News and Updates
September 3, 2019
Highlights of the agreement include guaranteed raises in every year of the contract; accrued vacation time for part-time workers (previously only full-timers accrued vacation time); and significant improvements in workplace protocols and procedures for workers who are threatened or harassed by members of the public, including the right to close the store and remain on paid-time until the threatening individual(s) have left the premises. This part of the contract addresses one of the main issues brought up by Pleasure Chest workers, who sell adult toys, during their organizing campaign.
The agreement also creates minimum staffing requirements for busier times, and new trainings for management and staff. These trainings help employees to address boundaries, safety, and security for conflict de-escalation, as well as reimbursement for self-defense classes. The contract also contains strong language around non-discrimination and respect for workers’ gender identity/expression and pronouns.
August 6, 2019
Food service workers at New York University (NYU), who are members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102, recently ratified a new contract that strengthens wages and benefits. The workers prepare and provide food for NYU students on campus.
The new agreement includes strong wage increases and improves medical insurance coverage. In addition, the company retirement contributions will rise, improving retirement security for these hard-working members.
June 4, 2018
RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 nursing home workers at The Woodlands Genesis health care facility in Plainfield, New Jersey, recently ratified their first union contract. The workers joined RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 in April 2017, and the strong union contract was ratified by 100 percent of the membership.
The new agreement includes a 60 percent reduction on their contributions to the health plan, a 2 percent wage increase for members under five years of service, and a 2.5 percent or more increase for members over five years of service depending on the shift. The agreement also includes shift and weekend differentials, as well as four extra holidays: Martin Luther King’s birthday, Memorial Day, Easter and a floating holiday.
May 7, 2018
Over 300 members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 220 who work at Mott’s in Williamson, New York, ratified a new contract by an overwhelming margin in April. The Mott’s workers produce iconic household products, including Mott’s applesauce, apple juice, and the Clamato beverage, among others.
The hard-fought contract includes strong hourly wage increases over the next five years, reduced health care costs and job security provisions that will protect the members well into the future. In 2010, Mott’s workers went on strike in the face of unacceptable contract provisions offered by the company. Despite it all, they were able to win a fair contract. This time, negotiations lasted just seven weeks and workers were able to secure one of the strongest contracts in their history.
“The workers at Mott’s proved years ago that if you stand up for what you believe in and you stand united that you can protect and advance the needs of working people,” said RWDSU/UFCW President Stuart Appelbaum. “This contract is one of the best that we have ever negotiated at Mott’s and we are proud of the members for sticking together. Once again, they have set an example for workers everywhere.”
“Our member-driven negotiations team worked tirelessly to secure a strong contract for all 300-plus Mott’s workers,” said President of RWDSU/UFCW Local 220 Jerome Camp. “I am proud of our team, our work and our new contract. To see how far we’ve come in just under a decade to secure one of our strongest contracts shows the real power of RWDSU Local 220 and I couldn’t be happier to return to work shoulder to shoulder with our team under this new contract.”
September 25, 2017
On Sept. 14, about 100 members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 who work in the women’s shoe department at Saks Fifth Avenue’s iconic flagship store in New York City ratified a new contract that will reverberate nationwide. The hard-fought contract repelled the company’s outrageous demands to eliminate employee commissions when a customer paid with an “earned gift card” or “Saks First” loyalty points – a change which would have slashed employee pay by up to 10 percent. This hard-fought victory is not only a win for members of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102, but is also a triumph for hard-working Saks employees in stores across the country, as the company has indicated that because of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102’s arguments against these arbitrary programs, it will halt a previously planned nationwide implementation.
Under the new agreement, the company will retain the present commission structure by preserving the union employees’ 10 percent commission on sales of women’s shoes. Further, the union negotiated the right to have employees’ sales goals adjusted to account for their use of vacation and other paid time off. Finally, RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102 negotiated a contract ratification bonus for Saks’ unionized workforce.
“I am taken aback by the company’s response to our concerns about changes to the commission system and their interest in not just retaining the system in New York but for my friends and colleagues at other stores,” said Gil McGarvey, a Saks sales representative and Local 1102 shop steward and executive board member. “In all my years at Saks, never have I felt more heard by the company – and the union is the reason we were heard.”
“I am exceptionally proud of, and humbled by, the hard work and selfless dedication of our nine member negotiations team,” said Alvin Ramnarain, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1102. “This contract is a huge win for both our members, and also for workers across the country who would have received drastic pay cuts. Saks, after speaking with its corporate partners, agreed to back off its demands, and actually informed us that because of the arguments presented at the bargaining table, they would quash this program nationwide. We are grateful that Saks understood that when they invest in their people and let them sell, their business will thrive. This is clearly a case where the union difference will have a positive effect on Saks’ profits, and that’s a win for our members and the company. What is clear today is that when workers stand together, we can win.”
September 11, 2017
The three-year contract includes big pay increases of 15 to 22 percent over the course of the agreement. Workers will also receive an extra half day of paid time off for Christmas Eve, an allowance for safety shoes and uniforms, and a fourth week of vacation earned in less time. An important win was moving workers into the RWDSU/UFCW health plan, which New England Joint Board President Tina Buonaugurio said,“saves workers significantly, giving them even more of a raise.”
“Sodexo is well known for their anti-union tactics, but workers stood together and won big,” Buonaugurio added.
August 28, 2017
These workers stuck together through six weeks of anti-union rhetoric. The anti-union campaign included management bringing in union-busting “consultants” to shut down the organizing drive. Despite these anti-union tactics, the workers were undaunted in their desire to make their jobs better by winning a union voice in the workplace.
April 17, 2017
RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 members who work as drivers for the Gateway shuttle bus in Newark, N.J., ratified their first union contract earlier this month. The shuttle bus drivers joined RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 last year to improve their pay and treatment, and the new contract provides raises, added vacation time, and more overtime opportunities.
“The Gateway Company has grown and become very profitable over the years, and workers deserved the improvements they are getting with their first contract,” said RWDSU/UFCW Local 108 President Charles N. Hall, Jr.
April 10, 2017
On April 5, 102 workers at Nestlé’s logistics and shipping center in McDonough, Ga., voted to join the RWDSU/UFCW for a voice and fair treatment in the workplace. The workers, who handle shipping and logistics for Nestlé, as well as food product packaging, and truck and train loading at the facility, were concerned about job security and fair wages.
“These workers have been through a lot in the past few months both personally and at work and it is time that their voices are heard and that they are treated both respectfully and fairly by Nestlé,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the RWDSU/UFCW. “Nestlé’s workers deserve a strong union voice at the bargaining table, and we are proud to be representing the 102 workers in McDonough as we work to secure a fair contract.”
The team at the Southeast Council of the RWDSU/UFCW worked tirelessly through natural disasters in the area, and in a politically challenging climate, to win the opportunity to represent the workers at Nestlé.
“The people of Georgia are fighters, and the workers at Nestlé here in McDonough are a force to be reckoned with – and I could not be prouder to represent them,” said Edgar Fields, president of the Southeast Council, RWDSU/UFCW. “Neither union busting efforts, or floods and gale-force winds, could deter these workers from defending their right to organize and now it’s our turn to fight for them. We are ready.”
March 13, 2017
Over 100 RWDSU/UFCW members employed at New York City car washes attended a meeting on March 8 which focused on immigrant rights and how immigrant workers can protect themselves during the increasingly hostile Trump era. Consulate officials from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Ecuador, as well as representatives from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, and community groups Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change, discussed how immigrants should act if approached by immigration officials and how they can get legal help, if needed.
The RWDSU/UFCW’s Car Wash Campaign has worked for more five years to clean up the car wash industry and improve conditions for the workers, who are known as “carwasheros.” Workers at 10 shops have voted to join the RWDSU/UFCW and have won contracts.
For workers, it is proving to be an uncertain time.
“We come to this country in search of a better future for our families. We are good people, we do nothing but work honestly. President Trump should give us a chance and not be so hard on us,” said Simon Salvador, who has been working as a carwashero in Brooklyn for the past 15 years.
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum affirmed the union’s commitment to fighting for carwasheros and all immigrant workers.
“The U.S. labor movement has a moral obligation to defend working women and men and their families, regardless of their immigration status,” Appelbaum said.