Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bankruptcy Judge Approves A&P's Chapter 11 Exit Plan

From Supermarket News:

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The U.S. Bankruptcy Court here has approved A&P's Chapter 11 exit plan, and the company could emerge from bankruptcy as soon as this week, reports said Monday.
The company filed Chapter 11 in December 2010 and has since shuttered dozens of stores.
As previously reported, the reorganization plan includes $490 million in debt and equity financing from Yucaipa Cos., the Ron Burkle-led investment group that has a long history of investments in food retailing. A&P also renegotiated its labor contracts late last year to reduce its costs and to prepare to emerge from bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert D. Drain was quoted in a Dow Jones report on Monday saying that the contract cuts were “very painful” to the unions.

According to the Dow Jones and other reports, a $40 million fund to pay unsecured creditors will not be part of the reorganization plan, but those creditors could be repaid if the company is acquired within five years for a large enough sum.

A spokesowman for A&P confirmed that the court had approved its reorganization plan and that it was "taking the necessary steps to emerge from Chapter 11 as soon as possible."
A&P had an estimated $6.7 billion in sales for the fiscal year that ended Feb. 25, operating 336 stores under the A&P, Pathmark, Food Emporium, Waldbaum's Food Basics, Super Fresh and Best Cellars banners.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The UFCW Blog: UFCW President Joe Hansen Encourages Participation...

The UFCW Blog: UFCW President Joe Hansen Encourages Participation...: Americans are fortunate to live in a country where we have access to more than just positive news stories or convenient facts. From social networking, to Google, to Wikipedia, to blogs like this one - we’re able to absorb more statistics and details than at any other time in human history. Our government encourages a free market of information that exposes us to foreign ideas, unpleasant facts and competitive values.

Unfortunately, this mass of information has its downside. How do we separate the truths from the lies?

With that goal in mind, UFCW International President Joe Hansen is encouraging local unions, union members, and all Americans to participate in the Obama Truth Team.

Check out more from the UFCW International Blog:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The UFCW Blog: Dairy Manager, UFCW Member, and Now - Grammy Winne...

The UFCW Blog: Dairy Manager, UFCW Member, and Now - Grammy Winne...: Kevin Mackie is the dairy manager at a Shop Rite supermarket in the Philadelphia area. He's been a member of Local 1776 for over 15 years, and is now a Grammy award winner!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Important Update for all Pathmark Members

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Attention All UFCW Local 1500 Pathmark members

Yesterday, UFCW Local 1500 was notified that A&P will be offering a Voluntary Separation Program or Buyout.  Understandably, this announcement will immediately generate many questions. The following are the only facts that we can confirm as of the writing of the statement:

1.     The Buyout will be offered to full time members with more than 5 years of service.
2.     The Buyout will not be offered to department managers or part time members.
3.     We do not have details regarding the eligibility of Pathmark members who are full time and earn a premium and we have demanded clarification from the company.  
4.     On Monday February 20th, UFCW Local 1500 Delegates and company
     representatives will be meeting in the Pathmark store located in Mt. Vernon NY, a supermarket which is scheduled to close. Further discussion regarding the Buyout will take place at that time.
5.     Detailed information about the company sponsored Buyout program will be made available to all eligible full time members next week.

These are the only details regarding the Buyout that UFCW Local 1500 has at this point. We understand that there will be many rumors and questions until the exact details are released next week. We urge you to ignore those rumors. Discussing any information that cannot be confirmed will only prove confusing and frustrating.

UFCW Local 1500 will continue to keep you updated with only accurate and confirmed information and we will keep you informed as we receive additional details. If you have any other questions, please contact your Union representative.   

Friday, February 17, 2012

Raise New York's Minimum Wage

This is long overdue and according to a report from Fiscal Policy Institute today, raising the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour in January 2013 would benefit about 1 million New York workers.

NY Grocery Workers Union: Raise NY Minimum Wage
Pledges Resources and Support to Pass Minimum Wage Increase

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, New York's largest grocery workers union, announced today that it will enthusiastically and aggressively encourage New York State elected officials to increase the State's minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. The Union, based out of Westbury New York, said it would mobilize its 23,000 members to contact their elected leaders and demand their support for the wage hike.

Bruce W. Both, President of UFCW Local 1500 stated: "Neither a strong economy nor the American dream can be built on a wage of $7.25 an hour. We must realize New York State cannot overcome its economic challenges in a sustainable way if at the very foundation of its economy are workers living below the poverty line. We must support common sense economic principles and a strong minimum wage is at the top of that list. It is unfortunate that it has taken Albany so long to address this vital issue but our Union looks forward to working with Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver and members of the New York State Senate to get over one million New Yorkers the raise they so desperately need."

UFCW Local 1500 will mobilize its members to call legislators, mail in post cards, write letters to the editor, and to talk to friends and family members. The Union acknowledges it will have to combat an aggressive and well-funded campaign by the business community who is in opposition to the minimum wage increase.

"It is amazing how much money corporations will spend from their own pockets to make sure no additional money goes into their workers pockets," said Anthony Speelman, UFCW Local 1500 Secretary-Treasurer. "It is appalling that the voice opposing the minimum wage increase will come from those making ten, twenty even fifty times what those on minimum wage make in a year. Any business that can only survive and profit by paying their workers poverty wages should either rethink their business model or consider another line if work. Regardless, their voices of greed will be drowned out by the voices of need."

Speelman also sent a strong message to New York State's elected leaders. "You were sent to Albany to do the right thing for your constituents. You cannot look in the eyes of any of your constituents making $7.25 an hour and tell them that increasing the minimum wage will actually hurt them," Speelman said. "Should you argue that New York State can only prosper if workers remain at $7.25 an hour, then it may time for you to leave Albany, return to your district, get a minimum wage job and then let us all know how that is working out for you and your family. Perhaps then you will come to understand why New Yorkers need a raise," concluded Speelman.

UFCW Local 1500 represents grocery workers employed by Shop Rite, Stop and Shop, King Kullen, Key Food, Pathmark, Fairway Markets, Gristedes and D'agostinos. Their members live and work in Long Island, the five boroughs, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.


In the Press:

Mid Hudson News: Grocery Workers Support Minimum Wage Hike.

Long Island Press: "Raise Minimum Wage" Grocery Workers Union.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Mornin' One Liners:

Last week, Senator Toby Stavisky, NYC Council Member James Gennaro, Assemblymen @RoryLancman & Michael Simanowitz joined us to rally to save #union jobs in Flushing, Queens

@Target balks on workers' rights in Canada too! They bought out Zellers, a huge chain in Canada, and now want to fire all workers and have them re-apply for lower wage positions.  Join the movement to Change Target on Facebook

Ad Age looks at their localized Public Relations strategy.

Tony Avella wants NYC Supermarkets to have Health Department grades on storefront windows.

Costco tops Walmart, Target in a new consumer satisfaction survey.

UFCW is against Walmart's neighborhood markets.

Forget the USDA or Government officials, Walmart knows what's good for you.

Walmart hit $365,000 OSHA fine in Rochchester.

The Occupy Movement is figuring out their next move- more @NYtimes.

The 99% (along with community and labor activists) rally outside a DC gathering of the 1%.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Monday News Bites:

A&P is heading to the bankruptcy judge today to seek approval of their re-organization plan.

Employees at an A&P in Armonk have filed labor complaints, claiming they weren't properly notified in the appropriate amount of time that the store would be store closing.

Giant Food has purchased two Fresh & Greens stores in Maryland. They were part of a group of eight former SuperFresh stores that Fresh & Green's parent company, Toronto-based Natural Market Restaurant Group, acquired last year from A&P.
More @ Supermarket News.

An EEOC charged has been filed against Walmart.

More: Discriminated women working at Walmart are still seeking justice against the retail giant after the sex discrimination suit which was thrown out of the US Supreme court last year. From the Huffington Post:
Five hundred female employees in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina filed discrimination charges last week with the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that litigates on behalf of workers against their employers. The filings will pave the way for women to continue their fight in lower courts after being turned away last summer by the Supreme Court in their class action against Walmart. The women argue that Walmart systematically favors men over women for raises and promotions.
A blogger is campaigning to bring another Trader Joe's to Queens.

And congratulations to our New York Giants, Super Bowl Champions!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

3 Reasons Why Target is on Federal Trial

Target has been awfully hopeful many people would be quick to forget about why the retail giant who until this summer, never saw bad PR, is currently sitting in front of a federal labor board judge in Brooklyn, NY.

It all started years ago, when Target execs made a decision to put profits ahead of people.  The choice was simple for them, sales continued to climb and they even began to compete with the retailer who was once dubbed 'untouchable', Walmart.  They've always been looked at as a better employer than Walmart, but it took 12 workers from a store outside of New York City who were tired of being disrespected and being treated like pawns, not people, to bring the truths about Target to light.  Working for them is no different than working for Walmart, in fact it could actually be worse.

So if you can get past their propaganda, flashy ads and cheap prices, here's three reasons Target sits before a federal labor board judge this week.

Target used this van to transport workers
to vote "NO" on election day
& get a free lunch!

1. Illegal Surveillance of Workers who wanted a Union
Target employees wanted a union, but management made union supporting feel almost criminal like, they actively encouraged the surveillance of 'pro-union' employees. They even told employees to call the police if union Organizers came to speak to them.
From Crain's NY Business
The labor board also decided the retailer unlawfully created the impression that workers' union activities were under surveillance and that supervisors told workers they could not solicit on behalf of the union in non-working areas, said Alvin Blyer, the regional director of the labor board.
2.  Interrogation of Workers Who Wanted a Union
So what comes after illegal surveillance? Obviously interrogation! From Crain's:
The labor board also found sufficient evidence to add charges that supervisors interrogated workers about their union activity and told them they could not solicit on behalf of the union in non-working areas, said Alvin Blyer, the regional director of the labor board.
3.  Intimidating Workers to vote against the union.
From handbills which questioned if the store would close 'if the union got in', to captive audience meetings where they told employees the store would close and they wouldn't have a job (nice).  If that weren't enough, they shoved corny anti-union propaganda (like this video) down the throats of employees...every day.

If that wasn't enough, Gawker sums up how Target's image was tainted from the June election,  and more importantly gives you worker testimonials (or 'soul-sucking stories) from Target workers throughout the country on what it's really like working for the bulls-eye.

It's summed up nicely here by Pat Purcell, Assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500:

“There was only one way for Target to win this election, and that was to break the law.”

Target Corp. Federal Trail for Violations of Workers' Rights Begins Today

Target Corporation Goes on Trial Today in Brooklyn, New York for Violations of Federal Law
Trial Expected to Take Several Days and Involve over Two Dozen Witnesses

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK (02/01/2012)(readMedia)-- The employees of the Valley Stream, New York Target Store will finally get their day in court today when Target stores goes on trial for violations of Federal law. The trial today, being held at 1 Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, New York is expected to last several days and involve dozens of witnesses. Target is defending itself against over a dozen charges by the National Labor Relations Board accusing Target of widespread violations of Federal law.

"How a company named Target could be so off course when it comes to obeying the law, respecting workers and honoring Democracy is truly ironic," stated Bruce W. Both, the President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500. "They have failed to grasp the commitment of the workers, our Union and the general public to hold Target accountable for its third world business practices. Today's trial affirms that commitment," Both continued. "After this trial, Target will see more action taken by workers and the Union. They will see more involvement from New York residents and community organizations allied with these workers. They will see the foot print of solidarity go from a Brooklyn courtroom to the floors of their stores," Both concluded.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, New York State's largest grocery workers union, began organizing Target Store employees in February of 2011.

Patrick Purcell, Assistant to President Bruce W. Both, said that today's trial could have been avoided. "Target could have easily held a fair & democratic election. Instead of playing by the rules, Target has shown all New Yorkers that they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their workers from attaining a basic right: respect at work. Today's trial show the government believes their actions were unlawful," Purcell stated.

Purcell questions Targets business strategy. "What's troubling is that Target had an opportunity to become a corporate role model and do the right thing for their employees, customers and shareholders. There is no question that thier customers and investors would have respected that decision and rewarded Target with their continued loyalty. Sadly, instead of helping their employees attain the American dream, they chose a judicial nightmare and earned the scorn of their customers and the closer scrutiny of shareholders," Purcell concluded

UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers in 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.