“State of the Unions” Links the Labor Movement to the Future of the Middle Class


Philip Dine’s newly updated book, “State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence,” illustrates the critical role labor unions play in building a strong middle class.  By advocating for workers’ rights in the workplace and political arena and fighting for decent wages and benefits, labor unions have provided workers with a pathway to the middle class.

Dine, a U.S. labor expert and journalist, has updated “State of the Unions” to include the rise in union activism and the current union battles around the country. The new edition also examines what the war on labor is really about—including right-to-work laws and the effort to weaken public sector unions—and explores what’s at stake for American workers and our country as labor unions fight back against the assault on workers’ rights.  For more information, visit, http://www.philipdine.com/.

No Sugar Coating Health and Safety Concerns at Dylan’s Candy Bar

From the RWDSU:DylansHSphoto

Yesterday, workers at Dylan’s Candy Bar joined community allies and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) to speak out about the conditions at Dylan’s Candy Bar. Workers have recently called attention to health and safety concerns, and, in addition to OSHA claims, workers filed complaints with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, reporting concerns over food safety issues.

“On multiple occasions, I have seen moldy strawberries stored in the Café refrigerator that are used for customers’ consumption in the store’s chocolate fountain,” said David Oscos, Café Associate at Dylan’s Candy Bar.  “I’ve observed Company management instruct Associates to cut off the moldy parts of strawberries or to remove moldy strawberries from the package and use the remaining ones to serve to customers.”

Owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of famous fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Dylan’s Candy Bar is the largest unique candy store in the world, with $25 million estimated in annual sales, and is widely considered a ‘required stop’ for celebrities visiting NYC, such as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Katie Holmes, Janet Jackson, and Madonna.

In addition to complaints about health and safety issues, some workers at Dylan’s Candy Bar had their hours cut and were reassigned to less desirable work assignments when speaking out for better working conditions, according to a complaint filed by the union with the National Labor Relations Board, which is investigating the charge.

“Unsanitary food being served, cutting workers hours and not paying these workers a decent wage are examples of how this company mistreats its customers and workers,” said Phil Andrews, director of Retail Organizing at RWDSU. “Specifically, the lack of actions to improve health concerns raised by the workers pose potential risks to workers and consumers, which is why we are here to speak out about these unfair conditions.”

“We feel as though managers’ attitude towards some of the sanitary issues mirrors their attitude towards us: they don’t about our voice and our concerns, just about the bottom line,” said Phil Arnone, Sales Associate at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

Workers started an online petition earlier this year and have held multiple rallies and protests at the store calling on Dylan Lauren to meet with her workers to address unfair working conditions.

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The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) represents 100,000 members in the United States. The RWDSU is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).  For more information, please visit our website at www.rwdsu.org.

Giant and Safeway Workers from UFCW Locals 27 and 400 Ratify New Contract Today

Giant and Safeway grocery workers from UFCW Locals 27 and 400 voted to ratify a new contract yesterday. The new contract will cover more than 22,000 grocery workers in the Northern Virginia, D.C., and Maryland area.

UFCW Local 400 Giant and Safeway grocery workers gathered at the D.C. Armory and voted to ratify a new contract.

UFCW Local 400 Giant and Safeway grocery workers gathered at the D.C. Armory and voted to ratify a new contract.

“We have showed the company we are strong and this contract reflects that,” said UFCW Local 400 Giant worker Maria Gomez.
The ratification votes follow a tentative agreement reached last week after the previous contract was extended twice.

Addressing Safeway workers at the voting, UFCW Local 400 President Mark Federici said,“Thank you to the membership for your patience in this bargaining process, especially in these complicated bargaining times. The strength and solidarity you and your brothers and sisters at Giant have shown to be powerful and instrumental in the bargaining talks.”