Wal-Mart Cuts Health Care Benefits

October 31, 2011
By Harry Kelber

After trying to mollify its critics in recent years by offering better health care benefits to its employees, Wal-Mart is substantially rolling back coverage for part-time workers and significantly raising premiums for many full-time staff.

A Bad Deal for Workers in NYC

August 29, 2011
By Richard J. Whalen, International Vice President & Director, UFCW Region 1

A few years ago, Walmart tried to establish a presence in New York City. The company faced intense opposition from residents and elected officials and eventually said the Big Apple just wasn’t worth it.

Now Walmart is reconsidering the five boroughs. Fueling this change of heart is desperation: Walmart’s steadily declining U.S. sales and stock prices have rattled its top executives, and analysts agree that Walmart needs to urbanize its business model. After saturating non-urban areas in the U.S., Walmart has come to view New York City as crucial for its growth. It feels financial pressure to open stores here.

Letter to the Editior - A Living Wage in New York

July 29, 2011

New York, July 20, 2011

“They, Too, Sing America”

Charles M. Blow is right on the mark when he writes, “The people who work these [low-wage] jobs are the backbone of this country, and will continue to be.” In New York City, more low-wage workers are employed in retail than in any other sector of the economy, and the number of these jobs continues to increase.

The fast growth in low-wage retail jobs is spurred by publicly subsidized development. Yet almost half of retail workers in New York earn less than $10 an hour.
Should taxpayers be subsidizing development that results in poverty-wage jobs? We don’t think so. That’s why we are leading a coalition that seeks passage of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act.

This vital legislation requires large developers receiving sizable public subsidies to pay a minimum of $10 an hour plus benefits, or $11.50 an hour without benefits, to all employees. Other cities that have begun to guarantee living wages on publicly subsidized development projects have found that such safeguards have not slowed growth or prevented projects from moving forward.

The writers are, respectively, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; and senior pastor, Convent Avenue Baptist Church of Harlem.

Court Dismisses Women’s Suit Against Wal-Mart

July 7, 2011
By Harry Kelber

The Supreme Court decision, seen as a victory for Wal-Mart and Corporate America, makes it more difficult for employees to join together in a common lawsuit, unless they can identify a common injury. In a ruling on a secondary aspect of the case, all nine justices agreed that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco erred in allowing the mass action suit to move forward on claims seeking back pay.

Macy’s Workers Authorize Strike

Stuart Applebaum, RWDSU President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store UnionJune 14, 2011
Stephanie West

The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW, has announced that more than 4000 Macy’s workers have authorized their executive board to call a strike in the event that a new contract is not secured by midnight on June 15. Local 1-S of RWDSU represents Macy’s workers at the Manhattan flagship store in Herald Square and at three other stores in the Bronx, Queens, and Westchester. This. past week Macy’s workers at all four of the stores voted unanimously to authorize the strike.

Hundreds Rally With Macy's Workers For A Fair Contract

Macy's Workers Rally TogetherJune 10, 2011 

Reprint June 8, 2011 RWDSU/UFCW

Today in New York City, hundreds of union members and activists gathered in front of the famous Macy’s store in Herald Square to call upon the retail chain’s management to bargain in good faith with RWDSU Local 1-S and negotiate a fair contract for the workers there.


Workers Steamed at World's Largest Store

RWDSU President, Stuart Applebaum joins Macy's RallyJune 10, 2011
By Stephanie West

On Wednesday June 9th, over two hundred Macy’s employees gathered outside the flagship store on Herald Square despite the extreme heat to rally for better wages and workers rights.

With their five year contract due to expire on June 15th, many workers fear that they will lose their jobs or be forced to work part time, enduring a pay cut and possible loss in benefits. Said Macy’s stock person Ward Jaymes, “Eight dollars is certainly not enough to live on. Many of us need to support a family, and the company needs to understand that.”

In 90 Degree Heat, Solidarity with Macy's Workers

June 9, 2011
Reprint, June 8, 2011, TWU Local 100

In the wilting heat of June 8, an upbeat and spirited group of Union members marched in front of the world’s largest store at Herald Square to make a very public statement about how Macy’s treats its workers. Local 1-S of the RWDSU/UFCW is trying to secure a new contract at the world famous emporium.

Walmart Supports Republicans

June 6, 2011
By Stephanie West

Walmart’s Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Government Relations says that the company's politics were "relentlessly nonpartisan" during the 2008 presidential election.

Garment Worker to Speak for 200,000 New York City Workers at Wal-Mart Annual Meeting

John C. Liu, NYC ComptrollerJune 1, 2011
By Stephanie West

A Bangladeshi garment worker, Kalpona Akter, who worked for a Wal-Mart subcontractor before she was fired for union activity, will represent the New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS) before the Wal-Mart Board of Director at their annual meeting in Arkansas this week. With the support of New York City Comptroller and NYCERS Trustees including TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen, Teamsters Local 237 President Greg Floyd, and DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts, Akter will call on the giant merchandiser to implement a tough, independently verifiable “sustainability report” which would disclose, for the first time, the behavior of Wal-Mart’s thousands of suppliers.

Labor For Marriage Equality, Comments By Stuart Applebaum

President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union,May 26, 2011
By Stuart Applebaum

Two years ago, i decided to affirm my gay identity within the American labor movement. I wanted to define myself publicly, and not just privately because I felt so strongly about the fight for marriage equality, because I wanted to be engaged in this struggle for equality and justice for all members of the LGBT community.

Coalition Demands Council Pass Living Wage Bill

Stuart Applebaum, RWDSU, PresidentMay 16, 2011
By Kismet Barksdale

At a time when far too many working people struggle to survive, members of a growing citywide movement today demanded living wage jobs for all New Yorkers at a public City Council hearing. At the City Council’s Contracts Committee hearing today, Mayor Bloomberg’s biased and rigged anti living wage study was also challenged.

Council members listened adamantly as passionate testimonies were delivered throughout the afternoon for passage of the Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act, popular legislation supported by a majority of City Council that will ensure taxpayer subsidies create more living wage jobs.

Mothers Unite Against Walmart

Mother's are determined to keep Walmart at a distanceMay 8, 2011
By Michael A. Harris

On Mother’s Day, mothers from across New York came together to tell Arkansas based Walmart that their store is not welcome in New York City.

Walmart Advertising is Deceptive

March 3, 2011
By Linda Gomez

Describing it as a “deception wrapped in a fraud,” Jack Ahern, president of the New York City Central Labor Council, is denouncing Wal-Mart tactics that seek to destroy the unity of organized labor in New York.

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.

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