Monday, July 30, 2012

What We're Reading Today: Monday, July 30th

A big last few days for Supervalu, they fired their CEO Craig Herket today, replacing him with Wayne Sales.  A few days prior a federal judge denied class-action status to retailers pursuing antitrust litigation against Supervalu and C&S Wholesale grocers after a 2003 asset swap.

In honor of the July 24th marking the last time the federal minimum wage was raised three-years ago, AlterNet looks at 7 big corporations raking in massive profits while paying their workers peanuts.   Walmart rakes in at number 2.

And here's 5 good reasons why raising the minimum wage is good for you and me.

Whole Foods says their decision to open in smaller cities is paying off.

More warehouse violations at Walmart, but there's no pattern of that.

ROC wants to know: Do you eat ethically? Take a look behind the kitchen door.

The legal battle that may halt Walmart from expanding in Burbank, California will go to trial Aug. 17.

Zellers will close at least 64 stores, after Target purchased the Canadian retailer.  The move is expected to lay-off 6,400 workers.  The Canadian UFCW President said in a release, Target shows the same disregard for retailer workers as Walmart.  We agree.

Rite Aid workers in SoCal are positioned to strike after rejecting the companies latest contract proposal.  The UFCW members voted to authorize a strike.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Workers Rising: A day of Action in NYC

Yesterday we joined thousands of union members, New Yorkers and activists for #RiseUpNY, a march from Herald Square to Union Square to fight for better jobs, pay and workers' rights. 

Check out our Facebook page for pictures or if you don't have Facebook, you can view the pictures here.

Thanks to all who turned out to make this inspiring event great!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What We're Reading Tuesday Morning: Amish Market gets Busted...Again

“But we believe that workers deserve a paid day off to care for their self or their loved one, without the risk of losing wages or being terminated. Paid sick days should be a basic workplace standard for all New Yorkers.”
 -UFCW Local 1500 Recorder Rhonda Nelson, in Paid-Sick-Leave Fight Escalates in NYC, Expands Across the Nation via In These Times

Target's PFresh remodels (yeah the one that closed the Valley Stream store for 7-months) are popping up all over the country, but no others are closing for that extended period of time, weird.  Here's a complete list of all their scheduled re modelings.

A few years ago UFCW Local 1500 was contacted by workers at Amish Market, we eventually helped win nearly $1.5 million in back-pay & unpaid overtime wages for a handful of workers at the chain of stores.  We knew these employers took advantage of their workers, but this week federal authorities charged the nine owners  w/ conspiring to hide $56 million in sales from the IRS.  Stealing wages from low-paid workers, hiding millions from the IRS, way to go guys!  More @ Supermarket News.

16 miles from NYC, Walmart eyes it's first Neighborhood Market in Jersey.

And their express city format store has failed. Walmart plans to close their Chicago Express store, one year to the day that it opened.  Talk about #WMTFail, they said they couldn't survive with a Supercenter nearby.  More @ Chicago Tribune.

Shake Your Head Story: Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year, and projecting a better 2012, manufacturing giant Caterpillar is pushing a six-year pay freeze on workers and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers.  But miraculously they did find a way to raise executive compensation including giving CEO $17 million.  Check more @thinkProgress.

Worst Employer in America? Systematically attacking housekeepers? Global Boycott of Hyatt launched, supported by NFL Players Association, AFL-CIO, NOW, Netroots Nation and more. Check out and find out more.

Must Read: Excellent editorial by the awesome Hamilton Nolan from Gawker: Time to Tie Executive Pay to Worker Pay.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

#BringJobsHome: Call Your Senators Today!

The AFL-CIO is running an online action right now! We need to bring jobs back to America to help rebuild our middle class!  If you need to know why we need more American jobs, here's some quick facts.  You can call your Senators sat 888-659-9401 and urge them to support the Bring Jobs Home Act.  Then tweet at your Senators, telling them to support the bring jobs home act!

You can find your Senator on Twitter at

Sample tweets from supporters:

RT @AFLCIO: Your taxpayer dollars are being used to pay for companies to ship jobs overseas. But that can end today. #BringJobsHome RT!
RT @CWAUnion: We need laws that make it harder for companies like @TMobile to offshore our jobs like #BringJobsHome
.@SenRonJohnson vote for the #BringJobsHome Act to stop giving taxpayer money to outsourcers #outsourcing #1u #wiunion
@SenatorCardin: Our tax code should not reward companies for moving jobs overseas- Ben #BringJobsHome

RT: @SenGillibrand: Proud to co-sponsor #BringJobsHome Act to reward cos that return #jobs to the US. Thx Sen. @stabenow for your leadership on this impt issue.

Thanks! RT: @sengillibrand: I strongly support the #BringJobsHome Act & urge my colleagues to do the same. It's time to end outsourcing & start #insourcing. 

What We're Reading Today:

Ahold has a new EVP of Marketing.

Local 342's credit union has merged with Bethpage Federal Credit Union. More @ Patch.

Judges are in no rush to make a decision on Walmart's bribery suit.

We joined many of our friends & allies yesterday at City Hall rallying for paid sick days in NYC.

Whole Foods opened their first store in Iowa this week.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Workers Rising Day of Action: July 24th

Putting more money into the pockets of ordinary Americans is a no-brainer.   If we reduced income inequality, we’d boost our economy, small businesses would grow and hire, and we’d put all of the 99% back to work.  We can help fight to ensure that working families are able to earn a living wage.

Join us in supporting a DAY OF ACTION for low wage workers as we tell our representatives and candidates that “$7.25 an hour is not enough to get by in New York!”

Across New York, our livelihoods are under attack. After years of massive layoffs and high rates of unemployment, wages and benefits are being cut from what used to be middle class jobs. Unions are continually being attacked as employers try to take away union pensions, lessen health care, weaken contracts, and will go to any length to do so as seen with the recent lock out of the Con Ed workers. That’s why our elected officials need to stand with us in raising the federal minimum wage.

When: 4 PM
Where: Herald Square* Broadway & 32 Street* Manhattan, New York

Taking back New York starts with everybody standing up and speaking out. NOW is the time to make your voice heard.  Download the flyer here.

What We're Reading Monday: Rally for Locked Out Con Edison Workers

The Wall Street Journal wants to know: What's Wrong with America's Supermarkets?

The NLRB slammed Tesco for their anti-union coupons, the coupons apologized to customers for union picket lines.

Bronx residents are flocking to Queens to apply for jobs w/  Fresh Direct, as the company plans to open a new warehouse in the Bronx in 2013.

A study pronounced Target pays more attention to social media and responds more frequently than Walmart.

Target & Walmart are on a Canadian hiring binge.

Unbelievable: US Olympic Team Uniforms Made in China

Huffington Post Op-Ed on our own USA Olympic team not purchasing American made gear for the opening ceremonies. Ugh.  Update: 2014 uniforms will now be made in America due to outcry, Romney says "it doesn't matter."

Mass Labor March Tomorrow, July 17, 2012 at 5:30 PM to support the locked out Con Edison workers. Here's a list of all the solidarity support sites.  Sign the petition online to support the 8,500 locked out workers here.

ShopRite bought a gas station in Albany to compete with Price Chopper.

SaveMart in Cali has reached a settlement with UFCW Locals 5, 8 and 648.  More @ Patch. Here's the UFCW statement.

Commentary: Union Organizing is Community Organizing in Brooklyn @ Golden Farms.
The support of NYCC and the unions couldn’t have come at a better time for Golden Farm workers. Overtime and wage and hour violations are prevalent at the community grocery, and the clear violations forced Mr. Kim to settle the aforementioned 2011 class action lawsuit. Prior to the election, Mr. Kim forced employees to meet with an anti-union consultant.
Oregon's cannabis tax makes the ballot in November, why is this in here? UFCW 555 was a major supporter of this initiative.

Whole Foods is planning layoffs in Illinois.   They're also suing Vitamin Shoppe over a campaign slogan: "Core Health Starts Here" which they claim is too similar to Whole Foods notorious slogan "Health Starts Here"

Acme's parent company said the supermarket chain may explore more options as sales are continually down,  Local 1776 President said bankruptcy does not appear imminent.

New York City Taxi Drivers received an overdue raise last week.

Head shaking story of the week: Aldi in Europe destroyed a row of 300-year old cottages under historical preservation while "developing" a new store, they won't be fined or penalized although because it's "too expensive to fine them". 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stand With Locked Out Con Edison Workers!

As you may have heard, members of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) have been locked out by Con Edison since Sunday, July 1, 2012. The workers’ contracts expired, and despite being prepared to stay on the job and work past contract, they were locked out.

This is a blatant attack on hard working Americans, a blow to working families, and is something that our labor movement cannot tolerate.
Local unions, community groups, members, and activists, have all joined together and have pickets at locations throughout the New York City.

With over 8,000 workers locked out, Con Edison is now short staffed leaving many neighborhoods in New York City with power outages because there are only 5,000 “managers” that are taking over the jobs of the locked out workers.  In addition, 5 managers have gotten injured trying to do the hard labor of the workers that they’re not used to doing.

We stand with the over 8,000 locked out workers from ConEd, and we will not stand by as workers' rights continue to be trampled in our country.  Below are picket locations we will be sending UFCW Local 1500 Representatives to show our support for our brothers and sisters!

If you live near one of the locations and want to support your union brothers and sisters, get in touch with us by replying to this email or calling 800.522.0456 ext. 11341.
In addition to showing solidarity on the picket line the New York State AFL-CIO is asking people to sign a petition showing that we are all standing with the workers in the lockout! Please click here to sign the petition!
If you’re a Con-Ed customer, the UWUA is encouraging people to file a complaint with the NYS Department of Public Service. Click here for a sample letter and the ability to send a complaint online!
UWUA Local 1-2 Locket Support Locations (Bolded Locations Prioritized)
   24 Hours- 4 Irving Place, New York, NY 10003- 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R trains to 14th Street/Union Square
   8am-5pm- 16th Street Yard – 16th Street and Avenue C, New York, NY- L train to 14th Street
   8am-5pm- 28th Street Yard- 28th Street and 11th Avenue, New York, NY- C train to 23rd Street
   24 hours- 3rd Avenue Yard- 222 1st Street, Brooklyn, NY- D, N, R trains to President Street/4th Avenue
   8am-5pm- 30 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Monday thru Friday) – 2 train to Nevins St
   24 hours- College Point Yard- 124-15 31st Avenue, Queens, NY- Q65, Q65L buses to College Point Boulevard & 31st Avenue
   24 hours- Astoria Yard- 31-01 20th Avenue, Astoria NY- N train to Astoria/Ditmars
   8am-5pm 88-11 165th Street, Jamaica, NY- F train to 169th Street
   24 hours- Van Nest Yard- 1601 Bronxdale Avenue, Bronx, NY- 2 train to Bronx Park East
   24 hours- Bruckner Yard- 1560 Bruckner Boulevard, Bronx, NY- 6 train to Westchester/Morrison Avenue
   24 hours- Eastview- 315 Old Saw Mill River Road, Valhalla, NY- Harlem Bee Line 17 bus to Cortlandt Town Center
   8am-5pm- 178 Theodore Fremd Avenue, Rye, NY- Bee Line 61 Bus to Port Chester

Thank you again for supporting your union brothers and sisters, Solidarity forever.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday's News Afternoon: Read these stories

A&P just renovated a Pathmark in Weehawken, NJ- Supermarket News has before and after pics.

A&P also said their PA Pathmarks are not for sale.

A federal mediator has been called into negotiations between Save Mart and UFCW 8.

The Westside Market opened a new store on, how appropriate, the west side of Manhattan.

Supermarket CEOs are optimistic despite the weak economy.

The NLRB made a ruling on Palermo's Pizza ULP's filed by UFCW 1473 in Milwaukee.

Alternet gives 5 basic talking points for defending Obamacare.

Here's a great and chilling editorial in the NY Times on Walmart suppliers: Forced Labor on American Shores.
The workers said the company forced them to work 16- to 24-hour days, and 80-hour weeks, at illegally low rates, sometimes locked in the plant, peeling crayfish until their hands felt dead. Some were threatened with beatings.
Just Read it: The Job Creation Saga. The United Steelworkers did not take no for an answer, and proved unions can thrive in the USA.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Save a Life...Donate Blood!

Follow Tony Speelman
@Aspeel1500 on twitter
By: Anthony Speelman 
Secretary Treasurer, UFCW Local 1500

People donate blood for many reasons.  For me, I've seen the benefits of what blood donation has done for my family members first hand.

Blood centers throughout New York are in desperate need of our help. The reality is scary, supply levels are at a dangerous 1-day supply of blood.  There couldn't be a more important time than now to donate blood and help the thousands of New Yorkers who need blood in order to survive each day.  Last year we were able to donate over 100 pints of blood to the NY Blood Center.  This year we've set a goal to exceed last year's mark and need your help!

Join us this Wednesday,  July 11, 2012,  from 2-8 PM for our annual Blood Drive at our Union Hall (425 Merrick Ave. Westbury NY 11590).  We'll be hosting a free BBQ for all donors, volunteers and families to say thank you for helping save a life.

Please RSVP today by calling 516-214-1354, emailing, or RSVP online at our Facebook page.  Thank you for your help and support!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We Stand with Locked Out ConEd Employees!

We urge you all to share this photo on facebook, twitter and social networks and stand with the employees who are shamefully locked out by Con Edison.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday's News Bites: Walmart- Not Made in America.

Not Made in America: 10 Ways Walmart Destroys US Manufacturing Jobs
Why is it that America no longer makes things the way we used to? Between 1980 and 2011, the United States lost 7 million manufacturing jobs.

ProGrocer: UFCW Local 5 authorizes strike.

UFCW/RWDSU Local 338 has been fighting to help workers at a small grocery store named Golden Farms in Brooklyn and is now fighting for a contract.

Walmart workers marched throughout LA last weekend, say no thanks to the giant retailer opening in the historic Chinatown. Tom Morello of Rage also joined the Walmart march/protest this weekend.

Around 1,700 UFCW Local 4 members in Montana have agreed to a contract with Albertson's, Safeway and Van's.  Contract includes 2.5% wage increases and added contributions to health and pension plans.

AFL-CIO has a great little page summing up all the union products you can buy to make your Fourth of July union-made!

The Obama Administration has named two UFCW officials to important Trade Advisory Committees.

Target has started the hiring process for some Canadian stores.

Speaking of Target, they failed to mention any corporate wrong doing in their annual corporate responsibility report, even as they were federally charged (and convicted) of violating their workers' rights.

And somehow Target was named as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2011. Former Target employees started a petition to have them removed from the list! Sign it now!

Whole Foods just isn't catching on in the UK, they're losing millions.

Alabama Poultry workers vote to stick together, join the RWDSU! Congratulations!

Remember to buy union, and have a safe fun Fourth of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

What to Know Monday:

Stacy Mitchell writes a great op-ed Walmart: 50 Years of Gutting America's Middle Class.
Walmart's explosive growth has gutted two key pillars of the American middle class: small businesses and well-paid manufacturing jobs
Supermarket News profiles A&P, continuing the message that A&P must resonate with the people.

UFCW Local 8 out in Cali is picketing Nugget Markets while they're in the midst of negotiations with Raley's

A&P has become the exclusive retailer of BrightFarms- Brooklyn grown produce.

Getting ready for the 4th of July BBQ? Find everything you need Union Made here . . . and have yourself a #UnionMade4th

Penn Station in NYC is getting an overdue makeover.

94% of UFCW Local 5 (California) members working for Lucky-Save Mart have authorized a strike.

Walmart at 50: The Time for Change is Now.

Thousands marched and protested Walmart's push to open a store in L.A.'s historic Chinatown this weekend., musician Ben Harper joined in.