Friday, July 31, 2009

Wake Up Wal-Mart & Wal-Mart Watch Merge


WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) announced that Wal-Mart Watch has joined with to form one organization to maximize the ability for Walmart workers to win a voice on the job and bring change to the entire retail industry.

"We find ourselves at a critical moment in our country - working families are struggling to make ends meet, while corporations like Walmart continue to reap record profits," said UFCW President Joe Hansen. "Walmart workers across America are standing up and demanding change, and the UFCW is standing with them to achieve the health care and labor law reforms that will restore and expand the middle class. The UFCW is the labor union for retail workers and we will not let Walmart, as the world’s largest retailer, shirk its responsibility to the 1.4 million employees who work for the company."

"As Walmart workers continue to speak out to transform their jobs, we believe they are best served by a single organization dedicated to supporting Walmart workers and holding the retail giant accountable for its actions," said SEIU President Andy Stern. "Walmart has made a lot of promises to working families, and we plan to hold them accountable for making those changes."

Walmart earns $34,880 in profit every minute, yet only 50 percent of Walmart workers are covered by the company's health care plan, because Walmart premiums and deductibles are unaffordable. Workers' schedules -- and therefore wages -- are shrinking, and when workers stand up and demand changes, they are confronted with special squad of "attitude" enforcers straight from company headquarters in Bentonville. If workers persist in standing up, they are shown the door.

"We are ready for change, and feel that if we stand together, we can change this company for the better from the inside," said Cynthia Murray, an associate from Laurel, MD. "We work too hard to be pushed aside so that company executives can add a few million dollars to their bonuses this year."

In April, thousands of Walmart’s 1.4 million associates across the country united to launch Walmart Workers for Change, the largest effort ever by Walmart workers to demand a voice on the job. Workers in more than 100 stores in 15 states across the country have already joined together. This historic action led to the decision by Wal-Mart Watch to unite its strength with

Joining with will:

• Unite hundreds of thousands of activists both online and in neighborhoods across the country to support Walmart workers with one collective voice.

• Allow President Obama and Members of Congress to unite with a newly strengthened group invested in transforming the world’s largest retailer.

• Create a stronger partner for Walmart Workers for Change, the Walmart workers leading the campaign to create good jobs at Walmart from the inside.

• Strengthen efforts to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which will allow Walmart workers to form unions free from harassment and intimidation; and ensure passage of real and meaningful healthcare reform that holds employers like Walmart accountable.

The 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is America's neighborhood union representing workers in neighborhood grocery stores across the country. UFCW puts dinner on the table for America's families with members working in meatpacking and food processing.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Obama visits Kroger, Wine in Grocery stores gets another push in NY, Thursday One Liners...

President Obama spoke about Health Care with UFCW membes at a Kroger in Virginia yesterday.

Here comes another push for wine in grocery stores here in New York:
Legislation has been introduced in both the New York state senate and assembly to allow wine in grocery stores, after a similar proposal was cut from the state budget last spring amid complaints from liquor store owners, according to published reports.

A Chicago City Council committee today voted to kick the controversial plan for a South Side Wal-Mart store to another committee.

Wal-Mart has filed an injunction against the UFCW Canada, alleging the UFCW should not be permitted to use the word Wal-Mart!?
The suit would force the UFCW to stop using words like "Wal-Mart alone or with other a color scheme of blue, white and gold" which is similar to that adopted by Wal-Mart Canada. The injunction seeks to bar the UFCW from using such words or symbols on its website, business cards, flyers or advertising. The company has included in its injunction "an oval, circular or semi-circular design that adopts the essential characteristics and color scheme of Wal-Mart's Rebranded Indicia
Read the entire article by Al Norman here. The UFCW Canada has denounced the suit,:(press release)
“Walmart’s response to the success of is just another outrageous example of how the largest retailer in the history of the world will use its bottomless legal budget to manipulate the collective bargaining process and do just about anything to discourage its ‘associates’ from joining the union.”

A new report released yesterday revealed that retailers are paying large fines for labor violations, now more than ever.

The Food Safety Enchancement Act of 2009 failed to pass in the House.

Eight organizations who united in Pennsylvania to fight obesity were recognized.

A new report surfaced revealing that obesity costs the United States about $147 Billion annually.

Farming: Northeast Tomatoes have been lost, will Potatoes be next?

Are Starbucks and Whole Foods Union Busters? An inside look behind closed doors at anti-union meetings.

The CSEA here in NY has backed Gillibrand.

David Paterson says people should be focusing on government, not his poll numbers.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

President Obama to meet with UFCW Local 400 Members on Health Care today....

WASHINGTON - MARCH 5:  U.S. President Barack O...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

President Obama Visits Kroger store to meet with Local 400 members today

(BRISTOL, VA) – President Barack Obama will hold health care town hall meeting at the Bristol, Virginia, Kroger grocery store today – Wednesday, July 29 at 4:00 pm. Workers at this store are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 400, and are speaking out for quality, affordable health care for all.

“We’re honored and excited to host President Obama,” said Vera Lewis, a member of the UFCW and a floral designer at the Bristol Kroger. “Like President Obama says, health care reform can’t wait. We need a health care system that covers everyone and brings down costs now.”

UFCW members see the face of the healthcare debate every day across the nation. They work as pharmacists, in health care facilities, and in grocery stores like the Bristol Kroger. UFCW members see that average families are struggling and we need reform that will ease the burden on working families.

“UFCW members have sacrificed to protect quality health care at the bargaining table,” said UFCW Local 400 President Jim Lowthers. “Reform has got to level the playing field and put an end to irresponsible employers freeloading their health care onto responsible companies and the taxpayer. Our members are proud to stand with the President and say that now is the time for health care reform.”

UFCW Local 400 represents more than 40,000 workers across Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee and the District of Columbia. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail, meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.

For more information, contact
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Queens gets a Fairway

Fairway marketImage by 1hr photo via Flickr

Queens gets a Fairway

Fairway Markets have announced they will be opening a new store in Douglaston, Queens, a supermarket starved area.

Fairway Markets announced they will be opening a store in Douglaston, Queens, an area salivating for a new supermarket, good food and good jobs:

"Area residents — short on supermarket options — are cheering a Board of Standards and Appeals decision allowing a Fairway Market to open in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center.
“We are so happy. The owner is very community minded; he’s a lovely man,” said Rosemary Guidice...

The community-minded Howie Glickberg will not only bring union jobs to the community but also healthy affordable food. Glickberg dispelled the common myth associated with Fairway as a 'upscale store', "Glickberg indicated his store’s prices are 15 to 25 percent cheaper than Waldbaum’s, with a greater selection of items for the public..." [The Queens Tribune has more on Fairway in Douglaston]

Fairway Market operates stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey, providing communities with union jobs and healthy, affordable food for over 50 years.
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Another NJ Pathmark to close, Obama to visit Kroger, Wednesday Morning Read...

Logo of the USDAImage via Wikipedia

Greenpeace says no to Trader Joe's seafood.

Ahold’s U.S. banners posted $5.2 billion in sales for the second quarter, which ended July 12, with gains at Stop & Shop and Giant-Landover but slowing sales at Giant-Carlisle, the company said in a trading statement Tuesday.

President Obama will visit a Kroger in Virginia.

Another Pathmark will close in New Jersey, this time in North Plainfield, as customers are shocked to hear the news that the store will close mid-August.

Another article on Wall Pathmark's closure [New Jersey] with customer reactions.

More: "A landmark for locals, Pathmark will close its doors after numerous attempts at revival."

St.Petersburg will get a Fresh Market, a company eager to expand into the NY area.

Wegman's proposes a new store for Rochester.

The MarketWatch writes an analysis on supermarket stocks during the downturn.

Survey: Chicago has the cheapest groceries.

On Monday, Governor David A. Paterson requested the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) designate 17 New York counties as agricultural disaster areas due to bad weather conditions this growing season.

Another new BJ's development in Massachusetts.
They've also signed a new 5-year contract with Wirpo Bags.

FreshDirect problem, cardboard boxes for every delivery no matter what the size. FreshDirect says next year they'll stop using cardboard boxes all together next year.

NYC: 1 in 5 resturants were not inspected.

Politics. Politics.
Councilman De Blasio is back on the ballot for Public Advocate.

Calling for a single-payer healthcare system in N.Y.

David Patterson's fate is a concern after the continued decline of polling numbers.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is still considered the favorite as he seeks a third term, but the incumbent's lead over NYC Comptroller William Thompson (D) has shrunk considerably in recent months. A new Quinnipiac poll shows Bloomberg ahead, 47% to 37%

Senate Panel Endorses Sotomayor
President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, moved closer to taking her seat on Tuesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved her nomination and sent it on to the full Senate. But the contentious public hearings this month and Tuesday's largely partisan committee vote demonstrated that judicial confirmations remain a hotly contested political and ideological battleground with implications for Mr. Obama's future choices for the courts. The committee's vote was 13 to 6, with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina the only Republican joining the panel's 12 Democrats in voting for the nomination.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Yucaipa and A&P, Queens gets a Fairway, Friday Morning One Liners...

Queens Borough BridgeImage by jorgeq via Flickr

Good Morning on a Friday!

Yucaipa & A&P

A&P welcomes Yucaipa investments after a 'Challenging Q1'.

Supermarket News covered the story also: Investors approved of the deal, sending A&P stock up by more than 14% Thursday. The addition of Yucaipa also drew praise from Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, which lauded Yucaipa’s history with labor unions, including Local 1500’s previous experience with Pathmark under Burkle

Queens gets a Fairway

Queens Chronicle Fairway will open a store in Douglaston, Queens within 4 months.

Long Island Press: Another Fairway for Queens and Long Island.

Another unjust firing.
In February Kadar Yusuf Haji Ali, a worker at the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Faribault, sat down for a cup of coffee with an organizer from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789. He wanted to discuss the possibility of unionizing the plant. Roughly a week later the Somali immigrant was fired from the slaughterhouse. Read more here.

Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark., has agreed to pay up to $35 million to settle a class-action lawsuit here alleging the retailer forced workers to skip breaks and work off the clock, the Associated Press reported.

Trader Joe's will open another store in Jersey by the end of August.

Another article on NY Labor Leaders and David Patterson.

McCarthy: Back surgery deterred me from Senate race
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy said Thursday she's planning to undergo back surgery next week - and that the lengthy recovery period was the "real reason" she decided not to run for the U.S. Senate. Last month, McCarthy, 65, the Democrat from Mineola, said she wouldn't challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in next year's party primary for "personal reasons." Thursday, she said her impending back surgery, which will require her to wear a brace for six to eight months, drove her decision to bow out of consideration for the Senate. Her aching back has forced her in recent weeks to rely on a cane.

44 Charged by U.S. in New Jersey Corruption Sweep
A two-year corruption and international money-laundering investigation stretching from the Jersey Shore to Brooklyn to Israel and Switzerland culminated in charges against 44 people on Thursday, including three New Jersey mayors, two state assemblymen and five rabbis, the authorities said. The case began with bank fraud charges against a member of an insular Syrian Jewish enclave centered in a seaside town. But when that man became a federal informant and posed as a crooked real estate developer offering cash bribes to obtain government approvals, it mushroomed into a political scandal that could rival any of the most explosive and sleazy episodes in New Jersey's recent past.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

UFCW Local 1500 Welcomes Yucaipa Investment in A&P Supermarkets

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia

News from UFCW Local 1500
Download the Press Release [PDF]

News from UFCW Local 1500

New York City Union Welcomes Yucaipa Investment in A&P Supermarkets

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, New York State's largest grocery workers union, announced its support today for Los Angeles based Yucaipa Companies investment in the Montvale , N.J. based A&P Supermarkets, which has 436 stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas.

"This is good news for all of the employees of A&P and the employees represented by the UFCW," said UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both. "Yucaipa has a proven track record of investment in the grocery industry that benefits employees, shareholders and communities. UFCW Local 1500 and our members had positive working experiences with Yucaipa when they invested $150 million dollars in Pathmark Stores, now owned by A&P, back in March of 2005. We look forward to building on that relationship," Both concluded.

All of UFCW Local 1500's members employed by A&P Supermarkets work at Pathmark Stores. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Queens Village, represents over 23,000 grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess Counties and New Jersey. In addition to A&P/Pathmark, members of Local 1500 are employed by King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Gristedes, Dairy Barn Stores, Fairway, D'Agostino, Key Food and Shop Rite.

In Solidarity,
Patrick Purcell Jr.

Assistant to the President, UFCW Local 1500

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Thursday Morning One Liners..

al-Mart is sparing no expense on their frugal attempts to enter the south-side of Chicago, now they're planning on sponsoring a 'farmers market' in a weak pathetic attempt to be welcomed into the graces of the Chicago citizens. Wal-Mart + Local Famers Market=???

UFCW Local 371 held a Wal-Mart rally.

Displaced Wal-Mart workers fear for benefits.

Wal-Mart got another property valuatinon cut, this time for $1.2 million.

Gaming workers at Bally’s and Caesars casinos in Atlantic City voted overwhelmingly over the weekend to authorize a strike if they are unable to reach a contract agreement with management.

Great editorial: "No excuses left on EFCA [Employee Free Choice Act'"

"Raising the minimum wage is one of the easiest things we can do to give working people a leg up. It's an instant economic stimulus for the people who need it the most."-Dan Cantor, WFP Executive Director, on today's ten cent increase in the minimum wage, in Newsday.

5 New York Democrats holding up Healthcare.

An estimated 123,000 New Yorkers will get a raise on Friday.

Ikea slaps a $5 fee for an allegedly "free" water taxi.
More at the Daily News.

A Cancer awareness group is suing Nathan's Hot Dogs.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another Pathmark to close, Wednesday Morning Read

Urban SupermarketImage by Paul Lowry via Flickr

Yet another Pathmark is slated to close this month, this time in Randolph, one of Pathmark's oldest stores, will be closing after 39-years. Here's a quote from Laura La Bruno, A&P's senior director of public relations:
"... As part of our overall strategy, store locations are consistently analyzed and assessed based on a number of factors including performance and market conditions," the statement said. "Stores that have been underperformers for quite some time, despite the best efforts of our management, employees and increased promotional programs which still do not achieve satisfactory operating results must be closed.

" ... While some employees are being offered work elsewhere in our retail chain, to those associates who are affected by this decision, we thank them for their dedication and great efforts over their years of service and regret the impact this closure will have on those who will be leaving the company. And of course, we thank our valued customers for their patronage over the years and hope they will continue to allow us to serve them at the nearest Pathmark location."

Cirangle, who said she had worked at the store for 27 years, said that pharmacy employees would be allowed to apply for jobs at A&P, but they would have to first resign their positions with Pathmark and reapply A&P because "Pathmark pharmacy employees are union and A&P's are not."

This is the second store closure Pathmark has announced this month, the other was in Wall, NJ.

Safeway makes healthy strides by giving their employees incentives to live healthy lifestyles.

The Pennslyvania Liquore Control will test self scanning kiosks, to determine if they can prevent the sale of alcohol to underage consumers.

Wal-Mart plans to open more Supercenters in Western Canada.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz recommended the approval of the "Navy Green" housing development at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard, a site that is hungry for a supermarket.

Another BJ's Wholesale Club is inches away from approval in Jersey.

Target plans to open 23 new stores, 17 expanded general merchandise with groceries and two full grocery stores.

Manhattan is the only large US County to see wages fall in 2008.

They Coney Island re-development has been approved.

Politics & City
A bipartisian bill is currently going through congress to slow down the rising cost of food.

Gillibrand has outlined a plan to cut childhood obesity.

NY State Supreme Court has blocked Patterson's Lt. Gov selection.

The New York Times wonders if unions will continue to back Patterson.

The Second Avenue Subway has been delayed...again.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brooklyn Navy Yard needs a supermarket, SEIU foregoing raises for pension, Whole Foods does a 180 on Gowanus

An old Target store located on Old National Hi...Image via Wikipedia

Another Pathmark in New Jersey will close this month.

SEIU 1199 has voted to freeze raises and contribute more towards their pension plan.

The city has made it official: It wants a supermarket inside the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Whole Foods Gowanus.
Daily News: The Whole Truth, Whole Foods decides to continue development at Gowanus, Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn Paper: Whole Reversal on Organic Megastore.
“Certainly, our spokesperson’s statement could have been a lot clearer,” said Libba Letton, a higher-ranking spokeswoman based at Whole Foods’ Austin headquarters than the official who spoke to the Brooklyn Paper last week. “[But] that doesn’t change the fact that Whole Foods Market is actively working on plans for a store at the Gowanus site.”
Coney Island: "I will kill this plan if my constituents are not taken care of," Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island) said after a vote on the 47-acre zoning plan was postponed for a second time because the Council and the Bloomberg administration weren't in agreement.Here's more on the Coney Island stalemate.

Suozzi: 500 union workers to leave county payroll.

Carolyn Maloney apologies for repeating a racial slur.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday morning short liners...

PathmarkImage by myJon via Flickr

The Staten Island Advance writes another article on Pathmark's return to New Dorp.

Delaware ShopRite to open first LEED certified supermarket in the state.

In Boston, a Superior Court judge here who refused to allow Wal-Mart to settle a class-action lawsuit involving off-the-clock work and shortened breaks has scheduled the case to go to trial Oct. 5, according to published reports.

A highly contagious fungus that destroys tomato plants has quickly spread to nearly every state in the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic, and the weather over the next week may determine whether the outbreak abates or whether tomato crops areruined, according to federal and state agriculture officials

In Massachusetts, paperless food stamps easier to use at farmers' markets.

Steven Greenhouse: Democrats cut 'Card Check' from Employee Free Choice Act.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

UFCW contract updates, ACME settles, Stella D'Oro fights to stay open, Amish Market in Glendale not popular anymore?

Wide angle view of BJ's Wholesale club in VA.Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning on a Friday!

Workers at Stella D’Oro are filing an NLRB charge alleging that a private equity company is illegally closing the plant to avoid the union.

BJ's aims to take business from supermarkets during recession:
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. , the No. 3 U.S. warehouse club operator, is focused on taking business from grocery stores as consumers look to save money on food in the recession.

Staten Island residents are more than pleased that Pathmark is returning to New Dorp.

Fresh & Easy suppliers have a union election tomorrow (Friday) in California.

UFCW Local 1776 approved a contract with ACME yesterday.

Here's the letter that ACME president sent to all UFCW members....More at the Progressive Grocer.

Congratulations to workers at Swift meatpacking plant:
UFCW Local 711 reached a contract agreement with JBS a meat packing plant, a negotiation which took a little over eight months. The first contract for workers at JBS Swift & Co. will result in a 4.6% increase in the 1,100 employees at the plant.

Denver-area Safeway and King Soopers workers agreed Wednesday to extend their contracts with the grocery chains until Aug. 15...
The latest news is that negotiations are moving towards equal pay.

Must Read:
The Gotham Gazette: An Outer Borough Drought.
The Gazette looks at the supermarket drought throughout the five boroughs, a topic which we've been lobbying and arguing for the last year with our Building Blocks Project.
Gourmet Garage opens up in the Upper West Side.

Rumors continue to arise regarding a new Trader Joe's or Gourmet Garage in the SOHA (South Harlem) building between 117th and 118th Street on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

Food Lion will build it's first 'Green Supermarket' in southern California.

Hannaford, here in the North East, will unveil their first 'Green Supermarket'.

Atlas Park: Craving a supermarket not an Amish Market.
“The community of Glendale is crying out for a supermarket to move into their neighborhood, and we have just the location for you,” the prepared materials read.

One prospective tenant, Western Beef, has already turned down Atlas Park over parking access.
Read more at the Queens Tribune.

In a long five year battle, UFCW Local 1400 (Canada) is appealing a decision by Court of Queen's Bench Justice Peter Foley, who ruled last month that the certification of a Wal-Mart, in the town of Weyburn, was wrong.

Workers in foreign factories that supply Wal-Mart can't blame the company for their alleged sweatshop conditions, despite the retail giant's code of conduct that's supposed to hold its contractors to decent labor standards, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

Wal-Mart Stores here will discuss the development of a new index that measures the "social and environmental impact" of its products at a press conference today, reports said yesterday.
UFCW responds to Bashas' bankrupcy.

Whole Foods/Trader Joe's:
Greenpeace vs Trader Joe's in the sustainable seafood war.

Whole Foods Market is promoting the fact that one of its own lives in Alaska for the summer to ensure that the best salmon is carried in its stores.

Whole Foods Organically Certified:
Whole Foods Market yesterday announced that it each of its 273 U.S. stores has been individually certified organic by CCOF, a non-profit, U.S. Department of Agriculture accredited third-party certifier established in 1973.


The NY Mets, everyone's lovable losers, owe New York City more than $2 million due to 'underreported profits'

Texting banned while driving in NYC.

The NY Senate gives more power to the minority.

Carolyn Maloney has an edge over Kirsten Gillibrand in a Rasmussen poll.
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Local 789 Pickets Trader Joe's, Fresh Direct launches seafood evaluation, Downtown restaurant underpays employees, UFCW contract negotiation updates

Acme Markets logo used until the late 1990s. T...Image via Wikipedia

1,500 rally in Arkansas for Employee Free Choice.

Fresh Direct is launching a seafood evaluation system.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says a popular Thai restaurant in Manhattan's financial district underpaid employees by hundreds of thousands of dollars, with some working up 72 hours a week for less than minimum wage.

Acme Markets and its 4,000-member union were back at the negotiating table Monday, three days after Acme backed down from terminating its current contract and implementing portions of its last offer.

A new round of negotiations begins today between Safeway and the UFCW Local 7, while talks with King Soopers and Albertsons remain at a standstill.

The National Retail Federation, the industry's largest trade group, is urging its members to publicly challenge Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s support for proposals to require companies to help pay for health insurance.

Supervalu gave “false and misleading” financial guidance that helped retailer raise $1 billion through the debt market before a downward revision sent its stock reeling, according to allegations in a lawsuit filed here Monday.

UFCW Local 789 is picketing outside a Trader Joe's in St.Paul Minnesota.

A federal judge has given final approval to a $17.5 million settlement of a discrimination lawsuit that accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of not hiring black truck drivers.

King Kullen: Hampton Bays Moratorium extended another six-months.

The Hyde Park Stop & Shop hearing continues Wednesday.


In a meeting with President Obama today at the White House, top labor leaders pushed for a second stimulus package to create more jobs.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Morning One Liners...

WASHINGTON - JULY 07: US Senator Al Franken (D...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Basha's said to be filing chapter 11. More on their financial problems and store closures here.

UFCW members at Acme worked through the weekend...

To stay up to date on Local 1776's contracts check out their website.

AFL-CIO's Blog has an update on the Stella D'oro closing.

OSHA cites Wal-Mart $7,000 for Black Friday Death.


4 stories, regarding a new supermarket within the development of the new Brooklyn Navy Yard, asking for a developer to include a 40,000 sqft market...One article argues bringing jobs to community members...


Al Franken, co-sponsoring Employee Free Choice.

Less than six hours after he was sworn in as MN's junior senator and two hours after casting his first vote (against an amendment sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced that he has already co-sponsored his first bill.

"As of about a half an hour ago, I became the co-sponsor of my first piece of legislation in the Senate," Franken told a gathering at the AFL-CIO headquarters this evening. "And it's something called the Employee Free Choice Act."

The government organization committee of the California Senate is expected to vote again on a bill later this week that would require supermarkets to sell beer, wine and spirits only at checkstands manned by clerks — to ensure that buyers are sober and of legal drinking age — rather than at self-service lanes.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Keep Stella D'Oro in the Bronx, Support Local 1776, Friday Morning One LIners...

"They wanted to take us back to the dark ages. We told them we weren't going there."

-Mike Filippou, on why workers at the Stella D'Oro cookie factory in the Bronx braved picket lines for 11 months, in yesterday's Daily News.
“Even if I go back for an hour, I’ll get satisfaction,” said Mike Filippou, 43, a union representative and a maintenance mechanic at the plant for 15 years. “They’re saying they’re going to close to get us to agree to whatever they offer, but we didn’t stay out 11 months for nothing. We’re going to fight it.” In Yesterday's New York Times

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka yesterday announced his candidacy for president of the AFL-CIO to succeed the retiring John Sweeney. Trumka has served as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer since 1995.

A supermarket owner who took $50,000 in public funds to renovate his store has been arrested and charged with fraud in relation to the award.

Acme and UFCW Local 1776 are nearing a contract deadline. Neither side seems willing to budge....Meanwhile Local 1776 officials yesterday accused Acme Markets of refusing to compromise as a midnight contract deadline approached, but they urged 4,500 area supermarket employees to report to work today and stay on the job until a membership meeting Wednesday.

Yesterday Whole Foods announced they will abandon plans to open a store in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

13 Dunkin Donuts in NYC turn into Tim Horton's. What??

BJ's Wholesale Club's sales continue to dip.

Citing unfair labor practices, Teamster employees at Hilton Suites on Chicago's Magnificent Mile have chosen to strike against the hotel, effective this past Friday.

A federal judge has given final approval to a $17.5 million settlement of a discrimination lawsuit that accused Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of not hiring black truck drivers.

The UFCW is appealing the decision in Canada which overturned the unionization of a Wal-Mart.


Labor leaders to meet with President Obama Monday.

If you missed the Working Families NYC Mayoral Forum, it's available online....Bill Thompson ended up getting the WFP endorsement.

Pope Benedict XVI advocates for more unions.

Pedro Espada is back, and now majority leader. Saying his actions led to a transformational change that will empower all senators, dissident Democrat Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. rejoined the conference he walked away from a month ago, and returned control of the state Senate to Democrats.

Maloney tells the Queens Tribune, "I'm Ready for Senate"

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

No Whole Foods in Gowanus, the toxic site has been finally put to rest....

Whole Foods MarketImage via Wikipedia

The Brooklyn Paper reported today that Whole Foods will abandon their plans to build a store in Gowanus. A project we, along with many other organizations were a bit skeptical on when it was first announced. Whole Foods had a plethora of mishaps trying to build the store and the 420 space parking lot on toxic land, which concerned neighbors and residents throughout the area.

More so when Whole Foods neglected to take proper precautions by fencing the toxic land from the community. Controversy arose when the broken fence allowed some local children to play in the toxic development site. Whole Foods also mentioned that they will attempt to sell the land.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stella D'oro plans to close doors in October, Tuesday Morning Read

Last week, a federal judge ordered Stella D'oro to reinstate 134 workers after a protracted 10-month strike. This week, the company invited the workers back. It also announced that it would close the factory in October.

NY Times: After Inviting workers back, cookie factory plans to shut down.

New York: Welfare checks to increase for the first time in 19-years.
"I work at Con Ed, but need food stamps to get by….And with a monthly electricity bill of some $200. I feel that Con Ed is taking back whatever little I get paid."

-Fernando Cruz, a maintenance worker who cleans the Manhattan offices of Con-Ed, in Friday's Daily News
The Connecticut Laborers' Council plans to picket three work sites in Torrington, Bristol and Ellington to protest a Plainville-based construction firm's use of nonunion workers, including a future Stop & Shop site.

Don McGeorge, who as president and chief operating officer of Kroger Co. was influential in developing many of the retailer’s strategies, including its private brands and centralized operations, is retiring after 32 years with the company.

About 1,200 Macy's workers in Washington 'OK'd' a contract.

Remember Mark Kaiser? Former executive at Ahold’s U.S. Foodservice division, who was sentenced to seven years in prison back in 2007 for his role as “organizer and leader” of a scheme that led Ahold to overstate its profits by $800 million. Kaiser was convicted of fraud in the case, in which he was found to have directed the creation of fake invoices to artificially inflate vendor rebates. Well, he is now seeking a re-trial.

Trader Joe's is receiving some criticism over sustainable fish.

Local 342 wins NLRB case against kosher meat packers.

Two more supermarkets to pay over $1 million dollars in back wages.
Two supermarkets in Brooklyn have agreed to pay back wages to employees totaling $1.125 million after a state investigation found they did not pay some workers at all and paid others less than minimum wage. This past February Local 1500 and the Building Blocks project helped workers at Amish Market, Zeytinia, Zeytinz and Zeytuna receive over $1 million dollars in back wages. NY1 covered the story here.
This is becoming too much of a common practice throughout New York City, the Building Blocks Project along with Local 1500 is working on the New York State's Dept. of Labor's Wage Watchers campaign


REGINA, Saskatchewan — A judge here has voided union certification at a Wal-Mart store where workers organized under labor laws that were since altered, reports Thursday said.

Chicago- Chicago Alderman still yearns for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart backs drive to force companies to pay for health insurance.


Mayor Bloomberg has imposed an immediate city hiring freeze, citing “gridlock in the State Senate” that has held up votes on budget measures.

That includes a class of 250 police recruits who were slated to start at the academy tomorrow.

NY Times looks at 5 years down the road: The Stalemate in Albany, Five Years On.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia




Deal raises Tar Heel workers’ wages and brings up benefits and

working conditions to union standards

(TAR HEEL NC)—Five Thousand workers at the world’s largest pork processing plant have their first-ever union contract, after a majority of workers ratified the agreement over a two-day vote. Members of UFCW Local 1208 will join more than 10,000 other Smithfield workers, and more than 240,000 others who work in the meat packing and food processing industry who have a UFCW union contract.

The new contract includes:

* Wage increases of $1.50/hour over the next four years.

* Continued company-provided affordable family health care coverage.

* Improved paid sick leave and vacation benefits.

* Retirement security through protection of the existing pension plan.

* Continued joint worker/management safety committee, including company funded safety training for workers.

* Guaranteed weekly hours that protect full-time, family supporting jobs in the community

* A system to resolve workplace issues.

* 24 hours of paid funeral leave following the death of immediate family members.

“This contract will completely transform our workplace,” said Orlando Williams. “This is the biggest four-year wage increase Smithfield workers have ever had and it will make a real difference for our families and in this community. We could never have gotten that increase without a chance to bargain with the company. We will finally have a sense of security on the job because through our union we can make sure we have a safe place to work, and that everyone’s treated fairly.”

UFCW members who work at Smithfield's other locations all over the country were paying close attention to the negotiations in Tar Heel. "I know the difference having a union contract makes, said Jim Olson, a steward at UFCW Local 304A and a 35 year veteran of Smithfield's John Morrell Plant in Sioux Falls, SD. "The more meatpacking workers who join our union, the more power we have to raise wages and benefits—in our own local unions, and for everybody who works in this industry. That’s what being in the UFCW is all about.”

This is the first contract covering the hourly production and maintenance workers at the Tar Heel facility and will take effect July 1, 2009.


The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries.
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Smithfield workers in NC ratify first union contract, Thursday One Liners...

TescoImage via Wikipedia

Workers at Smithfield Foods Inc.’s largest plant, in Tar Heel, N.C., have ratified their first labor contract with the United Food and Commercial Workers, the company and union announced yesterday. More from the AP.

A company that recently became the largest kosher meat producer in the United States, Alle Processing, was found by the National Labor Relations Board to have illegally intimidated its employees before a union election with the UFCW last fall.

BBC: 'Tesco's Labor Relations under fire"

As Bashas' [Arizona] closes a staple store, says more store closures to come soon.

K-Mart is offering discounts to the unemployed in Michigan.

Unemployment reaches 9.5%.

Franken's Victory Bolsters Democratic Grip in Senate

After nearly eight months of waiting, almost 20,000 pages of legal briefs, and millions of dollars in election costs, Al Franken emerged Tuesday as the next United States senator from Minnesota, ending one of the most protracted election recount battles in recent memory. Mr. Franken, 58, a former comedian and author, could be seated in the Senate as early as Monday, leaders there said, providing Democrats with something they had long hoped for: 60 votes, and thus at least the symbolic ability to overcome filibusters

Democrats in the NY US Senate Race.

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