December 14, 2012

No Rest for Macy’s Workers this Holiday Season

Macy’s recently announced that most of its stores will be open continuously in the 48 hours leading up to Christmas Eve for its last “One Day Sale” of the season. While this is good news for shoppers, it’s not so great for the many retail workers who are struggling this holiday season.

The UFCW represents thousands of Macy’s workers throughout the country who have a voice in their scheduling and earn premium pay on holidays thanks to a union contract that they negotiated with their employers. That contract is the difference between a Macy’s worker with no union representation being forced to work undesirable hours on a holiday and a union Macy’s worker who wants to pick up an additional shift.

The retail sector is the largest employment industry in the United States, and retail jobs are increasingly setting the working and living standards for American workers.  That’s why it’s critically important that all employers in this industry compensate workers with the kind of pay and benefits that allow them to live in the middle class.

Academic studies, including a recent report by Demos, provide quantitative evidence that retailers, workers, and the U.S. economy stands to benefit greatly if retail companies invest in their workforce.  According to the Demos report, raising wages for full-time retail workers at the nation’s largest retail companies (those employing at least 1,000 workers) would result in improving the lives of more than 1.5 million retail workers and their families who are currently living in poverty or hovering just above the poverty line.

The entire UFCW family is proud of the courage that Macy’s workers show every day — in the face of retaliation from management and in some instances, heroic actions in the face of violence, as was the case of the Macy’s worker who selflessly looked after others when a gunman opened fire at a mall in Oregon.  We wish our members and all Macy’s workers around the country a safe and peaceful holiday season.