Workers Tell Their Stories at Tip Credit Hearing and Rally

RWDSU members testified today at Department of Labor hearings in the Bronx, New York, as workers and activists gathered beforehand to call for an end to the so-called “tip credit.” Car wash workers are among those affected by regulations which allow employers to pay sub-minimum wages in many industries, under the supposition that tips will make up and exceed the difference. In reality, the policy can act as a vehicle for wage theft, leaving workers earning poverty wages below the minimum wage. Workers told their stories at the hearings and the rally, explaining how the tip-credit system creates uncertainty and sub-minimum wage pay.

Nursing Home Workers In Scranton, PA, Win Union Voice

The RWDSU has scored another major nursing home victory, this time at Mountain View Care & Rehab Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania.  A unit of 76 certified nursing assistant employees remained united and overwhelmingly voted 35-2 to be represented by the RWDSU.  The RWDSU currently represents hundreds of nursing home employees in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.   The Mountain View employees began organizing less than a month ago.  They wanted to make improvements in their benefits and have a voice in negotiating their working conditions.  Danielle Albano, a certified nursing assistant and organizing committee member, said, “we wanted nothing more than to better our future and make change at our facility.  We united together on all shifts and quickly organized as a cohesive group around job security, a voice in the work place, dignity and respect and most important of all continuing to give quality care to our residents.”   “When we first me these Mountain View employees, I knew that they had concerns over their wages and benefits that needed to be addressed,” said RWDSU Organizer Paul Bazemore.  “The workers quickly created a strong, vocal and outspoken organizing committee representing all shifts.  The committee truly did an amazing Job.  They organized their facility within weeks.   The worker’s negotiation committee is preparing to meet with the Company to negotiate a fair and equitable contract that will provide great benefits for the workers while continuing to focus on providing the absolute best possible care for residents.

Unions are Not a Special Interest Group

Individual labor unions, like any organized constituency, sometimes have interests that conflict with the greater public’s. Police unions have an interest in protecting their officers from legal liability; the public, in ensuring that those who are supposed to “serve and protect” us have ample incentive not to shoot us dead. Coal miners’ unions have an interest in perpetuating their industry; the public, in perpetuating climatic conditions conducive to human life. But these conflicts do not render organized labor — as a whole — a “special interest group” like any other. While certain unions may be an obstacle to the greater good on discrete issues, they are collectively a uniquely effective vehicle for realizing that good on the issues that matter most to working people. read more at NY Magazine

New Jersey Health Care Workers Ratify Strong Contract

RWDSU Local 108 members at Woodlands Genesis health care center in New Jersey have ratified a new contract, their first union agreement since joining the RWDSU last year. The strong first contract was ratified by 100 percent of the membership. The contract brings some of the changes that workers sought when the joined together to join the union. For the first time, workers will be receiving shift and weekend differentials. They've also won four extra Holidays: MLK, Memorial Day, Easter and a floating Holiday. In addition, workers will see a 60 percent reduction on their contribution to the health Plan and a 2 percent wage increase for members under 5 years of service and a 2.5 percent or more increase for members over 5 years of service depending of the shift.  

RWDSU Endorses Lt. Governor Kathleen Hochul for Re-Election

Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced the union’s endorsement of New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Hochul on her re-election campaign. Continue reading

RWDSU Endorses Letitia James for New York Attorney General

NEW YORK, NY – Today, President Stuart Appelbaum of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced the union’s endorsement of Letitia James for Attorney General. The announcement comes on the heels of the Public Advocate’ historic announcement launching her statewide campaign. “Whether through legislation or on the picket lines fighting corporate greed, Letitia James has always stood with labor. The RWDSU is proud to now stand with Tish. as she has the experience, passion and commitment to lead our state as Attorney General. Now, more than ever, when the rights of workers, people of color, immigrants and women are being threatened, we must have a leader who has our values and is up to the challenge. We know Tish James will be that leader,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “From the two-day weekend, to the minimum wage, and child protections, the labor movement has been at the forefront of so many great progressive actions. I am proud to have the endorsement of the RWDSU, one of the largest and most active unions in New York and across the country. I have always been a champion for working people, and as Attorney General I will be the guardian of worker’s rights to ensure that no matter what federal administration, or what corporate interest may challenge us, we will always protect the women and men of labor,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.    

RWDSU Backs Alcantara for Re-election

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Democratic Sen. Marisol Alcantara. The former member of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference faces a primary challenge this year from Robert Jackson, a former New York City councilman. “Marosol Alcantara is a strong voice for working people in Albany and we are proud to endorse her re-election campaign today,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. read more about here:

RWDSU Endorses Sen. Marisol Alcantara For Reelection

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Wednesday announced its endorsement of Democratic Sen. Marisol Alcantara. “Marosol Alcantara is a strong voice for working people in Albany and we are proud to endorse her re-election campaign today,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. Continue reading

RWDSU Members Help Deliver Wins for Baraka, Council Members in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ – Today, Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and Charles Hall, Jr., President of Local 108 of the RWDSU, congratulated the work of members of RWDSU Local 108 in New Jersey whose tireless efforts helped ensured victory last night for Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Council Members Mildred Trump, Carlos Gonzalez, John Sharpe, Eddie Osbourne, Luis Quintana, and Anibal Ramos in Newark, New Jersey. RWDSU members door-knocked, mailed and phone banked for the union’s endorsed candidates across the city throughout the spring to ensure candidates, who would advocate for union values, won tonight.   “We congratulate Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Council Members Mildred Trump, Carlos Gonzalez, John Sharpe, Eddie Osbourne, Luis Quintana ,and Anibal Ramos for their victory tonight,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “Because of Mayor Baraka’s leadership, Newark is heading in the right path: one that is revitalizing neighborhoods, creating more jobs, and making communities safer. We look forward to working with him and the City Council to improve the lives of working people in Newark over the next four years and protecting workers’ rights to organize by establishing labor peace in the city.”   “We are proud to support the Mayor and congratulate him in winning another four years leading Newark. He’s the right person at the right time for the challenges ahead. We are entering a renaissance and the Mayor, and the City Council are working hard to make sure no Newarker gets left behind. They’re committed to working hand in hand with labor and we look forward to making sure new jobs coming to Newark are good union jobs,” said Charles Hall, Jr., President of Local 108 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). 

Saying Me Too is Harder for Low Wage Workers

Faced with vindictive employers and a dearth of good employment opportunities, women fighting sexual harassment and abuse in service-sector jobs face unrelenting pressure to keep quiet. Read about it here at The American Prospect