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).

RWDSU Endorses Councilman Rory Lancman for Queens District Attorney

Appelbaum: “Rory is the candidate of working people in the race for District Attorney” QUEENS, NEW YORK: Councilman Rory Lancman, a candidate for Queens District Attorney, announced the endorsement of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and their 45,000 members in New York. “Rory Lancman’s time in the State Assembly and the City Council has shown he is one of the most effective advocates for working people in Queens,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Our union represents and organizes the most vulnerable and marginalized workers in our city today. Rory is the candidate of working people in the race for District Attorney. Rory has the clearest vision to support workers’ rights. He has pledged to build a new unit in the District Attorney’s office to combat rampant wage theft and protect workers from injury, harassment and discrimination. Rory’s 15 years of experience as a lawyer helping workers facing these same pervasive workplace issues is proof he is the right person to lead the way. We are ready to get to work electing Rory Lancman as the next Queens District Attorney.” “I’ve dedicated my career to fighting for working New Yorkers, and it’s a great honor to have the backing of the RWDSU,” said Councilman and candidate for Queens District Attorney Rory Lancman. “Together, we can refocus the District Attorney’s office to ensure that the people of Queens finally have a true leader with experience in the fight for workers' rights.” Before being elected to public office, Rory Lancman spent the better part of fifteen years as a workplace rights lawyer representing victims of employment discrimination and harassment, wage theft, and workplace injury. While serving in the State Assembly, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, and in the City Council, Rory has consistently stood up for working people in their right to organize and collectively bargain for fair wages, safe working conditions, and retirement security.   Lancman’s longtime defense of worker rights has earned him the formal endorsement of unions representing tens of thousands of workers, including: IBEW Local 3, District Council 1707, International Union of Operating Engineers Locals 891 and 94, Teamsters 813, Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local Union #1 New York, Workers United, NY/NJ Regional Joint Board (SEIU), NYC Allied Printing Trades Council NY NJ CT, and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.) Local One. Councilman Lancman was the first to announce his candidacy for District Attorney because Queens can’t wait any longer for real criminal justice reform -- for an end to the overpolicing and mass incarceration of communities of color that marks the New Jim Crow, and for renewed focus on protecting working people, women, immigrants, homeowners, and tenants. As chair of the City Council Committee on the Justice System, he has jurisdiction over the City’s five district attorneys, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and the courts. His hearings, budget actions, and legislation have been on the leading edge of criminal justice reform. ###    

Press Coverage Highlights Strong New Tyson Contact

Atlanta Business Journal

1,800 Tyson Workers Ratify Best Poultry Industry Contract in Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13, 2019 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259   1,800 WORKERS AT TYSON VOTE TO RATIFY STONGEST POULTRY INDUSTRY CONTRACT IN YEARS Workers at Tyson in Camilla, Georgia Will Receive Guaranteed Annual Wage Increases, a Drastic Reduction in Health Care Premiums, and Overtime for Working on Personal Days   (ATLANTA, GA) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that 1,800 workers at the Equity / Tyson poultry processing plant in Camilla, Georgia, voted overwhelmingly, by 97% of those members voting to ratify their latest contract. The negotiation team at the Southeast Council of the RWDSU worked tirelessly to secure the strongest contract that workers in the poultry industry have seen in years.   The RWDSU represents poultry workers across the Southern U.S., including workers at Pilgrim’s Pride, Wayne Farms, and Tyson locations in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. 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 RWDSU has continuously secured strong contracts across the south in food processing and distribution among many other industries. Today’s ratification at Tyson now leads the industry.     “The people of Georgia are fighters, and especially the workers at Equity / Tyson in Camilla, are a strong force for real industry change – and I could not be prouder to work with them to secure this contract,” Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the RWDSU said.“Absolutely nothing could stop our members from fighting for the critical provisions of this contract that were going to impact so many workers not just at this facility, but for years to come at so many others – they set a new standard for poultry workers.”   The ratification of this contract was conducted in the afternoon of Saturday, April 12, 2019 and was approved by an overwhelming margin. The RWDSU represents over 1,800 workers at this Equity / Tyson poultry-processing center, more than 3,000 workers in Georgia, and over 10,000 poultry workers across the Southern U.S.   The contract will be in effect for three years and includes critical provisions such as: A large Reduction in health care costs to members, which makes it affordable for them to cover their families with medical coverage. Annual general wage increases over the term of the contract equaling $1.50, an additional $0.20 cents per hour wage increase based on seniority, and additional classification wage increases in some jobs of up to $0.75 cents per hour.  For example a senior worker in the live hang job classification could see a first year wage increase of a $1.45 per hour, and up to $2.50 cents per hour over the term of the contract. A major victory was that Personal Days now count as time worked for the purpose of computing overtime, when previously they did not.  Additionally workers can now use personal days on Fridays, Mondays, and on the weekend, when previously they were not allowed to take personal days on these days. There was a major overhaul of the contract language clarifying many articles in the contract, which will help workers on the job, including strengthening seniority, job bidding rights, layoff and recall rights, and many other provisions in the contract as well. The employer will post all job promotions and openings in conspicuous places in the plant, and recognize our members’ rights to obtain those jobs by seniority.   From L-R: Director of Collective Bargaining and Assistant to the President Allen Mayne, Tyson Worker Negotiations Committee, RWDSU Southeast Council President Edgar Fields, and RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.   # # #   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, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.  

Fresh Mark Workers Come Together in Ohio

The RWDSU represents over 2,800 workers at three Fresh Mark meat-processing plants in Ohio; Fresh Mark Salem, Fresh Mark Massillon, and Fresh Mark Cold Storage. At a meeting recently, Fresh Mark workers met for important steward training, and the union distributed RWDSU red vests for all members so they can show off their RWDSU pride and union solidarity. The Vest Committee (pictured) distributed the vests to workers at all three plants.

Labor Coalition Demands Amazon Reinstate Fired Employee Who Fought For Unionization

STATEN ISLAND, NY— Organized labor took their fight to Amazon’s doorstep this afternoon, where a crowd of around 100 union members and community organizers gathered in Matrix Global Logistics Park, the site of fulfillment center JFK8 and former place of employment for Justin Rashad Long. The heavily roboticized Staten Island fulfillment center has been a flashpoint for activists since the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union announced it would be helping workers unionize JFK8 in December. Long, one of the most outspoken workers employed at the center, was fired in February in what he and labor leaders believe was retaliation for his testimony about conditions within the facility. “They talk to you like you’re nothing — all they care about is their numbers,” Long told Bloomberg last year, in testimony that would later be echoed by others employed at JFK8. Read the whole story at Gizmodo