News and Updates
June 26, 2017
On June 19, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Macy’s challenge to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals regarding cosmetics and fragrances workers at a Macy’s store in Saugus, Mass., who are members of UFCW Local 1445. The Supreme Court decision recognizes that the Macy’s departments are appropriate bargaining units under well-established legal standards, and is a victory for the UFCW and other labor unions who organize segments of workers at companies, rather than the entire company.
The Macy’s cosmetics and fragrances workers joined UFCW Local 1445 in 2014 after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a 3-1 ruling that the group of over 40 workers was large enough to unionize. The NLRB’s ruling was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016. The Macy’s store in Saugus employs over 100 workers.
“We are thrilled with the decision by the Supreme Court, and it is about time the workers in Saugus prevailed,” said Local 1445 President Jeff Bollen. “Our intention is to bring them a contract and use this victory as a tool to organize more workers at Macy’s.”
April 18, 2017
This month, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) launched a campaign to highlight the “hidden tax” every taxpayer has been paying for years to Walmart. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, the retail giant receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the federal government.
An op-ed titled “The Walmart Tax Every American Taxpayer Pays” by UFCW Local 1529 President Lonnie Sheppard was published in USA Today on April 8, and highlights many of the key facts that Walmart refuses to acknowledge, like the high cost and hidden tax that every American taxpayer pays every single day.
Among the key facts:
- Walmart, a company that generates almost $500 billion in revenue every year with annual profits averaging $15.5 billion over the last five years, is also one of the nation’s largest welfare recipients.
- According to a 2014 report by Americans for Tax Fairness, Walmart receives an estimated $6.2 billion in subsidies every year, primarily from the federal government.
- Even though Walmart claims that it spent $500 million on hourly associate bonuses and recently boosted employee wages, it still has thousands of employees who rely on public assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and subsidized housing.
- A single Walmart Super Center is estimated to cost taxpayers between $904,542 and $1.74 million per year in public assistance money.
- Logically, if Walmart increased employee wages, and/or provided better benefits, much of this $6.2 billion dollar burden would be lifted off the taxpayers.
MCAW also ran digital ads targeting shoppers and workers inside stores across the U.S., and MCAW organizers have been exposing the Walmart tax to shoppers and workers across the country. Thank you to all UFCW local and regional staff that worked on this project.
March 20, 2017
In March, RWDSU/UFCW Local 3 members who work at Bloomingdale’s in New York City thanked customers for shopping at the store. RWDSU/UFCW Local 3 members handed out fliers to remind Bloomingdale’s shoppers that when they shop at the store, they are supporting good jobs in New York City. They also let Bloomingdale’s shoppers know that negotiations for a new contract are coming up soon.
November 1, 2016
Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) kicked off the “Trump’s Values Are Walmart’s Values” National Week of Action on Oct. 22 with a rally in Cincinnati, and events in Washington, D.C, Anaheim, St. Paul, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and New York City, to call on Walmart to stop selling Trump products. The rallies were held in partnership with UFCW Locals 75, 99, 324, 400, 540, 653, 1000, 1189 and 1546, as well as Walmart-Free NYC. Additionally, MCAW sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon asking the world’s largest retailer to break its silence on Trump’s hateful rhetoric.
“Walmart refused to denounce Donald Trump in the weeks leading up to the Republican convention, and since then, he’s only gotten worse,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “First there was the inexcusable and vile Access Hollywood tape, and now there is a growing list of women accusing Trump of sexual assault. Walmart cannot stay silent any longer. They need to send a message to their customers and employees that it does not support this candidate, and it does not support his behavior. Walmart should stop selling products that promote Trump online and in stores.”
October 14, 2016
Last week, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) responded to Walmart’s announcement that it is closing three stores in three different cities (Lamesa, Texas; Brownfield, Texas; and Columbia, Mo.) with very little notice.
“This callous move by Walmart will leave hundreds of workers without jobs and hundreds of families without paychecks,” said Jess Levin, communications director of MCAW. “Walmart has said that people are the most important part of their business. However, this recent news proves that, for Walmart, nothing is more important than profits: not workers, not customers, not anyone. These closings, much like the 269 store closings earlier this year, will not only impact Walmart workers, they will affect these entire communities. ”
In early 2016, Walmart announced that it was closing 154 U.S. stores, which, according to The Washington Post, disproportionately affected lower-income, rural areas.
September 30, 2016
On Sept. 21, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW) responded to Walmart’s announcement that it paid over $200 million in quarterly bonuses to over 900,000 of its hourly employees who work in stores that met the retail giant’s goals of cleanliness, faster checkout and better service. The average bonus per Walmart employee was around $200.
“Walmart is happy to boast when they decide to give workers a very small share of one of the world’s largest company’s earnings, but when it comes down to facts, Walmart continues to mislead,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW.
“What Walmart doesn’t tell you is that in order to get this bonus, workers must complete amonths-long training program that is often implemented with ‘buggy and outdated technology.’ In fact, in order to also receive the $10 an hour minimum wage that Walmart promotes, completion of this tedious program is required. We hear from Walmart workers every day that have been making less than $10 an hour for months. These workers will also be excluded from the quarterly bonus, and we believe they deserve better.”
August 3, 2016
This week, after a majority of the workers at Zara’s eight stores in Manhattan signed cards stating they wanted to be represented by RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102, the company agreed to recognize the union. The agreement covers over 1,000 retail workers at all of Zara’s stores in Manhattan. These are the first Zara workers in the United States to be unionized.
Zara, the Spanish fashion chain owned by Inditex, is the world’s largest clothing retailer. The RWDSU/UFCW and Zara reached an agreement earlier this year where the employer agreed to remain neutral and not to oppose the union’s attempt to organize its workforce.
“Zara’s approach to recognize the right of its workers to form a union, without intimidation, is a message to all retailers – you can be successful and still respect the right of your employees,” said Gemma de Leon Lopresti, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102.
This is the largest retail organizing win in New York City in recent years. In 2009, RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 organized nearly 1,200 workers at H&M, another fast-fashion global retail chain.
Workers at Zara look forward to working in an environment where they can make their jobs better, and create better lives for themselves and their families.
“Working in retail is extremely fast-paced and hectic,” said Joseph Minton, an associate at Zara’s 59th Street location. “I’m excited that the company is willing to listen to our concerns and work with the union for everyone’s benefit.”
“We applaud Zara for recognizing the rights of its employees to choose to unionize, without interference,” said RWDSU/UFCW President Stuart Appelbaum. “Unfortunately, too many American employers refuse to respect their workers’ right to freedom of association and intimidate and threaten workers who try to organize.”
“This process is a huge step for retail workers in New York. Zara, the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, is sending a strong message that you can remain profitable and still recognize your workers’ right to dignity, justice and respect on the job,” said Appelbaum.
July 5, 2016
On June 23, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), along with The Black Institute, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and ColorOfChange.org, sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that calls on the retail giant to withdraw its sponsorship of the 2016 Republican National Convention due to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s history of racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran, and Islamophobic remarks. A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.
“Walmart cannot afford to stay silent when it comes to Donald Trump,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “Throughout his presidential campaign, he has managed to offend men and women of all races and religions and across the political spectrum with his racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran and Islamophobic statements. These are Walmart customers and Walmart employees. Walmart needs to send a message that it will not support bigotry, and join the growing list of companies who are refusing to sponsor this year’s Republican National Convention.”
MCAW has launched an online petition where supporters can sign on to the letter. To date, over 10,000 supporters have signed the petition.
November 25, 2015
Yesterday, the UFCW and Making Change at Walmart officially released a series of holiday actions against Walmart, beginning with a call to action during the week leading up to Black Friday called the “Give Back Friday” initiative.
Give Back Friday is all about helping the hundreds of thousands of hard-working Walmart employees who are paid so poorly that they must rely on assistance from food banks and use food stamps. During this entire Black Friday week, Making Change at Walmart, our progressive partners, and countless other organizations will be hosting food drives in cities across the country the week leading up to Black Friday with a goal to feed 100,000 Walmart workers and families though the holidays.
Locals Unions are asked to share and sign the pledge to donate to a food drive or a food bank in their area. By working together, we can help Walmart workers and their families.
Help us feed 100,000 Walmart workers and families and make sure to post about it using the hashtag #GiveBackFriday and #feedhungryworkers.
Together, we can make a difference in the lives of over 100,000 families because no one in America, especially the men and women who work for one of the richest companies in the world, should have go to hungry this Thanksgiving and through the holidays.
November 16, 2015
Workers Shut Down Normal Operations of Boston-Area Store
BOSTON – Early this morning, workers at a Boston-area IKEA store went on strike, shutting down normal store operations in an effort to improve the lives of hard-working IKEA workers and their families.
The striking workers are the first unionized retail workers at an American IKEA store, and are taking this action in response to IKEA USA’s refusal to recognize their union and enter into contract negotiations.
“Instead of doing what is right, IKEA has chosen to fight its own hard-working employees. That is wrong. All we want is the chance to earn a better life,” said eight-year IKEA coworker Chris DeAngelo. “We are dedicated to our jobs, and wish IKEA would honor its own policy and respect our union rights.”
Today’s action follows the decision of workers in the Goods Flow In department at IKEA Stoughton to join the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), the nation’s largest private sector union with 1.3 million members.
The workers requested that IKEA USA recognize their union after following a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) process that allows companies to voluntarily recognize a union when workers demonstrate majority support. Seventy-five per cent of workers in the bargaining unit signed a petition affirming their desire to join the union.
The action today highlights a failure to follow IKEA Group policies, which explicitly state support for the right of workers to bargain collectively and to join a union of their choice in the company’s internal code of conduct.
The Stoughton IKEA store has been the subject of a recent NLRB complaint filed in Boston, alleging that the company violated federal law by unlawfully infringing on the right of workers to engage in protected union activity. The company has since settled the complaint with the NLRB.
Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org
We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.