Retail Workers Feel Disruption From Changing Shopper Habits

NEW YORK (AP) — With new options and conveniences, there’s never been a better time for shoppers. As for workers ... well, not always. The retail industry is being radically reshaped by technology, and nobody feels that disruption more starkly than 16 million American shelf stockers, salespeople, cashiers and others. The shifts are driven, like much in retail, by the Amazon effect — the explosion of online shopping and the related changes in consumer behavior and preferences. As mundane tasks like checkout and inventory are automated, employees are trying to deliver the kind of customer service the internet can’t match. Read more here at AP

RWDSU Backs Mayer for Senate

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on Monday endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Shelley Mayer, who is seeking the open seat in Westchester Count that’s become a centerpiece for control of the chamber. “Shelley Mayer is a proven advocate for working people. Her years in the New York Assembly have shown that she won’t rest until workers get the justice they need. We are proud to support her campaign for the State Senate today,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the RWDSU president. “Shelly stood with members of the RWDSU when A&P went bankrupt; she has stood with us to improve wages and working conditions for workers time and time again – and now we stand with her as she announces her run for the State Senate in New York. We know she will bring her strong values – values that put working people first – to the Senate, and we will work hard to ensure she is elected.” Mayer, a Yonkers Democrat, is competing for the nod to run in a special election to fill the seat, vacated by Westchester County Executive George Latimer. Also vying for the seat include People for Bernie co-founder Kat Brezler and Bedford Supervisor Chris Burdick. A special election is yet to be called. “I am proud to receive the support of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union,” Mayer said. “I am committed to being a State Senator that our workers can rely on to fight for the issues that matter most – stronger schools, better wages, and better jobs. Together, we can create the necessary, progressive changes to make our community and New York stronger.”

Labor leaders talk 2017, Trump and the future

The year 2017 was a tough year for labor unions and union advocates, but those on the front lines championed accomplishments despite what the year offered them. As the United States approaches the end of Year 1 of President Donald Trump, labors leaders such as Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Applebaum told the AmNews that their push back against his vision showed their resolve. “Despite Washington’s despicable treatment of working people, this year, the needs of workers were heard in New York by both City Hall and in Albany,” said Applebaum in a statement to the AmNews. “New York City workers saw an end to on-call scheduling in an outright ban signed into law by the mayor, and the governor called for hearings to expand on-call regulations across the state, which we anticipate will be implemented swiftly. We end the year on a high note with an initiative just announced by the governor to end the egregious wage theft issues that affect workers who are paid under the tip-credit system.” read the whole story at Amsterdam News

RWDSU Congratulates Corey Johnson as Next NYC Speaker

"The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union congratulates Corey Johnson on what appears to be his likely selection as the next Speaker of the city council. Especially with all that is going on in Washington, DC, it’s time for New Yorkers to unite and coalesce around our new Speaker-to-be. "We have known Corey well over the years.  On two separate occasions , Corey worked for the RWDSU. And he opened his campaign headquarters in the RWDSU’s offices when he first ran for city council. More importantly, we have worked closely with Corey Johnson on important legislation which has benefitted the working people of this city - most recently his bill which successfully limits the use of on-call scheduling in this city. "We believe that Corey Johnson will make an excellent speaker," said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). 

Cuomo Calls for Hearings on Tip Credit

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday he wants to evaluate and possibly end minimum wage tip credits in New York. The governor announced he has ordered the state Department of Labor to hold public hearings next year to solicit input from workers and employers on the tipped wages credit, which allows owners of businesses such as restaurants, car washes and nail salons to pay workers less than the legal minimum wage. The review of the state’s minimum wage tip credits will be included in Cuomo’s State of the State address on Jan. 3, the governor said Sunday on “The Cats Roundtable” radio show with supermarket magnate John Catsimatidis. “No worker should earn below the minimum wage — ever,” said Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “We have been working for years to improve conditions for carwash workers. Today, Governor Cuomo recognized that this abhorrent loophole has left immigrant workers susceptible to wage theft.” Read the full story at Newsday  

President Appelbaum’s Statement on NY Tip Credit Proposal

    Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), said, "No worker should earn below the minimum wage - ever. For far too long workers in New York have earned poverty wages. We have been working for years to improve conditions for car wash workers. Today, Governor Cuomo recognized that this abhorrent loophole has left immigrant workers susceptible to wage theft, and 5,000 workers now have a chance to earn fair wages for their work. His announcement today is an important next step in ensuring that no worker in New York State is underpaid and impoverished." Read more about Gov. Cuomo’s Proposal Here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-unveils-5th-proposal-2018-state-state-examine-eliminating-minimum-wage-tip

RWDSU Members Pitch in for Jones' Big Win

In a huge upset win, Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore for the open Alabama Senate seat last night. RWDSU members in the South were there every step of the way, fighting for a candidate who will bring the concerns of Alabama’s workers to Washington by assisting the campaign and getting out the vote.  RWDSU Mid-South Council members work the phone banks to drive up voter attendance.     RWDSU members distributed campaign literature at many worksites, including this poultry plant in Decatur, Alabama.   RWDSU members were on hand last night to take in the jubilant scene at the Doug Jones victory party.

Tell the USDA to Protect Poultry Workers

As line speeds increase, so do injuries — including serious and bloody cuts. Unbelievably, major poultry industry groups are ignoring these risks and lobbying the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Congress to eliminate line speed limits entirely.Forcing poultry workers and federal meat inspectors to work significantly faster will increase the odds they’re injured and make chicken less safe for every consumer to eat. For the sake of keeping hard-working families and the chicken we eat safe — tell the USDA to reject the petition to eliminate line speeds at poultry plants by leaving a comment. Go here to sign the petition  

Retail Labor Woes Hinder Customer Service Efforts

“Retailers say they’re trying to staff up, but the easiest thing to do would be to offer their part-time workers full-time jobs,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Forty-seven percent of frontline employees -- such as sales associates and cashiers -- work part-time, according to a survey from the Fair Workweek Initiative. Part-time workers reported an hourly wage of 32 cents less than their full-time colleagues, with hours fluctuating from 16 to 29 per week. One in three workers said they hadn’t received a raise in the last two years   Read more about this issue at Bloomberg

RWDSU Endorses Keisha Lance Bottoms for Atlanta Mayor

  RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND DEPARTMENT STORE UNION ENDORSES KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS FOR ATLANTA MAYOR IN RUN-OFF Highlights Bottoms’ Pledge to Leave No One Behind, Especially the Working People of Atlanta   (ATLANTA, GA) – Today, Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), whose membership includes 10,000 men and women in Georgia, announced the union’s endorsement of Keisha Lance Bottoms for Atlanta Mayor. This endorsement comes just days after Bottoms edged ahead of a crowded field and prevailed as the democratic contender in the runoff election scheduled for December 5, 2018.   Earlier this year, the Southeast Council of the RWDSU hosted its very first Mayoral Forum in the city, where members and community leaders heard from candidates on the issues that matter most to Atlanta voters. The union has been a strong political force across the city for all working people and today, the Southeast Council of the RWDSU pledges it’s support for Bottoms.   “Atlanta is stronger when our elected officials write and enforce laws that uplift working people, Keisha Lance Bottoms has pledged to ensure that no Atlantan is left behind and that all working people will have a voice in her administration, which is why we are proud to endorse her campaign today and put the full force of the Southeast Council of the RWDSU and our 10,000 members behind her,” said Edgar Fields, President of the Southeast Council of the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU).