Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Afternoon News Brew:

Hostess is using bankruptcy as a weapon to get out of two union contracts!

With a Federal Trial for violating workers' rights days away, we've learned that Target has cleaned out nearly 25% of its workforce at Valley Stream in a mere 6-months after the union election.

Superfresh wants to end Pension contributions to former employees in Maryland, UFCW is fighting back!

Brooklyn Navy Yard is getting a responsible supermarket!

Daniel Massey from Crain's NY Business wants to know, "What's Up with Walmart in NYC?"

Check out UFCW International President Joe Hansen in the Huffington Post: "Daniels Wrong on 'Right to Work'".

Before NLRB Trial, Target in Valley Stream Cleans Out Workforce, Turnover Nearly 25% in 6-months

Target Cleans Out Workforce at Valley Stream Store, turnover nearly hits 25% in 6-months

With eye toward a new union election, Target has replaced over 20% of its workforce at the Valley Stream store after a union election in June 2011

WESTBURY, NY (01/27/2012)(readMedia)-- Preparing for the February 1st federal hearing on Target Corp.'s violations of the National Labor Relations Act, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500 Assistant to the President, Pat Purcell, expressed outrage that over 20% of the workforce at Valley Stream Target has been "turned over" or replaced, cleansing the store of longtime employees seeking better working conditions from the billion-dollar company.

"How is it in this job starved economy, with so many people looking for jobs, Target has turned-over 20% of its workforce at Valley Stream in a short 7-month span?", Purcell questioned. "It's evident Target began a practice of 'cleansing' their workforce in fear and in anticipation of another union vote and the possibility of providing wages and benefits up to par with unionized retailers," Purcell said. Addressing the February 1st National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing on Target's violations of workers' rights, Purcell said: "Target has resorted to playing games with people's livelihoods. Their actions demonstrate what we and the National Labor Relations Board have asserted: Target will do anything to prevent their employees from banding together to fight for more respect at work, even violate the law,"

Questioning the motive behind the high turnover rate, Purcell questioned why Target's turnover rate was on pace to nearly double the national retail average: "If Target paid more and provided better benefits would we be seeing a turnover this high? If working for Target is as good as Target says it is, why is their turnover rate so high? The retail behemoth Target enters communities across America with a promise of jobs. Unfortunately communities like Valley Stream are finding these jobs fail to provide stability, consistent hours or affordable benefits. Our communities need a commitment from all retailers to provide jobs they can rely on. Not retailers with exceptionally high turnover rates, making it near impossible for hardworking men and women to accumulate benefits and provide for their families. Shamefully Target has continued to demonstrate they're simply committed to putting profits ahead of people, "

UFCW Local 1500 knows companies like Target, who are on the forefront of retail growth, have the ability and should lead by example. Rather than focusing on higher profits and cutting hours, jobs and benefits, Target should focus on setting an example as a retail leader, by providing good jobs for hundreds of communities across America. "We've presented Target with an opportunity to change. They have the ability to make their retail jobs, good jobs in our country. They have an opportunity to be a responsible employer by making commitments to their employees and the communities they inhabit. They should start by ending the intimidation and threats to employees who are banding together to demand better working conditions from their billion-dollar employer," Purcell concluded.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers throughout Long Island, the five boroughs , Westchester, Putnam and Duchess Counties.

Connect with Target workers from across the country and join the movement to Change Target on Facebook #targetchange.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The UFCW Blog: Indiana RTW Push: Too Extreme for These Extreme Re...

The UFCW Blog: Indiana RTW Push: Too Extreme for These Extreme Re...: Check out the UFCW International Blog's recap of just  how  extreme and out-of-touch the Indiana GOP's push to ram so-called "right-to-work" legislation in.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Mornin' News Brew

Here are some top industry stories to start your day:

BJ's Wholesale Club has opened up three new locations, one in Virginia and in Ithaca & Deer Park, NY.  The grand opening of the 85,000 square foot Deer Park (Long Island) store is this weekend. [Press Release]

Stop & Shop raised over $2 million for with their "Foods for Friends" program, 100% of the proceeds will go to food pantries throughout the Northeast.

The Bridgehampton Citizen Action Committee supports banning plastic bags, and wants Southampton to do the same.

One is never enough....Walmart opened their second Chicago Supercenter this week.

A Bankruptcy judge has OK'd A&P's $750M exit financing.

The Valley Stream Herald reports on Target, and us, gearing up for the February 1st NLRB hearing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

UFCW's OnPoint Issue 14- January 24, 2012

Check out the latest edition of OnPoint, from the UFCW International, recapping the on-goings from our UFCW brothers and sisters across the nation!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Quick News Briefs....

Crain's does a close up on FreshDirect, from going to the local NY Grocer, to emerging as a national powerhouse...

Fresh Market continues to knock on the door of the five boroughs and Long Island, opening their first store in Eastchester...

Surprised? Walmart's "study"on it's impact of a potential new store in Tacoma, Washington contradicts research, public study.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quick Newsbites....

English: The logo of The Great Atlantic & Paci...
Image via Wikipedia
Scary Editorial: Food Lion Latest to Shrink Store Count in Grocery Shakeout.

A&P moves ahead with turnaround strategy with store closures.

Here's a brew of the related store closure stories,

A&P to close in downtown Danbury.

LI Herald: Waldbaum's in RVC to close.

North Jersey: Garfield A&P among stores to close.

New York City Council Member, Melissa Mark Viverito writes an editorial in The Huffington Post on Living Wage in New York City.

The RWDSU is asking the Queens Center Mall owner to do what's right, and help out the neighboring area they reside in.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Local 1500 Endorses Hakeem Jeffries for Congress NY-10th District

United Food and Commercial Workers
Image via Wikipedia

UFCW Local 1500 is first labor endorsement for Jeffries

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - Brooklyn, NY - United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, New York State's largest grocery workers union, announced its support today for Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries for Congress in NY-10. This is the first labor endorsement for Jeffries.

"We are excited and proud to endorse Hakeem Jeffries to be the next Congressman from Brooklyn's 10th Congressional District," said Bruce W. Both, President, UFCW 1500. "As a New York State Assemblyman, Hakeem stood side by side with our members and fought on our behalf as we worked to pass the New York State Wage Theft Prevention Act in 2010, a bill that provides workers in New York State protections against irresponsible employers who fail to pay their workers. As a member of Congress, our union is confident that Hakeem will bring leadership, innovative thinking and a progressive mind to a legislative body crying out for civility and common sense."

"It is an honor to have the endorsement of UFCW," said Jeffries. "This strong union stands up for all workers in their fight for fair contracts and wages, and the right to a decent quality of life. I am proud to stand with UFCW as a state legislator and I look forward to working with them in Washington to keep improving life for all city residents."

UFCW has a long history in New York. Its members work for companies such as Pathmark, Stop and Shop, Key Foods, Shop Rite and Fairway that operate in Brooklyn. With nearly 23,000 members, Local 1500 is not only the largest of New York State's grocery workers unions, it is among the largest locals in the entire national UFCW. The local represents working men and women in Queens, Staten Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.

Hakeem Jeffries has represented Brooklyn's 57th district in the New York State Assembly since 2007. During his time in the legislature, Assemblyman Jeffries has emerged as a champion for working families. He has successfully advanced a progressive agenda that has made a real impact throughout Brooklyn, including legislation to strengthen tenant regulations, protect the civil liberties of law-abiding New Yorkers during police encounters, reform state government in Albany, and facilitate the successful re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals. For more information on Hakeem's candidacy, visit

# # #

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tues. After Noon OneLiners: Fresh Direct needs a new HQ, Retail Workers still struggling

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“It's downright disturbing, as this industry grows and plays a greater role in our economy, we're seeing stagnant wages and working conditions.” 
Carrie Gleason, director of the Retail Action Project, who will issue a study on how Retailers sell workers short in today's Crain's NY Business.
A&P unveiled a new healthy food format, focusing on foods for diabetics and health conscious shoppers.

Bayonne A&P will close, impacting 77 employees.  More @ the CT Courier Post.

Sprinklers exploded at the former Pathmark on Nostrand Avenue.

LoHud: Pathmark Mt.Vernon to close.

#Elsewhere, Industry
Aldi in Geneseo is closing in August.

In Jersey, consultants are wondering if a new ShopRite in Toms River will kill a Foodtown in the same town.

Fresh Direct has outgrown their Queens warehouse and is searching for a new site that could fit an additional 1,000 employees.  Well, New Jersey & the South Bronx are both doing their best to seduce the retailer to make their home.   Check out the article at the Daily News:
Only 47% of Fresh Direct employees make more than $25,000 a year, claimed Bettina Damiani of Good Jobs New York, a benefits watchdog group.
Living wage critics warned last week the bill could scare away Fresh Direct. But a City Council spokeswoman said Friday the legislation would not apply to the company if it moved to the Bronx.

Damiani accused Fresh Direct of using its New Jersey offer to leverage more New York aid. It has received millions of dollars in tax breaks in Queens, she said.

“It is incredibly unfair for Fresh Direct to hold city taxpayers over a barrel,” she said. “Fresh Direct is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the economic war between New York and New Jersey.”
Crain's writes about retail workers in NYC struggling to make ends meet.
The report, titled "Discounted Jobs: How Retailers Sell Workers Short," surveyed 436 workers in jobs across the five boroughs, making it one of the most comprehensive studies to date on the industry's workforce in New York. Nearly one-third of those surveyed supported at least one additional family member on their wages; their median income was $9.50 an hour. More than half made less than $10 an hour, and one in five earned less than $8 an hour.
Here is RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum's statement on the NYC Living Wage agreement.  The New York Times sums up the tricky compromise very well.

The UFCW Blog wrote a nice piece, Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Smithfield Packing and the UFCW are donating 30,000 pounds of protein to a food bank in Arizona.

Supermarket News says it will take 23 years for Whole Foods to reach their goal of 1,000 stores.  They're telling retailers to brace themselves for record expansion pace.

Trader Joe's will be opening in Rochester and Albany, not Syracuse.

Motley Fool wonders if Target's new business strategy will over complicate the stores.

Controversial right-to-work legislation could advance this week in the Indiana legislature, and Kentucky labor unions and pro-business interests are closely monitoring its progress.

UFCW Local 400 President Tom McNutt issued a statement Jan. 13 in response to Delhaize America’s decision to close 126 Bloom, Food Lion and Bottom Dollar stores across the country.

Giant Food Stores' pending acquisition of Genuardis has investors thinking a re-branding for the stores could have great potential.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Mornin' One-Liners

As we approach this important holiday, let's remember that we are united by the thirst for justice and for economic opportunity. Let's remember that we need not be limited by what we can see today, but that with faith and hard work we can transform America's dream into reality.
- Arlene Holt Baker, AFL-CIO Exec. VP in today's Detroit Free Press.

Delhazie plans to close 114 Food Lions, to close 164 total stores in US & Europe.

New Jersey wants some Fresh Direct.

Fresh & Green's, the company that bought some Superfresh stores late 2011, just selected a new marketing, advertising team.

AFL-CIO Executive VP, Arlene Holt Baker, gives an excellent guest commentary in the Detroit Free Press: "True Equality Still Challenges Us All."
Yet we know King's dream was not merely a dream about friendship, not some story about two unlikely friends communing across a great economic divide. His dream was about true equality -- economic, political and social justice.
Nike has finally agreed to pay $1 million in backwages to Indonesian workers.
The decision is being viewed as a symbolic victory, given that the compensation was rather modest and because Nike has long been accused of exploiting and underpaying employees toiling in its Third World factories.
Asbury Park Press: Pathmark in Stafford Closing Doors.

Target announced they'll be opening a store within a store today, a Target within a Target.

The UFCW Local 400 in Baltimore is embracing the #Occupy movement leading up to contract negotiations...

Weis will fill the void Pathmark left last year when the store closed in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday Mornin' News Briefs

Comida gigante
Image via Wikipedia
"Right to Work" laws are for the 1%.

A&P to close 14 stores, here is their Press ReleaseMore @ Progressive Grocer, CityBizRealEstateABC News, Supermarket News, Atlantic City Press.

A&P is accusing Stop & Shop of purposefully snarling its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case by making “illusory” claims of potential pension liabilities. From Supermarket News:
Ahold on behalf of its U.S. banners Giant-Landover and Stop & Shop has filed 216 separate proofs of claim for any increases in pension contributions that Giant and Stop & Shop may have to pay as a result of A&P’s withdrawal from multi-employer pension plans in which Giant and Stop & Shop participate.
The NLRB swears in three new members.

Epoch Times writes about the proposed new Walmart in East Patchogue, Long Island.  More at Newsday (subscription required) and at Patch.

Target Change: Target & Apple a match made in heaven

The UFCW Local 1500 Fairway in Douglaston, Queens, raised nearly $7k for the slain NYPD Detective, Peter Figoski's family.  In total, Fairway donated $20,000 to the scholarship fund.
"We have a long standing history of supporting those who serve New York City and when we saw the tragedy that happened, we felt we had to jump in and help out in any way that we could,” he said of the market’s decision to donate to the scholarship fund. “What’s unique about how we did this is that we involved our customers as well.”
Figoski, 47, who was the father of four daughters between the ages of 14 and 20 years, was killed when he and his partner showed up at the scene of an alleged drug robbery that was taking place in Brooklyn.
Republicans in Indiana, in what the AFL-CIO blog calls a 5-minute charade this morning, have pushed a "right to work" bill in an 8-5 vote.
Not only were Democrats barred from offering any amendments, no discussion of the bill was allowed and immediately after the vote, the hearing was adjourned. Rep. John Bartlett (D) told reporters that he’d “never seen a charade like this in my life.”
And Trader Joe's plans in Albany need minimal approval.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Monday Morning One Liners: More Assualts on Unions, Target Teams with Apple

Excellent Editorial in the New York Times: Continuing Assault on Unions focuses on the relentless, shameful attack by the Republican party on unions and workers' rights, in a time and economy when we need them most.

A proposed bill in New Jersey would allow NJ residents to get Jersey vineyard wines shipped right to their homes.

Alec Baldwin was dropped as the Wegman's earlier this week, then re-hired once customers were outraged.

The Nation highlights UFCW's campaign to Change Walmart.

Walmart is buying up more and more social media companies.

Last week Walmart was Blacklisted by one of the world's largest pension funds.  The reason? Poor labor practices and their anti-union/worker stances.  Sixteen other companies were blacklisted along with Walmart, nearly all of them excluded for producing chemical or nuclear weapons that violate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Check out Lila Shapiro's piece in the Huffington Post:
Walmart typically shrugs off criticism of its labor practices as union-driven propaganda and insists that its employees are happy and well-managed, but investing experts say that when one of the largest pension funds in the world divests, the company would be wise to listen to the message. It's the same message the American labor movement has been pushing for decades.

Great article from Grist, looks at the dominance Walmart is gaining on our entire Food System and why we should be scared:
We had a leak in the cooler that didn't get fixed for a month and all this moldy food was going out on the floor." Walmart doesn't accept the idea that "a supermarket takes any skill to run," she said. "They treated the produce like any other kind of merchandise."
A&P announced the launch of plans to deploy a category optimization solution to "help enhance its merchandising strategy and improve the customer experience across its more than 300 northeast and Mid-Atlantic stores."

In Belleville, NJ, a Pathmark who was a community fixture for over 30 years, and fell victim to store closings, remains vacant over one year later.  Though the community remains hopeful.  

Hooray! (sarcasm) Apple mini-stores are coming to Target.  A perfect match for the employer who faces federal labor law charges (Target) and the company where they reward their employees in titles like Geniuses, and not pay, benefits or basic rights at work.  Looks e-harmony couldn't have matched these two any better.

Last week the National Labor Relations Board announced they would be adding more labor charges to the existing federal charges Target Corp. faces for allegedly violating the law in the weeks leading up to the union election in June, 2011.

Meanwhile Target reported increased December sales but missed expectations.

Number 8 on Brooklyn Papers top 12 to watch for in 2012 is a Brooklyn Walmart, Big Box store.

Workers at VPH Pharmacy, a Michigan-based distributor of pharmaceutical products, recently won the right to join UFCW Local 876!!

International President, Joe Hansen, appluaded President Obama's recess appointments.
“We applaud President Obama’s recent decision to fill vacant posts at the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau and. These agencies play an important role in safeguarding the rights of workers and their families..."

In California, retailers are being fought on alcohol sales at self-checkouts.  Most retailers are complying says the SF Chronicle, but Fresh & Easy is struggling following the newly passed law.

Good Read: Paul Krugman in his latest piece for NY Times, "Unlevel Playing Field" says it's a fiction that GOP and Romney care about equal opportunity.

Uh-oh alert...Wall-Street employees are threatening to quit if their bonuses aren't enough.

Whole Foods is closing their Dallas Bake-house.

Trader Joe's
is opening up in Albany, their first store in the capital region makes the Business Review ponder if  other retailers follow them.

via AFL-CIO Blog: The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) urged the Indiana state legislature to reject a so-called right to work bill. “As Indianapolis proudly prepares to host the Super Bowl,” says the union, “it should be a time to shine in the national spotlight and highlight the hardworking families that make Indiana run instead of launching political attacks on their basic rights.”

Last week, the awesome union employer, Fairway Market, not only does right by their employees but does great for their community.  Ten percent of all sales made during the seven-hour period at Fairway locations in Red Hook, Douglaston and Plainview goes straight to the fund created shortly after Officer Figoski was killed to help his four daughters attend college.  Check out the story @WPIX.  Great job, Fairway!

And just for fun, a man was arrested at a Walmart last week for trying to use a $1 million dollar bill.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NLRB Files Mores Charges Against Target for Conduct at Valley Stream store

The NLRB has filed more charges against Target, adding more charges to what is already a long running list of ways the super retailer violated labor laws in order to prevent employees from joining the UFCW.  Last June, Target intimidated workers by handing out flyers which raised questions such as "Will the Store Close if the Union Gets In?", they forced employees to watch a corny anti-union video,  and interrogated workers to the extent that they felt almost 'criminal-like' for supporting the union.  If that wasn't enough, Target also fired one of the leading 'pro-union' voices from Valley Stream, a mere 7-weeks after the union vote this past summer.

UFCW Local 1500 Special Projects Director and Target campaign Director Aly Waddy released the following statement:
"The NLRB is slowly recognizing Target manipulated the system, and intimidated their employees with interrogations and an intense propaganda campaign.  They [Target] used every tactic possible with no regard for the law from keeping the hardworking men and woman at Target from gaining respect at work.  It's reassuring [the NLRB filing more charges against Target] that their conduct and disregard for the law created a slanted atmosphere, making any shot for a fair election impractical.  It's a small step that this is not only recognized by us and the workers from Target Valley Stream, but the National Labor Relations Board."