Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Local 1500 responds to Mayor Bloomberg's Wal-Mart comments

For Immediate Release Contact: Pat Purcell

April 15th, 2007 (973) 583-9651

New York City’s Largest Grocery Workers Union Responds to Mayor Bloomberg Calling Wal-mart Responsible and Welcome in New York City

The President of New York City’s largest grocery workers Union called on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to consider all of Wal-marts business practices before declaring them “ responsible and the kind of companies we want in NYC.”

“With all due respect to the Mayor, I would ask him to take a close look at Wal-marts long, well documented history of being one this country’s most irresponsible employers. Wal-mart has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in wage and hour violations, encouraged workers to go on tax payer funded healthcare rather than provide accessible insurance, has allowed overseas child labor to produce their products, is a defendant in this Nation’s largest gender discrimination lawsuit and been responsible for the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and lost local businesses. Their overall behavior has been anything but responsible,” stated Bruce W. Both, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500.

“That is why time and time again New York City residents, community organizations, elected leaders and leaders within the faith based community have rejected Wal-mart coming to New York City. That is why poll after poll has shown a large percentage of New Yorkers disapprove of Wal-mart business practices,” Both stated. “Furthermore, I would remind the Mayor that it was Wal-mart CEO Lee Scott himself who said “I don't care if we ever have a store here,” when discussing our great City. I believe that is a sentiment shared by millions of new Yorkers,” Both concluded.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 is both New York State’s and New York City’s largest local Union representing grocery store workers. UFCW Local 1500 represents over 22,000 workers employed by Pathmark, Stop and Shop, King Kullen, Gristedes, Key Food D’agastinos and Fairway Supermarkets. Of their 22,000 members, over 10,000 of them reside here in New York City with their families.

UFCW Local 1500 Director of Special Projects Patrick Purcell also suggested that the Mayor use the same influence he exerted on Wal-mart with gun control to get them to adhere to a responsible employer’s code of conduct. “If the Mayor is able to exert this type of influence over Wal-mart on gun control, imagine his ability to get them to start doing the right thing on dozens of other issues that are affecting hundreds of thousands of their workers every day, as well as others affected by their irresponsible business practices,” Purcell concluded.

“We are eager to meet with the Mayor on this issue and to begin a dialogue so that the Mayor may become more informed on the topic before making the declaration that Wal-mart is a responsible company,” Purcell concluded.

The Union did salute Mayor Bloomberg for reaching this agreement with retail stores on tougher rules regarding the selling of guns. However, the Union questions why “with billions and billions in profits, Wal-mart feels the need to sell guns. There are plenty of places to get guns in this world, as we here in New York City know all too well, and there seems to be no reason why people should be able to purchase guns at the same place they get their underwear,” Purcell stated.

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