Friday, April 27, 2012

Off Target with Valley Stream Closure

Off Target with Valley Stream Store Closure

Target in Valley Stream will close April 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM purportedly to remodel the store for the sale and storage of fresh groceries.   This Target location was the site of an important campaign last year by employees to seek union representation by our Union, UFCW Local 1500.   Target Corp. has remodeled over 900 stores across the nation since 2009, bringing groceries to the newly remodeled stores.

At face value, the procedure seems ordinary: close the store temporarily and then open back up with a brand new grocery section.  But Valley Stream Target #1262 is far from ordinary.  The store will become the first Target in the country to close for a remodel, a move that will replace and displace all of the store’s employees (only employees in “good standing with the company” were offered job placements or transfers) when the store plans to reopen in November 2012.  Most remodels and renovations take two-three months at most to complete.   Why then, is Target closing the store for seven-months?

In response to our Union’s accusations (and charges filed at the NLRB) claiming its closing is retaliatory, Target argues a store in Portland, Oregon will close for a similar remodeling.   It’s true that store is closing, but for no more than two-months.  Additionally, Target has not filed any WARN notice with the Oregon Department of Labor, meaning employees at the store will have the option to retain their jobs and will not be displaced/replaced.  What makes Target in Valley Stream such a complicated remodel?

It just so happens that following a February 2012 trial, charges of unfair labor practices against Target at Valley Stream are pending before an Administrative Law Judge of the National Labor Relations Board.    The ALJ will determine whether the company violated federal labor laws and intimidated employees during a failed union election last June.  We expect the ALJ to find that Target committed numerous unfair labor practices, which could result in an order for a second, fairer election this year. A result expected to be handed down during the convenient ‘renovation’ period.

Of course, the current workforce will be dispersed and most employees, including union supporters, will not be returned to the store ever.  Therefore, if the closing goes ahead, many current employees and union supporters will be ineligible to vote in a second election.

Target is closing tomorrow, April 28, 2012 for ‘renovations’ and I wish they really intended on renovating their store, but as of April 20, 2012, the company has yet to secure a building permit from the Village of Valley Stream.   As a result, it is unlikely that construction will begin any time soon and almost impossible for the store to reopen on November 11, 2012, as purportedly planned.

To me, it seems the only renovations they’ve been planning, is renovating the courageous employees who came together last year to improve their jobs, families and lives by exercising their constitutionally protected rights.

The employees at Target Valley Stream deserve to be heard.  They are being punished for exercising their constitutional rights.  Sitting back and allowing Target to operate with such indifference for their employees will, as UFCW President Joe Hansen put it,  "further embolden companies like Target and Wal-Mart, who seek to squash worker rights in the pursuit of unfettered control of our economy."

Friday's News Bites

Press Release from UFCW Local 342: Members Say Cutbacks in Staff Hours, Budget Causes Resident Neglect at Catholic Nursing Home in Queens

Mayor Bloomberg vetoed NYC's prevailing wage bill.

Crain's NY Business: Despite Scandal, Walmart pushes on in NYC.

Elsewhere, a human torso was sent to BJ's Wholesale Club on accident, what?

Why? NYC is still the only municipality in New York to require finger printing when applying for Food Stamps.

Elsewhere, a human torso was sent to BJ's Wholesale Club by mistake, what?

And a reminder, Target in Valley Stream will be closing their doors for 'renovations' Saturday April 28.  We're calling this union-busting.

This Saturday is Workers' Memorial Day.  What's Workers Memorial Day? Check out this blog post: "Why Workers Memorial Day is Important to Me"  We're honoring and remembering all fallen and injured workers throughout the world.  To find an event near you, head here.

UFCW President Hansen Calls for Leadership Changes at Walmart

United Food and Commercial Workers
United Food and Commercial Workers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Statement by UFCW International President Joe Hansen Calling for Walmart CEO and Board Chair Resignations
(Washington, D.C.) - Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) and Chair of Change to Win, today released the following statement to join Walmart associates in the demand for leadership changes at the retail giant.

“The corruption scandal and reported cover-up exposed an unacceptable failure of leadership within Walmart. Walmart Chairman Rob Walton and CEO Mike Duke must resign immediately in an effort to restore integrity and accountability for Walmart associates, shareholders, customers, and communities.
“The New York Times exposed a widespread pattern of Walmart executives bribing government officials to secure permits to build stores in Mexico, followed by a cover-up led by corporate leaders including Duke and Walton. The article raises serious questions about whether Walmart has used the same tactics for its expansion in the United States and across the globe.\
“For decades, Walmart has pursued a growth-at-any-cost strategy in cities and towns across the United States and globally. In the U.S., we have watched Walmart secure the building permits, variances, and zoning changes to open its stores, in spite of concerted community opposition.
“The public deserves a wholly independent and thorough investigation of Walmart’s practices. Communities across the globe should take heed of Walmart’s reported unlawful and unethical practices in Mexico, as the company works at a rapid pace to in expand its retail stores in South Africa, India, and China, to name a few, in addition to its global supply chain operations.”

The UFCW represents 1.3 million workers, 250,000 in the meatpacking and poultry industries. UFCW members also work in the health care, garment, chemical, distillery and retail industries. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, visit, or join our online community at and

Making Change at Walmart is a campaign challenging Walmart to help rebuild our economy and strengthen working families. Anchored by UFCW, we are a coalition of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, women advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials, and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of our country.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Everyone is Talking about Walmart...

Everyone is writing about Walmart these days,

Walmart took part in bribes, then lobbied to weaken anti-bribery laws (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act).  The Washington Post does a great expose.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We are unequivocally opposed to weakening the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” Clinton said. “We don’t need to lower our standards. We need to work with other countries to raise theirs. I actually think a race to the bottom would probably disadvantage us.”

Meanwhile the Justice Department is now launching an investigation into Walmart's systematic bribing of public officials.  Here is the letter the House Committee on Oversight sent to Michael Duke.

Time magazine quoted UFCW Joe Hansen and picks up on NYC Council Speaker and Mayoral Candidate Christine Quinn's quote:
“The corporation’s tactics of bribery, scheming and corruption are the latest in a litany of despicable business practices including discrimination, worker mistreatment and predatory pricing,” Quinn said. “This is precisely the type of business we do not want in our communities and I remain committed to fighting against Wal-Mart’s corporate poison from entering the five boroughs.”
Check out other quotes from NY Politicians here

Time Magazine has yet another in depth great piece, How big a Deal is Walmart's Bribery Scandal?
@samgustin on #Walmart: Bribery scandal is just the latest headache for a company that has become a symbol for a certain breed of American capitalism: outsize, relentless, global and expansionary

Richard Tumka, President of the AFL-CIO guest commentary in the Huffington Post: Is Walmart too Big, Powerful, Influential to Obey the Law?

President Joe Hansen has released a statement calling for new leadership at Walmart, and Walmart workers have started a petition on asking to end the corruption at Walmart.

Capital NewYork takes an in depth look at Walmart's 'wooing of New Yorkers', their campaign to change New York's mind about em. 

Looks like we need a new excuse,  a new study suggests Food Deserts are not primarily linked to obesity.

Great read & editorial: Without Unions, Workers left without a voice.

Find out what's going on with other UFCW Locals throughout the country by checking out UFCW's OnPoint.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What to Read Wednesday: How much will the bribes hurt Walmart?

Progressive Grocer writes about Target remodeling stores, neglects to write how stores throughout the country will remain open, but Target Valley Stream will close in 4 days for renovations.

Walmart, after bribing Mexican Officials to get into Mexico, is working here in the U.S. to weaken International Anti-Bribery laws.  Forbes looks at what this will mean for their business, TheStreet wonders if they're the next Enron and if AG Eric Holder will go after Walmart.

The Mexico news has stirred up lots of politics in NY races.  The USA Today covered yesterday's Walmart speak out at NYC City Hall.

Governor Cuomo (N.Y.) doesn't have a position on Walmart in NYC.

To respond Walmart has created a new position to insure the company is in line with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Whole Foods will be opening a 'pop-up' store in Montauk for the summer season. The farmers market type store test the location to see if they'll be able to set up permanently in the East End of Long Island.

UFCW Interantional: OnPoint April 24, 2012

Checkout the latest edition of UFCW OnPoint!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Press Release: A Call For Additional Hearings on Wal-Mart

Grocery Workers Union Calls for Additional Wal-Mart Hearings
Urges New York City Council to Continue Oversight Of "Corrupt and Predatory" Practices

In light of a New York Times special report documenting corruption at the highest levels at Walmart (Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle, 4/21/2012), New York State's largest Union representing grocery workers called for additional New York City Council hearings into mega-retailer, Wal-Mart's, "corrupt and predatory" business practices and the impact of those policies on New York City's small business community, working families and community organizations.  The New York City Council had previously held hearings on Wal-Mart in the winter of 2011.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500, representing 23,000 members in the metro New York area, suggested that the continued oversight of Wal-Mart's business practices is necessary so New York City residents, real estate developers and landlords, members of the business community, non-profit organizations and other entities to not only have full disclosure and better understanding of Wal-Mart's corrupt, predatory practices, but examine to what extent they want to partner with, work with and be associated with Wal-Mart in the future.

"The Saturday New York Times article documenting the culture of bribery and corruption created, fostered and then ignored by Wal-Mart, despite warnings they may be in violation of  U.S. and Mexican law, proves that when the spotlight of accountability is not on Wal-Mart, they operate in a dark, corrupt and viciously predatory manner,” said Patrick Purcell Jr. spokesperson for UFCW Local 1500.

"Our Union has been the leading organization urging that New York City, the greatest city in the world, not allow itself to be another victim on the endless list of workers, businesses, community groups and so many others across the globe that have been destroyed and victimized by the mega-retailer," Purcell continued.

"Anyone surprised by Saturday's Times article outlining yet another chapter in Wal-Mart's long history of outrageous and offensive business practices all in the name of growth and profit has either not been paying attention to the facts or has been in a deep state of denial," Purcell continued.

"If the child labor issues, gender discrimination accusations and billions of dollars wage and hour violations had not previously been convincing enough, the New York Times article should persuade even the most biased and ardent Wal-Mart supporters to abandon their position.  I cannot imagine anyone who would want to stand next to Wal-Mart at any event, public or private," Purcell concluded.

The New York Times reported this weekend that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. investigators probing its Mexican operations found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect payments worth more than $24 million made to grow its business in Mexico.  The Times said that in September 2005, a senior Wal-Mart lawyer received an e-mail from Sergio Cicero Zapata, a former executive at the company's largest foreign unit, Wal-Mart de Mexico, describing how the subsidiary had paid bribes to obtain permits to build stores in the country.  However, Wal-Mart, having dispatched officials to investigate the allegations subsequently quashed the investigation.  Wal-Mart never notified either U.S. or Mexican law enforcement officials of the suspected violations of law.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500 is New York's largest Grocery Workers Union, representing 23,000 workers throughout New York City and the Greater New York City region.

Press contact: Pat Purcell,


What to Read this Monday: Walmart Bribes their way into Mexico, NYC will not be next...

A New York Times front page story unveiled, Walmart bribed their way into Mexico, had an investigation, then covered it up.  They then admitted to to the bribery after the story broke.

A spokesman for Walmart said "If these allegations are true, it is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for," which of course makes a lot of sense given their outstanding track record.

The news of the bribery has raised the eyebrows of many N.Y. politicians and has The Business Insider calling for resignation of the CEO.   And Walmart stock dropped sharply Monday morning.

With all this brewing, and Earth Day, the New York Observer is asking, If Walmart is Bad For the Environment, What about New York?

Adage writes on the slow process of Walmart's sustainability program.

The New Hyde Park Jazz band performed inside the King Kullen in New Hyde Park.

Stop & Shop added themselves to the growing list of retailers not buying 'pink slime' beef.

Someone is trying to steal copper from vacant A&P's.

Big Lots is eying some vacant A&P sites.

Tell your senators to stand with workers!  From American Rights at Work
Starting today, the U.S. Senate will consider a bill aimed at overturning the NLRB’s recent, commonsense rule that will help ensure workers who want a union election can have one without facing needless bureaucratic delay.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

10 Ways Walmart Fails on Sustainability

walmart beijing
walmart beijing (Photo credit: galaygobi)
No matter how much Walmart pays politicians in N.Y. they can't hide from their awful sustainability record.  Just in time for Earth Day, the Food & Water Watch unveiled a top 10 list of ways Walmart fails on sustainability.  Check it out!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Mornin' One Liners

Hope you all had a great weekend, here's some quick updates: 

A federal judge has ruled against the NLRB union posting,

UFCW Local 1776 members from Tops Market ratify a new 3-year contract.

Local 464a ratified a new agreement with Foodtown on Friday.

Walmart says they're ready for Target's competition in Canada.

Target is breaking ground on a new $103 million dollar food distribution center in Ohio.

A new study reveals that Walmart and other big-box stores are linked to the creation of hate groups.

Walmart CEO made $18.1 million last year.

Whole Foods is opening up in Detroit, vowing to supply the store locally.   The CEO also pledged to make the store, the 'best Whole Foods has to offer.'


Friday, April 13, 2012

News Updates

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum tells the NY POST people should stop picking on John Liu.

LI Herald questions Target Valley Stream's convenient closing.

Aldi announced another Long Island location, this time in Lindenhurst.

Ron Burkle has closed a deal with Amalgamated Bank.  More @ Crain's.
Their firms each invested approximately $50 million, with Mr. Burkle’s firm, the Yucaipa Companies, bringing in Magic Johnson Enterprises as an investor in the deal.
Amalgamated had sought the investments from Mr. Ross, a prominent investor in the steel and coal industries, and Mr. Burkle, a supermarket magnate, after the New York State Banking Department ordered the bank to increase its capital ratio to 7 percent by this August, after it had slipped to 6.2 percent.
The Winnipeg Press gives an update on Target in Canada. 

With Target knocking on the Canadian door, Walmart switches their focus to food in Canada.

Scott Walker adds more ammunition to aid his recall.

People's world writes: Rough go for Anti-Union Campaigns.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The UFCW Blog: Yet another issue with self-checkout: increased th...

The UFCW Blog: Yet another issue with self-checkout: 
We've discussed the impact of self-checkout on retail jobs - and how that impact poses a threat to one of the few growing sectors of our economy. Now, from USA Today, comes a report that increased use of self-checkouts is connected with a spike in intentional and unintentional theft - up to five times more than when cashiers are working. Talk about a threat to the retail industry.  Check out more @ the UFCW Blog.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stop & Shop Pulls Social Media Policy After NLRB Charges Filed

The original Stop and Shop logo used until 2008.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Two weeks ago, we filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board against Stop & Shop's Social Media policy.  After media attention surrounding the policy in question, Stop & Shop has notified us they have decided to withdraw the policy.   

Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman released the following statement:

"We felt Stop and Shop implemented a policy that was not only in violation of Federal labor law since it was not collectively bargained, but one that was vague and violated the civil rights of our members.  We're here for our members every day, they're protected by our contract.  Another great benefit of being part of a union is having protection against policies like these which aren't collectively bargained.  Our union is here to enforce our contracts and to protect the rights of our members.  We, along with all of our Stop & Shop members, view this as a victory for retail workers as the rights of our members are once again protected with the termination of the vague policy." 

Walmart's N.Y. Lobbying Increased 2375% in 2011...Yeah, You Read that Right

So how bad does Walmart want to be in NYC? 2375% more than they did in 2010.  NYPIRG announced New York's 2011 record-breaking lobbying totals, revealing the world's largest employer, Walmart, spent $2.8 million lobbying in 2011 an increase from $113,432 in 2010.

Pretty nice that Walmart can increase spending like this with a snap of the finger.  Just goes to show you they've got no problem spending money wooing New York's politicians, just a problem spending money in order to make their jobs, good jobs for our communities.  Check out more from the Times Union and check out Making Change at Walmart.


Monday Morning One-Liners: Aldi, Fresh Market Expansion, Food is up at Target

Giant & Safeway have agreed to 19-month long contracts due to the uncertainty of Obama's health care plan.
[The] unusual duration of 19 months, a period during which both sides hope to gain more visibility into the potential financial impacts of changes set to take place as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the sweeping changes in national health care policy approved two years ago.
A nice little commentary in the Washington Post on new laws expanding workers' rights.

The Canadian Heritage minister has ordered a Cultural Investigation into Target, to ensure the company will provide cultural benefits to the country.

Last week Delhaize Group said it would issue $300 million in new debt in part to fund the repurchase of debts in Europe.

Food sales are up at Target.

A new Aldi will be opening in Lindenhurst NY, in 2013.  This Thursday is the grand opening of their Lake Grove-Smithtown shop.

Stop & Shop gives a big passover gift to a Queens pantry.

In Springfield, Mass. the city sent layoff warnings to 13 unions.

American Rights at Work unveiled a new blog, Union Shop- a guide to buy all things union made!

Fresh Market is planing on opening 16 new stores this year expanding as far as California.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Local 1500 Member Wins UFCW Child Care Grant!

UFCW Local 1500 member Monica Mercier from Stop & Shop 543 has won the UFCW Women's Network Child Care Grant. Congratulations, Monica!  Field Director Terry Quinoñes and Union Representative Lynn Shiels awarded Monica with her grant this week.  This is a great benefit provided by the UFCW Women's Network.  The grant provides UFCW/RWDSU members with a dependent(s) financial assistance for day care, another great benefit for belonging to the UFCW.  Congratulations again, Monica!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Morning News Briefs: Stop & Shop's Ridiculous Social Media Policy, Honoring Dr. King

The original Stop and Shop logo used until 2008.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last week we filed charges with the NLRB against Stop & Shop's social media policy.  "It's our belief that Stop and Shop has implemented a social media policy that is vague, overboard and in violation of the civil rights of our members employed at their stores," said Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman.

The news of the charge got some media attention:

The Brand Channel called it a "a closely watched case that could impact employees' use of social media," The New Haven Register, ABA Journal, Law 360, Delaware Employment Law Blog, Lexis-Nexis, Inside Counsel, News & InsightPerishable News and Thompson Reuters all covered the filing.

A 73-year Suffolk County old woman is suing the world's largest retailer, Walmart, for age discrimination. More @ NYPost.

Great news, Walmart looks to source more farm items from India.  They're also close to winning their battle to open marketside shops in San Fran.

The Economic Populist writes how Walmart's Low Prices Bear High Costs for Americans.

Walmart and Pathmark were voted America's worst supermarket chains.

Switching over from an A&P store front isn't the solution either, in Maryland operators who took over for shuttered A&P stores are having lots and lots of difficulty says a report from Supermarket News.

H-Mart, the Asian-American chain takes over for a shuttered Pathmark in Hartsdale, NY.

Align is Challenging Walmart's New York expansion.

Walmart is also asking for community input from all communities they're trying to set up shop in, all except New York, fuggedaboutit.

Customers were handed this handbill last week
What's going on at Target Valley Stream? Well they're closing the store this month and last week we held an action to gain public support to keep the store open.

The New Amsterdam News & Think Progress wrote on the store closing.

In Canada, Target is trying to fire all former employees (some of them unionized) of the company they bought out, Zellers, the UFCW is fighting against it.

Last week we met with our Canadian brothers and sisters to discuss Target, and the Walmartization of Target stores.

Local 1262 OK'd a new contract with ShopRite & Stop and Shop.

Local 400 ratified a contract with Giant, Safeway yesterday.  More @ The Washington Post.

Contract negotiations between Foxwoods Resort Casino management and the union for some 2,200 table-games dealers are about to enter an arbitration phase with the sides far apart on wages, health insurance and other issues.

American Airlines is asking a bankruptcy judge to break their union contracts, impose cuts on workers.

Social Justice: 89,000 PA kids in poverty were slashed from Medicaid.

Aldi has opened its second Long Island store in Lake Grove, read more at Newsday.

More Long Island news, Best Yet has launched a new banner: Best Market.

NY1: Compromise may have scaled down the soon to be passed living wage bill.

UFCW President Joe Hansen calls for a Congressional Investigation on NLRB leaks.

The New York Observer says bigger isn't always better, highlighting Target's and Walmart's new strategy for smaller format stores.

The NY Daily News looks at RWDSU/Make the Road's campaign to organize New York's Car washers.

44 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.  We eternally honor him.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Today & Always

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Cover of Martin Luther King, Jr.
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot to death in Memphis, Tenn. after speaking to a group of striking AFCSME sanitation workers.  We remember him today and always as a man who tirelessly fought for the working class, social justice, and economic justice.

He fought to educate the American public on illnesses facing our country and culture, some of which are still plaguing our country today.  Dr. King was a leading voice against ‘Right-to-work’ legislation, legislation that was recently passed in Indiana, which weakens labor unions and rights of workers banding together to fight for a better quality of life.  In 1961 Dr. King gave his opinion on “Right-to-Work”:
“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as 'right-to-work.' It provides no 'rights' and no 'works.' Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining... We demand this fraud be stopped.”
In his last speech before Dr. King was assassinated 44 years ago today, he addressed a group of AFCSME striking Sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. The beautiful words he spoke in 1968 still resonate today.
“You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth.”
The words resonate with us as retail workers.  So often retail work throughout grocery stores is overlooked.  We thank you all, for serving our communities with professionalism, and making shopping a pleasant experience for New Yorkers.

The labor movement, fighting to better the lives of the working class, eternally honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and activists alike who fought and fight every day for social and economic justice.