Thursday, February 28, 2013

Release: NYS Independent Dems Must Pass Minimum Wage

New York Grocery Workers Union Calls On Independent Senate Democrats to pass Minimum Wage Without Delay

Urges IDC to Join with 27 Other State Democrats and "Help the Poorest in Our Society"


United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1500, New York State's largest grocery workers union with over 23,000 members, called on the New York State Independent Democratic Conference to join with the New York State Senate Democratic Conference and pass a minimum wage bill with indexing "without further delay."

"If New York working families are to truly believe that Albany has indeed changed, then 32 Senate Democrats coming together and taking action that will help lift hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers from the poverty wages they earn today must happen without delay," said Bruce W. Both, President of UFCW Local 1500.

"Leaders of both Democratic conferences have now said that they support a minimum wage of $9.00 an hour with indexing.  Therefore the math is simple: twenty seven Democrats plus five Independent Democrats equals economic relief for the poorest in our society," Both continued, "There is no moral reason to delay this bill one day longer and only petty politics at this point could stand in the way of true economic justice for hard working New Yorkers."

UFCW Local 1500 members working in stores located as far east a Montauk and as far north as Rhinebeck have been actively involved in the campaign to raise the minimum wage and have signed thousands of postcards in support. Those postcards were delivered to New York Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein at a press event in early February.

"Sometimes even in Albany things come together and present themselves as a clear, irrefutable opportunity to help the poorest in our society. This is one of those times," said Patrick Purcell, Assistant to the President for UFCW Local 1500.

"The majority of both New York State's legislative branches have spoken clearly on the need for a $9.00 minimum wage. Delays at this point will only renew a feeling of cynicism that politics and self interest still triumph over what is right for New York working families. We cannot return to those days," Purcell concluded.

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UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, Key Food. Fairway, D'agastinos and Shop Rite.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

UFCW Pushes for Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights

Last week, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights which would help eliminate the incentive for employers to drop health coverage for their part-time workers. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) penalizes employers who fail to provide health insurance to full-time workers but includes no such penalty for part-timers (defined as working less than 30 hours a week).
This loophole has driven some national employers to announce plans to reduce workers’ hours in order to avoid the penalty.  Walmart dropped part-time health coverage last year.   The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights seeks to level the playing field and protect the millions of part-time workers in retail and other service industries.
Workers are encouraged to contact their Members of Congress this week while Senators and Representatives are in their home states and districts. You can find the full text of the bill here.
The UFCW continues to use every avenue possible—whether through the regulatory process or legislation—to strengthen the ACA and protect quality, union-negotiated health benefits. The Part-Time Worker Bill of Rights is a part of that effort.

Original Post: http://www.ufcw.org/2013/02/21/ufcw-pushes-for-part-time-worker-bill-of-rights/


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Friday, February 22, 2013

Film Screening: After I Pick The Fruit


Film Screening: After I Pick The Fruit
The Lives of Migrant Workers

Please join us next Wednesday Feb. 27 at 7:30pm at New York Law School for an 
exclusive screening of "After I Pick The Fruit," a documentary film created by 
Sodus, NY based independent film-maker and activist, Nancy Ghertner.

The film follows the lives of five female migrant farmworkers in upstate New York and 
chronicles the many struggles they faced as immigrant laborers in the U.S. over 
the course of ten years. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion 
featuring film-maker Nancy Ghertner; Maggie Gray, author of an upcoming book 
"Labor and the Locavore" about New York farmworkers and food politics; Gerardo 
Gutierrez, campaign coordinator for the Justice for Farmworkers campaign; and 
Soche Meng, legislative counsel at the NYCLU.

The discussion will be moderated by Andrea Callan, Statewide Advocacy Coordinator at the NYCLU. The panel will focus on the challenges faced by NY’s farmworkers and how the proposed state  legislation, the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, will seek to remedy so many of the inequities in labor rights suffered by NY’s farmworkers.

Currently, farmworkers are the only group of workers in New York that do not have a right to the same basic labor protections all other New Yorkers enjoy; overtime pay, one day of rest during the week, the right to collectively bargain and join a 
union, or access to workers compensation or disability pay if injured on the job.

The Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices act seeks to remedy this 
discriminatory scheme and provide NY's farmworkers the labor rights they deserve. 

Please RSVP with Marc Loresto mloresto@nyclu.org if you would like to attend.

If you would like to learn more about the film, or watch the film trailer, visit 




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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

We Endorse Stephen Levin for NYC Council District 33

Statement from Bruce W. Both, President, UFCW Local 1500:

"Stephen has brought energy and common sense to the New York City Council since his election in 2009.  Most importantly he brings a passion to serve the constituents of his district and the working men and women of New York City. Councilmember Levin works hard to see that government is working for them and not the other way around. As a Councilmember, he has stood side by side with our members in their fight to protect the middle class and to share in the American Dream.  We will work hard to see he is re-elected."

UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 members and promotes progressive policies such as demanding Wal-Mart be held accountable for it's unethical business practices, supporting the expansion of supermarkets into underserved communities and creating good food, good jobs and good health for all New Yorkers.

Other Issues of importance to Local 1500 members include aggressive wage theft prosecution, demanding labor standards be attached to corporate subsidies and strengthening New York City land use laws.  UFCW Local 1500 has an active "Women's Network Program," which addresses issues particular to women such as domestic violence and breast cancer.  Over half of UFCW Local 1500 members are women.

Statement from Patrick Purcell, Assistant to the President, UFCW Local 1500:

"Councilmember Levin was an early supporter of Local 1500's "Building Blocks" Campaign that called on New York City to develop a food policy that focuses on bringing full service supermarkets to under served communities. Stephen is dedicated to bringing good food, good jobs and good health to all New Yorkers and will continue to develop smart policies that will grow our cities economy and develop middle class jobs. Our members are thankful for his leadership."

UFCW Local 1500 represents grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, Key Food. Fairway, D'agastinos and Shop Rite.

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Friday, February 8, 2013

We Stand In Solidarity w/ New England UFCW Stop & Shop Workers

Current Stop & Shop fruitbowl logo, shared wit...
Current Stop & Shop fruitbowl logo, shared with Giant-Landover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
UFCW Local 1500 leadership and our 23,000 members are standing in solidarity with our 33,000 brothers and sisters working at Stop & Shop, represented by UFCW Locals 328, 371, 919, 1445, and 1459 during contract negotiations still continuing ongoing.

 “All of us in the UFCW must stand with the New England Locals and help them secure the best possible contract for their members,” said Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Speelman Even though negotiations were still taking place, Stop & Shop choose to place ads in newspapers seeking to hire replacement workers in the case of a strike or lockout as a scare tactic.

 “The threat to hire replacement workers by Stop and Shop always has and always will fail to scare or divide UFCW members in any part of the Country,” said Speelman “ I guarantee you that any attempt to do that in Local 1500’s negotiations this Fall will be met with a forceful response from the New York State labor movement.”



 Members can show their support for the new England Stop and Shop workers by sending a tweet @UFCWUnited, visting them at http://ufcwstopandshopnegotiations.com or liking them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UFCWStopShopNegotiations
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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Good Food, Good Jobs, Good Health: We Endorse Scott Stringer for NYC Comptroller

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer sup...
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer supports a bike lane on Houston St. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New York State's Largest Grocery Workers Union Endorses Scott Stringer for New York City Comptroller 
Union Applauds Candidates "Smart Food Policy" and Opposition to Walmart 

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1500, New York State's largest grocery workers union with over 23,000 members, today announced its endorsement of Scott Stringer for New York City Comptroller.

"As Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer has proven everyday that he clearly understands how important it is to develop an economy that produces not just jobs but good jobs with a living wage. He understands that the success of Main Street is just as vital as the success of Wall Street.

The entire City of New York will be better off having a man of Scott Stringers integrity and intelligence as its Chief Financial Officer," stated UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both. "The membership of UFCW Local 1500 is excited to support his 2013 campaign for Comptroller and will work hard to see that he is elected."

UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers across New York State with just over 10,000 members located within the five boroughs. "Scott Stringer was an early supporter of Local 1500's "Building Blocks" Campaign that called on New York City to develop a food policy that focuses on bringing full service supermarkets to under served communities," stated Patrick Purcell, Assistant to the President.

"Scott is dedicated to bringing good food, good jobs and good health to all New Yorkers and will continue to develop smart policies that will grow the cties economy and develop middle class jobs. Most importantly, as Borough President, has been relentless in holding Walmart accountable for their irresponsible business practices and demanding they show real change before they enter the New York City market. Our members are thankful for his leadership."

UFCW 1500 promotes progressive policies such as demanding Wal-Mart be held accountable for it's unethical business practices, supporting the expansion of supermarkets into underserved communities and creating good food, good jobs and good health for all New Yorkers. Other Issues of importance to Local 1500 members include aggressive wage theft prosecution, demanding labor standards be attached to corporate subsidies and strengthening New York City land use laws.

UFCW Local 1500 represents grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, Key Food. Fairway, D'agastinos and Shop Rite.

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We Endorse Micah Kellner for NYC Council District 5

Micah Kellner
Micah Kellner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New York State's Largest Grocery Workers Union Endorses Micah Kellner for New York City Council, 5th District
Unions applauds Kellner's "Working Class Values" 

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500, New York State's largest grocery workers union today announced its endorsement of Micah Kellner to be the next New York City Council Member to represent the constituents of the 5th City Council District. The 5th District covers the upper east side of Manhattan. 

"As a New York State Assembly Member, Micah Kellner has distinguished himself as a vocal and aggressive advocate for the working families that reside in his Assembly District," said UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both. "UFCW Local 1500 will be equally aggressive and dedicated to his 2013 campaign and will fight to make sure that Micah Kellner brings his strong working class values and common sense governing to the New York City Council and the residents of the 5th District." 

UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 members and promotes progressive policies such as demanding Wal-Mart be held accountable for it's unethical business practices, supporting the expansion of supermarkets into underserved communities and creating good food, good jobs and good health for all New Yorkers.

Other Issues of importance to Local 1500 members include aggressive wage theft prosecution, demanding labor standards be attached to corporate subsidies and strengthening New York City land use laws. UFCW Local 1500 has an active "Women's Network Program," which addresses issues particular to women such as domestic violence and breast cancer. Over half of UFCW Local 1500's members are women. " Many elected officials talk the talk but few walk the walk as consistently as Micah Kellner," said Patrick Purcell, Assistant to President of UFCW Local 1500.

"Whether its demanding Wal-Mart be held accountable for it's unethical business practices or supporting the passage of the Wage Theft Prevention Act, Micah Kellner does not just support good legislation, he works tirelessly to see that the legislation becomes law and that those laws are strongly enforced. Micah Kellner is a true fighter for the American Dream and as a New York City Councilmember he will help more people realize that dream," Purcell concluded.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Westbury, NY represents grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, Fairway, D'agastinos, Key Food and Shop Rite.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why We Support New York City Bus Drivers On Strike

By: Joe Fedele

In 1979 the average income was $17,500, a Sony Walkman was $200.00, and a gallon of gas was .86 cents. It was also the last time New York City Bus Drivers were forced to strike to save their jobs.

On January 17, 2013, members of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union went on strike for a simple reason, to protect their jobs.  As is with most unions, seniority is an essential piece of a union contract.   New York City however, has made a move to end seniority-based job guarantees, a cornerstone in ATU 1181’s contract.

Seniority is crucial to ATU 1181 members for two reasons. One, senior ATU 1181 members have top choice in selecting bus routes each school year.  Two, seniority guarantees re-hiring and job placement when drivers are laid off because their bus company has lost a city contract to run bus routes.

The first reason, the pick of a bus route, is more of a reward for tenure and years serving New York City.  The second however, is their livelihood, it guarantees workers the ability to feed and support their family each year, a protection that cannot be compromised.

Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration seeks to end seniority rights, which would not require companies to hire laid-off drivers.  The move would adjust the city’s bottom line by destroying decades of job protections and union families’ livelihoods. Allison Kilkenny of The Nation said of the move to end seniority rights, “It creates a system in which workers entrusted to be responsible for a child’s safety are utterly replaceable in the name of protecting the bottom line.”

Nearly 5,000 of New York City’s 7,700 bus routes have been shut down due to the strike. We have stood with ATU 1181 since day one.   President Bruce Both has called and written to Mayor Bloomberg, expressing our disgust and disappointment, instructing him, “Not everything is about the bottom line.” There is a disturbing growing trend throughout our country; it is to find a “better deal” at the expense of workers rights.  That is outright inexcusable.


We'll be marching in solidarity with striking ATU 1189 members this Sunday across the Brooklyn Bridge at 12:30 PM.  Then rallying at City Hall with hundreds of NYC Union Members.  Check out all the photos of our awesome members who walked the picket lines and kept striking ATU members warm with hot chocolate and hand warmers here: http://goo.gl/l1td6


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