February, 2016

“THE NUMBER-ONE SELLING ITEM IN WALMART STORES IS BROKEN PROMISES”

Making Change at Walmart responds to company’s announced change in scheduling

Washington, DC — Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), the national campaign to change Walmart into a more responsible employer, released the following statement responding to Walmart’s recently announced change in workers’ scheduling practices:

“The number-one selling item at Walmart stores is broken promises,” said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. “Just ask any worker who had their hours cut or their store closed while Walmart was touting its so-called ‘wage increases.’ There is Walmart rhetoric and then there is reality.”

“Walmart workers deserve the fair and flexible scheduling for which they have fought. We hope this is a promise the company actually keeps, and we will continue to hold Walmart accountable to make sure they are keeping their word to workers.”

BACKGROUND:

It’s easier to find a unicorn than a Walmart worker who has received a meaningful raise.” – MCAW statement, 1/20/16

“While it pretends to value its employees, the reality is, for Walmart, its workers are disposable.” – MCAW statement, 1/15/16

Grocery Worker Retention Act Becomes Law

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Mayor Bill de Blasio (at desk) signs Grocery Worker Retention Act as RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum (de Blasio’s right) and UFCW/RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso (far right) look on.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday signed the Grocery Worker Retention Act (GWRA) into law. The GWRA provides for a 90-day transition period to eligible employees following a change in ownership of a grocery store.

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the city council for passing this important legislation,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “It provides protection for the 50,000 Supermarket workers in New York City – who until now faced a sudden loss of income and benefits when their stores were purchased by new operators. This law provides stability within the grocery industry, protecting workers’ rights and promoting retention while providing for a workforce experienced and knowledgeable in food preparation, health regulations and sanitation procedures. That means that this law will help maintain safe and reliable service to families that depend on their local supermarkets for dietary and nutritional needs.”

The grocery industry makes up a significant portion of New York City’s retail workforce with over 50,000 employees and roughly two-thirds of this workforce coming from immigrant labor. This industry, however, currently suffers from a volatile condition with the eminent merger, closing or the establishment of new ownership of our supermarkets jeopardizing the future of workers and the quality of life of countless communities.

The recent A&P bankruptcy has provided a vivid example of this, rippling through the city with 52 stores impacted throughout the five boroughs including subsidiary brands such as Pathmark, Waldbaum’s, Food Emporium, and Food Basics. Some stores have been closed, others sold or auctioned, or even transformed into non-supermarket entities.

“New owners can’t just discard workers, some of whom may have worked for years at the store, in an effort to lower wages.  The bill also protects our communities by maintaining experienced staff that understand proper sanitation procedures and can maintain health standards.   It’s a common sense approach to bring some stability for workers, consumers and businesses. We thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member I. Daneek Miller for their leadership and the City Council for supporting this important piece of legislation,” Appelbaum added.