Below is the statement, as prepared for delivery, that Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW, will make at the living wage veto override press conference at City Hall at 11 a.m.
Good morning. I’m Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW.
It’s great to be here, with so many friends and allies, including Councilman Oliver Koppell and other members of the City Council.
We’ve come a long way together.
We have stuck together, fought together, and we have won together - despite the powerful challenges we have faced.
We have built a citywide movement, a powerful people’s movement, in which countless New Yorkers have said no to poverty-wage jobs and yes to living wage jobs.
We should all be incredibly proud of that. And I know that I’m personally so proud that my union, the RWDSU, has played a leading role in this fight from day one.
We stand together today to deliver a message to Mayor Bloomberg:
The will of the people will not be denied! Get ready for a veto override!
We stand together to claim an important victory for democracy.
By overriding Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, the City Council is siding with the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers who want this legislation to move forward.
We stand together with the City Council in saying:
The Fair Wages for New Yorkers Act will be implemented!
New Yorkers have made their voices heard: they want government to invest in more living wage jobs. There is broad and diverse agreement that investing in a higher-wage economy is good for business, good for working people, and good for our economy.
The living wage movement, the RWDSU, New Yorkers across the city – all of us - are committed to ensuring that working people no longer live in poverty. That’s our shared vision for the future, and this legislation can help us make it a reality.
Dream Comes True for Unionized Workers at Quaker Oats Plant
Des Moines, Iowa—Twenty unionized workers at the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids won the $241 Million Powerball jackpot, the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW, announced today. Known as the shipping 20, because they all have spent years working together in the shipping department of the plant, they are proud members of RWDSU Local 110, which has represented employees at the plant for more than 60 years.
They are traveling today by bus from Cedar Rapids to Des Moines to claim their prize and participate in an official ceremony with Quaker and the Iowa State Lottery. The shipping 20, who are withholding their names for legal reasons but requested this release from their union, range in age from 35 to 64, and their years of service range from ten years to forty years per employee. Collectively, they have more put in more than 640 years of service at the unionized plant.
They have been buying Powerball tickets for the past fifteen years and finally hit the jackpot this year. One of the workers in the shipping 20 bought the winning ticket. Together, they are thinking about how to contribute in a positive way to their RWDSU Local 110 family and to community initiatives that will benefit residents in and around Cedar Rapids.
“The union has stood up for us, on and off the job, and brought us together as one family. We’ve been through a lot together, especially since the flood of 2008, and this has given us a renewed appreciation for our union values,” said one of the Powerball winners, a long-time worker at the plant.
The flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids affected the shipping department and all other areas of the plant, and since that time these twenty dedicated workers have jointly put in many extra hours in order to get the massive water-damaged facility up and running again. They told RWDSU official this week they know the important and historic role the Quaker plant has played in Iowa’s economy for decades.
“These guys have worked very hard for many years, and they want to use their good fortune to make life better for others at the plant and in their community. This is a great American story but also a great union story. These are some of the most decent and generous people you’ll ever meet, and all of our members couldn’t be happier for them,” said Al Hartl Jr., President of RWDSU Local 110.
About the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), UFCW, represents 100,000 workers in the U.S. and Canada in retail, food-processing, and other industries. For more info, visit www.rwdsu.org.
RWDSU Local 578 has 123 new members after the workers at Americold chose to join the union overwhelmingly, and the company agreed to a card check recognition. The workers are employed at two Americold cold storage facilities in Rochelle, Illinois. Workers have complained of a taxing and confusing scheduling system with five different shifts, poor wages, and lack of health insurance benefits and double-time pay on Sundays.
This was the third attempt to join the union for Americold workers. According to RWDSU Representative Roger Grobstich, it was the dedication of long-time workers that proved the difference.
“We have some workers there who were part of previous attempts to organize, and they stayed at Americold despite opportunities for great jobs elsewhere. We have a leader there who said he was going to stay at Americold until they had a union there, and that’s what has happened,” Grobstich said.
The official recognition agreement was signed on June 18.
Last Thursday, Bennie Thompson (above center), U.S. Rep. for Mississippi’s 2nd Congressional district, toured the Tyson poultry plant in Carthage, Mississippi, meeting with RWDSU members at the plant.
Congressman discussed plant issues such as energy sharing with workers and company officials, and visited production areas in the plant.
The workers at the plant are represented by the RWDSU Mid-South Council.
On June 5, 2012, at the historic Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, where a backlash against police harassment in June 1969 launched the modern LGBT rights movement, local, state and national LGBT organizations, convened by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, joined civil rights, labor, and elected leaders to announce support for the campaign against the NYPD’s stop and frisk policy, and issue a call to action to for the LGBT community to participate in the June 17th Father’s Day Silent March Against Racial Profiling: http://silentmarchnyc.org/