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UFCW Locals Reach Out to Non- Union Macy’s Workers About Union Contracts and Work on Black Friday

Macy's blitzOn November 13, members of UFCW Locals 7, 23, 367, 655, 700, 876, and 880 reached out to non-union Macy’s workers regarding Macy’s decision to kick off Black Friday sales early on Thanksgiving Day.

Macy’s recently announced that for the first time, most of its department stores will be open at 8 p.m. on the celebrated American holiday.

However, workers at UFCW represented Macy’s stores in New England, Seattle, New York, and other areas have a union contract that either preserves the day as a paid holiday, or ensures that workers can sign up to work on a volunteer basis – earning premium pay for the shift.

Members handbilled non-union Macy’s workers to spread the word that a union contract ensures that workers have a choice in whether they’d rather stay home on Thanksgiving or work extra hours.

Macy’s Plans to Kick Off Black Friday on Thanksgiving

Macy’s recently announced that for the first time, most of its 800 department stores will be open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Macy’s decision to join a growing list of retailers that are kicking off Black Friday on Thanksgiving is not without controversy. Many retail workers and customers say that opening on Thanksgiving is cutting into family time and keeping retail workers away from their families on this important holiday.

In 2011, a Target worker named Anthony Hardwick made headlines by starting a change.org petition urging Target to save Thanksgiving and not open early for Black Friday. The petition got more than 100,000 signatures – but Target opened anyway.  Last year, Walmart decided to open its doors early at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and more than 30,000 people signed a moveon.org petition in protest.  On the days leading up to and on Black Friday, workers and members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) made history with strikes in more than 100 cities to protest Walmart’s attempt to silence workers who speak out for positive change.

2008 Labor Day -139 sendIt’s obvious that retail workers want a say in their scheduling, and that a lot of Americans agree they should have a choice – particularly when it comes to working on a celebrated American holiday like Thanksgiving.  But, as long as people are willing to stand in line outside in the cold for door busters and deals, retailers will be pushed to open earlier. And there’s only one way to ensure workers have a say in whether or not they work: a union contract.

Thousands of Macy’s workers across the country in New England, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and other areas are members of the UFCW and have a union contract that protects them on the job. Thanks to this contract, union workers at Macy’s have a powerful voice in their own scheduling and can decide whether they’d rather stay home on Thanksgiving or work extra hours. In fact, union stores in the New England, Seattle, and other areas won’t be open on Thanksgiving because their union contract protects this day as a paid holiday for workers. In other locations where workers have a union contract, workers can sign up to work on a volunteer basis. Where there aren’t enough volunteers, Macy’s is hiring seasonal employees.

No matter how people feel about whether it’s right or wrong to open on Thanksgiving Day, a union contract gives workers a chance to decide for themselves – and that’s just what’s happening. Many Macy’s workers have decided to work the shift because they want to put something aside for the holidays, and a Thanksgiving shift means they’ll earn the extra holiday or premium pay they negotiated in their contracts. Others have decided to stay home and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with their families. This provision in the union contract is just one of the things that makes a union job at Macy’s one of the best retail jobs in the country.

 

OUR Walmart Members and Community Allies Support Living Wage Bill

Last week, Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) which would have required big box retailers to pay a $12.50 per hour minimum wage.

D.C. residents from neighborhoods throughout the city took their calls for fair wages and good jobs to the D.C. City Council today in light of the override vote of Mayor Gray’s veto of the LRAA. The bill has been recognized by local residents, Council Members, policy experts, and economists as a bill that would help improve jobs and bolster the local economy.

At noon on Tuesday, hundreds of people – including OUR Walmart, UFCW Local 400, AFL-CIO, OUR DC, DC Jobs with Justice, and other community supporters rallied for an override. The rally came as Walmart workers in the D.C. area and nationwide have increased their calls to improve jobs at the country’s largest employer. Last week, 100 workers and supporters were arrested when refusing to end their calls for better jobs at Walmart.

On Tuesday, the D.C. City Council failed to override Mayor Gray’s veto of the LRAA. The bill faced fierce opposition from the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, which threatened to cancel three of six stores planned for D.C. if the LRAA was passed. The threat was made despite the fact Walmart had promised residents and elected officials it would pay a wage of $13 an hour to workers if the stores were approved.

Despite falling short of success, the wage ordinance has boosted living wage efforts across the country.

Less than a week ago, the California Legislature approved raising the state’s minimum wage from $8 an hour to $10 by 2016. This fall, New Jersey voters will vote on a referendum that would raise their state’s minimum wage to $8.25 an hour. And the Minnesota Legislature is moving toward passage of its own minimum wage increase.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, if the federal minimum wage had kept pace with the cost of living over the past 40 years, it would be $10.74 an hour today, not $7.25

DC RallyA report from the national public policy center Demos shows that better jobs at Walmart and other large retailers would help the store’s bottom line, as well as have an impact on individual families and the larger economy. A wage floor equivalent of $25,000 per year for a full-time, year-round employee for retailers with more than 1000 employees would lift 1.5 million retail workers and their families out of poverty, add to economic growth, increase retail sales and create more than 100,000 new jobs. The Demos report can be found at http://bit.ly/QRHf0m.

New polling shows that voters overwhelmingly supported the LRAA.  Seventy-one percent of voters voiced their support in a survey conducted last weekend, with large majorities saying the bill would have positive effects not only on workers’ wages, but also on jobs, employment and the local economy. Additionally, 63 percent of voters said that they would be more likely to support a mayoral candidate in 2014 who supported the LRAA.

The survey of D.C. voters on the LRAA can be viewed here and you can access results by clicking here.