New Contract for NY Condo Workers

Local 1102 members at 970 Kent Condominium in Brooklyn, New York, recently secured a new contract that improves wages and benefits for the building services workers. The contract brings annual wage benefits for all members, and It also provides improved contributions from the employer to ensure affordability for member health insurance plans. In addition, the membership will benefit from increased contributions to retirement plans thanks to the new contract. For these members, their strong new agreement recognizes their contributions as essential workers during the pandemic. They’ve been there to serve residents at the building throughout the entire COIVD-19 crisis, and will continue their important work with an improved contract.

White House group gets to work on plan to increase unionization of U.S. workers

The White House on Thursday launched an effort to increase the number of American workers belonging to unions, address income inequality and redress a power imbalance that favors employers. The agenda was unveiled at the first meeting of President Joe Biden's labor task force, which he created in April. Vice President Kamala Harris, who leads the group, said the work was a high priority for the administration. "When there are more union members, there is less income inequality," she said. Harris also said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed fractures in the system designed to protect worker rights. "For whom things were bad, today they're even worse." she said. read more here

Supporters Herald Signing Of HERO Act With Worker Protections

The New York Health and Essential Rights Act was signed into law late Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, setting enforceable health and safety standards to protect workers from the transmission and community spread of COVID-19, as well as any future airborne infectious diseases. Known as the HERO Act, it directs the state health and labor departments to create an airborne infectious disease standard covering all private employers within 60 days, which would take effect 30 days later. Businesses will have to provide personal protective equipment for all employees, set up safe social distancing and disinfecting protocols, and also ensure adequate airflow.  Read more about this story at Gothamist

COVID exposed issues plaguing essential workers. Now let’s fix them, lawmakers say

NJ.com Essential workers were praised for staying on the job during the coronavirus pandemic, but as the region moves more into an economic recovery, experts and advocates fear those workers might be left behind. How to help essential workers, especially those of color, who make up a number of the working poor, was part of a Regional Plan Association assembly discussion about how to equitably recover from the pandemic. The panel, that included U.S. Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Rep Andy Kim, both D-NJ, also directly discussed ways to correct inequities that existed before the pandemic. While there was an outpouring of support for essential workers during the darkest days of the pandemic, New Jersey even declared an essential workers heroes day in March, the warehouse and retail workers, janitors, housekeepers, food and package delivery workers still need to be lifted from the ranks of the working poor, according to members of the panel. “Banging on pots doesn’t make them essential,” said Dr Herminia Palacio, former New York City deputy mayor for health and human services. “Their salaries aren’t essential, their benefits aren’t essential. How do we reorient resources, so we have predictable outcomes?” She warned that the window to change conditions and help these workers “is narrowing.” Panelists talked about how essential workers, especially people of color and women, were affected by higher death rates, economic and housing insecurity and other issues that threaten to leave them behind again unless action is taken. Legislation proposed by Booker could provide a federal renter’s tax credit to help workers who spend 30% or more of their take home pay on housing. The concept is similar to federal tax deductions homeowners now receive for state and local property taxes. “We can do something big and bold and make sure all our brave families can have a shot at a good home,” he said. “The hard reality is stagnant wages for working class people make it harder to make ends meet.”

Amazon’s Anti-Union Bullying Shows Why We Need the PRO Act

Recently, Amazon won a closely watched National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election against the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. But it did so only after spending millions of dollars on harassing and intimidating its workers for two months before the vote. Now, the company is using the same strategy to bust a new independent union drive at its Staten Island facility in New York. Unions and worker rights advocates are pushing for legislation that would protect against these types of actions. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which has passed the House and is currently pending before the Senate, would limit the ability of corporate bullies like Amazon to interfere with workers’ choice to form a union. The anti-union campaign at Bessemer provided a stark lesson on why change is desperately needed. Powerful corporations such as Amazon must no longer be allowed to bully with impunity when their employees try to improve working conditions. Amazon’s Anti-Union “Stalking” When she testified before the Senate Budget Committee in March, Amazon worker Jennifer Bates described the anti-union campaign at Bessemer as a form of “stalking.” Workers couldn’t escape Amazon’s anti-union message, even when they were in the stalls of the restrooms, where the company had displayed anti-union handbills. In addition to its high-paid union avoidance law firm, Morgan Lewis, Amazon spent millions of dollars on at least three different anti-union consultant firms whose job was to dissuade the Bessemer employees from supporting the RWDSU. Weak reporting rules for anti-union consultants mean that we will never know exactly how much Amazon spent. The PRO Act would change that and bring greater transparency. Amazon forced Bessemer workers to attend hour-long, consultant-conducted, anti-union captive audience meetings — ominously called “education meetings” — multiple times per week; if they dared speak up, their ID badges were photographed and they were expelled from the meetings. The PRO Act would prohibit these fear-inducing forced listening sessions, which are already unlawful in most developed democracies. Read the rest here at Truthout 

RWDSU ENDORSES ALVIN BRAGG FOR MANHATTAN DA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 21, 2021 RWDSU Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 Alvin Bragg Contact: Richard Fife | [email protected] | 917-617-4188   (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced its support for former Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg for Manhattan District Attorney. “Alvin Bragg brings the experience and values that we need in a Manhattan District Attorney at this crucial moment. Throughout his career, he has prioritized the needs of workers, tenants and other vulnerable communities to make sure their rights are protected, and voices are heard. He also upholds the levels of integrity that the office deserves and brings an awareness of the need for greater accountability and reform. For these reasons, the RWDSU is proud to endorse Alvin for Manhattan District Attorney,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “I am proud to have the endorsement of the RWDSU, one of the most progressive and active unions in New York and across the country,” said Manhattan DA Candidate Alvin Bragg. “We saw this commitment to our city on the frontlines helping our city get through this pandemic, and we see it every day through the hard work of its members. “The COVID pandemic has exacerbated what remains a chronic and unacceptable problem in our city – a systematic pattern of abuse by bad actors who pad their checkbooks on the backs of struggling working people. It ends when our movement for change channels the power of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to hold accountable employers who cheat and endanger their employees. This is an urgent matter for fairness, for economic opportunity, and for racial justice and I look forward to working with RWDSU to make New York a safer, better, and more just place to work - for everyone.” # # # 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 at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.  

RWDSU STATEMENT CHAUVIN GUILTY VERDICT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor, [email protected], 347-866-6259 “Today’s verdict in the murder trial of George Floyd is one very small step towards righting so many wrongs. But it is only one trial where justice was served, and it in no way ends the rightful rage and fury for the unimaginable number of Black lives lost to police brutality and systemic racism, which is ingrained in our country.  “One verdict cannot and will not change centuries of wrong, but let it be a lesson that justice can be served.  “Startlingly even during this trial, more Black lives have been lost.  “It is time for us to come together as a nation to set a new course that acknowledges the problematic race relations here. We must tackle the systemic issues that continue to oppress Black people and the economic, housing, healthcare, and societal discrimination that makes it more difficult for Black people to be successful. “We stand with the Black Lives Matter movement in demanding an end to police violence with the same commitment that we fight to improve workers’ rights and a just economy for all,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). # # # 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 at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.

RWDSU STATEMENT WEST HEMPSTEAD SHOOTING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor, [email protected], 347-866-6259 (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, in response to the senseless and tragic shooting at Stop & Shop in West Hempstead, New York, where approximately 150 workers are represented by Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Stuart Appelbaum issued the following statement:  “What happened today is something no worker should ever have to face, a gunman in their workplace. We are long overdue for critical and sensible gun reform in the United States that ensures no one ever has to endure what our members endured today.  “The local union’s representatives are on the ground ensuring members have the counseling, and every resource necessary right now. They have the full resources of our office as well. What matters right now is that our members are safe, and that as the events of today continue to unfold we are with them.  “No worker should have to worry about whether or not they will go home to their families at night, and tonight sadly, someone won’t be going home. That is unconscionable.  “It will take a long time to heal from today’s tragedy. Our members have been on the frontlines of the pandemic for over a year, they have already endured too much, and we cannot and will not stand for senseless gun violence in their workplaces. We can, and we must ensure workers are safe at work.” # # # 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 at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.

LOCAL 338 STATEMENT WEST HEMPSTEAD SHOOTING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2021 Contacts: Chelsea Connor, [email protected], 347-866-6259; Nikki Kateman, [email protected], 347-668-2860  (MINEOLA, NY) – Today, in response to the senseless and tragic shooting at Stop & Shop in West Hempstead, New York, where many workers are represented by Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, the union’s President John R. Durso issued the following statement:  “We are devastated by the tragic shooting at the Stop & Shop in West Hempstead. Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, and all those, including workers and customers, who witnessed today’s horrifying events. Our priority is and always will be the physical and mental well-being of our members. Representatives of our union are on site at Stop & Shop and will be ensuring that our members have all of the support they need, including access to counseling. We encourage our members to reach out to us for anything they may need during this difficult time. “The working people at Stop & Shop are essential workers and ensured that all of our communities, including West Hempstead, had what they needed to navigate the pandemic. The last year has been one full of resiliency, but also one of great worry. These workers have been through a tremendous amount and should never have to fear for their safety. We as a society must recognize that gun violence is a workplace safety issue and that as part of this healing, we must make changes to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. We owe it to our essential workers.” # # #

ESSENTIAL HEALTHCARE HEROES AT ABINGTON MANOR DEMAND SAFE STAFFING AND CONTINUITY OF CARE FOR THEIR PATIENTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2021 Contact: Chelsea Connor | [email protected] | 347-866-6259 (NEW YORK, NY) – Today, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) demanded that Genesis Healthcare provide safe staffing levels at Abington Manor to allow caregivers to give their residents the quality and continuity of care they deserve. Throughout six months of negotiations, workers have asked for higher staffing levels, an additional 15-minute break in their workday, and access to quality healthcare. At every turn, management has stonewalled the committee, refusing to bargain around improving working conditions that are well below the state and federal standards.  Workers pride themselves on building relationships with their residents in order to provide the most compassionate care possible. Current staffing levels at Abington Manor are egregiously low, with RNs only spending an average of less than 30-minutes per patient per day, compared to the national average of 45-minutes and the Pennsylvania average of 53-minutes. Similarly, nurse aides at Abington Manor only spend an average of 1 hour and 51 minutes per resident per day, compared with the national average of 2 hours and 20 minutes and the Pennsylvania average of 2 hours and 7 minutes. (see below chart.) As a result, caregivers say their relationships with residents suffer, and families become frustrated with a lack of continuity in the personnel caring for their loved ones. Minutes Per Patient Per Day Abington Manor Average National Average Pennsylvania Average Registered Nurses 29 Minutes 45 Minutes 53 Minutes Nurse Aides 1 Hour and 51 Minutes 2 Hours and 20 Minutes 2 Hours and 7 Minutes While workers have continued to provide care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at dangerously low staffing levels, Abington Manor’s parent company Genesis Healthcare has received a combined $885,094 in HHS Provider Relief. Workers hoped these cash infusions would improve conditions on the ground through the hiring of more staff to lighten caseloads, but that didn’t happen.  The workers at Abington Manor are essential healthcare heroes, and RWDSU demands that Genesis treat them as such. The union calls on Genesis Healthcare to do right by its workforce and its customers by safely staffing the facility. The RWDSU demands that Genesis Healthcare provide their caregivers the break times and quality healthcare that will allow workers to provide the high-quality continuity of care families expect from Abington Manor. “Resident care is not being properly managed and it's due to the lack of staff to care for the residents. Management continues giving open shifts to agency CNAs and LPNs, before giving them to regular in-house staff. We deserve what is right for staff and residents and would like to receive the proper help to care for the residents by giving quality and continuity of care,” said Colleen Mowery, CNA at Abington Manor. “If I am on the floor for eight-hours and I divide that time equally between my residents, I am able to only spend 17-minutes with each of them. The amount of pressure the nurses feel to give complete, compassionate care while staying within those time constraints is immense. I have worked many shifts where the CNAs are stressed by the amount of work they need to complete too, and often are forced to cut corners or to not build relationships with the residents in order to do so. If your family was in a long-term facility, would you want them to not only receive competent care, but also feel like they have family in the building, so they do not feel alone? Working in such a way prevents us from achieving this. During negotiations, when we asked for an extra fifteen-minute break, Genesis management said it would cause a loss in productivity. What about the concern for loss of morale? Taking care of other people’s family to the point where they become family is taxing, physically and emotionally. We get sad, frustrated, and tired, and we need to be able to take a breath. Not being able to take care of ourselves hinders our ability to care for our residents. I love working at Abington Manor, not because of the culture but because of my fellow LPNs, CNAs, and the residents. I am hoping that by discussing the issues that are hidden from outsiders, that we can improve conditions and morale and feel like a family again,” said Kacey Walsh, LPN at Abington Manor. “RWDSU members at Abington Manor are putting their lives on the line every day to care for other people’s loved ones. They are essential workers who care deeply about their residents, working around the clock to provide care throughout the pandemic. Not only do these caregivers deserve quality and affordable healthcare, but adequate break times and safe staffing levels. Our members’ working conditions are their residents’ living conditions. Abington Manor caregivers want only to give their residents the quality and continuity of care they deserve,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). # # # 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 at www.rwdsu.org, Facebook:/RWDSU.UFCW Twitter:@RWDSU.