Can you imagine working in the days when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House and the biggest movie at the box-office was The Wizard of Oz?
Rose Syracuse, can do you one better, because she was actually living those moments. The 92-year old has been working for a whopping 73 years at the Macy’s Herald Square flagship store in New York City. Rose, also a member of RWDSU/UFCW Local 1-S, is now announcing her retirement.
Rose has been a member of Local 1-S for most of her life; in fact, there has never been a time when Local 1-S existed without her membership! Rose was there to witness the birth of the union at Macy’s, and all of the changes that have impacted retail workers since.
Starting as a 17-year-old, Rose entered the Macy’s workforce during a difficult economy, similar to today’s, when America was still feeling the effects of the great depression, and embroiled in World War II. During that time, Rose and her co-workers received a mere $14 per 48-hour work week.
However, after marching through the store, as well as down the streets through the bitter cold, Rose and the others were able to unionize, knowing it would bring about better conditions. They may not have known it at the time, but this victory was one that would benefit the Macy’s workers that came after them for generations and generations.
Speaking with RWDSU/UFCW, Rose pointed out that “the union fights for you. They really help you. Otherwise how could you do it all by yourself? Nobody would listen to you.” We couldn’t agree more. Rose’s statement reminds us that the point of a union has not changed from 73 years ago: when sticking together, we have a voice that will be listened to.
We’d like to thank Rose for all she has done- serving at Macy’s, and of course laying the ground work for labor movements for years to come. We hope she will now enjoy her well-deserved retirement!