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JLC Supports RWDSU Local 1-S Macy's Workers in their Battle for a Fair Contract

(l-r Arieh Lebowitz, Associate Director, and Brittney Willis, Intern)

June 2nd, 2016, New York, NY: Blazing heat couldn’t stop them. Over 1,000 members and supporters of Local 1-S of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union attended a demonstration outside of Macy’s flagship store on West 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan. And the Jewish Labor Committee was on the street with them. The local is currently working on securing a fair contract for 5,000 workers at Macy’s four NYC-area stores in Manhattan, Queens, Parkchester and White Plains.

Local 1-S’s supporters included people from RWDSU Local 3, RWDSU Local 108, RWDSU Local 262, RWDSU Local 338, RWDSU Local 1102, UFCW Local 1500, the Communications Workers of America, the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York, the New York City Central Labor Council, Make The Road New York, New York Communities for Change, and The Black Institute. RWDSU representatives came from as far as Alabama and Massachusetts in solidarity with their brothers and sisters working for Macy’s. A range of politicians showed support for Macy’s workers as contract negotiations continue. Speaking at the demonstration were U.S. Congress members Jerrold Nadler and Grace Meng; NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC City Council members Melissa Mark-Viverito (Speaker); Ben Kallos and Mark Levine. Others who were represented by their staff included NY State Senators Liz Krueger, James Sanders, Jr., and Brad Hoylman; NY State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, and U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and NY City Council member Inez Dickens.

“The workers rallying today have always been the real magic of Macy’s. The talented employees of the iconic Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square and other stores know how valuable they are to the company’s brand and profitability. Investing in the strength and quality of its workforce will help Macy’s attract more shoppers and regain a competitive advantage over online retailers like Amazon. We stand with Macy’s workers in their fight for a fair contract and support their decision to go on strike if the company does not negotiate in good faith,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.

Local 1-S RWDSU has been negotiating with Macy’s for a raise increase, affordable health care, and the ability to choose whether or not to accept assignments to work on holidays: Macy’s wants to make holiday work assignments mandatory, rather than voluntary. The company also wants its commissioned employees to work 75 minutes a day without pay.

Employees work hard to provide customers with a great shopping experience and great profits for the Macy’s corporation. They deserve a livable wage, they deserve affordable healthcare for themselves and their family, and they deserve to spend time with their families on holidays.

Local 1-S RWDSU reports that the contract renewal deadline is June 15th; according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, if negotiations between Macy’s and the union do not conclude by that date, there may be a strike.

To learn more, write Arieh Lebowitz – arieh@jewishlabor.org