Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Aldi to Queens in 2010, The WFP wins again, Wednesday Morning Read...

ALDIImage via Wikipedia

Nearly 300 UNITE HERE members protesting demands from major hotels in Chicago and San Francisco for cutbacks, and the firing of 100 housekeepers in Boston, were arrested in peaceful civil disobedience demonstrations in recent days.

Sign the petition to keep Stella D'oro production plant open in the Bronx!

Whole Foods protests are getting more creative, a musical protest was performed in Oakland this week.

Wal-Mart & K-Mart are targeting recession-weary toy buyers this holiday season, Wal-Mart is planning on offering 100 toys for $10.

Washington Post: From Whole Foods to the Food Bank, Middle Class residents find themselves with hat in hand.

Duane Reade launched a private label food brand.

Aldi Supermarket, [sister of Trader Joe's] will open its' first NYC store in Queens.  Don't expect the expansion to stop, they're plans are much larger than one store. For those new to Aldi, Aldi is known for its store-branded merchandise, with about 95% of the items exclusive to Aldi.  According to the company, Aldi's prices are up to 50% lower than the prices at traditional supermarkets.  Ranked 25th among U.S. grocery chains in gross sales, Aldi's Queens' store is part of a larger expansion plan, under which the company is opening some 80 new stores this year. BNet analyzes the move.

Meanwhile, Trader Joe's is in talks for opening another store, this one in Chelsea on 6th between 21st and 22nd.


The turnout was low, but Bill De Blasio (138,736 votes) and John Liu (121,173) were winners in last night's runoff, marking another victory this election season for the Working Families Party, the NY Times City Room has more.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Morning Read,

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia

A&P  said last week that Allan Richards, senior vice president, human resources, labor relations, legal services and secretary, will leave the company to pursue other opportunities.

A breakthrough collective agreement has been reached between the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) and Floralia Growers of Abbotsford, B.C. Read details here.

WakeupWal-Mart covers Wal-Mart's pricing fail, the same item marked separately as four different prices

Massachusetts’ attorney general says Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $3 million to settle complaints it did not give some employees proper meal breaks. 

One of the most heavily trafficked food stamp offices in NYC will be shutting its' doors in Coney Island, forcing hundreds of poor to travel to Downtown NYC to collect food stamps.

The Daily News covers what's going on at the Kingsbridge Armory Supermarket development.

Detroit, fights for access to fresh healthy food.

Whole Foods protesters greet executives at the annual 'Natural Products Expo' in Boston.

Last week the NYC Planning Commission OK'd Supermarket Incentives, but neglected to allow only 'responsible employers' access to the incentives, allowing all supermarkets, including those who treat workers poorly, treat communities poorly and fail to provide healthy food, to these lucrative incentives.  The plan is short-sighted.


President Obama may sit out the NYC Mayoral race between Thompson and Bloomberg.

Governor Patterson vowed not to back out of running on National TV Sunday.

Contract negotiations are approaching, find out here when your proposal meeting is!

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Local 1500 Slams City Planning Dept. on Flaws in Supermarket Initiative...

Press Release: September 24, 2009

Grocery Store Union Slams City Planning over Supermarket Initiative, Will Seek City Council Support to Correct Major Flaws and
Tax-Free Gifts to Irresponsible Employers

New York City’s largest Union representing supermarket workers, United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1500, announced that it will launch a major initiative to correct what they see as “major flaws” in a new supermarket initiative that was approved by the New York City Department of City Planning yesterday. They also expressed outrage over the idea that the initiative would provide tax-payer giveaways to irresponsible employers like Whole Foods.

“It is disgraceful to think that New York City, in these difficult economic times, would approve a plan to provide tax free gifts and zoning favors to a company like Whole Foods,” stated Patrick Purcell Jr., Director of Special Projects for UFCW Local 1500. “Never in the dozens of meetings between our Union and the City was it suggested that this was the goal of the FRESH initiative.

Whole Foods does hundreds of million in sales, aggressively opposes healthcare reform that will benefit millions of New Yorkers and sells what its own CEO John Mackey called “junk” at very high prices. Whole Foods needs and deserves tax subsidies from New York City about as much New York City residents need and deserve another subway fare increase,” Purcell claimed.

“Whole Foods doesn’t believe tax dollars should be used to help with our nation’s healthcare crisis but would happily accept tax subsidies to build more of its own stores.”

The Union announced it will initiate an aggressive campaign to educate and inform City Council members about “both the major flaws in the FRESH initiative and the misleading objectives that were presented to our Union over the past several months by City officials,” according to Purcell. “We negotiated in good faith for months so a fair and reasonable initiative could move forward that would bring New York City communities equal access to fresh, healthy and affordable food and what they got today was an expensive rotten apple.”

The Union will also reach out to the City’s other Unions, community groups and faith-based organizations.  “The 23,000 members of UFCW Local 1500 have an outstanding reputation of being strong partners with our elected officials and communities as we all seek ways to bring good food, good jobs and good health to our underserved communities. In fact, it was UFCW Local 1500 that brought this issue to the forefront with elected officials over two years ago when the issue was receiving little attention.  However, support for the FRESH initiative in the form it was sent to the New York City Council today is unacceptable to all New Yorkers,” Purcell concluded.

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 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.    

For more information contact: Pat Purcell, Or head to 

-UFCW Local 1500,

Local 1500 is on Facebook and Twitter, Friend us, Follow us! 
You can find all our archived news on the 1500 Blog.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

NYC has new Health Plan, Philly gets four new supermarkets, Obama speaks at AFL-CIO convention, Wednesday Morning Read

“When labor succeeds—that’s when our middle class succeeds. And when our middle class succeeds—that’s when the United States of America succeeds.”
-President Barack Obama speaking at the 2009 AFL-CIO annual convention.

ShopRite, voted one of the best supermarkets in the nation.

New York City sets a new ambitious health plan, targeting smoking, sugary soda's and sports drinks and promoting more exercise... Including a possible ban on smoking in public parks?

Tariffs on Tires: President Obama took decisive action on Monday to provide relief to the domestic consumer tire industry in response to surging exports of tires from China. His actions will bring relief to many workers and their families and reverse course after eight years of neglect of trade laws by the Bush administration.

Steven Greenhouse of the NY Times has more: Tire Tariffs are Cheered by Union.

King Soopers and Safeway workers could go on strike as early as Oct. 6 if the grocery chains do not increase pension and wage offers in contract negotiations that have dragged on for over five months, union officials said Tuesday.

Supermarket News reports that workers will begin voting on Saturday on their "Final Contract Offer"

Meanwhile, UFCW Local 99 [Arizona] will resume negotiations with Safeway, Fry's & Smith's this week. 

The state of Pennsylvania may be supporting the development of four new supermarkets in under-served areas in Philadelphia.

A bill introduced in California would stop the sales of alcohol in self checkout lanes.  The Ventura County Star has a more detailed story.


Here is a complete list of results from yesterday's Primary.

Public Advocate: Mark Green and Bill De Blasio will have a runoff vote on September 29th.

Council Member Kendall Stewart is upset by rising star, community activist Jumanne Williams.

Rick Lazio, the former Long Island congressman who ran against Hillary Rodham Clinton for the US Senate in 2000, will formally declare he's a candidate for governor -- potentially putting him on a primary collision course with Rudy Giuliani.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning Read,

WFP logoImage via Wikipedia

"It was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. So, even if you're not a union member, every American owes something to America's labor movement,"
- Barack Obama, speaking at an AFL-CIO rally in Cincinnati.

A new study revealed retail jobs are expected to grow dramatically over the next few years, which begs the question: will they be good jobs?

A&P plans to split stores into four store types, 
Over the next five years, about 100 stores will be converted to price impact or discount stores. Currently, around 150 locations are operating as price impact stores, with plans to add an additional 50. By 2014, A&P will have 50 or 60 discount stores...The announcement is getting a lot of press.

Workers at Safeway's Edmonton distribution center returned to work Saturday afternoon, ending a six day strike.

UFCW Local 7 in Colorado and King Soopers are still in a deadlock today, as their contract expired at midnight.

The Teamsters call on Whole Foods to support Health Care reform.

Time Magazine: Wal-Mart's new plan to crush competition: Project Impact.

Crain's looks at the tremendous growth (and power) of the Working Families Party.

Liz Benjamin of the Daily News, says the Working Families Party has a target on their back, as several groups are rallying together to try and reduce their growing clout.

Gov. David Paterson said Saturday that he won't support the Legislature's proposed ethics bill, which he says would be like "rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Remember tomorrow is Primary Day get out and vote!

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Morning Read.

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been and is still affected from the events eight years ago today on September 11.  We will never forget those who gave their lives and those who are still suffering from the effects of the attack.

"[My kids are] going to have to skip a few semesters. I've already sold my car and cleaned out my life savings during the strike. There is nothing left for them or myself and my wife…. we will just pray to God that we do not get sick."
- George Kahssay, 51, who worked for 22 years at the Bronx Stella D'oro cookie factory
Alem Fese, 58, a mixer at the plant for 27 years, said she has a $1,500-a-month mortgage and hasn't written a résumé in nearly three decades.
"Who's going to hire me?" she asked. "I don't know what I'm going to do. Really.

In Today's Daily News, after workers were told that the Stella D'oro cookie factory would be moving operations to Ohio.

Rev. Al Sharpton has endorsed Fernando Cabrera for the 14th NY City Council District.

A&P is offering online pharmacy services.

Wal-Mart is re-focusing on customer research.

The Denver Daily News covers UFCW Local 7's negotiations.  As does Supermarket News.

What's going on with the Lighthouse project in Nassau County?

Reminder tomorrow is the New York City Labor Day Parade!  All are welcome to come at 9 AM!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

UFCW 401 workers need your support, Paid Sick Days will alleviate Swine Flu, Thursday Morning Read

SAN ANSELMO, CA - APRIL 30:  The Safeway logo ...
"Many, many parents are worried today about keeping their jobs. They cannot also worry about having to stay home with a sick child."
-Councilmember Gale Brewer, calling for passage of a paid sick days bill that would let working parents take a day off to keep sick kids out of school, on CBS News. (From WFP)

CBS News: H1N1 Prompts City Council to pass Paid Sick Days.

WNYC: Officials say paid sick days will alleviate Swine Flu.

UFCW, Industry

More than 350 UFCW Local 401 members from Safeway in Canada have been without a contract since December, and are now bracing for a long lockout as replacement workers cross the picket line.
“This is not about money, this is about job security,” O’Halloran said. “They are looking for job guarantees to the end of this contract, and the company will not give them that.” Local 401 needs your support!

Meanwhile in Denver, Safeway and UFCW Local 7 are continuing their contract negotiations.  UFCW Local 7 rejected Safeway's latest offer yesterday which would not give most workers raises, and the offer does not eliminate a system that offers less pay and fewer benefits to workers who were hired more recently.  The 200 union members who were at Wednesday's negotiations rejected the contract.

The CEO of A&P has some "Fresh" ideas for growth:
Eric Claus sees a divided future in the grocery aisle.
There will be high-end supermarkets and value-priced stores but few midlevel stores, he said.
That's why the chief executive of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea is gearing up to modernize his stores for price-conscious shoppers who have been stung by the recession.

The Daily News updates the Kings Bridge 'Food Fight', where another hearing took place Wednesday and discussion was dominated by plans for a huge supermarket for the armory, and its impact on the Morton Williams supermarket across the street.

Elsewhere, City

Stella D'oro will move operations to Ohio.

The AP says food prices are beginning to fall.

Whole Foods tries to win back customers by pushing more 'value options' during tough economic times.
New York plans on collecting 5 cents on water bottles next month.

Poll: 1 in 3 Young Workers lives at home with parents.

Curbed looks at the new Brooklyn Nets arena design.

And finally, Tom Suozzi vows not to raise Nassau County taxes.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Canada Safeway locks out UFCW Local 401, Food Stamps at all time high, NYC needs Paid Sick Days, Tuesday Morning Read

"For many Americans, Labor Day has become better known as a holiday to mark the end of summer rather than a celebration of the many contributions workers have made to our society -- from the weekend, to safer jobs, to paid vacations and health care. America's unions helped create the middle class, and today, America's unions are essential to our economic recovery. "

-Tom Woodruff, Director of Change to Win's Strategic Organizing Center, in an editorial in The Huffington Post.

Canada Safeway has served notice to the UFCW that it will lock out more than 300 workers at its Edmonton Distribution Centre and Lucerne Ice Cream plant starting at 6 a.m. Today.

More at the Edmonton Sun. And the Calgary Herald.

East End Long Islanders want a Trader Joe's: Southhold residents have created a “Trader Joe’s Riverhead, NY Location Request Group," on Facebook

BJ's reports August sales were down.

The Times says "Middle America has come to the South Bronx"

Food Stamps: More than 35 million Americans received assistance in June through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program — the highest number of recipients ever — according to the Food and Nutritional Service of the Department of Agriculture.

The state of Michigan is offering tax incentives to companies that develop or expand grocery stores in underserved areas.

Target's new billboards in Times Square are turning heads.

New apples in the Big Apple?

The number of union workers rises in Alaska.

Labor Editorials

New York Times: Infighting is Blunting Labor's Clout.

New directions for a labor movement in decline.


With Swine Flu threat looming, NYC needs paid sick days.

Will Pedro Espada pass the farm workers bill?

And the Naked Cowboy drops out of the mayoral race.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day, BJ's Sales Down, Labor Day Weekend!

Change to Win Federation

"A strong labor movement is at the heart of American prosperity. Decades ago, America's workers fought to bring us the eight-hour work day and the weekend, health care and paid vacations, safe jobs and pensions to retire on. America's unions helped create the middle class. Today, America's unions will reignite that same spirit and determination to give all working families a stronger voice in the workplace, in our communities, and in the global economy. We will not sit by the wayside. We are a movement in motion."
 -Change to Win Chair Anna Burger -Mobilizing for a New American Dream. in a statement on Labor Day 2009

King Soopers seeks to put more restrictions on Union Reps. 

Paula Deen is launching exclusive products at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club...Why is this a story? Two years ago Paula partnered with Smithfield in the midst of a labor struggle.

BJ's Wholesale Club reports sales down in August

Will Whole Foods survive Mackey's latest tirade?  The boycott Whole Foods group has grown to nearly 33,000 supporters, and it seems like there is a protest everyday, in Dallas most recently.

Workers at the Americold plant in Crete, Nebraska, obtained their first-ever union contract. 
this five-year contract negotiated by union members of  United Food and Commercial Workers 
Local 271 provides solid wage and benefit increases


Today's economy makes it a great time to be a union member.

Report: We need unions to build an economy with good jobs.

Unemployment hits 9.7%, but job losses slow.

Supermarket News covers retail stocks for August.

Politics, City, Elsewhere

"Unfortunately, he's never done anything in New York and he's learning the hard way that it's a union town."

Sen. Joseph Addabbo, on prospective Aqueduct racino developer Steve Wynn's anti-union ways, in today's Albany Times Union

Nassau County wants to be like NYC, they now want to post calories in restaurants

There won't be another push for congestion pricing.

California leaders back a Health Care program for the poor.

More money has been raised in this year’s comptroller race than ever before.

Remember the NYC Labor Day Parade is Saturday Sept. 12.


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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Release: Wal-Mart needs to be responsible in this economy, Gateway Center in the Bronx, Young Workers getting paid less and less, Wal-Mart's Sustainability Talks....

“Nobody wants an economy where workers earn wages that can’t support a family. Nobody wants an economy where people who go to work everyday and work hard have to turn to public assistance for basic needs." 
-UFCW International President Joe Hansen, announced a new national comprehensive American values-driven agenda to hold Walmart accountable to its workers, our communities and the planet.

Starting off the school season on the healthy foot: Produce for Kids.

The UFCW announced a campaign challenging Wal-Mart to change its corporate practices for the sake of the economy and the communities in which it operates.

The Washington Post has more.

Economy: Cutting Prices at the Grocery store to compete.

New York Times looks at the Gateway Center in the Bronx, which holds a BJ's Wholesale Club and a Target.

NYC to offer free swine flu shots for kids.

AFL-CIO Blog: Young Workers, a lost decade.

Wal-Mart Stores is reaching out to many industry sectors and people to develop its newly announced “Sustainability Index” — and it even held a meeting with competitor Kroger Co. on this topic.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday Morning Read: Wal-Mart's Marketplace, A New CFO for Fairway,

WFP logoImage via Wikipedia
"It's time the city - led by the Bronx delegation in the City Council - draws a line in the sand and tells Related it needs to accept that make-or-break [living-wage] provision in a community benefits agreement.."

-Bob Kappstatter, on the need to pay living wages in the redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory, in today's Daily News. (From the WFP)
King Kullen and Wild By Nature are among six grocers receiving the 'Green Chill Award' from the EPA.

Wal-Mart's future:
Wal-Mart adds a full grocery store without adding much square footage, without titling it a 'SuperCenter'

Wal-Mart Marketplace: Walmart has partnered with several retailers, enabling the merchants to sell their products at The program is called Walmart Marketplace. The initial group of retailers selling via includes CSN Stores, eBags and Pro Team.
Read More [WSJ]

Preservationists need help in the fight with Wal-Mart and a Civil War battlefield.

Penn Traffic Co. here said yesterday that Tod A. Nestor, senior vice president and chief financial officer, will leave the company effective Sept. 18 to become the CFO of Fairway Market, the New York-based specialty grocery chain that has been expanding into the suburbs.

Elsewhere, NYC & Politics

Working Families Party: Tell the NYC Council to pass the paid sick days bill 

NY Times Swine Flu editorial.

31,000 legal immigrants' health care will be cut in Massachusetts.

NYC Health Dept Ad campaign targets soda's and sugary sport drinks.

Representative Peter King won't run against Gillibrand, would have run against Kennedy.

Is Spitzer eying a comeback?

New York City OTB, an entity controlled by the state, will file for bankruptcy.
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