The RWDSU announced today that more than 4000 Macy's workers have authorized their executive board to call a strike in the event that a new contract is not secured by midnight on June 15. Local 1-S of RWDSU represents Macy's workers at the Manhattan flagship store in Herald Square and at three other stores in the Bronx, Queens, and Westchester. This past week Macy's workers at all four of the stores voted unanimously to authorize the strike during membership meetings conducted from June 6th through June 9th.
Workers represented by the union and union leaders are outraged that a company in such solid financial health is making extremely unreasonable demands on wages, benefits, and hours. Macy's earned $847 million in profit last year and its CEO earned nearly $15 million in total compensation last year, far more than any other department store CEO. In addition, according to the latest available data and financial filings, same-store sales at Macy's have exceeded market analysts' expectations, the credit rating of the company has recently been upgraded and its year-over-year sales have risen to nearly $6 billion.
Yet Macy's wants to take money away from workers at a time when the company is doing very well; to introduce a scheduling system that would erode full-time hours by making shifts available only on a first come, first served basis; to offer far less paid time off; to eliminate pension benefits for new employees; to raise the cost of healthcare; and to make it harder for most employees to advance in the company.
"This is a company that's in great shape financially, so it's unacceptable for Macy's to try to extract such massive concessions when many members of its workforce are struggling," said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum "This is a textbook case of corporate greed and excess. Macy's is in a position to give its workers a much better contract. It must stop trying to take away everything its dedicated workers have fought so hard and so long to get."
"Many of our workers at Macy's are barely surviving in New York City and the surrounding metro area because they are just not earning enough. It is offensive for Macy's, a company earning record profits, to expect these workers to sacrifice even more and to worry about basic survival," said Ken Bordieri, President of Local 1-S of RWDSU. "No one wants to strike, we all want to secure a new contract, but our workers are prepared to strike and to stand up for fair wages, benefits, and hours."