Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mornin' Read: Thursday April 28

John Castimatidis' Red Apple Group has submitted plans to develop in Coney Island. 500,000 square feet w/ 25,000 dedicated to retail.

ShopRite in New Dorp, Staten Island, keeps a dietitian on staff.

Working in These Times covers our new campaign to help the workers at Target.

New Yorkers gave Walmart CEO, Mike Duke, an NYC welcome, check the video hereCrain's New York Business reported the protest also....

As the forum wound down, Mr. Murray, the Journal editor, said to Mr. Duke, “Mike, I hope you appreciate this rousing welcome to New York.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Statement from President Both; Re: A&P's Bonus Plan

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via WikipediaThe following is a statement from Bruce W. Both, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500:

“On April 26th A&P submitted a revised incentive plan to U.S. Bankruptcy Court that would provide its top executives with up to $3.7 million in performance bonuses. The incentive plan replaces the one that was opposed by us and other creditors and was rejected by the bankruptcy judge in the case last month.

As we did previously, UFCW Local 1500 opposes A&P's latest plan to reward their top executives while our members continue to suffer. It is outrageous for top executives to continue seek bonuses that total up to $3.7 million while asking our members to continue to shoulder real sacrifices.

A&P continues to exhibit such indifference to the hardships of our members. Company executives that have been with this company for no more than a year in some cases are seeking to benefit from the hard work our members have put in over the last few decades in order to keep their paychecks coming. They seek to transfer money out of the pockets of our members and into their own pockets. That is not a responsible reorganization plan.

It has been over 130 days since A&P filed for bankruptcy and A&P still has no turnaround business plan, yet they continue to lobby the courts for bonuses. That is irresponsible and indicative of the management problems that have brought is to this point.

UFCW Local 1500 will continue to oppose these “Key Employee Incentive Plans” until they realize that the “Key” employees are the members of our Union working in the stores.” 

Support and join Pathmark employees on Facebook.

NY Industry Mid-Week News Briefs: A&P Looks for More Bonuses...

“We have pride in our company, but we just don't feel they have pride in us,” said Sonia Williams, of Jamaica, Queens, an overnight clerk at the Valley Stream store...-Crain's NY "Target Workers to vote for Union Representation"
Fairway revamps their online grocery store.  They've also selected a price optimization system.

A&P top Execs are now asking for bonuses up to $3.7 million in performance bonuses.... CEO Martin could earn up to $1.3 million, or 250% of his salary, for meeting the maximum performance goals over the seven-month period. Read is @ Supermarket News: A&P amends bonus plan.

Super shopping woes at Sheepshead Bay after Pathmark closed. 

The land developer @ Cherry Street Pathmark in lower Manhattan is asking the bankruptcy judge to lift the automatic stay in A&P's bankruptcy case.

There's a lot of speculation on the 25 pending SuperFresh stores that A&P is looking to sell.

A new iPhone app allows you to scan and pay for groceries at Stop & Shop.

Last week, Target workers along with UFCW Local 1500 filed for election.  Support and join the campaign to Change Target on Facebook.  You can also send letters of support to Target workers by emailing

Walmart is testing their online Food Buying service.

There's still a mixed reaction to Walmart in NYC, ABC News.

Jamaica Plain Patch looks at Whole Foods' history with labor & unions.

And the Public doesn't want Medicare cut, but House Republicans aren't listening.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Target Change

Logo of Target, US-based retail chainImage via WikipediToday, Crain's NY Business reported the workers at Target in Valley Stream have filed for a union election.  You can follow and support the campaign on Facebook & Twitter @TargetChange, hashtag and follow campaign news with #targetchange or #nytarget
“We have pride in our company, but we just don't feel they have pride in us,” -Target Employee
The campaign is about changing the environment at a growing company which has essentially gotten a free pass.  The Walmart NYC battle has truly inspired workers at Target to fight for their own change. Check out the article @ Crain's and be sure to support the workers at Target who are fighting for change.  You can send them an email of support at

Below is a message that Target workers have been forwarding to each other since they filed for election:
"Dear Team, We have submitted the relevant document to the department of labor of our intention for a union to represent us.  There is strength in unity, that is us."
Your messages of support to the workers at Target are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

NY Industry News Round Up: 4/19-4/21

1974–2000 ShopRite logo, still in use at some ...Image via Wikipedia
 "We will not allow any employer, regardless of size, to attempt to take advantage of another employer's unfortunate circumstances.  We will not be divided on this, and stand ready with our sister UFCW and RWDSU Locals and their members..."
-A letter to all employers with CBA's with UFCW Locals representing A&P stores, check it out on our blog.

Bazzini (notorious peanuts from Yankee Stadium) is closing their manufacturing plant in the Bronx and moving to P.A., cutting 57 jobs.

DNAinfo says East Harlem shops are lame and residents want to shop local.

Students at NYU are standing up for Farmers' rights @ Trader Joe's.
The goal, she says, is to change Trader Joe's, not to sabotage it.
"I don't think it's a terrible company," she said. "I just think it's ridiculously secretive and its marketing is false." 

Locals from Fort Greene, Brooklyn, want more than just bread from their new Red Apple Supermarket.  The store is planned to create over 100 unionized jobs.

A Local 1500 represented ShopRite in Staten Island sold a winning mega millions lottery ticket on Friday worth $72 million. When the winner comes forward, the store will get $10,000.
The store owner, Kevin Mannix, plans to donate the bonus to three organizations that help the homeless and hungry.  Great job!

 ShopRite is helping to rebuild a Church and a Food Pantry in upstate NY. 

They [ShopRite] also rumored to be taking a new site up in the Captial Region.

A Stop & Shop in Queens provides emergency assistance to Kosher Food Pantry.

A new Stop & Shop is set to open next month in Oceanside, creating over 150 union jobs to the area.

Stop & Shop is also replacing their 'produce lighting'

More than 60,000 Southern California grocery workers are voting on whether to authorize a strike against some of the state's largest supermarket chains.

A study released on Monday by University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education found that increasing wages to $12 per hour would cost Wal-Mart $3.2 billion if applied to all workers across the United States. That amounts to about 1 percent of the company’s annual sales of $305 billion.  Read more @WorkinginTheseTimes.  More @ Huffington Post.

A Dover (Delaware) landlord is weary about his shopping center now that A&P's SuperFresh is up for sale.

Tell lawmakers 'don't make us work until we die!' In a new video message from the coalition, Strengthen Social Security, Don't Cut it!  Check it out @AFL-CIO's blog.

The Fifth Wisconsin recall petition is ready for filing.

While Republican lawmakers and right-wing talking heads try to demonize the union movement, physicians, nurses, flight instructors, technicians, bakers and more are the latest workers to choose a voice on the job with AFL-CIO unions.  Read more @ the AFL-CIO Blog.

Our next General Membership Meeting is June 8th, RSVP on Facebook!

A Message to all Employers with CBA's w/ UFCW Locals representing A&P Stores...

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via WikipediaA letter to all employers with Collective Bargaining Agreements with UFCW Locals 100R, 152, 338*, 342, 464A, 1245 & 1500 went out yesterday, April 20, 2011

The letter serves notice to all employers whose contracts are coming due in the near future saying, "we will, as always consider the needs of each employer individually, based upon their particular circumstances...We will not allow any employer, regardless of size, to attempt to take advantage of another employer's unfortunate circumstances.  We will not be divided on this, and stand ready with our sister UFCW and RWDSU Locals and their members..."

You can read the entire letter here:

Please contact us for any questions or comments, or by phone 800.522.0456.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Morning News Briefs: 4/16-4/19

In Greenburgh, the town is offering free shuttles to ShopRite once a week, in order to deal with the town's two A&P supermarket closures.

Developer seeks money back from A&P...

A&P has listed the 25 SuperFresh stores for sale.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission here said Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $440,000 to settle a federal harassment lawsuit by 10 employees who said they endured ethnic slurs and derogatory remarks on a daily basis while working at a Sam's Club in Fresno, Calif.

Here's a shocker to some, Target beats Whole Foods in sustainably seafood rankings.

In Massachusetts where a controversial Whole Foods is being planned in a low income area, it was recently discovered a task force official sitting on the Town's Board of Directors is actually employed by Whole Foods.  Whole Foods has also made donations to the town board.  The Wall Street Journal has more on the fight.

D'Agostino's has some new Earth Day plans.

Racked says if you're worried about a Walmart in NYC, there's already a German one in Queens, Aldi.

Walmart workers get $440K after racial slurs.

Walmart also bought a Social Media Firm, Kosmix.  Business Insider tells us why they spent $300 million to buy a Social Media firm.

Don't let Stop & Shop tell you their economic woes, the parent company announced they're investing $4 million to revamp their corporate offices in Quincy, Mass.  More @ Boston Herald.

They [Stop & Shop] also opened a new store in New Haven last week.  And here in New York, they've donated 1,000 pounds of food to the Queens Jewish Community Council for Passover.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Executive Vice President Report: Wisconsin Sparks the Labor Movement...

By: Fred Walter, Executive Vice President/Field Director

Today’s middle (working) class continues to shrink each year along with the percent of private sector union workers. Union’s private and public workers are blamed for state fiscal problems and unemployment. The polarizing of public workers in Wisconsin and Ohio confirms the importance Unions have served throughout our countries history. In the 1930’s the National Labor Relations Act guaranteed Unions the right to organize without fear of retribution or firings. 

In 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act was signed into law. During these years the social safety net petitioned for by labor, including unemployment insurance and social security was also established. As Union membership increased to 36% after the war and into the 1950s, so did prosperity in this country. It was thanks, in part to the leveling of economic influence of Unions.  Big Business changed things with the passing of the Taft Hartley Act in 1947. Taft Hartley Act amended the National Labor Relations Act which congress passed in 1935. The Taft Hartley Act was seen as means of demobilizing the labor movement by imposing limits on labor’s ability to progress forward.  The Act also limited radicals from their leadership, people who were typically more active in Union activities.

Union shops were restricted; states were allowed to pass right to worker laws that outlawed union shops. Taft Hartley greatly reduced the power of unions to support each other in strikes. Under the terms of Taft Hartley Act, Ronald Regan fired 11,345 PATCO workers. PATCO was de-certified on October 22, 1981. This act alone put fear in Union members and gave Big Business and government the upper hand in negotiations. 

The recent protests in Wisconsin and Ohio showed there is still a spark in workers to stand up, be organized and have the right to be Union.  Wisconsin also shows us that workers have the right to vote and elect Politicians who will support laws that are worker friendly.  Looking at voter turnout last week in Wisconsin, not only did unions turnout to vote, but all communities who are tired of the middle class being walked on top of made their voice clear.  Wisconsin provides a spark in all of us.  Right now, it is showing us the power we always refer to when we reference our solidarity, speaking with one voice, the power we hold when we come together...Now, it is showing us that Unions will once again level the economic future in this country.

Important Update Regarding the A&P/Pathmark Bankruptcy

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via WikipediaApril 15th, 2011

On Thursday, April 14th UFCW Local 1500 and other UFCW Local unions with membership working for A&P/Pathmark met with attorneys and financial consultants hired by the UFCW International to monitor the A&P/Pathmark bankruptcy. The following is a statement from UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both regarding the outcome of that meeting and the information presented:

“For the last several months members of Local 1500 working for Pathmark have continued to work hard, service the customers and are helping to return their company back on the road to profitability. At the same time, the officers and staff of Local 1500 have worked tirelessly to enforce the Union Contract, service Pathmark members and minimize the effect of several store closings. These have been difficult months for all concerned.

Despite the closing of almost 100 stores and numerous other actions to reduce debt and expenses, it has been clear to all of us involved that A&P/Pathmark may eventually seek to further reduce their expenses through reductions of their labor costs throughout their entire operation, as well as other concessions. Unfortunately, this is a standard action taken by companies that have declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. However, this cannot be done till A&P/Pathmark negotiates with the affected Unions over any reductions or concessions.

It was reported back to us yesterday that we should expect that A&P/Pathmark would present this plan to the affected UFCW Unions at a meeting on May 4th. We should also expect that at this time A&P/Pathmark management would seek cost savings from their Union contracts. In addition to labor concessions it is possible that A&P/Pathmark could announce further store closings.

While we have no details about the reorganization plan or concessions to our contract that A&P/Pathmark wants, UFCW Local 1500’s leadership is committed to holding any possible reductions to their absolute minimum and demands that the sacrifice also come from A&P management, vendors and other creditors. We have made it clear that we will fight any effort to rebuild this company on the backs of its workers and our members.

Clearly we as a Union would aggressively fight back any misguided attempt by A&P/Pathmark to void the contract and apply what could only be referred to as the “nuclear option.” While we do not expect the company to attempt such a drastic measure, we are preparing for that possibility. The UFCW Local 1500 leadership has the responsibility to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I assure you we are prepared.

We are required by the courts to negotiate with the company. Should the company seek concessions, we will be required to bring back to the Local 1500 Pathmark members whatever has been negotiated.
There will be much to discuss over the next several weeks and months. Difficult decisions will have to be made. However, unlike so many other companies that have recently gone through bankruptcies, you will have a voice and say in your future and the future of your company.

It is only with Union Solidarity that we will successfully beat back any attempts to reduce your health insurance plans, eliminate your pensions or significantly reduce your rights under your Union contract. It will only be when we speak as One Union with One Voice that your company will get the message that the workers will not shoulder the entire burden of turning this company back to profitability.

I will report back to you following the May 4th meeting. Till then we must stay united. Remember: “One Union, One Voice!!”
-Bruce W. Both, UFCW Local 1500 President

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday Afternoon News Briefs

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13:  A person walks in...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
 "As part of our ongoing review of our store footprint, we determined that these 25 Superfresh locations are outside of A&P's core market,"
-Sam Martin, A&P CEO in today's Baltimore Sun.

A&P has said it has approached bankruptcy courts to approve the sale of 25 Superfresh stores, as part of its plans to revive its business. The firm said the sale includes 22 outlets in Maryland, two in Delaware and one in Washington D.C. [Press Release]

So A&P is trying to sell 25 Superfresh stores as part as their turnaround strategy, why Superfresh? The Baltimore Sun analyzes the situation.

And then there is a planned Pathmark to open in North Liberties, PA. Where the developer has petitioned the bankruptcy judge to 'clear the way for a new supermarket to open', where Pathmark has continued to stall and are according to the motion "affecting the ability to sign leases with other tenants in the shopping center."  Read it @

Seems that everyone is getting their licks in on A&P, in NYC a developer is suing A&P to recover some $6 million they put down on a deal which fell through to develop two luxury towers on Cherry Street in Manhattan. Read it @ WSJ Blogs.

Central Jersey Press: Hillsborough Pathmark to Close this Weekend.

Supermarket News covers our charge against A&P...Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman said on Twitter, "We will not allow A&P to 're-build' their company on our members' backs. Closing stores and laying off people who helped build this once great company is not a business plan." You can follow him on Twitter @Aspeel1500.

UFCW Reps are scheduled to speak at Ahold's (Stop & Shop owner) annual meeting in the Netherlands....  Three workers from Virginia will also attend.

UFCW California Contract: Members of seven California UFCW Locals are scheduled to take strike authorization votes next week.


Crain's: Walmart foes battle retailer's Brooklyn Plan

@ NY1: Brooklyn Residents Raise Concerns on Potential Walmart.  "Walmart forces businesses to shut down. They can't compete with their low prices, and traffic is lost on neighborhood retail strips and small businesses close down," said Daniel Coates of Small Business United.  More @TheRealDeal.

New York City says "Don't be Related to Walmart!", Matt Ryan from JWJ writes in the Huffington Post.

Walmart is downsizing their electronics department for more plus-sized clothing...

A Met Foods in the Bronx is changing over to a Foodtown.

@AFL-CIO, you can show solidarity with workers, buy a 'We are ONE' pin or button.

The bidding for BJ's Wholesale Club starts today...

Target pushing north to Canada @FoxNews.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon One Liners: Walmart Chicago, A&P gets a Complaint

“Our Union will continue to drive home the point that it is the workers that will lead A&P out of its financial troubles. However, they have a both a moral and legal obligation to do all they can for employees that are being impacted immediately by this bankruptcy.”
-Bruce W. Both, President of UFCW Local 1500 in a statement today announcing they have filed charges against A&P.

Supermarket News writes, financial lawsuits pile up at A&P...Meanwhile A&P and Stop & Shop settle the Rocky Vitale suit, terms of the settlement were not disclosed.  Bloomberg News has more details.

Residents in Toms River are wondering where they're going to shop for groceries.

A U.S. appeals court ruled against Arizona's Immigration law.  Read it @ NY Times.

Walmart's response to Target's 'P-Fresh', price matching, read the synopsis in the Minnesota Star Tribune. No surprise they launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign on Monday.

At Related's Headquarters, a FlashMob sang and performed in protest to a potential Walmart opening a store in NYC.

Crain's Investigative report, Chicago Walmart Failures:
When Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hired Margaret Garner in 2005 as the first black woman contractor to build one of its stores, she was hailed as a symbol of the benefits local businesses and minority communities would reap from the retail giant's push into Chicago.
Six years later, her company is bankrupt, crushed by cost overruns on Wal-Mart's first Chicago store, located in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago's West Side. A Crain's investigation shows that the benefits to minority contractors were less than suggested by the hype surrounding Ms. Garner's hiring.
At a community meeting on Monday, Walmart didn't receive too warm of a welcome @ CBS News.  They've also closed on their coveted land in the South Side of Chicago for their first Super Center..

This Saturday, Make the Road NY's innovative new piece of legislation, the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA) went into effect. This comprehensive new State law marks an enormous victory for workers throughout New York.  Read more @ Crain's.

John Castimatidis was interviewed on Gotham Radio this weekend, topics ranging from Mayoral race to Walmart in NYC.

And the 2011 UFCW International Scholarship Application is now available. Sign up!

Release: UFCW 1500 files Complaint with NY DOL Against A&P

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13:  A person walks in...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeFor Immediate Release to UFCW Local 1500 Members

United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1500 has filed a complaint with New York State Department of Labor against the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P), the parent company of Pathmark Supermarkets, alleging violations of the New York State W.A.R.N. Act. The W.A.R.N. Act is a State law that outlines a company’s legal obligations to employees when they announce the shutdown of their operations.

UFCW Local 1500 announced the complaint after repeated attempts to resolve the issue with A&P/Pathmark executives. “Our Union will continue to drive home the point that it is the workers that will lead A&P out of its financial troubles. However, they have a both a moral and legal obligation to do all they can for employees that are being impacted immediately by this bankruptcy,” stated Bruce W. Both, President of UFCW Local 1500.

UFCW Local 1500 Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Speelman emphasized the Union will continue to use all means necessary to enforce the contract and make sure appropriate authorities hear the voices of the workers. “Whether it is the Federal Judge overseeing the bankruptcy or Federal and State agencies such as the Department of Labor, our Union will continue to speak loudly on behalf of our members. The men and women working in these stores are not responsible for this company’s financial mess and we will do everything we can to make sure the A&P/Pathmark does not attempt to build it’s future solely on the backs of our members.”

For more information on the A&P/Pathmark bankruptcy, please continue to follow UFCW Local 1500 on Facebook, its website or by contacting the Union at 1-800-522-0456 or by email at Pathmark members should also stay in contact with their designated Union Representative.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

NY Industry News Briefs: 4/6-4/7

United Food and Commercial WorkersImage via Wikipedia
Forbes observes while Walmart and Target are changing to smaller format stores for more 'urban appeal', Aldi has the upper hand, as demonstrated in Queens.

Progressive Grocer was at the grand opening of Food Town in Williamsburg.

Stop & Shop celebrated their 21st anniversary.

A&P is suing Stop & Shop for allegedly  hiring a former executive, Rocky Vitale.

In D.C., Walmart protesters disrupted a City Council session.

Speaking of Walmart, it was announced recently they're the least loved department store on Social Media.
In San Diego, where Walmart is also spending millions of dollars to gain support to open a store, a bill passed requiring new "superstores" (90,000 sqft or more) to conduct economic impact analysis studies, part of the permit process.  Read more @ Sign on San Diego.

The UFCW rallied for justice for Fresh and Easy workers in California.

BJ's CEO Laura Sen made $4M this year.

From New Jersey: A&P Barnegat scheduled to close this month, the company is mum on workers.  Real estate owners say another tenant, possibly a supermarket may fill the vacant space.

In Wisconsin, voters are coming out against Gov. Scott Walker's candidates. 

The City canned plans to pave the Coney Island boardwalk with cement.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NY Industry News Briefs: 4/1-4/5

Martin Luther King, Jr.Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In March, jobs increased by 216,000.

AFL-CIO Blog: Walker's attacks on workers creates a new interest for unions in America.

Stop & Shop hires 150 local workers, 100 from the closed Shaw's store in CT.

Last week a judge upheld the ruling for Walmart's $7K fine from OSHA, for the tragedy at their Valley Stream store, when a temporary employee was trampled to death on Black Friday in 2008.  The Times reports how Walmart aggressively fought this fine, and is planning to appeal it, spending over $2 million fighting the $7,000 fine. More @ Columbia Journalism Review.
Walmart is also thinking of testing California deliveries. More @ Consumerist.

Last month, the NY POST wrote an article which inaccurately depicted supermarket prices throughout NYC.  Today, Nicholas Dagostino published his response.

On April Fools Day the Working Families Party put out a fake press release announcing a partnership with Walmart.

No joke, Mini-Walmarts are coming; WSJ.

Walmart's massive PR campaign continued today with new mailers going out throughout NYC.

Here's why Martin Luther King Jr. would support Public Workers.

MLK III is also making a push for living wage with elected officials. 

A&P is suing Stop & Shop for hiring Ex-Operations Vice President.

A&P also announced a new Kosher promotion, hiring/establishing a new "Kosher category manager".