At ManorCare, Labor Dispute Lingers

Standing down the road from the Salisbury Township adult care facility where she has worked for the past four years, Ruth Santamaria donned a red union cap, clutched a megaphone and gripped a sign that read, “Every day is Halloween at ManorCare. They suck workers’ blood.” Santamaria was among several employees who joined representatives from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union — the union HCR ManorCare workers voted to join — at a rally Tuesday afternoon at the busy intersection of Cedar Crest Boulevard and Fish Hatchery Road, a football field from HCR ManorCare at 1265 S. Cedar Crest Blvd. read more about it at The Morning Call

Local 108 Announces New Jersey Endorsement Slate

(NEWARK, NJ) – Today, President Charles N. Hall Jr. of Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced the union’s endorsements of the re-election of State Senator Stephen Sweeney, Elliot Isibor for State Senate, Anthony Romano for Hoboken, New Jersey Mayor, Ted Green for East Orange Mayor, and Bergson Leneus for East Orange City Council. Hall announced the union will put the full force of its 10,000 members across New Jersey behind these campaigns, to ensure their victories on November 7, 2017. The RWDSU previously endorsed Phil Murphy for Governor and Sheila Oliver for Lieutenant Governor, this slate of endorsed candidates represents the change we need in New Jersey.   Stephen Sweeney re-election for State Senate: “Senator Sweeney has led the fight to increase the minimum wage in New Jersey, and has been a fierce advocate for family and disability leave. For all of these reasons we are putting our full support behind his re-election campaign and we look forward to continue working with him on critical legislation that helps working people across New Jersey,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).   Elliot Isibor for State Senate: “Ellior Isibor is the real change we need in our State Senate – and we are proud to support his campaign to fix our pension system, create real budget reforms and worker training programs across the state,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Elliot has pledged to work with our members in Morris, Essex and Passaic County to ensure good union jobs are created and supported in the communities that need them the most and our members are already encouraging their neighbors to get out and vote.”   Anthony Romano for Hoboken Mayor: “Hoboken needs a mayor who will put working people first – Anthony Romano will be that Mayor,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Anthony is a third generation Hoboken resident, he has served as a police officer and as a teacher in our community – he knows the importance of unions first hand and he knows the needs of working people in Hoboken. We are proud to announce our endorsement of his campaign for mayor today. Our members, many of whom live and work in the City of Hoboken, serve in critical part-time positions across the city, from crossing guards, to parking enforcement officers, to shuttle bus drivers, to court attendants and sanitation workers – we are encouraging our members to support him on the ground and look forward to working with him as mayor.”   Ted Green for East Orange Mayor: “As City Council Chairman Ted Green has been serving his community for over 25 years – and today we are proud to stand behind him in his bid for Mayor of East Orange,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Ted has lead the fight for legislation and programs that protect homeowners from foreclosure, create job training and apprenticeship programming, and promotes criminal justice reform. His work has had a direct impact on our members and now we will have a direct impact on his campaign.”   Bergson Leneus for East Orange City Council: “The East Orange City Council passes critical legislation that helps our members – and we know Bergson Leneus will work with our members to write bills that will help our members live, work and thrive in East Orange,” said Charles N. Hall Jr., President Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “We’re ready to get to work on Bergson’s campaign and hit the doors.”

Pres. Appelbaum Confirmed as Co-Chair of DNC Resolutions Committee

On Saturday, October 21, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was confirmed by a vote of the full Democratic National Committee (DNC) as co-chair of the resolutions committee along with Lottie Shackelford. The resolutions committee helps set the policy agenda for the Democratic Party. Appelbaum, who is also a member of the DNC executive committee, served on the resolutions committee prior to his appointment as co-chair. “I was honored to be nominated by DNC Chair Tom Perez to this important position. Despite the divisive and empty rhetoric from Donald Trump, the Democratic Party remains the political voice for the hopes and aspirations of our nation’s working people,” Appelbaum said.

RWDSU Calls Out False Attacks on NJ Gov. Candidate Murphy

Today, a baseless attack ad about Gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy hit the airwaves. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which endorsed Murphy early on in his candidacy, and has been a strong voice for immigrant workers regardless of their status responded: “Creating incendiary baseless attacks only serve to distract us from the real issues that need to be discussed. These Trump-like tactics do not belong in New Jersey period,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “We support Phil Murphy and his plan to make New Jersey a ‘Sanctuary State’ – immigrants built the foundation of our country and continue to enhance our communities. By making New Jersey a place where immigrants regardless of their status can thrive will make the state thrive. Phil has no connection to the Jose Carranza case whatsoever – and that case is not an example of all undocumented immigrants – it’s an outlier, and one Phil had nothing to do with. As Governor, Phil’s plan to make New Jersey a ‘Sanctuary State’ will actually make our communities safer, when undocumented immigrants can report crimes or suspicions without fear of deportation our local law enforcement can better protect us all – and perhaps even prevent outliers like Jose Carranza from committing them in the first place.”

Local 374 Member - "Honey Bunches of Oats" Star - Retires

Do you recognize RWDSU Local 374 member Diana Hunter? You might – she’s the star of popular TV commercials for Honey Bunches of Oats cereal that have aired for several years. Hunter, who has worked at Post Cereal in Battle Creek, Michigan, for 40 years, is retiring. Hunter’s charm and unbridled enthusiasm for Post cereals and her job won over fans and made her both a local and internet celebrity. In an Oats commercial she's featured in, Hunter famously called the main ingredient of Post cereals "sparkle flakes." Here’s to many more years of sparkle and an enjoyable retirement!

Workers at Vosges Chocolate Store Join RWDSU

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), announced that the workers at Vosges Chocolate Store in Soho, New York City, voted unanimously to be represented by the RWDSU in their fight for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace, as well as job security and fair wages through a collective bargaining agreement.  Continue reading

Statement From RWDSU President Appelbaum on Mayor-Elect Randall Woodfin

Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) highlighted the work of members in the Birmingham Mayoral race in support of Randall Woodfin, who won his hard-fought campaign against an eight-year incumbent last night. RWDSU members look forward to working with him on legislation that will give workers a voice in Birmingham for the first time in years.   Continue reading

Local 338 Awards Scholarships

Local 338 is proud to congratulate the winners of its 2017 scholarships, 21 young men and women, who are either Local 338 members or the children of Local 338 members and were recognized for their academic and extracurricular achievements. Book Award Scholarship winners who have received $500 towards the cost of their first semester’s required readings: Susan Abramovich, Mohammed Al Muhaymin, Crystal Bernard, Kristi Cahill, Brittany DiGrigoli, Delia Morales, Ashley Seepaul, Kristina Shaw, Lisa Spinosa, Gabriella Stramera. Local 338 Scholarship winners who have received $1,500 towards their first year of college: Alex Bisogno, Christina Bogue, Kelly Conigliaro, Robert Dickey, Paul Golombek Kenneth Lund, Sean Montiel, Freddy Murgida, Ryan Obes, Jolie Sangiorgio. Emanuel Laub Scholarship Award: A special congratulation to Maciej Zielonka for winning the Emanuel Laub Scholarship Award, which is named in memory of the Local 338’s late President. Maciej will receive a total of $6,000 ($1,500 each year for the next four years) towards his tuition at Yale University.  

New Saks Contract Has National Impact

In September, members of RWDSU Local 1102 at Saks 5th Avenue’s iconic flagship store in Manhattan ratified a contract that will reverberate nationwide. The hard-fought contract, which was settled shortly before the deadline, repelled the company’s outrageous demands to eliminate employee commissions when a customer paid with an “earned gift card” or “Saks First” loyalty points – a change which would have slashed employee pay by up to 10 percent. The union’s hard-fought victory is not only a win for the approximately 100 Local 1102 members in Saks’ women’s shoe department, but is also a triumph for hard-working Saks employees in stores across the country, as the company has indicated that, because of Local 1102’s arguments against these arbitrary programs, it will halt a previously-planned nationwide implementation.     Under the new agreement, the company will retain the present commission structure by preserving the union employees’ 10 percent commission on sales of women’s shoes. Further, the union negotiated the right to have employees’ sales goals adjusted to account for their use of vacation and other paid time off. Finally, Local 1102 negotiated a contract ratification bonus for Saks’ unionized workforce.   “I am taken aback by the company’s response to our concerns about changes to the commission system and their interest in not just retaining the system in New York but for my friends and colleagues at other stores,” said Gil McGarvey, sales representative and Local 1102 Shop Steward and Executive Board Member. “In all my years at Saks never have I felt more heard by the company – and the union is the reason we were heard.”    “I am exceptionally proud of, and humbled by, the hard work and selfless dedication of our nine-member negotiations team,” said Alvin Ramnarain, President of Local 1102. “This contract is a huge win for both our members and also for workers across the country who would have received drastic pay cuts. Saks, after speaking with its corporate partners, agreed to back off its demands, and actually informed us that, because of the arguments presented at the bargaining table, that they would quash this program nationwide. We are grateful that Saks understood that when they invest in their people and let them sell, their business will thrive. This is clearly a case where the union difference will have a positive effect on Saks’ profits, and that’s a win for our members and the company. What is clear today is that when workers stand together, we can win.”

RWDSU Marches with Spectrum Workers

On Monday, the RWDSU joined thousands of workers and activists in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge and a rally in Foley Square to support striking Spectrum IBEW members and demand that the communications company negotiate a fair contract with its employees. Spectrum—whose CEO made almost $100 million in 2016—is proposing drastic health care cuts for unionized workers and their families and wants to eliminate pensions and job security. The company also refuses to amend its discipline policy that punishes workers for making multiple visits to a household, when most technical problems are a result of aging equipment. Buildings aren’t properly wired, equipment is old and outdated and workers are forced to take the blame for cable speeds that often fall so short of advertised performance that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed a lawsuit accusing the company of defrauding consumers.