Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bringing the New Year in Responsibly, #UnionMade

Plan on celebrating New Year's Eve tonight? Make sure you do it responsibly, and with responsibly made products like these!

Have a safe and happy new year!

Check a full list from our friends at Union Plus.



Monday, December 30, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

UFCW Local 1500 Members Donate Over 800 Toys to Needy Families

UFCW Local 1500 Members donated nearly 1,000 toys to needy families this holiday season.  Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman said, "Thank you to all who found the time to purchase a toy for a family in need this holiday season, we wish all our amazing members a happy and healthy holiday season!"







Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa vs. The Elves....A labor story

By: UFCW Local 1500 Member from King Kullen, Anthony Portesy

Santa owns the North Pole and he makes millions a year delivering toys to children all over the world, collecting fees from parents for his services. Santa, to keep costs low, has 20 full time workers year round and right before Thanksgiving, he hires thousands of part-time elves from nearby areas to deal with ever increasing demand for his services. The elves are glad for the work because other employers have packed up and left the North Pole in recent years. One town in particular, Elvesville, a town 50 miles from Santa’s factory, recently lost a tire factory and had an unemployment rate of 30%. Santa knows this and has lowered the wage from $10/hr to $8/hr to maximize his business profits. Every year, Santa hires the three best part time workers to full time positions in his company where they get a wage of $15/hr and two weeks unpaid vacation.

Santa and Mrs. Claus had gone through a nasty divorce three years prior and as a result, Mrs. Claus was entitled to half of the North Pole, but not of his business because the judge didn’t find she actively contributed to the Christmas gift business. She was sick and tired of Mr. Claus being the only gift business in town and that he was exploiting the worker elves. So, she decided to start her own business to compete with Santa Claus. She would open up in the town next to Santaville, a town known as Reindeerville.

Unfortunately, the market showed no interest in her business because Santa is well known and established all over the world. So, in order to compete, she offered the elves double their rate of pay to defect from Santa’s factory, as well as vacation, sick personal time, and a union, the United Elves Workers (UEW). Half of Santa’s full time crew and half of Santa’s part time transient workforce defected to Mrs. Claus’ company. Given Santa’s new logistical problems from the loss of staff, customers were placing orders with Mrs. Claus’ new company.

Santa was faced with a huge workforce hole. If he raised the wages to compete with Mrs. Claus, he could get his workforce back and keep up with production demand, but that would hurt his profits. But, this would set a dangerous precedent because the workers would always want higher pay year after year, putting his business in danger.

Santa decided that his only course of action was to lower his delivery prices. Rather than pay the workers more money for the same production to compete with Mrs. Claus, he would lower the prices below Mrs. Claus’ prices to entice customers to spend more on his business. Further, Santa decided to bus in workers from Elvesville to fill the labor hole left by the departures to Mrs. Claus’ business for $8/hr.

Santa’s business started booming again and Mrs. Claus’ business was suffering huge losses. Mrs. Claus’ workforce was losing shifts, and hours were being cut. A decision had to be made. Mrs. Claus could match Santa’s prices, but with her higher labor costs, she would either have to layoff half of the staff, or go out of business. Instead of laying off the workforce, she decided she would cut her prices 25% and ask her workers to take a 25% pay cut with the promise of bonuses of $1500 per worker if the company reached a sales number. She was upfront and honest with her workforce in stating the bonus was almost certainly not going to happen given how bad the company was struggling. Mrs. Claus’ workforce is represented by the United Elves Workers, (UEW) the last union left in the North Pole. 

The union had taken bad press for causing the tire factory to leave Elvesville because they failed to agree to concessions. The union brought the contract to the membership and the membership got angry. 

“Why are you making us take a wage cut? You’re supposed to represent us, not management!”, the elves yelled. “Some job is better than no job”, other elves yelled. After a long meeting, the proposal was brought to a vote, and the membership voted for the proposal by a 5 vote margin. Now this caused animosity within the membership with some members angry at a “raw deal” with other members thankful to not be on the unemployment line or worse working in Santa’s factory for $8/hr.

Meanwhile, Santa’s factory was having trouble keeping up with orders. His cheap, bussed in workforce was used to making tires, not gifts. However, customers were willing to deal with the long lag time for deliveries because of his very cheap prices for delivery. 

The workers of Elvesville worked hard because they hadn’t had jobs in months and were thankful for a paycheck, however small. Santa realizing this, staged a worker appreciation day, where he provided a huge banquet for the workers and played a video about how the UEW destroyed the tire factory jobs that once paid $15-$20/hr. “You see fellas, if you work hard for me, I will always take care of you,” Santa bellowed. “You will always have a job if you work hard and are motivated.” The Elvesville workers were angered by the video and Santa used that as leverage to make them work harder. Santa knew that he didn’t have to pay them more money and took advantage.

Mrs. Claus’ business picked up, but not to the sustainable level needed. She needed another wage cut. At this point the workers took a 25% wage cut and were making $11.25/hr, only $3.25 more than Santa’s counterparts. She asked for another 20% wage cut, but increased the bonus to $3,000 if the company reached $3 million in sales. $3 million would allow a profit of $1 million and allow Mrs. Claus to pay the bonus and invest in business for the next year. The membership was pissed. Now, they would make a mere $8.96, only .96 cents more than working in Santa’s factory! The UEW brought it to a vote and it was soundly rejected. 

Mrs. Claus and the union negotiated for a few days. Mrs. Claus agreed to reinstate the $11.25 wage AFTER the holiday season, if the workers agreed to take one less week of vacation, the rest of the language for the bonus would remain the same. Mrs. Claus told the membership she needed the wage cut in order to provide operating cash flow for the loan on the materials needed to make the gifts. The bank mandated a $50,000 payment to secure the loan. After a tension filled membership meeting, the new offer was ratified, but passed only by 2 votes.

It’s a week before Christmas and Mrs. Claus has stolen business from Santa. She is on pace to do $3.5 million in business sales, and was able to make the loan payment to the bank.  Santa, a much larger operation, was on pace for a $50 million dollar sales year, with an even larger profit margin since he paid his workers only $8/hr.  Santa’s company took home $43 million in profits after the holiday season. Santa kept all the profits for himself and his stockholders.

Mrs. Claus was ecstatic, she had surpassed her business projections and as per the contract, she gave every worker a $3,000 bonus. She even bumped up the wage from $11.25 to $12/hr. Even though the workers were not at the $15 they started, they helped save the business, received a bonus, and only lost a week’s vacation.

The workers spent their bonuses lavishly on gifts, dinners, clothes, and other goods. The economy of Reindeerville was booming! All of the spending led to higher sales tax for the town resulting in improvements to roads and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Santaville was a dilapidated mess. The only people who could afford anything were Santa and his stockholders. The workforce from Elvesville was spending it’s wages on rent and food. Santa had led Santaville down a road to ruin, all in the quest to maximize his own personal gain, whereby Mrs. Claus had a thriving business that was the result of a partnership of the workforce and business.

The Elvesville workers have been protesting outside Santa’s business to extract the same wage that the workers in Mrs. Claus factory make. They want to make a living. Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus’ business hums along with no worker unrest.


THE END.


Mrs. Claus’ business is what the United States used to be about. You’re never going to get rich punching a clock for someone else, but there was always an opportunity to make a decent living. WalMart a.k.a Santa, destroyed the dream for millions of Americans under the guise of free market capitalism. Capitalism is not about the selfish pursuit of self-gain, but the exchange of values, goods, and services, that provide our society with wealth. The business owners should always get the bulk of the gains because they put forth the risk to build the business. But, if we leave workers out in the cold, the economy can’t grow since people aren’t making enough to get by. The “crisis of aggregate demand” will continue without a worker renaissance in this country.


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Friday, December 20, 2013

Top 13 Stories This Week: Target, Stop and Shop, King Kullen and Walmart

1. Stop & Shop and King Kullen negotiating committees reach tentative agreements...Vote scheduled for Monday.  
Find voting times and locations here.

2.  Aldi announced plans to open 650 stores in the next five years. Wow.

3.  With Yucapia as the new owner, Fresh & Easy is already changing.

4.  Over 400,000 no, over 40 million Target customers' credit / debit cards were stolen in a data breach.  Here's how customers are reacting. Forbes calls Target's reaction to customers a PR Nightmare. More on data breaches at retailers from Time.

5.  Amazon may get their first labor union in the U.S., as a warehouse in Delaware preps for a vote that will be watched nationally. If you remember, workers in Germany have gone on strike several times this year (and will continue to in 2014), and have even gone so far as holding demonstrations at the company HQ in Seattle.

6.  Not only would a guaranteed minimum wage increase could eliminate poverty for all, a new study shows it would create jobs. 1 in 10 people working Full-Time are still poor.

7. Walmart is being fined again, this time over $4.7 million dollars, for wage theft.

8. Fairway is holding hourly prize give-a-ways until Christmas.

9.  Whole Foods is pulling Chobani yogurt and they're upping their goal from 1,000 to 1,200 stores in the US.

10.  Brooklyn's Food Pantry is struggling to help fill the gap left by SNAP cuts (food stamps).  You've heard us talk about this before, 47 million people rely on SNAP, cutting it has put us on a dangerous road. Check out why at HungerCliff.

11. Another change was made to the ACA today.

12. Our friends at The Brandworkers, are fighting with workers from Amy's Bread in Queens. Check out the workers campaign for better wages, healthcare and job security here.

13. Chart of the week: Being in a Union Raises Women's Pay 12.9 percent.

Quick Hits: Fast-Food workers at the Smithsonian have unionized. Ikea has been spying on their employees for a long time, DC passed a minimum wage increase, President Obama said Immigration Reform is at the top of the list for his presidency, and The US South is finally coming around on unions.

Thanks!

Got a suggestion? Get at us on Twitter!


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tentative Agreements Reached with King Kullen & Stop & Shop

Tentative Agreements Reached with King Kullen & Stop & Shop
Vote & Contract Review Scheduled for Monday, December 23 @ 8 AM - 8 PM at the following locations.


Yesterday our union negotiating committee's for Stop & Shop and King Kullen announced they reached tentative agreements.  

Stop & Shop members have been without a contract since November, and King Kullen's latest extension was set to expire on 12/21. 

Meetings to review and vote for the tentative agreement will be held on Monday, December 23, 2013 from 8 AM to 8 PM at the following locations.  
(Note: You may review the contract for as long as you would like on Monday at the locations below from 8 AM - 8PM)

King Kullen Review & Voting Locations:

Nassau:
UFCW Local 1500 Office
425 Merrick Ave. Westbury NY 11590
Suffolk:
Ramada Plaza Long Island Hotel
1730 North Ocean Ave. Holtsville, NY 11742 
Stop & Shop Review & Voting Locations:


Nassau:
UFCW Local 1500 Office
425 Merrick Ave. Westbury NY 11590

Suffolk:
1730 North Ocean Ave. Holtsville, NY 11742

Brooklyn:
Stop & Shop Avenue Y
1710 Avenue Y Brooklyn, NY 11235

Staten Island:
Stop & Shop of Hylan Blvd.
2754 Hylan Blvd. Staten Island, NY 10306

Yonkers:
125 Tuckahoe Rd. Yonkers, NY 10710

Dutchess:
Route 9 Fishkill, NY 12524

President Bruce Both said:  "The only way we could have reached  tentative agreements was through your solidarity, preparedness and dedication. I thank you for your support during this tense and difficult process. I urge all members to come to one of the polling sites, review the contract thoroughly, then vote for their best interests."

If you aren't already, please follow our Facebook and Twitter where updates are posted regularly throughout the day.


Thank you again, 


Bruce Both
President, Lead Negotiator, UFCW Local 1500

The Stop & Shop Negotiating Committee 


King Kullen Negotiating Committee 

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tentative Agreements Reached with Stop and Shop, King Kullen -

UFCW Local 1500 announced they have reached tentative agreements with Stop and Shop and King Kullen.
UFCW Local 1500 Official Logo

After three-months of tense negotiations, the negotiating committee for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1500 announced they have come a tentative agreement with Stop & Shop.  The previous agreement expired on Sept. 28th and was extended twice until November 2nd.  Since then 6,000 New York Stop & Shop workers from the East End of Long Island, to Rhinebeck, in upstate New York, have been working without a contract. 

"Our team has fought every second of the day to try and secure not just "any contract" but the best contract we can.  We feel we have,” said Negotiating Committee Member Greg Pasquale from Stop & Shop in Beekman, NY.

Secretary-Treasurer for UFCW Local 1500 Tony Speelman said, ”The only way we were able to reached this tentative agreement was through our members’ solidarity, preparedness and dedication during this tense and difficult process.  I urge all Stop & Shop members to come to the polling sites, review the contract thoroughly, then vote for their best interests.”

Problems with Affordable Care Act mandates were cited throughout negotiations.  UFCW Local 1500 had been in final stages of planning for a work stoppage at Stop & Shop if a deal could not be reached.

The negotiating committee for United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 1500 announced they have come a tentative agreement with King Kullen after three-months of negotiations.  The previous agreement expired on Sept. 28th and was extended four-times, the latest was set to expire on December 21, 2013.

Both tentative agreements for over 8,400 King Kullen and Stop and Shop workers will be voted on Monday, December 23, 2013 from 8 AM to 8 PM at the following locations


Meetings to review and vote for the tentative agreement will be held on Monday, December 23, 2013 from 8 AM to 8 PM at ANY of the locations below.  It is VERY important for you to vote! (Note: You may review the tentative agreement for however long you would like between 8 AM - 8 PM on Monday, Dec. 23)

Find the six (6) Stop & Shop Contract Review/Voting Locations Here.

Find the Nassau & Suffolk King Kullen Voting/ Review Locations Here.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Westbury, New York, represents over 22,000 grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, Fairway, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, D'Agostinos, Key Food, Shop Rite and King Kullen.


Stay up to date with UFCW Local 1500 on twitter @ufcw1500, facebook.com/ufcw1500, and at ufcw1500.org.


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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tentative Pension & Welfare Deals Reached with Stop & Shop, King Kullen

After a nearly 24-hour Pension & Welfare negotiating session that began yesterday at 9:30 AM, our negotiating team reached a tentative agreement with Stop & Shop and King Kullen on Pension & Welfare.  
 
Negotiations with both companies will resume Wednesday on wages and other economic issues.

Our team is fighting every second of the day to try and secure not just "any contract" but the best contract we can.

During this time we all need to stick together. 

You must try to avoid buying into any management rumors or attempts to undermine this process and our union.  Any attempts to separate our union membership must be met with a unified response that we are all together.  

We need to support one another now more than ever, so again, thank you, for your patience.  Everyone should know that the last thing we ever want to do is to create an economic hardship for any of our members, your communities or your loyal customers.  

If you aren't already, please follow our Facebook and Twitter where updates are posted regularly throughout the day.



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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Strike Signs Prepped for Stop & Shop

By: Tony Speelman, Lead Negotiator UFCW Local 1500

Last night members from Stop & Shop, King Kullen, Pathmark, Fairway, D'Agostino, Key Food and Shop Rite came together to support Stop & Shop workers. Together as a union we made over 1,000 picket signs in preparation for a potential strike at Stop & Shop (Thank you to all who came and for your support!).

 Right now our union is still negotiating with the company. A Trustee meeting scheduled for all day tomorrow to discuss Pension & Welfare. However, we are continuing to prepare for a strike. Tomorrow you will receive more information in your store. Today our Stop & Shop (and King Kullen) Union Negotiators are meeting with the UFCW International to further prepare for a potential work action. The 1.3 million member International Union has already pledged their full support, if this becomes a full-scale labor dispute and we go on strike.

As I previously said, the coming days will be the ultimate test for you and our union. We will not continue to give Stop & Shop the sweat off our backs for the rest of the holiday season while they refuse to propose a contract you can live with. I urge you to be patient, strong and motivated during this process. Our union's solidarity, strength and commitment will often be tested by Stop & Shop’s management team. Do not believe any rumors you hear in the next few days. Rumors are started by management for one simple reason, to divide us. We will win a good contract with one thing, complete solidarity in the stores.  We are fighting every second of the day to try and secure not just "any contract" but the best contract we can.

 To date, over 100 organizations, politicians and people have pledged their support and adopted picket lines at Stop & Shop stores throughout Long Island, NYC and Dutchess/Putnam/Westchester counties in the event we strike (check the map here). Thank you for the overwhelming support, communication and solidarity. Any attempts to separate our union membership must be met with a unified response that we are all together.

 We need to support one another now more than ever, so again, thank you, for your patience and trust while we stand together and fight for a fair contract from Stop & Shop. Everyone should know that the last thing we ever want to do is to create an economic hardship for any of our members, your communities or your loyal customers. If you're not already, please follow our Facebook & Twitter, where updates are posted daily.

Solidarity!

Miss an update? Check our archive here.



Want to Help?

  • Talk to your friends and coworkers about this update! 
  • Adopt a Stop & Shop and pledge to walk a picket line if we strike.
  • Check our Community Page here.



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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Negotiations Resume With Stop & Shop

Tony Speelman, UFCW Local 1500
December 4, 2013: Contract Update 19- 

The Federal Mediator's request for both Stop & Shop and our Union enter into temporary seven-day“cooling off” period is over.  We're resuming negotiations today with Stop & Shop.

This is the month we draw a line in the sand.  Throughout the last three-months we negotiated in good faith and hoped that Stop & Shop would bargain responsibly.  Unfortunately they have not and we are still nowhere near an agreement, especially with Pension and Welfare issues.  Stop & Shop is still proposing to withdraw from our multi-employer pension plan, put significant healthcare costs on all full time members and eliminate all part time medical benefits.  

The next week will be the ultimate test for you and our union.  We will not continue to give Stop & Shop the sweat off our backs for the rest of the holiday season while they refuse to propose a contract you can live with.  I urge you to be patient, strong and motivated during this process.  Our union's solidarity, strength and commitment will often be tested by Stop & Shop’s management team.  Negotiations are scheduled for the remainder of this week and early next week.  Just know that we are fighting every second of the day to try and secure not just "any contract" but the best contract we can.

Thank you for the overwhelming support, communication and solidarity.  We are grateful to our loyal customers, our local politicians, members of our communities, and all of the other Union’s that have already pledged their supportDuring this time we all need to stick together.  You must try to avoid buying into any management rumors or attempts to undermine this process.  Any attempts to separate our union membership must be met with a unified response that we are all together.  We need to support one another now more than ever, so again, thank you, for your patience and trust while we stand together and fight for a fair contract from Stop & Shop. Everyone should know that the last thing we ever want to do is to create an economic hardship for any of our members, your communities or your loyal customers.  


Thank you again, 


Lead Negotiator, UFCW Local 1500

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