Respect NYC—Keep it Walmart Free

Matt Ryan, Executive Director of New York Jobs with Justice / Urban Agenda
January 28, 2011

If you’ve read the news or opened your mail recently, you’ve probably seen Wal-Mart promising to bring hundreds of new jobs to New York and to boost the local economy. Unfortunately, their rhetoric doesn’t match reality: in communities like ours across the country, Wal-Mart stores are devastating small businesses and destroying more local jobs than they create. Wal-Mart kills three existing jobs for every two poverty-wage jobs it creates.

In order to spread the word about the true impact of Walmart on communities, we’ve joined Walmart Free NYC, a growing coalition of concerned workers and residents, small business owners, community leaders, clergy and elected officials who are committed to increasing economic opportunities, preserving local businesses, and bringing more jobs to communities across New York.

Walmart will wound New York neighborhoods: Business leader says keep megastore out of city

By John Catsimatidis
January 18, 2011
Reprint from Daily News, 1/12/11

I am strongly against Walmart's entry into New York City, and I won't pretend that I'm completely objective. I own the Gristedes supermarket chain, and if Walmart comes to town, it would mean competition for my business.


December 21, 2010
Reprint from, 12/16/10

Superior Court Settlement Upholds Website that Helps Canadian Walmart Associates Know and Exercise Their Rights

RWDSU/UFCW Workers Help Put Food on Neighbors’ Tables

Members of Local 338’s staffBy Harrison Magee
November 19, 2010

Over the past weeks, members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 collected hundreds of turkeys and hams to help feed families living in need throughout New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. As it does each holiday season, members personally delivered the union’s donations to food banks at Island Harvest, Project Hospitality, and several other charities and shelters in and around the Five Boroughs in time for Thanksgiving.

RWDSU Local 220 Victory at Mott’s

By Neal Tepel
September 21, 2010
Members of RWDSU Local 220 at the Mott’s plant in Williamson NY voted to accept a new contract and to end their strike against Mott's. 
Among the provisions of the new agreement are restored wage levels and the continuation of the pension plan.  The Mott’s workers had returned to work September 20, 2010, on what would have been the 121st day of the strike.  The workers went on strike on May 23, 2010.

Strike Lines Holding in Williamson

Striking MottsBy Maggie Astor

AUGUST 7 -- More than 300 Mott’s workers at a plant in Williamson, N.Y., have been on strike for nearly three months now, and the deadlock shows no signs of abating. Out of 305 workers on strike, only seven have crossed picket lines — a 98 percent retention rate, according to Peter Montaldano, an organizer for the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

Representatives for Mott’s and the union representing the workers — the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union Local 220 — met “briefly” on Monday, July 19, but “no progress” was made, Montaldano said.

Brooklyn's NO to Wal-Mart

No to Wal-MartBy Maggie Astor

New York Communities for Change and thousands of Brooklyn residents are mobilizing against the opening of a WalMart in the East New York neighborhood.

Between 60 and 70 East New York residents rallied in May, and most recently, they gathered in front of City Hall on June 23 with representatives from NYCC, the Working Families Party, RWDSU, SEIU local 32BJ, the New York City Council Progressive Caucus, and several New York City politicians, including City Council speaker Christine Quinn. Organizers have also collected 7,000 petition signatures, and a Facebook group titled “The LAST thing Brooklyn needs is a WALMART!” has over 1,300 members.

Organizers cited WalMart’s low wages and mistreatment of employees as the reason for their opposition. Pat Boone, acting president of New York Communities for Change, referred especially to the pending class-action lawsuit against WalMart, which is the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in history.

Attorney General Candidate Stands Up for Workers

By Bendix Anderson

On Saturday, June 26, District Attorney Kathleen Rice spoke at a rally with striking Mott's plant workers in Williamson.  Here is a short (under 1 minute) video of her speech produced by RWDSU:

Candidate for New York State Attorney General Kathleen Rice joined the picket line at a Mott’s processing plant June 26 to support workers protesting layoffs, lower pay, and cuts to benefits.

“Corporate profits are up, workers pay is down. Is that fair?” she said to hundreds of Mott’s workers who called back: “No!” Rice continued: “I am going to stand with you until they give you what you deserve.”

Rice is currently District Attorney for Nassau County – that’s a long way from the Mott’s plan in Williamson, N.Y., close to Rochester, N.Y. But Rice has a long history of going out of her way to fight for workers rights.

Wal-Mart Still Not Welcome

Stuart Applebaum at DemoBy Bendix Anderson

JUNE 23, CITY HALL -- Union activists continue to fight plans by Wal-Mart to open a new store in New York City.

“Wal-Mart has not changed and neither have we, “ said Murray Morrissey, Secretary Treasurer of Local 338 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “We will never let them get away with what they have gotten away with in other parts of the country.”

Wal-Mart has tried and failed for years to open a store in New York City. But the retailer hasn’t given up. Wal-Mart is now planning to become a major retail tenant in at Gateway II, a massive new project planned for Brooklyn by the Related Companies on an “as-of-right” site already zoned for the construction, according to coverage in Crain’s New York Business. That means the project will need fewer approvals to go forward.Murrary J. Morrissey, Secretary Treasurer

In response to Wal-Mart’s plans, more than 100 union protesters chanted “Fughgeddaboudit!” the steps of City Hall. That translates to: “forget about it.”

Union activists oppose the planned store because of Wal-Mart’s terrible record on workers rights. For example, the company faces a potential $2 billion in fines in Minnesota for illegal practices including unpaid wages.

RWDSU Shows Support to the Mott's Strikers

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum with Mayor Robert Duffy

Visiting the Mott's Strikers on June 15, 2010
RWDSU Local 220 Members (Williamson, NY)

New Living Wage NYC Campaign Launched

By Summer Brennan

At a press conference held on the steps of City Hall today May 25th, workers, community groups, and elected officials met to launch the Living Wage NYC campaign, spearheaded by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), and City Council Members Oliver Koppell and Annabel Palma.

The campaign, which aims to pass the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, advocates for New York City subsidies for economic development to create living wage jobs. According to the campaign, the bill will guarantee that when the city gives businesses public subsidies, the jobs they create will pay at least a living wage. The purpose of the new law is to ensure that New York's economy recovers through an investment in rebuilding the middle class jobs needed to thrive in the 21st Century.

Special Election

Ms. Melissa Pena, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, Senator Jose PeraltaMelissa Pena from Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW celebrates with Jose Peralta as he wins a senatorial seat March 16, 2010. The overwhelmingly Democratic 13th State Senate District showed Mr. Peralta with 66 percent of the vote. As Senator, Peralta will now represent parts of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona. Besides supporting candidates running for office, Local 338 political action team works closely with legislators at every level to ensure that important issues to members are addressed. The reception at Grand Rancho Jubilee in East Elmhurst for Senator Elect Peralta was packed with union officials.


Cuomo a Friend to Labor

By: Bendix Anderson  

On February 23, New York City police officers arrested millionaire David Cohen, owner of the Mystique Boutique retail chain, in Manhattan. The crime? Cohen allegedly paid workers less than minimum wage, failed to pay overtime, and even threatened and attempted to bribe witnesses to keep them from talking to investigators.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo ordered the arrest. “When you arrest a guy, you get his attention,” says Cuomo. “Enforce the law and people will follow the law.”  Cuomo has a long history of fighting for the rights of workers like the employees at Mystique. 

Protests, Lawsuits Hit SoHo Retailers

 Protests, Lawsuits Hit SoHo Retailers

By Bendix Anderson

Carolina Ferreria worked more than 60 hours a week at the Amsterdam Boutique on Broadway in SoHo. She earned $8.50 an hour and never earned a penny of the overtime pay she is entitled to under the law. 

“I had no idea about the law – I had no idea about overtime,” she said. “When I started getting an attitude about it, that’s when they fired me.”
Ferreria is just one of roughly 200 workers and labor activists who marched up Broadway to protest stolen wages and unpaid overtime February 3. The March of Hearts, organized by the Retail Action Project, stopped in front of stores owned by three chains being sued or investigated for illegal labor practices – from charging workers illegal fines to failure to pay overtime. 
“You can’t exploit retail workers in New York City and expect no one to do anything,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. The Retail Action Project is a partnership between the Union and a community nonprofit, the Good Old Lower East Side.
The Retail Action Project helped workers fight for their rights by referring them to labor attorneys and state officials. At Shoe Mania, nearly 150 workers are suing the company for more than $3 million in unpaid wages. New York’s Attorney General is investigating Mystique and its sister stores, Amsterdam, Exstaza, and Madness, for what workers claim are nearly $2 million in unpaid wages. Workers are also suing Scoop NYC for hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Local 338 RWDSU Walks to Fight Cancer

Local 338 Walks to Fight Cancer

Local 338 members along with 10,000 participants walked along Queens Boulevard to fight cancer on Sunday October 18, 2009. Almost $1,000,000 was expected to be collected at this 16th annual Queens event. Similar walks were scheduled across the country. The Queens walk began at 11 a.m. in front of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens and participants walked along Queens Blvd. to Junction Blvd.

In 2008, nearly 600,000 walkers across the country joined the American Cancer Society in a united fight against breast cancer raising over $60 million. That year in New York and New Jersey, walkers at 28 events raisedmore than $18 million.




Local 338 banner on display at the marchAlmost 1,400 women in Queens are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.And every year, more than 300 women in the borough lose their battle against the disease. Making Strides is a time to share in the goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people.



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