Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wednesday Morning One Liners...

A Bay Ridge supermarket will shut its doors in June - and most likely reopen as - what else? - a chain drugstore.
Here's the April 1st article on the Bay Ridge Supermarket.

The city is losing $1 billion in sales each year to the suburbs because of a shortage of supermarkets, according to city planners.

With food prices rising nationwide, fruits and vegetables are fast becoming a cheaper alternative to pricy meats and dairy products for Brooklynites

Political

3 vie for Recchia's Seat

RECORDS show that City Councilwoman Maria Baez (D-Bronx) withdrew $668.35 from her "Baez for the Future" fund to pay for 13 gas purchases between July 21 and Dec. 4.

A City Council member who represents parts of the Bronx, Maria Baez, gave $7,500 in discretionary council funds this year to a tenants association in her district that residents say doesn't exist, the New York Post reported yesterday.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Morning One Liners

For nearly 30 years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. employed a video-production company here to capture footage of its top executives, sometimes in unguarded moments. Two years ago, the retailing giant stopped using the tiny company
.
The Neighborhood Retail Alliance writes on Local 1500's Building Blocks Project.

Elected officials held a pro-Willets Point redevelopment rally at City Hall this morning in a likely attempt to counter efforts in the City Council to oppose the multi-billion dollar, 61-acre project, at least as currently presented.

The New York Sun writes more on the Willets Point Rally.

The FTC is still pressing on with the Whole Foods and Wild Oats merger.

Workers say they are set to strike and shut down Bloomingdale's flagship Manhattan store for the first time in 43 years if contract negotiations are not resolved by Thursday.

Families are caught by spiking Grocery Prices.

A new estimate from the state Department of Labor puts the possible job cuts on Wall Street at nearly double the previous estimates. In an interview with Reuters, James Brown, a market analyst for the state agency, predicted that Wall Street would lay off a stunning 36,000 employees -- one fifth of its entire work force. That compares to the 20,000 that the city's Independent Budget Office predicted in March.

Politics

Here is Obama's speech, addressing the UFCW in Chicago this week.

And here is UFCW President Joe Hansen's statement regarding Obama's speech.

The Chicago Sun-Times writes on Obama's speech to the UFCW.

Obama received a lot of press for spending his day off with the UFCW.

More and more articles regarding council members slushing funds to non profits. This one involves Seabrook.

The New York Sun asks 'Where is Gifford Miller?' amongst the current Budget scandal at the City council.

Los Angeles- Broadening efforts to create more higher-paying jobs, Los Angeles city officials put a new policy into place Wednesday that requires any project receiving funds from the Community Redevelopment Agency to agree to hire union workers.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wal-Mart to establish a Human Rights Committee

Supermarket News reported this morning that shareholders of Wal-Mart Stores have proposed that the company establish a human rights committee.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Supermarket News covers Local 1500 Building Blocks Project





NYC Union Launches Supermarket Advocacy Campaign

NEW YORK — The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 on Tuesday applauded a recent study by the city’s planning commission showing detrimental public health and economic effects of a lack of supermarkets in certain city neighborhoods and unveiled a 14-point statement of policy suggestions designed to assist communities gain greater access to food stores. The policy suggestions encourage the preservation and development of supermarkets in low-income communities by making economic incentives available to food retailers to build and operate stores, and to discourage supermarkets from being evicted. The local is based in Queen’s Village in the borough of Queens.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday Morning One Liners

Kroger and its 10,000 cashiers, stock crews, meat cutters, deli helpers and other Louisville-area workers who belong to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 227 overwhelmingly ratified a contract Tuesday that preserves an increasingly rare pension plan that is 100 percent funded by the grocery chain.

Wal-Mart pulled dozens of products containing BPA plastic in Canada, but has yet to pull them in the United States.

The Fresh Market has retained investment bank Goldman Sachs as the supermarket considers offers for outside investment. In a statement on Wednesday, The Fresh Market said it will evaluate several opportunities during the next several months. The company will continue to operate as it has.

Kroger stores are offering 'Free Groceries' through a gift program.

IGA here said yesterday it plans to hold its first U.S.-specific retailer meeting in more than a decade Nov. 6-8. Read more of this story
The Grocery Manufacturers Association issued a statement here last week relating that the proposals outlined in the discussion draft of the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2008 would likely increase food prices and impose unnecessary regulatory burdens.
Read more of this story
Around 53 workers, primarily software engineers, are to be laid off at Shaw’s Supermarkets in Mass., reports said last week.
Read more of this story

Developments

The city begins the approval process today for the massive redevelopments of Willets Point and Hunters Point South. The seven-month process entails gaining approval from the communities, the City Planning Commission and the City Council. Queens business owners and residents have raised concerns that the projects would displace businesses and drive up the cost of housing, as 60 percent of the residential units would be reserved for middle-income New Yorkers, and the rest would be sold at market rate. The process follows the recent controversial rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem.
More at: [Crain's]


The NYC unemployment rate, which has continued grow since last summer, rose 0.2% in March.
A monumental century-old power plant sitting on the Brooklyn waterfront and featuring a stout stone foundation and 4-story high arched windows with cream colored terra-cotta trim is being demolished brick by brick, upsetting local preservationists.

NY Post (Reuven Blau): $200M HEALTH-CARE CUTS EYED

The Bloomberg administration has taken its first step toward slashing health-care benefits for city workers by $200 million - a plan announced in the mayor's preliminary 2008 budget. During a meeting Thursday, Labor Commissioner James Hanley submitted a list of proposed changes to the Municipal Labor Committee, which bargains health-care rights for the city's more than 300,000 teachers, cops, firefighters and other workers. "This is the beginning of a process," Hanley told The Post. The mayor has argued that cutting the city's health-care obligations would help shore up projected budget gaps of $4.2 billion in 2010, $5.6 billion in 2011, and $5.3 billion in 2012.

Newsday (Dan Janison): L.I. SENATE WAR

Local sources tell Newsday's Rick Brand that Brookhaven Supervisor Brian Foley would be the state Democrats' top choice to challenge veteran Sen. Cesar Trunzo. …Senate Democrats were said to be testing Foley's name in polls. And Bob Master, state co-chair of the Working Families Party, which partners with Democrats in Senate races, has discussed it with Foley. Starting tomorrow, the party plans to target Trunzo and Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) in an "issues" campaign, slamming the Senate GOP on paid family leave. Which Democrat will face Hannon, though, also remains hazy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Obama, Clinton seek union vote in close Pa. race



Obama, Clinton seek union vote in close Pa. race

Could determine bitterly fought primary contest

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Susan Milligan Globe Staff / April 21, 2008

PHILADELPHIA - When she answered her doorbell, Head Start teacher Diane Klein knew she had seen the man wearing the Hillary Clinton T-shirt before: It was her union president, Jerry Jordan, and Klein was impressed that the head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers had given up a sunny weekend to make an in-person appeal for the New York senator.

And Jordan wasn't alone at the undecided voter's door at a rowhouse in central Philadelphia. He had brought along Randi Weingarten, the powerful president of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, to make the case for Clinton ahead of Pennsylvania's presidential primary tomorrow.

Clinton is leading in opinion polls in Pennsylvania, but Barack Obama has narrowed the gap in recent weeks. Labor unions are divided between Clinton and Obama; the votes cast by union members like Klein could be a crucial factor in the outcome.

"I'm voting. I haven't decided whom I'm voting for, but I'm voting," Klein, 59, told the union chiefs, adding that she liked the "energy" Obama has brought to the race. "I've always liked Hillary, but I don't like the way she's been running the campaign," Klein added.

Weingarten persisted. "Her feistiness and her smarts help," Weingarten said, in getting things done in Washington. She handed Klein some pro-Clinton literature before heading to the next union household.

In Pennsylvania, teachers are among Clinton's most devoted and relentless supporters: the American Federation of Teachers, which has brought volunteers in from as far away as Alaska and Louisiana to knock on doors and call voters, urging them to vote for Clinton, who has the AFT's endorsement.

Despite the discouraging political math indicating that Clinton won't win a majority of pledged delegates by the end of the primary season, the teachers say they are not giving up hope that superdelegates will make Clinton the nominee.

"Say a child in your class has been failing all year. Are you going to give up? As a schoolteacher, you fight all year," Weingarten said. While Clinton has been struggling to stay competitive in the waning weeks of the campaign, teachers are determined to help deliver not just a win in Pennsylvania, she said, but "a great showing" that political specialists say Clinton needs to stay in contention for the nomination.

Clinton and Obama criss-crossed the state yesterday in frenzied, last-minute campaigning that has become increasingly testy. Clinton is widely favored to win tomorrow's contest here, but Obama has narrowed the gap in polls, challenging Clinton's argument to superdelegates that she is more capable of besting McCain in bigger, post-industrial states.

Union voters are crucial in Pennsylvania, where more than 15 percent of salaried and hourly workers belong to a union, compared with a national average of 12.1 percent. The organizational help that union workers bring to a candidate - mailing literature, canvassing and running phone-banks - are often more important than the sheer numbers of union voters.

But the workers' groups are also divided in the state. While Clinton has secured the backing of the AFT and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Obama has captured the endorsement of Change to Win, an umbrella group that includes such powerful unions as the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters. And while AFSCME has heartily backed Clinton, the chief of one of its affiliated unions, Hospital Workers Local 1999, has endorsed Obama.

Clinton started with an institutional advantage, since many union members have an affection for former President Clinton, and were inclined to support another Clinton, said Jeffrey Lerner, national political field director for Change to Win. But he said the more Obama has campaigned in the state - and the more union leaders give him the stamp of approval - the more the Illinois senator has been able to chip away at Clinton's lead in polls, which was once more than 20 points.

"In many cases, it's been the unions introducing Obama to their members for the first time. That's a great validator for him," Lerner said.

Union members for both candidates have been out in full force in recent days: Change to Win had 500 volunteers knocking on doors yesterday, and will have 800 on the ground on Election Day, said Eileen Connelly, executive director of the Pennsylvania SEIU state council.

The umbrella union group has sent out some 600,000 mailings to voters for Obama. The AFT, for its part, has spent $329,000 on independent expenditures backing Clinton in Pennsylvania. Retired teachers alone have made more than 12,000 phone calls for her, and by Election Day, AFT members will have been contacted three times by the union with entreaties to vote for Clinton.

The difficulty in wooing members, union supporters for both campaigns say, is that there isn't much difference between the two Democrats on policy affecting labor unions.

Both Clinton and Obama support rules reinforcing the right to join unions, and while both have had their anti-NAFTA credentials questioned, Clinton and Obama have each declared their intentions to fix the North American Free Trade Agreement to protect workers and the environment. Both have comprehensive healthcare plans, and back proposals to discourage the export of jobs overseas.

Like many voters, union members are choosing between the rivals' competing campaign messages. Clinton voters said they value her experience and are excited about having a female president, while many Obama supporters explained that they want a change in Washington and dislike what they call the negative tone of Clinton's campaign.

"If she's the candidate, I'll vote for her" in November, but tomorrow "I'm voting for Obama. I don't like some of the things she's saying," a man in downtown Philadelphia told AFT canvassers. But the Clinton T-shirts also elicited cheers from others. "That's my girl!" said an older woman as she watched the union members leave Clinton fliers at the door.

The turnout by members of both sets of unions is expected to have a big impact on tomorrow's results; Change to Win estimates that its members represent 30 to 35 percent of the Obama vote in Pennsylvania. But leaders in both union groups say their primary disagreement will end when there is a Democratic nominee - and that all the unions will rally around that candidate.

Everybody likes both of these candidates," said Wendell Young, president of local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which has endorsed Obama. "There's no animosity."

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.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Morning Brief

LYNDHURST, N.J. — H Mart, a South Korean-owned chain of high-end Asian supermarkets here, is pursuing an aggressive expansion plan this year, with eight stores scheduled to open across the United States. Including at least one in New York.
Read more of this story

BURNABY, British Columbia — United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 said its members have voted to walk out if union leaders call a strike against Save-On-Food stores.
Read more of this story


Thousands of Save-On-Foods workers in Vancouver took part in a strike vote last week - and the results are in. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union say the vote was 94% in favor of walking off the job.


DENVER - Business and labor leaders spent last week sparring over proposed changes to the state constitution, and despite the intervention of Gov. Bill Ritter, the battle may get nastier. Wednesday, a group called A Better Colorado filed 133,000 petitions with the secretary of state. Its goal is to add an amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit collective bargaining agreements, which require that workers be union members or pay union dues. They call their proposal the Colorado Right to Work Amendment.


NYC- The cost of a controversial tracking system for city employees has quietly ballooned to $410 million - and is still climbing."It's insanely expensive," said labor lawyer Rachel Minter, who is heading up one union's fight against the most sci-fi aspect of the system: hand scanners that can identify employees by the shape of their palms. The scanners are one part of CityTime, a tracking and payroll system that after 10 years and more than $400 million now covers just 15,000 employees at 26 agencies. City officials argue that old-fashioned paper time sheets are inefficient, and CityTime will save $60 million a year once it's fully operational


The economy shed 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive month of rising unemployment, presenting a stark sign that the country may already be in a recession.

Development

Fearing the loss of small, local businesses on Harlem's 125th Street corridor, critics of the city's controversial rezoning plan urged a powerful City Council subcommittee to set aside space for independent retailers or even limit new chain stores.

Brooklyn's jail is opening a 'retail' floor.

NY Post article on the newly proposed Brooklyn BJ's.

And property owners and other opponents of the city's $3 billion Willets Point redevelopment are suing the city.
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