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Congress Reintroduces Legislation to Curb Abusive Scheduling Practices

Kim Mitchell, a Local 400 member and Macy’s employee, speaks at a press conference announcing the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts announced the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act, a bill that would allow workers to request greater stability in their work scheduling.

The Schedules That Work Act would provide workers modest safeguards and begin to curb the most abusive scheduling practices. The bill includes a presumption that workers who need a schedule change due to child care, school, a second job, or medical needs will receive that change unless there is a bona fide business reason not to. The legislation also provides retail workers with two weeks advanced notice of their schedules and guarantees minimum pay when they are sent home from work before completing their entire shift.

Warren was joined by Representative Mark Takano of California’s 41st District and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut’s 3rd District, as well as speakers from the Center for Popular Democracy, the National Women’s Law Center, and UFCW Local 400 member and Macy’s employee Kim Mitchell.

All of the speakers emphasized the toll that irregular and often insufficient scheduling can have on families. Several speakers also mentioned how this issue is compounded by an unreasonably low minimum wage.

Senator Warren described her particular connection to the issue, as the child of a woman who was able to support her family because of a minimum wage job that offered her a regularly scheduled forty hour work week.

Mitchell echoed much of Warren’s sentiment, recalling a time when retail was seen as a more economically viable lifelong career. As a member of Local 400 with a union contract at Macy’s, Mitchell receives her schedule a month in advance. But advance notice alone is not enough to offer workers the stability they need. All of the speakers expressed hope that this bill would help workers keep the jobs they value, and in turn be valued appropriately for the work they provide.

Marc Perrone, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, issued the following statement regarding the reintroduction of the Schedules That Work Act.  

“When a person’s work schedule varies widely from week to week, it brings chaos to both family life and family finances. The Schedules That Work Act is a common sense piece of legislation that will help hard-working men and women have more control over their lives. Smart, flexible, and reliable scheduling is the best way to ensure every family is able to build the better life they’ve earned and deserve.”

When asked about the possibility of some overlap between the Schedules that Work Act and a bill introduced by House Republicans that would allow employers to offer paid time off instead of overtime pay, Representative DeLauro expressed little hope for cooperation and was skeptical that the two bills had potential for common ground.

Updated with a statement from UFCW International President Marc Perrone

Shop Union for the Holidays!

Kelly Boddie has worked at the Metro Center Macy’s in Washington, D.C., for seven years. She suggests gift cards, perfume, scented candles, bedroom slippers, gloves and scarves as ideal holiday presents for friends and loved ones. Local 400 members should shop at union stores to “help support one another,” she said. “You’re united with our union. You have a good support system and your co-workers are with you when there are issues that arise.” Kelly has served as a shop steward for more than three years and enjoys it, “because I like being able to help people,” she said.

The holiday season is a time for giving. But each purchase you make can generate twice the gift when you shop at stores employing our Local 400 brothers and sisters.

First, of course, the gift will go to a loved one or friend. Second, the gift will support our fellow members and strengthen our union. Because the more members who buy union, the more our employers grow and the more likely they are to hire more workers, expand hours, and agree to contracts improving your wages and benefits.

“Shopping union is simply the right thing to do, during the holidays and throughout the year,” said Local 400 Secretary-Treasurer Mark P. Federici. “It’s good for your bottom line, because it enables you to buy quality products at affordable prices while receiving the best service anywhere in the world. But it’s also good for our collective bottom lines. After all, the more business union retailers receive, the stronger our union will be and the better collective bargaining agreements we’ll be able to negotiate.

“Equally important, the more union employers expand, the more the middle class will start growing again and the more our economic standing will rise,” Federici said. “It’s the ultimate win-win solution.”

Local 400 members work at many stores capable of fulfilling your holiday needs with outstanding service at affordable prices, giving you the full range of gift options. Click here for a full list of union shops in our area! Happy Holidays!

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On Point: Walmart Warehouse Workers Walk Off the Job and March for Workers’ Rights

Click to read On Point: Volume 16, Issue 2
Headlines:
-Walmart Warehouse Workers Walk Off the Job and March for Workers’ Rights
-Seattle Macy’s Workers Ratify New Deal, Unity Actions Key
-Workers Win After Wis. Judge Strikes Down Anti-Union Law
-UFCW Launches New and Improved UFCW.org Website
-Workers Stand Together in Nationwide Walmart Day of Action–Oct. 10

Macy’s Members Show Their Love for Customers on Valentine’s Day

Local 400 Members from Macy's at Metro Center pose for a picture to show their love for their customers this Valentine's Day. Photo by Karlyn Williams

On Valentine’s Day, Macy’s members across the country showed their love and appreciation for their customers, distributing handbills thanking them for shopping union.

Local 400 members working at Macy’s joined with their sisters and brothers at Locals 1-S, 3, 5, 21, 23,101, 367, and 1445 to participate in this action and send a message to management that the quality service Macy’s workers provide and the strong customer loyalty they build has more than earned them a fair contract in the next round of bargaining.


Members at Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase, Maryland was made aware by this National Day of action as well. Photo by Leilah Mooney.

Recently, Macy’s members from different parts of the country held the first of what will be a series of meetings to discuss the upcoming round of bargaining. They found they were faced with a common set of issues and problems in their workplaces including human resources inconsistencies, poor implementation of “My Schedule Plus,” reduced hours, and pending changes to employees’ pension plans.
As UFCW’s largest non-food retail employer, Macy’s saw strong holiday sales at the close of 2011, and overall has maintained its strong market position despite the economic downturn. Macy’s is one of the nation’s largest retailers, and its workers make up 77 percent of the UFCW’s non-grocery retail membership. Retail jobs currently account for more than 22 percent of all employment in the U.S. As this sector continues to grow, so will its importance. As more and more Americans join the ranks of retail workers, the quality of these jobs will define the quality of life in our country.

Holiday Time is Union Time!

The holiday season is a time for giving. It’s also a time to support the causes closest to our hearts. By shopping union, you can do both at the same time.

Local 400 represents employees at a wide variety of retailers capable of fulfilling your holiday needs with the highest quality service and at affordable prices. By patronizing these stores, you will help strengthen our union and support your brothers and sisters.

A seven-year Local 400 member, Tsiegereda Yimer works in Shiseido Cosmetics at Macy’s in Bethesda, Md. She suggests that holiday shoppers consider gift sets or the wide array of skin treatments and make-up that she sells. Members should patronize union stores because, “When we have a union, we have confidence,” she said. “The union supports our concerns and our rights. We have someone to listen to us."

It’s a simple principle that should apply all year long: union members should buy union whenever possible. Our union must grow to have the greatest positive impact on our members’ lives and on working families overall. For that to happen, our employers must grow, too. The more we shop from them, the better they do and the better our members do.

Local 400 member Cohen Simpson, has worked at Hecht’s,now Macy’s, for seven years. He said you can’t do better than buying shirts and ties for the holidays. “They’re always a good choice,” he said. “Just come by and we’ll get them matched.” Simpson believes Local 400 members should shop union, “because you’ve got the union backing you up. If you want to keep the union, you have to support the source that the union represents.”

During the holiday season, this principle is more important than ever. Retailers need the business and our members need the income during these critical weeks to ensure a good year. The economy needs spending that supports middle-class, living wage jobs. When we all stick together and support one another, every one of us comes out ahead.

Local 400 members are encouraged to shop at these stores employing their sisters and brothers:

For holiday gifts of every kind:

  • Macy’s Department Stores in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda (Montgomery Mall), Bowie (Bowie Town Center), Gaithersburg (Lakeforest Mall), Hyattsville (Prince George’s Plaza), Laurel, Marlow Heights, Waldorf (Charles Towne Center) and Wheaton, Md.
  • Bloomingdale’s Department Store in Chevy Chase, Md.

For high-quality, name-brand clothing and other gift items:

  • Syms in Rockville, Md., Falls Church, Va., and Manassas, Va.
  • Filene’s Basement in Washington,D.C., and Rockville, Md.
  • Brooks Brothers in Washington,D.C.

For holiday food — whether it’s catered parties, pre-prepared dishes oringredients for home-cooked feasts:

    Sydney Temple has worked at Syms’ Rockville, Md., store for the past 17 years, but he’s been a Local 400 member for 27 years, having worked at Raleigh’s before that. His store has a great selection of holiday gifts. “We have nice watches and a variety of gift packages, ranging from candies to small electronics like headphones,” he said. “If you’re shopping for a man, a nice sports jacket and pair of pants is always a good choice.” Local 400 members should shop union, “Because the workers are protected,” Temple said. “If you’re not union, management can do whatever they want with you.”

  • Giant in Maryland,Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Kroger in Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
  • Safeway in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Shoppers Food & Pharmacy in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Super Fresh in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • Magruders in Maryland and Virginia
  • Farmers Market in Washington, D.C.
  • Freshgo in Rockville, Md.
  • Bestway in Silver Spring, Md.
  • Bethesda Co-op in Bethesda, Md.

When at the supermarket, look for Tyson’s Chicken and Boar’s Head meat products. Local 400 represents workers at these company’s facilities. In addition, you can order your groceries online at Peapod.com and have them delivered right to your home.

Lisa Stemcosky is a Local 400 member who has worked at Bloomingdale’s in Chevy Chase, Md., for the past three years. Her holiday shopping recommendations include Allclad cookware, which is union-made in Pennsylvania, and votive candle holders, “a good all-around gift for unexpected occasions,” she said. “It’s always important for union members to support one another in good times and bad times,” Stemcosky said. “In this economy, it’s nice to have each other to lean on.”

Where you spend your money matters. By shopping at any of these stores, you’ll be getting great value for your dollar while also lifting up your fellow Local 400 members.