah Louis’s career in public advocacy began when she made a critical choice to come from behind a news-camera and take to the school bus drivers’ strike line instead. From that moment on she hasn’t stopped fighting for the rights of working people,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Councilmember Louis knows the 45th district inside and out. She knows that smart development of the district with union jobs will ensure that generations of Brooklynites can truly live and work there. We know Farah will stand up and protect workers’ rights to organize and to have safe working conditions. And that she will ensure everyone in the 45th can earn a fair wage. The RWDSU is proud to support Farah on her re-election campaign and we look forward to continue working with her.” The 45th Councilmanic District includes East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park, and Midwood.

Chicago Joint Board Conducts Shop Steward Training

The RWDSU Chicago Joint Board last week conducted a Shop Stewards training to help members build skills that will allow them to assist fellow employees and ensure the union contract is followed in their workplace. Chicago Joint Board President Lisa Russel and Treasurer Ryan McIntyre led the event. Steward trainings not only impart valuable skills, but provide an opportunity for RWDSU members from different shops to build worker solidarity and discuss common issues they face. 

Happy Mother's Day

Alabama Fresenius Workers Ratify First Contract

Workers at Fresenius in Mobile, Alabama Had One Goal in Seeking a Union Contract, Care for Their Patients – and They Won (MOBILE, AL) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that workers at the Fresenius kidney dialysis facility in Mobile, Alabama, voted unanimously to ratify their first contract. The negotiations committee worked tirelessly to secure a strong contract that ensures workers’ concerns will be heard. This contract will protect the hard-working patient care technicians that provide critical care to patients in Mobile. This contract sets a scheduling protection precedent, which will bring stability to both workers and patients’ lives. It should set a standard not just for the global employer, but the industry. The union is also currently in negotiations for a contract at another Fresenius facility in Alabama and is confident that the strong provisions secured here will be part of that contract as well. The RWDSU represents healthcare workers across the U.S. in Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida. This announcement comes among a string of organizing and contract wins in the South for the RWDSU. The union continues to win organizing campaigns in Right-to-Work states, bringing a union voice for workers in previously vehemently anti-union workplaces. “The healthcare workers at Fresenius had one goal in seeking a union contract, care for their patients – and they won, “Randy Hadley, President of the Mid-South Council of the RWDSU said. “This first contract will bring so much not only to our members, but to their patients at Fresenius in Mobile. Together I know we can continue to spread that to so many other facilities where critical care like this is given to so many suffering from kidney disease and health issues. The ratification of this contract was conducted in the afternoon of Saturday, April 27, 2019 and was approved unanimously. The contract will be in effect for four years and includes critical provisions such as: Up to 6% wage increases in the first year of the contract, as well as ratification bonuses.  Guaranteed union access to the facility to ensure the collective bargaining agreement is being properly adhered to. Guaranteed scheduling protections, which will bring stability to both workers and patients lives.  

RWDSU President Responds to 1-Day Amazon Prime Shipping Announcement

STATEMENT: RWDSU PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO 1-DAY AMAZON PRIME SHIPPING ANNOUNCEMENT “With two-day Prime shipping, Amazon fulfillment workers currently face speeds of 200-300 orders per hour in 12-hour shifts. They struggle already to maintain that pace. If Amazon plans to effectively double the speed, it must also address existing workforce needs and ensure its workers are safe. Increasing fulfillment speeds means they need to hire more workers, under more sustainable speeds that don’t put worker’s lives in jeopardy.” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).