A strong new contract for poultry workers at Koch Foods in Macon, Georgia, has been ratified unanimously by the RWDSU members who work there. Preparation for contract negotiations began long before face to face meetings with the company. To develop proposals that would have the most impact on members’ lives, Allen Mayne, Director of Collective Bargaining, Sandra Williams, RWDSU Representative and Desire Tillman, RWDSU Organizer, met with workers for over several months. The result was a new, groundbreaking three-year collective bargaining agreement that addressed all of the members’ priorities. In addition to generous guaranteed annual wage increases in each year of the contract, jobs classification rates were significantly increased and upgraded, resulting contractual raises for members ranging from $1.00 to over $2.00 per hour. The contract also strengthened language on seniority rights throughout the contract. The new contract ends any outsourcing of bargaining unit work, and new grievance and arbitration language expands workers’ rights and ensured fairness throughout the process. The new contract also protects the health care benefits and prohibits any changes.
Elected officials, the RWDSU, and community groups including Make the Road New York, NYCC, ALIGN and others gathered at the proposed site of the new Amazon HQ2 in Queens, New York, today to speak out against the over $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies the richest corporation in the world will be receiving to set up shop in NYC. The press conference and rally called for the city to demand that Amazon give back to the community rather than take, and called attention to the housing and transportation difficulties that the facility, which will house 25,000 Amazon employees, will cause in the community.
“New York deserves better than the deal that was struck to lure Amazon here. Its hard to believe that we are giving as much as $1 billion dollars to one of the wealthiest and largest companies in history. This was an opportunity to create good jobs in a way that benefits the city and workers. We should be demanding that Amazon respects its workforce by allowing them to exercise their right to freely associate. We should be demanding that they give back to the community and not drain public resources. Instead we got played. Amazon can afford to come here without handouts. Its embarrassing to think that such a great city would need to beg them to come. They are coming here because they need to come here - because we offer so much. Tax payers shouldn’t be on the hook to help Amazon be profitable – it’s a massively profitable private business. New York, we can and should do better,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
An Op-Ed at the Chicago Sun Times says workers and unions are in a much better position following the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Read it here
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, November 5, 2018 STATEMENT FROM RWDSU: "Amazon, one of the wealthiest and largest companies in history, needs the city more than the city needs Amazon – plain and simple. If Amazon wants to come here they can afford to do so on their own. RWDSU is deeply concerned about using tax payer subsidies for a company run by the richest man on earth to set up shop in our city, especially when it’s something they want to do and can do on their own anyway. Tax payers shouldn’t be on the hook to help Amazon be profitable – it’s a massively profitable private business,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).
Members at RWDSU Local 578 of Rochelle, Illinois, who work at Americold, ratified a new five-year agreement calling for wage increases each year and a new improved wage progression structure, stronger seniority protections and job posting language, as well as improved bereavement leave, additional trainer pay, and reduced costs for members for insurance premiums. Americold is a cold storage facility. Members of the Bargaining Committee we’re Anthony Chamberlain, Jason Good and Ross Ferger as well as Daniel Williams, President of RWDSU, Local 578 and Kelly Osborne, Recorder of Local 578. Assisting the Committee was Dennis Williams, Sr. Business Representative for the Central States Council, RWDSU and Roger Grobstich, RWDSU Representative.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams delivers a personal message to RWDSU members in a new video released by her campaign. Abrams voices her support for the labor movement, and its importance in creating a better economy for all Georgians. Early voting is open in Georgia through Friday, November 2. And Election Day is Tuesday November 6. If you need help getting to the polls, please call 888-730-5816. RWDSU is also hosting a Tele-Town Hall with Stacey Abrams on Saturday, November 3rd at 7:00pm. All you need to do to particpate is call in at the number provided below. Georgia members (along with friends and family) are invited to volunteer to get out the vote on Saturday November, 3rd. There are two events in both Atlanta and Columbus. If you are interested in attending, please call RWDSU Deputy Political Director Edgard Laborde at (917) 593-3838. Info for the events is below: ATLANTA501 Pulliam St SW, 3rd Floor, Atlanta, GA9:00AM - 1:30PM COLUMBUS502 1st Avenue, Columbus, GA2:PM to 4:00PM
Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) denounced a proposed federal policy, first reported by the New York Times, to redefine gender under Title IX in a way that will cause tremendous harm to the transgender and gender non-conforming community. “The members of the RWDSU come from all walks of life—from every race and ethnicity, young and old, gay and straight, immigrant and native born. We are proud to represent all of them, and to stand with them when they are targeted and scapegoated," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)."We are also proud to count amongst our membership those in the transgender and gender non-conforming community. We read with alarm recent reports that the Trump administration is considering a change to the definition of the protections under Title IX that would essentially take basic human rights away from transgender people. We strongly reject this cruel and unnecessary proposal. Trans and gender non conforming people have the right to live free from discrimination. We have always said that trans rights are workers’ rights and we will continue to stand with the transgender community. And a message to our members who are trans: the RWDSU will continue to fight alongside you. You will not be erased.”
RWDSU members employed at Hugo Bosca Leather in Springfield, Ohio, ratified a new contract that brings good yearly raises, increases retirement benefits, and protects health care coverage without any cost increases to members. Local 379 members at Hugo Bosca manufacture high end leather products for retailers including Macy’s.
Workers at DHL in Union City, Georgia, overwhelmingly voted in favor of the RWDSU today, rejecting the company’s union busters and their lies and misinformation. The workers saw through the company’s anti-union campaign and are celebrating their huge victory as they have officially won their RWDSU union election. The workers at the DHL International Shipping distribution center in Union City, Georgia, voted to join the RWDSU Southeast Council, the latest in a string of organizing victories for workers and the RWDSU in Georgia. Workers at DHL joined the union for a number of reasons, including unfair scheduling and forced overtime, health and safety, and rampant favoritism. Most of all, they joined because of an astounding lack of respect by management. The workers today won a voice on the job, the right to negotiate a union guaranteed contract, and the respect they are entitled to. The campaign wasn’t easy, as the company fought hard against the workers’ efforts to win their union voice. The workers, however, stood strong in the face of the anti-union campaign and the union-busting anti-worker “consultants” the company hired to misinform and intimidate them.