August 11, 2014
By Neal Tepel
Orlando, Florida – The members of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union unanimously re-elected Stuart Appelbaum president on Thursday August 7th. The RWDSU convention took place in Orlando, Florida.
“We will continue to pursue political action, build coalitions, and run campaigns that advance a progressive agenda for working people, and empower the most vulnerable people in low-wage industries to stand up and fight back," said Appelbaum at the union's national convention.
As a long-time political activist and labor leader, President Stuart Appelbaum has devoted his life to progressive causes. Over the last couple of years, he has led organizing drives that have become models for the labor movement throughout the country. His advocacy has resulted in the passage of landmark legislation aimed at improving the lives of low wage and middle income workers.
Directed by President Appelbaum, the RWDSU has successfully organized car washes around New York City and negotiated contracts at each of those locations. "The car wash industry is in serious need of regulation," said Stuart Appelbaum. "Far too often, car wash workers are faced with poor and dangerous working conditions, stolen tips, no overtime pay – and sometimes – not even paid the minimum wage." President Appelbaum also led a monumental battle in Alabama that resulted in one of the largest union organizing elections in the history of that state. The 1200 workers at the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant in Russellville voted better than two-to-one margin to join RWDSU. President Appelbaum said during that organizing drive, "Unions may be under attack across the country, but working people still desperately need the security and dignity that comes with a union voice.”
Stuart Appelbaum became President of the RWDSU on May 1, 1998, and has since been re-elected to the position. He previously served as International Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President, Executive Board Member and Assistant to the President for that union. Mr. Appelbaum is an International Vice President and member of the Executive Board of the 1.4 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers Union. He is the President of the Jewish Labor Committee and Vice President of the Consortium for Worker Education. President Appelbaum has served as a Vice President of the national AFL-CIO and presently is a vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York City Central Labor Council. He is a graduate of Brandeis University and Harvard Law School.