Today the Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver introduced a bill to raise the New York State minimum wage to $8.50 an hour, a 17 percent increase. The bill also calls for the minimum wage to be adjusted each year for inflation. The RWDSU is an active part of a coalition to raise the minimum wage. Read more about why this legislation needs to be passed in the New York Times and the New York Daily News, read how it would improve the standards in the retail industry in Crain’s, and check out video from the press conference here and here, and read more from WBNG 12 Action News, WKBW Eyewitness News, WNYC’s “The Empire”, and a report in Capitol Confidential.
“Raising the minimum wage is morally right and economically smart. When workers earn more, they spend more, generating demand for new goods and services that help create more jobs. When workers are stronger, so are businesses and so are the communities in which we all live and work. If the recent living wage victory in New York City is any indication, this is another campaign that will succeed,” writes RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum on raising the minimum wage in New York. Read the full column in the New York Amsterdam News. Find out what New Yorkers have to say from NY1’s The Call.
There is a hidden cost to the everyday goods Americans purchase and consume. That hidden cost is paid in taxes that fund anti-poverty programs such as Welfare and Medicaid which are used by companies to subsidize their payrolls.
It’s no wonder today’s generation is having such a difficult time affording basic necessities such as housing and food when wages are almost a third less than a generation ago. Click here to read more.
RWDSU Local 17 members at Del Monte Foods in Mendota, Illinois, will see wages increase almost 15 percent over the life of their new five-year contract. The contract for over 100 members also freezes health insurance premiums for the first three years, and dental insurance for entire length of the pact.
The members work at a distribution and labeling center for Del Monte food products.
Retail is considered one of the bright spots in the American economy, one of only six job categories projected to grow nationally through 2018. But a survey released this week makes clear that many of these are jobs in name only, offering poverty-level wages, highly restricted access to benefits, part-time work when full-time is desired, and a workforce so cowed that it routinely accepts working conditions that make work-life balance, or the chance to upgrade skills and move into better-paid work elsewhere, all but impossible. Read more from Caitlin Kelly in Friday’s Reuters blog.
Last week, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced that a deal had been struck, amending New York City’s living wage law to include more city residents. This is a meaningful step forward in the journey to establish living wages for all New Yorkers,” writes New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito in The Huffington Post.
“Growing support for measures like these and real living wages have laid important groundwork for a more comprehensive living wage policy in the coming years, and I hope will serve as an example to cities throughout the U.S. that profitability and fair pay are not mutually exclusive.” Click here to read the full piece.
NY1 VIDEO: Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis asked Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union about the new living wage bill compromise.
“The RWDSU and all of our partners have been proud to be part of a diverse coalition fighting for living wages. And today I am so very proud to say that we have taken an important step in that fight. Together with the faith community, unions, immigrants’ rights organizations, LGBTQ groups, women’s groups, anti-hunger groups, civil rights leaders, and many others we built a strong movement for economic justice – a movement that today can celebrate a real victory for working people in this city.”
On January 16, Americans everywhere salute the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For RWDSU members Dr. King’s legacy has special meaning. We take special pride that, in 1968, the RWDSU was the first union anywhere to negotiate a contract guaranteeing Dr. King’s birthday as a paid holiday.
Our union was among the earliest supporters of Dr. King’s grassroots drive to challenge racial injustice in the South. In Chicago, we provided an important forum for Dr. King to speak out against poverty in America’s cities. Later, thousands of RWDSU members stood shoulder to shoulder with other civil rights activists during the historic 1963 March on Washington. Read more.