The Case for Raising Min. Wage Keeps Getting Stronger

Raising the minimum wage has been hotly debated in cities and states for years. Supporters argue that it's a remedy for widening wage inequality and will boost consumer spending, while opponents counter that it could reduce opportunities for employment, particularly for teenagers and others looking for entry level or low-skilled jobs. Now, another batch of proposed wage hikes is headed for ballots in 2018, with initiatives underway in Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, Washington, and Washington D.C. And this time, as research on earlier minimum wage hikes piles up, the impact on workers is starting to become more clear. The outlook? While some jobs could be lost as a consequence of more ambitious jumps in the minimum wage, the vast majority of workers who remain employed will enjoy higher pay and the economy overall isn't expected to suffer as a result. read about it at CNN

RWDSU Members in Westchester Worked Tirelessly in Support of Shelley Mayer for State Senate

  STATEMENT FROM RWDSU PRESIDENT STUART APPELBAUM RWDSU Members in Westchester Worked Tirelessly in Support of Shelley Mayer for State Senate   NEW YORK, NY – Tonight, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) highlighted the work of members in Westchester in support of Shelley Mayer for State Senate, who won her hard-fought campaign tonight. RWDSU members in New York phone banked, door-knocked and canvassed the 37th New York Senate District in support of Shelley Mayer’s campaign this spring.   “Shelley Mayer is a proven advocate for working people. Her years in the New York Assembly have shown that she won’t rest until workers get the justice they deserve – and tonight we congratulate her State Senate campaign win,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Shelley stood with members of the RWDSU when A&P went bankrupt. And she has stood with us to improve wages and working conditions time and time again. This is an important victory for Democrats in the State Senate, and I am proud of the work our members did to ensure Shelly was elected tonight.” # # #

Indiana Coke Workers Win Gains

Local 1976 members employed at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated in Lafayette, Indiana, voted unanimously to approve a new five-year pact. It increases hourly wage rates by $2.15 per hour, and also includes a $500 ratification bonus. In addition, the new contract locks in the current percentage rate of what employees contribute toward the health insurance cost, and increases the monthly pension benefit amount each year. It increases the hourly shift differential and the number of job classifications eligible to receive an hourly differential for having a Class “A” driver license. An hourly differential will also be implemented for Equipment Service Technicians with an EPA Certification with a Federal Refrigeration Recovery License.The new contact expands class protection for more Individuals against discrimination. It guarantees the union’s presence in New Employee Orientation Meetings and provides language improvements in the areas of union leave, jury duty, discharge and suspensions, and vacations. The members of the union’s Bargaining Committee were Local 1976 President Todd Maiden, Edmund Archer, David Black, Brett Percefull, and Robert Tincher. They were assisted by Indiana Joint Board President Dave Altman.

Tipped New York Workers Call for Minimum Wage Reform

Workers in restaurants, nail salons and car washes rallied Friday to kick off a campaign to push for one single minimum wage — instead of the lower one tipped workers currently take home. David Mertz, New York City director of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, said car wash workers already face dangerous conditions on the job. “On top of it all, they are told that they have to rely on the kindness of strangers to just put a little bit of money in that tip box. And they have to hope that that money in that tip box actually gets into their pockets,” he said. “It’s a terrible system. There’s no standard for tipping at car washes.” Read more at the NY Daily News Continue reading

RWDSU Endorses Luis Sepúlveda for NY State Senate

RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES LUIS R. SEPÚLVEDA FOR STATE SENATE A Champion for Working People   NEW YORK, NY – Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced the union’s endorsement of Assemblymember Luis Sepúlveda in his special election bid for State Senate in the 32nd District. Assemblymember Sepúlveda has carried key legislation over his three terms in the Assembly that impacts not just RWDSU members, but all workers in New York State, including his push for early education initiatives, healthcare and immigration rights.   “Assemblymember Luis Sepulveda has earned the support of the RWDSU in his bid for the New York State Senate because he knows his community inside and out and he works tirelessly to effect real change that helps lift up working people. He has stood with us on issues like raising the minimum wage and combating wage theft, and worked to make our state fairer and more inclusive by advocating for protection of voting rights and enacting criminal justice reform. We know Luis will continue to be a strong advocate for his district and we proudly endorse his campaign for State Senate today,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Another Strong Contract At Mott's in Upstate NY

In April, members of RWDSU Local 220 in Williamson, New York, overwhelmingly ratified a new contract. The hard-fought contract includes strong hourly wage increases over the next five years, reduced healthcare costs and job security provisions that will protect the members well into the future. This is a huge win for the over 300 Local 220 members who produce iconic household products including Mott’s applesauce, apple juice, and the Clamato beverage, among others. In 2010, Mott’s workers went on strike in the face of unacceptable contract provisions offered by the company. Despite it all, they were able to win a fair contract showing the real power of unionized workers. This time, negotiations lasted just seven weeks and workers were able to secure one of the strongest contracts in their history. “The workers at Mott’s proved years ago that if you stand up for what you believe in and you stand united that you can protect and advance the needs of working people. This contract is one of the best that we have ever negotiated at Mott’s and we are proud of the members for sticking together. Once again, they have set an example for workers everywhere,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “Our member driven negotiations team worked tirelessly to secure a strong contract for all 300 plus Mott’s workers. I am proud of our team, our work and our new contract. To see how far we’ve come in just under a decade to secure one of our strongest contracts shows the real power of RWDSU Local 220 and I couldn’t be happier to return to work shoulder to shoulder with our team under this new contract,” said Jerome Camp, President of Local 220. Serving on the negotiating committee were Local 220 President Jerome Camp, Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Thomas, Executive Board member Roland Graham, Chief Steward Ron Wilber , Recorder Chris Hermenet, and members Albert Joslyn and Bob Wenzel.

Union to U.S. Companies: Show us the Tax Cut Money

Big unions are challenging American companies to show them the tax-cut money.  Before the sweeping tax cuts were passed late last year, major U.S. corporations joined President Trump and Republicans in Congress in vowing the reform would grow the economy, create jobs and raise wages. And since then, many have boosted minimum wages, doled out bonuses and increased spending and charitable giving.  But the unions want companies to go a step further. As part of ongoing contract negotiations or talks set to begin within months, unions including the Communications Workers of America, Service Employees International Union, the Teamsters and the American Federation of Teachers are asking companies such as AT&T and American Airlines to reveal how much the tax overhaul will fatten their profits and what they plan to do with the windfall. They’re demanding that the companies specify the portion of the gains that will be used to boost wages, bring back jobs from overseas and make capital investments as well as the amount going toward increasing executive pay and buying back stock. read more here at USA Today

Pres. Appelbaum Applauds Anti-Harrassment NY Budget Provision

Today, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo for including landmark legislation in the FY 2019 budget that actively combats sexual harassment across the state.   “At a time when we see efforts in our nation’s capitol to roll back women’s rights, New York’s Governor Cuomo is working to increase them. Friday’s announcement that New York State is committed to stopping discrimination, disrespect or abuse of any kind in the workplace is a model for our country. We are proud to live in a state where women are valued and protected; and we thank the Governor and legislature for making sure this remains the case,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). 

CUNY Food Workers Complain of Poor Conditions, Low Wages (NY TImes)

One cafeteria worker at Kingsborough Community College said that he suffered a severe ankle injury after slipping on a grease trap that had not been properly secured, and spent almost five months on disability. Another cafeteria worker, at the New York City College of Technology, said that even though she has often worked more than 40 hours a week at her supervisors’ request, she has never been paid overtime. Still another, who graduated from Queens College with a degree in food service management, said that her wages were so low that she cannot afford health insurance. Those are among the anecdotes collected by the first-ever survey of people who work at the cafeterias, coffee shops and kiosks serving tens of thousands of students and faculty, throughout the City University of New York system. The survey results were released on Wednesday. Read more here at the New York Times

Retail Action Project Release Survey of CUNY Food Service Workers And Their Workplace Conditions

The Retail Action Project has released a Struggling To Feed Their Families, A Survey of CUNY's Food Service Workers. The report shines a light on the daily workplace and living conditions of the food service employees throughout the City University of New York system. The survey solicited responses from approximately 450 CUNY food service workers spread across 14 campuses, serving students in various settings from cafeterias to kiosks. Continue reading