Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday Morning One Liners:

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 08:  The Wal-Mart logo i...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Up in Thompsonville, NY, Local 342 won an election and ratified a five-year contract at Deb-El Foods, Inc.

Fairway's new warehouse will cut truck traffic, what used to be six truck deliveries a day to their store on 74th and Broadway, will now be a mere two truck stops to stock up the store.  DNAinfo has more.

The New York Times has a piece detailing that even New Yorkers who shop regularly at Wal-Mart don't want all the affects a Wal-Mart in NYC would bring. 
“I don’t believe Wal-Mart should be in the city,” Ms. Clark, 29, said. “All the local mom-and-pop stores would lose business. And it’s already congested. I mean, can you just imagine?”  Read more @NYT
In more Wal-Mart taking over the retail world news, they, along with five other companies have bought the fast growing online retail giant in China,  The investment is reported to be $3.3 billion.

Private Equity Firm Leonard Green is mulling a BJ's Wholesale Club takeover, the NY Post Reports. The New York Times also commented on the possible takeover.

Supermarket News covered our meeting with NYC Mayor Bloomberg, asking NYC to help with the recently bankrupt A&P.
Supermarket News is also reporting that ShopRite is eying a major 'Albany expansion'.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from UFCW Local 1500

In such a hectic time of year, some people are forgetful of the work you do to make their holidays so special...Thanks for making thousands of New Yorkers' holiday season a great one! 

Have a great holiday!

-UFCW Local 1500

UFCW Local 1500
(800) 522-0456

Staten Island Shop Steward Dinner & Toy Drive!

2010 Shop Steward dinner and Toy Drive took place at Francesca's in Staten Island. Thanks to everyone who made this a great night!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

News From UFCW Local 1500: Union Seeks NYC Assistance for Bankrupt A&P

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13:  A person walks in...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeNews from UFCW Local 1500

For more information email:

Grocery Workers Union Seeks City Assistance for Bankrupt Supermarket

Request Meeting With New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn

New York State's largest grocery workers union, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500, is seeking assistance from New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg in averting the possible closing of up to 58 Supermarkets owned by A&P Supermarkets. The 58 stores located in New York City operate under the Pathmark, Waldbaum’s and Food Emporium banners and employ approximately 6,500 workers throughout the five boroughs. A&P, also known as the Great Atlantic and Pacific Company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 6, 2010.

In separate letters sent to Speaker Quinn and Mayor Bloomberg (linked below), UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both asked for a meeting to discuss the "tremendous negative effects on the economy of New York City" should there be store closings or layoffs. The letter also referred to the long-standing partnership UFCW Local 1500 has had with both parties to help bring more supermarkets and good jobs to New York City.

"The food desert crisis that this City currently faces would reach unimaginable levels without these 58 stores," stated President Both. "These 58 stores provide neighborhoods throughout New York City the essential building blocks for economic security: good food, good jobs and good health. Just as the City has risen to the challenge each time other sectors of the economy have faced economic difficulty, such as Wall Street and the garment industry, we hope that together we can discover ways to help these 58 stores continue to provide New Yorkers with great food and even better jobs," Both concluded.

UFCW Local 1500 Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Speelman added, "Nearly 150 years ago, The Great American Tea Company opened a store on Vesey Street in New York City. Today, that company provides thousands of New Yorkers living wages, health care and pensions. New York City has a vital interest in seeing that this company not only survives but continues to grow."

A&P has 20 stores in Manhattan, 15 in Queens, 12 in Brooklyn, six in Staten Island and five in the Bronx operating under three banners. Nationwide, it has 395 stores, including 163 in New York State.

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.


UFCW Local 1500 Letter to NYC Mayor Bloomberg

UFCW Local 1500 Letter to NYC Council Christine Quinn

NY1: Popular Supermarket Chain Files For Bankruptcy

Tuesday Afternoon One-Liners:

Walmart e-mails confirm hike in toy prices, from Bloomberg News:
Wal-Mart managers received instructions to mark up an average of 1,800 types of toys per store, according to a company e-mail dated Nov. 30 obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail didn’t disclose specific increases. The prices were changed “to better enable your store and the company to have a successful financial month,” according to the e-mail.
The directive from Wal-Mart, which has about 3,800 U.S. stores, told managers to do the markups as soon as possible. The move may help Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke fulfill his October prediction that sales in stores open at least a year will be positive this quarter, after six straight drops.
This is the same company who according to a statement last week said, "New Yorkers know that Walmart is focused on lowering prices to save customers money." Walmart's PR machine drives the message of savings, but they're only interested in one thing, profit at any cost.

Pelham Manor is reaping the benefits of retail development.

From our friends at Fresh & Easy Buzz: (
'The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) today launched a new website and social media-based campaign called Fix Fresh & Easy as part of its efforts to unionize store workers at Tesco's 155 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market food and grocery stores in California, Nevada and Arizona.'

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Walmart e-mails discovered by Bloomberg News confirms hike in Toy prices

Walmart e-mails confirm hike in toy prices, from Bloomberg News:
Wal-Mart managers received instructions to mark up an average of 1,800 types of toys per store, according to a company e-mail dated Nov. 30 obtained by Bloomberg News. The e-mail didn’t disclose specific increases. The prices were changed “to better enable your store and the company to have a successful financial month,” according to the e-mail.
The directive from Wal-Mart, which has about 3,800 U.S. stores, told managers to do the markups as soon as possible. The move may help Chief Executive Officer Mike Duke fulfill his October prediction that sales in stores open at least a year will be positive this quarter, after six straight drops.
This is the same company who according to a statement last week said, "New Yorkers know that Walmart is focused on lowering prices to save customers money." Walmart's PR machine drives the message of savings, but they're only interested in one thing, profit at any cost.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Morning One Liners:

Supermarket News: Inside the A&P Bankruptcy, A&P seeks to 'Right Size' in Chapter 11.

Last week, the judge in A&P’s federal bankruptcy case granted the retailer’s request to reject 73 leases for properties where A&P no longer operates a store. Rent expenses for these closed properties were a major drain on expenses for A&P, the retailer said, even though landlords for many of the properties said A&P had stopped paying rent on them earlier this year and filed separate suits seeking rent payments. [Supermarket News]

ShopRite moves into White Plains on January 5.

The New York Times does a piece on Target's grocery expansion.

In effort to mend relationships, President Obama met with labor leaders last week.

CUNY tuition is getting hiked 5%, instead of rioting and flipping cars, students filed a lawsuit.

Important Message from Local 1500 President, Bruce W. Both

Last week Local 1500 President Both sent out letters to all Local 1500 Members employed by Pathmark, in regards to A&P's recent bankruptcy filing.  Below, are links to letters.

Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to open the files below.

Letter 1: December 06, 2010   

Letter 2: December 13, 2010 (1)

Letter 3: December 13, 2010 (2)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Morning One-Liners:

A Queens Courier Poll is showing that residents don't want a Walmart.

Brooklyn residents, and Council Member Charles Barron rallied at City Hall against Walmart on Tuesday.

Here's someone else who's not buying into Walmart's poll that discovered Small Businesses "want a Walmart":
Gotham is in the initial stages of conducting its own poll and the results are showing that the New York retail community is overwhelmingly against Wal-Mart opening a store in New York City. This poll completely refutes the polling results conducted by Wal-Mart which have been recently reported.[Press Release]

Darryl Towns has an Op-Ed in the NY Post entitled "It's not about Walmart"

The Daily News and NY Observer have pieces on our release yesterday, asking NY Politicians to send campaign contributions they received from Walmart to Toys-For-Tots

Meanwhile Walmart responded to our request, saying they "support[s] those who share our commitment to stimulating economic development and creating jobs..."

We're all for creating jobs, who isn't? But the world's largest company should act a little more responsible.  For one of the only companies actually profiting in a bad economy, why did they just end a Sunday premium pay for employees hired after January 1, 2011?  That's not our definition of stimulating an economy.

Meanwhile across the border, UFCW Canada is declaring victory in an 18-month free speech battle with Walmart that concentrated on the labour rights website In June 2009, the world's largest retailer filed a motion with the Quebec Superior Court for an injunction against the popular and long-standing website maintained by UFCW Canada citing trade-mark infringement. [Press Release]

Reuters asks if Walmart is trying to pull a 'Circuit City on Best Buy'

Mother Jones tells the world how you can't blame unions for A&P's problems.

City Hall News has a great article on the advancement of Food Policy in New York City.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Organizations Urge NY Politicans to Donate Walmart Contributions to Toys-for-Tots

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia
News from UFCW Local 1500

Organizations Urge Politicians To Donate Walmart Contributions to Toys-For-Tots

Slam Walmart's Decision to Raise Prices on 1,800 Toys While Giving Over $100,000 to New York State Politicians

QUEENS VILLAGE, NY (12/16/2010)-- In response to Walmart's decision to raise prices on 1,800 toys during the heart of the Holiday season, members of New York State's largest grocery workers union and a Bronx Based community group are asking New York State politicians who received political contributions from Walmart to donate the money to Toys for Tots. United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1500 and Mothers on the Move (MOM) denounced the price increase and will urge beneficiaries of Walmart's money to use it to make the Holidays brighter for low income families and children.

Keith Jefferson, a Pathmark worker and resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, was angered at Walmarts money grab. "How do these people sleep at night? What kind of Grinches raise prices on toys right before Christmas?" Jefferson asked. "They give millions to politicians and then raise toy prices to pay for those contributions. That money should be used to buy toys for children. You can't profit off the backs of families suffering during this economy," Jefferson concluded.

As reported by the Washington Post, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, raised prices on toys this month. Wal-Mart managers in the U.S. received instructions to increase prices on over 1,800 types of toys per store, according to a company e-mail dated Nov. 30 obtained by Bloomberg News. The prices were changed "to better enable your store and the company to have a successful financial month," according to the e-mail.

"This is exactly how Walmart will gouge and use our communities in New York City for their own profit," stated Wanda Salaman, Executive Director, Mothers on the Move. "Our communities do not need retailers that destroy small business, kill jobs and then raise prices."

Walmart stores contributed approximately $60,000 to New York State Congressional candidates in the 2010 election cycle. Additionally, they contributed thousands to New York State political groups in 2009 and 2010 including $10,000 to the Committee to Elect a Republican Majority and $10,000 to the Republican Assembly Committee.

"They need to take that money and use it for something good," said Van Dyke Jones, another Pathmark worker and resident of Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn. "No one should be elected to office using money being taken from the wallets of parents just trying to buy their children some toys, especially in this economy. This is why people do not want Walmart coming into their communities. They kill jobs, communities and now they even try to kill the Christmas spirit," Jones concluded.

UFCW Local 1500 and MOM were preparing to send letters to elected officials and urge them to contribute the money to Toys for Tots, an organization that collects toys for children in need, or to purchase the toys themselves and bring them to the nearest Toys for Tots collection center.

UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers in the Metropolitan New York area. Mothers On the Move is a member-led organization dedicated to social and economic justice for communities located in Bronx, New York.

For additional information please go to


Join the Walmart Free NYC Coalition on Facebook:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday Morning One Liners: Wal-Mart's Newest NYC Push, Polling


Join the Wal-Mart Free NYC Coalition on Facebook:

Crain's updates the 'Wal-Mart Comes to Town' hearing which was originally scheduled for today, and has been rescheduled to January 12.  More @ Brooklyn Eagle.

Walmart has yet to decide if it will send a representative to address the city council, but its director of community affairs, Steven Restivo, told Crains’s New York Business last week the company would do what it can to help inform the discussion but he did not see the need for a council hearing.
AP: Fail twice, try again [Walmart & NYC].

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn told Walmart they're not welcome in NYC, citing underpaying their employees. 

NY Daily News: Wal-Mart may land in East New York, Community braces for Big Box retailer.

Wall Street Journal: Wal-Mart seeks Union Support for NYC Store.  Here's a WSJ Poll if Wal-Mart should open a store in NYC or not.

ABC News: Wal-Mart courts Building Trade Unions for NYC Store.

New York Times: Wal-Mart tries again for a NYC store.

Forbes reports that analysts love Walmart's potential expansion in and NY and that they're leaving Moscow.

Conveniently, Walmart (Wal-Mart) conducted a poll which found that 'small businesses want Wal-Mart'. NY Mag was the only media outlet to call Wal-Mart's poll out (for conducting their own poll).

Last night, Richard Lipsky from the Neighborhood Retail Alliance joined Neil Cavuto on Fox News to discuss Wal-Mart and NYC. [YouTube]


Supermarket News: A&P’s last-ditch effort for additional funding fell short when supplier C&S Wholesale Grocers refused to provide cost concessions, leading in part to the retailer’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, A&P said Monday.

Crain's is also reporting that A&P will likely retain their NYC stores.  Citing that their 58 city supermarkets are among their strongest and have always attracted buyers.

Bankruptcy puts 5,500 Philly jobs in jeopardy.

Bloomberg News summarizes details of the bankruptcy.
WHY IT HAPPENED: The company, which owns A&P, Pathmark, Super Fresh and other grocery stores, has struggled for years with heavy debt and sinking sales. Its problems were compounded when the recession hit and consumers cut back spending and competition among grocery stores, discounters and other retailers intensified. The grocer is also struggling with pension costs, leases for closed stores, a troublesome contract with a key supplier and a roughly $13 million payment for interest on a debt that is due Wednesday.
Progressive Grocer: A&P Files for Bankruptcy


UFCW Local 27 has been protesting a ShopRite in Bel Air.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Message from President Both

A&P's logo, introduced in the 1980s, and one o...Image via WikipediaDecember 13, 2010

To: Local 1500 Members Employed by Pathmark
From: Bruce W. Both, President
Subject: Pathmark Bankruptcy

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, Inc. announced on Sunday, December 12, 2010 that it filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
A&P has secured an $800 million debtor-in-possession loan from JP Morgan Chase in order to keep operating.

Pathmark, which is part of A&P, will continue to conduct business as usual.

Further information will be forthcoming.

A&P Files for Bankruptcy

Here are all the articles on A&P's Bankruptcy filing:

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Press Release on Bankruptcy Filing:

New York Times: A&P Files for Bankruptcy Protection:

Supermarket News:

FOX News: A&P Succumbs to Pressure, Files for Bankruptcy Protection:

Wall Street Journal: A&P Seeks Court Protection:

Wall Street Journal: A&P Files for Bankruptcy:

Bloomberg News: A&P's Bankruptcy Filing May Prompt Ahold for Bid on Pathmark:

Business Week:

Public Radio: Historic A&P Files for Bankruptcy:


NY Post: A&P's Food Fight:

WSJ: Another Whack for Ron Burkle, A&P Files for Bankruptcy Protection:

Newsday: A&P, Waldbaum's file for Bankruptcy:

New Jersey Star Ledger:

NY Daily News: Lagging Grocers A&P, Pathmark, Food Emporium file for Bankruptcy

Patch: Pathmark, A&P Files Bankruptcy:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Morning One-Liners: A&P Rumors

Analysts are saying that A&P needs to shed more weight.  There are rumors floating of a bankruptcy filing by Monday.

Long Islanders are fearing 'toxic' reusable bags.

Mayor Bloomberg says Washington should look at NYC's job creation as a national model.

Mayor Bloomberg also spoke about Wal-Mart in NYC, saying they have the 'legal right' to open in the Big Apple.

Wal-Mart is ending their $1 premium Sunday pay. 

The Fresh Market is getting a lot of resistance trying to open in  Lincoln Park, Chicago.

The Wakefern Food Corp. on Monday opened a 90,000-square-foot extension to its existing supermarket warehouse in the Keasbey section. The addition will increase the warehouse's capacity by more than 25 percent. The 450,000-square-foot facility now has a total of 100 loading doors and employs 325 workers, officials said.

According the NY Post a Gristedes will take over for the Lowes Tower East, in Manhattan.

Fairway Douglaston (Queens): "No Opening Date Set, yet".

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Event Update: December 14th Wal-Mart Rally Canceled

The Rally has been canceled due to the New York City Council postponing their Wal-Mart debate...We will be posting updates and more information shortly. Please join the Wal-Mart Free NYC coalition on FB here

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Morning One Liners: ALDI,

Aldi is taking New York City by storm:

Your Nabe: ALDI & Community get ready for new supermarket. [Bronx]  They signed a lease at the end of October to open a 20,000 square foot location at the shopping center that once was home to an A&P, and Waldbaums, and later a Circuit City, at 1700-1800 E. Gun Hill Road.

Not only do they plan on a major expansion throughout the U.S., but Aldi is planning on opening 100 new stores per year.

A group in Newark [N.J.] is seeking Grocers for their Food Deserts...Among the potential Grocers, Aldi & ShopRite.

West Hartford is welcoming their second Stop & Shop.  More @ Patch.

The Supreme Court is now looking whether to keep the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in United States history alive. Involving who? You guessed it, Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday's One Liners, Tomorrow's General Membership Meeting, Next Week's Walmart Rally

Reminder tomorrow is our General Membership Meeting and Annual Toy Drive @ The Inn at New Hyde Park: More information at Facebook:!/event.php?eid=116408735089069&index=1

UFCW Local 1189 has kicked off their contract campaign in Minnesota.

Queens Courier tells food retailers in Queens that there is funding available to build grocery stores.

Global retail giant Wal-Mart has targeted low-income and rural customers in China with the opening of a no-frills compact hypermarket in the eastern province of Jiangxi.

Walmart could also potentially house Wine Kiosks. 

Walmart is in a battle with San Diego, last week San Diego City Council overtuned a Mayoral veto which prohibited Supercenters from opening in the city without conducting a survey.
Opening a supercenter in the city of San Diego became much more difficult — some suggest impossible — after the City Council on Thursday overturned Mayor Jerry Sanders’ veto of an ordinance that requires retailers to conduct a study of how the stores will affect the surrounding neighborhood before moving in.
This week, Walmart has been fighting back, they've formed a campaign committee and they're gathering signatures to sign a petition to allow them to open a store.

On Tuesday, December 14th, the NYC Council will be debating the affects Walmart will have on businesses and communities throughout the five boroughs.  We're holding a rally prior to the hearing at 9:30 AM, to tell the City Council that we need Union Jobs, not irresponsible employers in the greatest city in the world.  For more information on the rally check the Facebook event page:

A closed Shaw's will open as a Save-A-Lot in Connecticut.

Local 1500's December General Membership is tomorrow, December 8, at 7:30 at the Inn at New Hyde Park.  FB Link:!/event.php?eid=116408735089069

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rally to Keep Wal-Mart Out of NYC

Keep NYC Walmart Free

On December 14, 2010, the New York City Council will be debating the impact a Wal-Mart will have on communities and small business if one were to potentially open within the five-boroughs. 

Prior to the hearing, we want you to join us in rallying on December 14, 2010 on the steps of City Hall to tell the New York City Council that Wal-Mart is not welcome in our city!

Save the date:
December 14th
New York City Hall
@ 9:30 AM

Keep Wal-Mart OUT of NYC

RSVP & Spread the word on Facebook:

For more information please reply to this email

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

We've Moved!

Our New address is 425 MERRICK AVE., WESTBURY, NY 11590

Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Here are directions to our new office:








Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mid Week One Liners: Wage Theft Pevention Passes, Walmart looks to conquer South Africa

New York Legislature Passes Historic Wage Theft Protection Act
The Wage Theft Prevention Act (S8380/Savino - A11726/Heastie), has now passed both houses protecting thousands of hard-working men and women from unscrupulous employers who steal their earnings by paying less than minimum wage, misclassifying them as independent contractors, forcing them to work off the clock and various other schemes. This important legislation will increase penalties and strengthen enforcement of laws protecting workers from nonpayment and underpayment of wages.

Aldi rolls out larger stores, up to 18,000 square feet.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed the sweeping Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act by a 73-25 vote, setting the stage for reconciliation with a similar House version that passed last year. Now, there are reports saying the bill may hit a snag and get delayed.

New York City Council is planning on debating the impact a Walmart would have opening a store within NYC.  They'll be discussing the affects Walmart will have on small business and neighborhoods among other things.  The hearing is set for December 14.  Walmart has recently solicited black leaders for assistance getting into NYC.

More @ The Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Meanwhile in Washington D.C.,  Mom 'n Pop stores are afraid of Walmart.

Fairway is waiting to hear back from NYC for permission to put up signs for their Douglaston store, which plans on opening in the spring of 2011.

Walmart looks to conquer Africa as they offered to acquire 51% of the shares of Massmart Holdings Limited, the diversified South African retailer, for about $2.4 billion.

More: South Africa wakes up to Walmart.

Business Week: Walmart CEO Mike Duke talks to Charlie Rose.

Trader Joe's is opening their fourth Chicago store.

CVS is voluntarily pulling their reusable bags.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman's Column- December 2010

Anger, frustration, disappointment, a few words which gauge the political temperature in our country right now. Who could disagree? There should be anger when we hear statistics like, one in seven Americans are living under the government’s poverty line for a family of four ($21,954 annually). Or when 44 million working-age Americans along with over 20 percent of the country’s children are ‘poor’. Or what about the constant growing statistic of economic disparity between the rich and poor? How thirty years ago, the richest 1 percent of Americans received 9 percent of total national income. By 2007, they had 23 percent. Last year, the top 20 percent of wealth-holders owned 84 percent of America's wealth. These statistics are alarming enough to make any hard working American angry. But anger shouldn’t be and isn’t an excuse for abandoning our rationale.

These problems have been growing for the last 31-years according to Economist Paul Krugman, who has titled the era as the Great Divergence. Between 1929 and 1973, U.S. incomes became MORE equal, while since 1980 for the wealth-holding gap between the rich and poor has grown every year. It’s relevant here in New York in regards to the recent race for Governor between Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo. Regardless of who you may have voted for, Mr. Paladino ran a campaign
that was fueled by the anger and frustration of millions of New Yorkers. His campaign slogan was “I’m Mad Too, Carl!” Honestly though, who isn’t angry? Sure, we’re angry, and we love when a politician voices grievances and feelings that we share, but how long can a campaign fueled by anger run? We’d all like to have a better economic standing, but a strategy and platform of anger is not a logical or any type of solution at all. We need someone who not only hears our cries of frustration, but someone who has a solution. Just telling people you’re angry and frustrated along with promoting more tax-breaks for the rich at the expense of the working class won’t solve anything. Anger, frustration and disappointment, are not
buzzwords for a resume applying to run the State of New York.We are all too familiar with the taste of anger and frustration, what we need is a strategy of new ideas that propel the working class to a new generation of prosperity.

How is this relevant to us as Union members? We are part of the solution. We’re part of a much bigger picture. Our role and importance should never be undervalued, underestimated or overlooked. We are the working men and women who run this country. Can anger blind your solidarity? Recently and looking back at Election Day results, the answer could be yes. The problem sometimes is that we all take our country’s labor history for granted. The pre-historic and obsolete branding that unions receive from mainstream media outlets could not be anything further from the truth. The purpose unions serve, and have served in this country is far greater than words in this column can describe. In an economy as difficult as the one we’re all living in today, it seems unions should be relevant and important as they have ever been. With staggering unemployment rates, lack of job security, growing wage disparities between rich and poor, it almost seems crazy not to be a union member. Turning to anger is and quick and easy knee-jerk reaction. One political analyst may have put it best when describing the recent anger movement in the political world,

“The tea party should be angry that, during both Republican and Democratic administrations, American companies have closed thousands of manufacturing plants and shipped millions of jobs overseas. Tea partiers are angry — or jealous — that public employee unions exist and that they achieve good wages and benefits for their members…”

There are people in the media that want to divide us and break the links in our chain of solidarity. People who want to dismiss the very notion that it was Unions who helped build this country, and that Unions can and will once again re-build this country! How can we do this? By sticking together in tough times!

We are the solution. We are not “out-dated”. All of us are tied together as brothers and sisters. We need to continually remind ourselves that we are all working together.

No matter which department in the supermarket you work in or within another union, we are family. We need to remind ourselves that people want to be in a union in this country. They want to enjoy the luxuries we have like a voice on the job, guaranteed breaks, guaranteed raises, job security, vacations, health insurance, a pension, and representation. We are proud to be union. No matter where you stand politically, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Tea Party, any party, we must not allow our emotions to get the best of us and bring them to the polls. Holding politicians accountable for policies that impact wealth distribution, and policies that enhance our lives as union members is not only the rationale thing we can all do, it’s our duty as members of the Labor Movement. That means voting with your head, not your emotions.

I cannot say it enough, how proud I am to be your Secretary-Treasurer. I look forward to seeing you all at the new union office. As always, my door will be and is always open to you to talk business or for whatever it may be. You may also call me whenever you’d like at 1-800-522-0456. I urge you to stay in contact with your union. Come to your General Membership meetings every 3-months (our next General Membership meeting is December 8th). Sign up for email alerts on the union website Communicate with your union representative, and never let anger be your solution to your frustrations. I hope to see you on December 8th.
Have a happy and healthy holiday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks to your hard work at the grocery stores you've made this Thanksgiving a memorable one for millions of families across New York State. From everyone at Local 1500, we'd like to thank you for your hard work this week and wish you and your loved ones a happy & healthy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Morning One Liners

Baltimore's City Council approved a Walmart project, protesters failed to convince a single lawmaker to vote against the project, asking Walmart to agree to pay workers a living wage of $10.59 per hour instead of a $7.25 minimum wage.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (NYSE:GAP) slid 7% to $3.36 on over 375K shares. SO far this year, the stock is down over 72%. It has a 52-week range of $2.50-$3.34. It has a beta of 2.20.

Price Chopper CEO fights union efforts | The Business Review: Neil Golub, president and CEO, sent a letter to about 24,000 employees at 128 stores in the Northeast telling them joining a union is not in their best interest and that signing union authorization cards would forfeit some of their rights.  
New York City announced the first ever Small Business Saturday, in an effort to bolster sales at local stores.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday's One Liners: Walmart Woos Al Sharpton...

Alec Baldwin stars in a new Wegman's commercial. More on his love for Wegman's @ Buffalo News.

UFCW Campaign Goes Global: The United Nation's International Labour Organization (ILO) found that Canada and Ontario, through Ontario's ban on farm unions, are in violation of basic human rights' provisions under two United Nations' conventions.

The Albany Times Union covers UFCW's organizing drive at a Capital Region Price Chopper, formerly Penn Traffic.

A new Shop-Rite is rumored to be opening in the Capital Region (Albany).

This weekend, ALDI, who is looking to grow their North East presence, opened their first store in Pittsburgh.

UFCW Local 21(Seattle) has reached a tentative agreement with Allied Employers, just in time for Thanksgiving week.  More @ SN.

Walmart's new Ads highlight their
"generous" donations to nonprofits in NYC
Walmart is putting tremendous effort into opening stores in NYC, last month, they hired a former Bloomberg aide, and now Crain's NY reports: Walmart solicits black leaders for help in NYC. Unsurprisingly, they're also advertising on the same page the article is posted on with this ad [right] citing their donations to nonprofits in NYC.
Looking to strengthen its hand in any battle against unions and elected officials over its planned entry into the New York City market, Walmart has launched an effort to win over local black leaders.
The Walmart Guru, or Czar, Al Norman, wrote an excellent response citing all of Walmart's PR moves to get "inner-city support" throughout the country: Walmart's Wooing of Al Sharpton.
They have done this in Chicago, where the retailer enlisted black Aldermen to embrace their cause, and in New Orleans, where developers actually paid black religious leaders to testify at public hearings about the virtues of chain stores. Now they are mining the black community in New York City.
Wal-Mart apparently feels that opinion leaders in the minority community can be purchased at an everyday low price, and that black stakeholders can become Wal-Mart sign-holders. But community leaders of any color who believe that Wal-Mart creates new jobs, don’t understand what the economic libertarians call creative destructionism–the process of destroying existing jobs in order to create ‘new’ ones. The former employees at Circuit City, for example, understand this dynamic.
No amount of good works or philanthropy can clean the hands of the “filthy rich,” or cover over the global exploitation of human resources that lies at the heart of Wal-Mart’s success
Is Mayor Bloomberg supporting a Walmart?

Walmart is losing shoppers, not trips.

Newsweek covers the eating by class in America: What Food Says About Class in America.

The 86-Page report by the NYC Council which analyzes all aspects of New York's Food Industry, entitled "Food Works" was released today.

SN covers the lead and reusable bags problems.  At least two retailers pulled bags for the time being, one of them was King Kullen.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Weeks End One Liners: BJ's Wholesale Club to Raise Membership Fees

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 08:  The Wal-Mart logo i...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

BJ's Wholesale Club announced they will raise membership fees.  They recently reported sales gains of 4.8%

Sheepshead Bites wonders if Walmart should come to the five boroughs.

Working in These Times also blogs about the potential Walmart in NYC.

Mike DeBonis of the Washington Post explains, it looks like Walmart is finally going to open in Washington D.C. with their 'urban' format stores.

Wall Street Journal and Washington Post report that Walmart plans on opening four stores in the DC area.

A tentative agreement has been reached between Albertson's and the UFCW in New Mexico.

The Teamsters said they'll honor grocery picket lines if UFCW Local 21 strikes.

Bottom Dollar Food Store is taking a vacant former Pathmark site in Trenton. says Bottom Dollar is looking to expanding across the state.

Ahold doesn't meet sales expectations, says sales in U.S. are strong.

Baseball's, Levi's, Converse & Dell Computers, see what else made the list at Yahoo! Finance: 18 Iconic Products that America Doesn't Make Anymore.

Tomato Workers Sign Historical Agreement in Florida:
After more than 15 years of struggle, justice may be just around the corner in the Florida tomato fields. In what workers call a “watershed moment,” the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange (FTGE) yesterday signed an agreement that will extend the CIW’s Fair Food principles to more than 90 percent of the Florida tomato industry.
Migrant workers in Canada bargain historic contract:
A group of seasonal workers in Abbotsford have won what their union says is a precedent-setting contract that includes higher wages and benefits like overtime pay and statutory holidays.

NYC & Greater Area

Bloomberg "trims" thousands of jobs to cut budget.

New Jersey, due to an unclaimed property law that was recently passed, unused gift card balances were being sent to the State after two years of inactivity.  This would of course help the budget deficit that the State faces.  The Jersey Food Council won an injunction to put an end to the State collecting the revenue.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mid-Weed One Liners: Aldi is Coming to the Bronx, Queens and Long Island

Aldi Süd, TrierImage via Wikipedia

Aldi begins to make Footprints on NY 

Aldi is coming to Long Island, The Bronx and Queens according to a report from Newsday [subscription].

Aldi, coming to Pelham Gardens in the Bronx, as News 12 reports.

On Tuesday it was reported that King Kullen pulled reusable bags from the shelves due to lead concerns.  More @ CBS News.  Now they're saying their reusable bags have tested safe.
Fairway Market in Douglaston is set to open in Spring '11.

UFCW 21 has called in a Federal Mediator for their negotiations.
Whole Foods enters Walmart's territory, OKC.

Walmart lost a development fight in San Diego: City leaders voted to force big-box retailers that want to sell groceries to study how a store will affect the surrounding neighborhood before a building permit is considered.

Officials in a suburbanRochester town have rejected a local Walmart store's request to remain open through Thanksgiving night into the morning of Black Friday.

A union effort is underway to organize Price Chopper stores, some of whose hourly employees were represented by UFCW when they worked in the recently sold Penn Traffic stores.

In Pennsylvania, a Giant Eagle worker was arrested for talking "Union" in the store, and found not-guilty.

NY State Senator Savino (Staten Island) teamed up with our brothers and sisters in RWDSU 338 donating turkeys.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday's One Liners: Walmart on 6th Ave? Really?

Would Walmart fit on Sixth Avenue? DNAinfo is reporting Walmart's renewed push to open a store in East Harlem or Sixth Avenue.  The story also reports Walmart tried to bolster some NY Public Relations by becoming the principal sponsor of last week's Veteran's Day Parade.

NPR: Walmart competes for New York City shoppers by offering free shipping.

The ACLU is suing Walmart for firing a medical marijuana patient.

In South Africa, where Walmart is attempting to take control of retail market, the government has set up a panel to study the economic impact Walmart will have.

Nick Shulz of the American thinks Union's need a better argument against Walmart after the NY Post's (notorious Walmart supporters) continued biased statistics of New Yorkers' shopping habits at nearby Walmart.

Those who think we need a better argument (including Mr. Shulz) should read Amy Traub's recent piece in the Huffington Post, entitled "New York's Lousy Jobs (And how we can make them better)" A must read.

UFCW Local 21, UFCW 81 and Teamsters 38 [Seattle]– bargaining in concert- are set to resume bargaining this week. [The Olympian]

A longtime employee of the Whole Foods Market in St.Louis is suing the company for firing her after she complained to her superiors about the alleged mishandling of organic produce.

For all you Social Media users, the NLRB announced that Worker Rights extend to Facebook, check out the synopsis in UFCW International's Blog:

Think your re-usable bag is good? Think again, a new report surfaced citing most reusable bags contain lead and are hothouses for bacteria according to reports from the NY Times and Daily News.

Supermarket News reports that retailers throughout New York met last month to receive more information on how to get publicly supported grants and loans that would help them build or improve stores in underserved neighborhoods in New York state — so-called “food deserts” that lack access to fresh foods.  We need to get the message out to our unionized operators to take advantage of these opportunities.  Stop & Shop opened in Far Rockaway last month receiving grants and loans in program similar to this.

New Dorp ShopRite donated 1,000 Turkeys to needy families. [Video]

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Weeks End One Liners: ShopRite may open in Patchogue, A&P Sells Six Properties

Walmart Wage & Hour suit Settled in CA
A U.S. District Court judge in Oakland, CA granted final approval this week to the settlement of a wage-and-hour class-action suit against Wal-Mart's California operations.

The settlement, which provides for a payment of between $43 million and $86 million, concludes more than four years of litigation concerning payment of wages to California workers. As part of the settlement, Wal-Mart also agreed to continue to maintain electronic systems that will protect the rights of workers. 

The Observer reports on Wal-Mart's latest sales pitch to enter NYC...a great read that counters the NY Post's endless Walmart support:
Yet it is just as possible that Walmart could undermine other city retailers who pay better wages, which gives people more money to spend at other stores, which also helps drive the economy. Less disposable income, less taxes, a greater housing burden, more welfare and so on
A ShopRite may be the previously unconfirmed supermarket to be moving in next to the Raymour & Flanagan furniture store that is under construction on the site of the former Home Depot on Sunrise Highway in Patchogue.

The struggling A&P announced on Tuesday they have agreed to sell six Pathmark locations to Winstanley Enterprises in a sale- leaseback transaction for $89.8 million. 

More @ Reuters.

Meanwhile yesterday A&P announced a new in-store marketing partnership.

Wal-Mart Opens New $115M Distribution Center Outside Calgary
Wal-Mart Canada officially opened today its new $115-million fresh-food distribution center in Balzac, which will serve as a hub for its wester Canadian stores. 

City Officials Try to Win Over Walmart Opponents
Baltimore, MD -- A proposed Walmart in the heart of the city is a step closer to becoming reality. The mayor and council said they believe the 11-acre complex will be a valuable economic engine for the for the city and they've managed to win over many community members who initially opposed the project. 

BJ's Wholesale Club is for Sale?[Buisness Week]
BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. plans to run an auction to sell itself after receiving an offer from private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners LP in recent months, said three people with knowledge of the situation.
BJ’s hired Morgan Stanley to help sell the company, said two people, who declined to be identified because the matter is private. Morgan Stanley will also offer to provide financing to potential buyers, or so-called staple financing.
More @ Bloomberg

Costco Argues Before Supreme Court For Ability to Sell Imported Goods For Less
Did the Issaquah box-store giant go too far by undercutting the manufacturer itself? That was the retailing quandary before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday in the oral arguments in the copyright feud between Costco and the Swiss watchmaker Omega. 

The thinks Balducci's will return to Manhattan, sooner than later.

Battle between a Duane Reade and a Mom & Pop pharmacy in Williamsburg is growing...

Trader Joe's in Lake Grove (Long Island) will be moving closer to competitor, Whole Foods, into a vacant Toys 'R Us at the Smithhaven Mall plaza, the move will be finished in the coming weeks.

RetailWire: Trader Joe's moves in on Fairway's turf, Upper West Side.

25,00 members of UFCW Local 21 have been voting this week on an offer from four major chains: Safeway, Albertsons, QFC and Fred Meyer. They recently OK'd a Strike.
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