Macy’s is Closing Stores Nationwide Because of Coronavirus

Macy’s is closing all of its stores nationwide, effective at the end of business Tuesday through March 31, to try to help curb the spread of COVID-19.  The closures include all Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bluemercury, Macy’s Backstage and other outlet stores, the company said in a press release. Macy’s said it will offer benefits and compensation to its affected workers during this time. “The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority,” CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement.  read more at MSNBC

Global alliance of unions demands Amazon take urgent measures to address COVID-19

March 17—In the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks in Amazon warehouses, a global alliance of unions is calling on the company to take a series of urgent measures to protect workers and their communities. The alliance, coordinated by UNI Global Union, is making these demands as workers in Italy are striking and workers in Spain are filing complaints to make the company fulfil its legal and ethical obligations to provide a safe workplace. Christy Hoffmann, General Secretary of UNI Global Union said “Amazon workers are on the front lines of this crisis. Amazon is facing increased demand as families around the world prepare to stay home, and with that increased demand comes increase risk for workers. Workers are doing their part, but Amazon is failing to abide by safety rules set by governments in Spain and Italy once again putting profits over people. Amazon needs to negotiate with unions to ensure worker safety and smoothly functioning supply chains.” Italian Amazon workers are on strike in Castel San Giovanni (Piacenza) and announced a “state of agitation” in facilities in Piedmont and Passo Corese near Rome over unsafe conditions. Already, Amazon warehouse employees have tested positive for COVID-19. Italian Union CGIL claims that Amazon is not fully adhering to COVID-19 protocols jointly negotiated between trade unions and the government. Tania Scacchetti, Confederal Secretary of CGIL, said “Amazon workers are mobilizing for their health as the e-commerce multinational continues to fail to provide the right protection. The company puts productivity and profit before safeguarding the personal safety of its employees.”  After confirmed coronavirus cases in Amazon warehouses in Barcelona and Madrid, Spanish union Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO) has filed  a complaint with authorities  in Barcelona over Amazon’s response to the outbreak. Additionally, in the United States the company has been rapidly hiring workers to fill growing demand. In the United Kingdom, workers are reportedly being forced to work overtime. “Amazon is once again putting its own profits ahead of worker safety,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and of UNI Global Commerce. “Jeff Bezos should remember that workers make Amazon run, and that his continued denial of workers' rights is inconsistent with effectively mitigating this crisis.” Appelbaum is also the President of the Amazon Alliance. The full statement of the alliance is here at UNI Global Union.

The companies that feed America brace for labor shortages and worry about restocking stores as coronavirus pandemic intensifies

Working men and women are heroically helping to provide for Americans during this crisis. Read about the challenges they are facing as Americans plunder stores for goods.

U.S. Unions, Groups Urge Government Steps to Protect Workers From Coronavirus

Working people are at the front lines of the battle against Coronavirus. Read about it here at New York Times

Unions Across America Are Screaming For Paid Sick Leave and Healthcare

As coronavirus spreads, sowing panic and economic dislocation, unions across the country are using the crisis as an opportunity to call for priorities that were dismissed as left-wing fantasies not long ago—and now seem like common sense. read more at In These Times

Covid-19: What you Should Know and How to Protect Yourself

COVID-19 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: What you should know about the virus and what you should do to protect yourself. view the flyer here  Updated symptom sheet from WHO (3/13/20)

Download the 2020/2021 RWDSU Scholarship Application

The Al Heaps Memorial Scholarship, open to RWDSU members and their children, is open to applicants.  The deadline is May 30, 2020. Download and print the application here:

NYC IRI Employees Win Local 338 Membership

After learning about union benefits and a campaign that saw employees working closely with Local 338 organizers, workers at Innovative Resources for Independence (IRI) have become the newest members of RWDSU Local 338. With over 300 new members, the successful campaign represents a big victory for Local 338, and most importantly, the workers at IRI. The new members work at locations in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau County. Their employer focuses on working with individuals who are developmentally disabled. The Local 338 members working at IRI work directly with the individuals providing care and support in both group homes and day habilitation facilities. Explaining why he voted to join Local 338, Joshua L. who’s worked at IRI for 11 years as a Direct Support Professional, says “I wanted the union for job security. I spoke with my coworkers about the benefits of having a union and I worked on keeping them informed, because the union benefits all of us.” Currently, Local 338 represents over 1000 members who work for non-profit agencies that care for the developmentally disabled, including IAHD and Community Resources. IRI employees overwhelmingly voted to become members of the RWDSU, noting the success of our union to fairly represent and fight for the benefits these employees deserve.

RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES COSTA CONSTANTINIDES FOR QUEENS BOROUGH PRESIDENT

Union Highlights Constantinides’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 Costa Constantinides in his bid for Queens Borough President in this Special Election.   “Costa Constantinides knows firsthand what it’s like to work in retail and the benefits of having a union – one of his first jobs was at one of our grocery stores. But more importantly, he has not forgotten about the experience and has been guided by it in his years in office. He has demonstrated a commitment to lifting up working people and has consistently supported our efforts to advance workers’ rights,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Working people need someone in Queens who has the strength and self-determination to speak out for the concerns of working people. He proved that when he stood up to Amazon despite their money and power. We need someone who is not controlled by big money donors but is willing to provide a fresh and independent voice for the community. The RWDSU is proud to endorse Costa for Queens Borough President and we look forward to continuing our work together in the coming years.”   “As someone who put himself through school by working in retail, I am so excited, honored, and humbled to have the support of the RWDSU,” said Costa Constantinides. “We have fought together to protect our retail workers, especially warehouse workers who've been exploited by Amazon in Queens and throughout our City. I look forward to this partnership with Stuart Appelbaum and the RWDSU continuing as Queens Borough President, where I'll never stop fighting for good jobs that provide fair wages, benefits, and a pathway to the middle class.”