Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Membership Involvment

By: Staten Island Representative Joe Castelli.

Union Membership is everyones responsibility, not just the representatives. Today, more than ever it's important for all of us to get involved and stay involved. If you go to work everyday and wonder what the union is doing, then you are missing the key point of union membership...
What are you doing? What are you doing to make the union stronger or healthier? Are you taking your 15 minute breaks? Are you making sure you're getting Sundays?
We pass out contracts, read them. If you're full-time you should be getting 8 hours on holidays... Request a contract by clicking this link right here.

Don't be coerced by your store manager or DM to give up your contractual rights....The Contract is a 2 way street, there are things that work for the company and for you, the member. Don't give your rights away, because once the next negotiations begin the company will want those rights back...Ask your union rep how you can get involved, there many programs and activities that the union continues to look for members to get involved in....The S.T.A.R.T. Program, Political volunteering, Organizing (sign up by clicking here for these programs).

The dumbest question is the question that is not asked, if you have a question please call your representative (to find your reps phone number click here) or just simply email our web master Joe Fedele here. Demand the rights and protection your contract gives you, don't give these away because your manager needs help making labor, that isn't your problem, that's their problem. And remember it's not a grievance until the company has denied you your rights under the collective bargaining agreement.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Is it time for New York Supermarkets to start recycling plastic bags?

The New York Times Blog asks New Yorkers if it's time for supermarkets to recycle plastic bags. Here is an excerpt from the blog.

Paper or plastic? It’s no longer much of a choice in the United States, where plastic bags — introduced in 1977 — make up 90 percent of all grocery bags, according to the Progressive Bag Alliance, which represents plastic bag manufacturers. Now two City Council members, concerned about the number of plastic bags entering the New York City waste stream, say supermarkets should be required to take an active role in recycling them.

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. are proposing legislation today that would require grocery stores to collect, transport and recycle the bags. The bill would put New York near the forefront of a movement to curb plastic bag use. The United States goes through an estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year, as Peter Applebome noted in an Our Towns column in September.
What do you think? Check out the rest of the opinion here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

S.T.A.R.T. Political Phone Bank Tonight

Attention all S.T.A.R.T. Members, Just a reminder tonight there will be a political phone bank at our office. All members who participate will receive 100 S.T.A.R.T. Points...Here are a few more events scheduled. Please call our office (800) 522-0456 ext.254 if you are interesting in participating in tonights event....Thanks!

Upcoming Volunteer Dates:
October 25th & 26th: Phone Banking @ UFCW Local 1500 Office 5:30-8:30, Members who volunteer will receive 100 S.T.A.R.T. Points

November 3rd: Election Day Prep
10 AM-2 PM in Suffolk and Dutchess Counties
Volunteers will receive 250 S.T.A.R.T. Points, Plus a S.T.A.R.T. T-SHIRT

November 6th: Election Day

Locations are TBA
Volunteers will receive 250 S.T.A.R.T. Points, Plus a S.T.A.R.T. T-SHIRT

Please send us an email if you are interested in participating in any of these events! Simply hit reply on this email to let us know you're interested! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trader Joe's set to open up in Queens

In today's Daily News, Rachel Warton highlights Trader Joe's silent entrance to Queens.

Whole Foods may open each splashy new store with a frenzy of publicity, but the city's second Trader Joe's is practically sneaking into Queens: The California grocer opens a Rego Park branch at 90-30 Metropolitan Ave. this Friday.
Right now the Local 1500 S.T.A.R.T. Team along with organizers from Local 1500 are working to educate these new Trader Joe's employees on what they deserve as supermarket workers. A website has been launched to give Trader Joe's employees an idea of how "Joe" is betraying them. Check out

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Wal-Mart, plans to open its first supercenter in North NJ...closest to NYC

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is planning to open its first supercenter, a store with a full supermarket, in North Jersey at the former APA Transport Corp. site in North Bergen, a company spokesman confirmed Monday. The news means North Jersey's regional supermarket chains -- Pathmark, ShopRite and A&P -- could have a food fight on their hands, as the nation's largest retailer tests the waters with one of its discount supermarkets. The store would be Wal-Mart's third supercenter in New Jersey, and the closest to New York City. Read more of this story...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Long Island Wal-Mart faces harassment suit...

(AP) — A man with Down syndrome who worked at a Long Island Wal-Mart is suing the giant retailer for harassment.

Brentwood, L.I., resident John Runza, who worked at the Central Islip Wal-Mart from December 2004 to May 2006, says he was threatened and ridiculed by fellow Wal-Mart workers and was also harassed due to his irritable bowel syndrome.

He seeks unspecified damages.

"While we can't comment on a pending lawsuit, I can tell you that the facts, as they have been described, are not correct," John Simley, spokesman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based company, said Friday.

Mr. Runza's lawyer won a $7.5 million verdict last year over the job reassignment of Wal-Mart worker Patrick Brady of Centereach, L.I., who has cerebral palsy. A judge reduced the award to $900,000. Wal-Mart is appealing.

"When is Wal-Mart going to learn that you can't treat people with disabilities as second-class citizens?" said the men's lawyer, Douglas Wigdor.

Responded Mr. Simley: "Wal-Mart is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all qualified associates and to ensuring diversity in all company practices and policies."

©Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fresh Direct Promises To Go Green

Fresh Direct will stop using cardboard delivery boxes. They'll use recyclable totes and bags instead. Seems like a big improvement, right? Bummer is that Fresh Direct will take up to three years to make the change.
Read more of this story here

President Bruce Both appointed to State Food Policy Council

UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce Both has just been appointed to the New York State Food Policy Council. The council was created in May of 2007 by Governor Elliot Spitzer and is designed establish new food policies for the state that will help ensure the availability of safe, fresh, nutritious and affordable food for all New Yorkers, especially low income individuals, senior citizens and children. Here is the Press Release from Governor Spitzer.


September 19, 2007


Governor Eliot Spitzer today announced the members of the New York State Council on Food Policy, which he established earlier this year. Members of the Council will work to establish new food policies for the state that will help ensure the availability of safe, fresh, nutritious and affordable food for all New Yorkers, especially low income individuals, senior citizens and children.

The Council will make recommendations to the Governor on state regulations, legislation and budget proposals in the area of food policy to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive inter-agency approach to state food policy issues. It is also tasked with identifying ways to increase the sale of New York agricultural products, with an emphasis on expanding the consumer market for locally-grown and organically-grown food. The Council will deliver a written annual report to the Governor.

"This Council will help the state coordinate its food-related policies and promote healthier communities," said Governor Spitzer. "The members of this Council will bring new and diverse expertise to this important policy area and I thank them for agreeing to serve."

The New York State Council on Food Policy includes representatives from all areas of the food system and will be chaired by New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker. Members include:

Linda Bopp, Executive Director of the Nutrition Consortium of New York State
Bruce Both, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union; Local 1500
Michael Burgess, Director of the Office for the Aging
Dr. Richard Daines, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health
Raymond Denniston, Food Service Director of the Johnson City Central School District and Co-Chair of the New York State Farm to School Coordinating Committee
Diane Eggert, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Federation of New York
John Evers, Executive Director of the Food Bank Association of New York State
Daniel Gundersen, Upstate Chair of Empire State Development Corporation
David Hansell, Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Dr. Susan Henry, Dean of Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Richard Mills, Commissioner of the State Education Department
Cathryn Mizbani, Senior Extension Administrator and WIC Program Coordinator of the Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County
William Rapfogel, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Metrpolitan Council on Jewish Poverty
Irwin Simon, Founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
Julie Suarez, Director of Public Policy for the New York Farm Bureau
Mary Warr Cowans, RD, CDN, and Associate Director of the Division of Nutrition at the New York State Department of Health
Eleanor Wilson, Corporate Dietician for Price Chopper Supermarkets, Inc.
Catherine Young, New York State Senator

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker said, "The food industry is quite complex, and I am honored to lead this group of professionally diverse leaders and experts in the arena of food and agriculture. The experience and insightfulness of those on this Council make me confident that we will be effective in finding new and creative ways to improve our food systems for the benefit of all New Yorkers."

The Council will hold its first meeting next month in Albany.