NY: Waldbaum's and A&P screwing 400 local employees and moving to nonunion facilities

Great Atlantic & Pacific takes our money, then turns it's back on NY workers.
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With annual sales of $9.4 billion, Great Atlantic & Pacific operates 456 stores under the A&P, Waldbaum's, A&P Super Foodmart, The Food Emporium, Super Fresh, Pathmark and Food Basics banners. They have plenty of stores here in the NY metro area, they like to take our hard earned, but they don't want us to have good jobs.

This is a story very dear to my heart, I worked as a Teamster here in Brooklyn in Key Foods warehouse 15 years ago, the company moved half the operation to New Jersey and "bought out" half of the union employees. I was one of those who were bought out. While the contract helped the process the New Jersey warehouse got organized. So the remaining employees in New Jersey and the new union employees were all finally without a job within a few years when Key Foods operations finally moved into some New England state where there wasn't a union at all. Last I heard the employees get paid by the piece. So much for good local jobs. I have never stepped foot into a Key Food since. Now I read in NY Newsday that quite a similar situation is happening once again, with the employees out in Central Islip, Long Island, NY. While in conversation with a coworker at the end of the day opened my eyes to the fact that the Central Islip facility has been losing union employees for quite some time, this coworker's mother worked in the clerical division which were union employees at the time, that division was moved out about 10 years ago. The A&P group has also recently closed their Bronx, NY and Edison, NJ warehouses in 2005 when they were bought out by C&S Wholesale Grocers, a Keene, N.H.-based company. Their entire operation will now be moved to nonunion facilities in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. From NY Newsday
The facility, which initially operated decades ago as a Waldbaum's warehouse, employs approximately 400 people, said Kevin McCaffrey, president of Teamsters Local 707, which represents 220 warehouse workers. Another 90 unionized workers, including truck drivers, and about 80 non-union management and support staff also will be affected, he said.
Representatives of A&P and C&S did not return numerous calls seeking comment.

McCaffrey said C&S officials notified workers and the union last week of the plan to shutter the Central Islip warehouse, saying it would save the company some $7 million annually. The unions and C&S had been negotiating a new contract.

One long-time employee said workers took the news hard. "We were in shock," said Joe Mullady of Holtsville, who has worked at the facility for 27 years, most recently as an inventory checker. Mullady said he will retire, but most co-workers "are scrambling to find jobs in a dying industry."
I feel you brother, I remember well. Good luck guys, hope you and your families can make it through. Unfortunately, warehousing isn't a dying industry, it has just become another sweatshop industry here in the state, according to Alex from IWW (Industrial Workers of the World):
Brooklyn, NY, July 2007 - They work 115 hours a week, earning under $4 dollars an hour. In New York City, where minimum wage is $7.15 and a studio apartment may cost $900 a month or more, workers at HWH Trading Company work in conditions that are closer to slavery than anything else.
Here is a blatant case of our losing community, there is absolutely no winner to this story, except a small handful of wealthy individuals at the top.

Who's gonna lose a house? Who's not gonna get paid because these people are trying to make ends meet? This is just another reason that 400 more New Yorkers and all American working people shouldn't vote for anyone who is involved in this:
The economic stimulus package is stalled in the U.S. Senate. Senate Republican leaders—backed by the Bush White House—threatened a filibuster against efforts by Senate Democrats to extend unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the millions of jobless workers who will run out of benefits in the next several months.
Shame on the union leaders for the continued lack of rank-and-file and intra-union-communication!

We have absolutely zero boycotting ability, we do not stick together, we collectively give employers zero fear as a unified voice, we stand divided and I don't blame that on the workers in the field.
I will put this to the test in about a week, when I ask the next Teamster I come across about what he thinks about the warehouse closing in Long Island and I'm almost certain will get the curious look of bewilderment that I have come to expect from the average rank and file union member.


Shame on the Federations for not openly supporting one another!


Give us something to believe in. Fight for us! Hire more communication staff! Do it before we're all on the unemployment line! I would say that 98% of the union workforce in the country hasn't a clue that the next truck they will unload has a high probability of having a Mexican driver who has driven it directly from Mexico if the Bush administration has it's way, why isn't the entire country getting prepared to be joining hands and blocking the border together? Why isn't this an infomercial?

More introduction to computers classes for our members, more public relations, more advertising, more community outreach, more presence in the curriculum of the Public schools.

We need to get into the hearts and minds of the youth in America, the future voters and union members. We need to give the public a reason to believe in us once again. We need to equalize the media bombardment of the anti-union lobbyists. My Google ads are 100% anti-union sites, wheres our paid advertising? Defeat lies with truth. When we educate John and Jane Public as to what unions fight for, when they truly believe in us, then we will have more of a right to ask them to vote for our candidates.


Shame on us for being so fucking complacent!

We keep buying the NY Post, who vehemently hates organized labor, we buy Carhartt clothes, who turned it's back on union construction workers who made them famous and has now removed their final 5 Made in the USA items from it's website and we buy Red Wing shoes without checking the label while they are quietly moving their operations to China. We invest against our own interests, we still shop in Wal-Mart, we showed that we didn't give a shit if it was made here, we don't care if a child made it, we don't care if it poisons our children.
We bitch about our union leaders and don't make an effort for change. We made our bed.

40 years ago there would be a massive boycott of all their stores in the New York area, now we all just bend over and take it up the...

Like I said before, I took this story personal. My old warehouse job in Brooklyn which paid $700+ for 40 hours, is now being done for $460 for 115 hours (with no taxes being paid)

Yeah I'm mad, and you should be too

2 comments:

M.R.F said...

I've been on a slow boil for the last few years, and I'm near boiling over. That's part of the reason I was supporting Edward's. Despite the fact he's a rich lawyer, he seemed to genuinely break with the system in '04 and started to care about the working class. Deep down, I'm still hoping for him to emerge as the candidate from a brokered Democratic convention--but that's a pipedream. Basically I think anyone who isn't mad as hell with the situation this country is in is in a coma. Even a cursory examination of a 3rd-rate newspaper tells you we're in baaaaaaaad shape.

Regarding awareness of and participation in the "struggle", It's the same thing in the APWU rank and file. Very few give a shit or know whats going on. They want everything they can get for 0% effort or participation. Most bitch and moan and ask "what's in it for me?" but don't try to help leadership, improve anything or educate themselves. Until recently, I fell into this category myself.

As of about six months ago, I told my wife we weren't buying anything unless its essential and if we do its going to be union-made, American-made, or fair-trade. She's not 100% onboard yet--she almost cried when I said no more Target--but she's coming around. We're having a hard time with toys for my son, so we put in a "loop-hole" where we can buy Chinese stuff if we buy if second-hand from someone else on ebay. I don't like it, buy hey.

Union-wise, I'm trying to get involved. I inquired about becoming a union activist and am meeting with the local area president this Thursday. And I bug the shit out of my co-workers to get active too.

Fortunately, I think the tide is finally turning. How much more can the American consumer borrow, then spend on crap? When our economy finally tanks the little people will finally have their eyes opened to the full extent to which Corporate America has been f--king all of us over. Its going to be painful--but necessary, and unavoidable. As long as we rally together as Americans and move forward--and punish the people really responsible--we can get by.

The next President of the USA has to try to fix everything Bush, Clinton, Bush and Reagan broke and restore the manufacturing base that built this country. I'm not overly fond of McCain, H. Clinton or Obama, but the desperate times we will find ourselves in will afford opportunities for greatness. One of those three could become a great leader of the people and for the people if they seize the moment and really change things for the better (they will probably need major prodding from us). We need to be energy independent so we can tell the Sheiks to go f--k themselves--that means windmills, lots of windmills (and solar, and geo-thermal, and tidal, and biofuels). It will be hard work and probably take a New New Deal.

As always, I'm rambling. Great post, Joe. The bit about C&S especially resonates--we have them here and they stink--pay per piece. They chew guys (and gals) up and spit out the pieces. My wife's cousin works there, and he's a young, wiry guy with tons of energy. He's been there 10 years He does alright there for now (he's just 30), but he's told me lots of horror stories. Keep up the great work.

Mike

Joe638NYC said...

Thanks Mike, I think you are doing a great job on your blog and in the real world. It's hard to be a labor activist, it can be discouraging to some extent, but the payoff is when someone speaking to you cites things you have written about. Factual things that may have not gotten to their TV or newspaper. When a strike/lockout is avoided, Amtrak, and you yourself took the action to write about the fact that the company will be at blame if it occurs. You should see the logs of my readers on that story, it was viewed by media a lot. It is also a great help to get recognized by other web writers. Theres a lot of upside to what we do, just don't expect a lot of pats on the back. What I'm saying is this "do it with your heart". Also facts and sources are a big thing for my writings, I know I have a lot of opinions, but I try not to be misleading. If you write factually they will come. Most importantly I believe in focusing on stories where the common person can understand the plight of those who are being hurt by this non-ending war against the working class.

I do not endorse any top candidate. With the top 3 all will be status quo without a larger labor and common individual presence to keep them on their asses. McCain being the worst of the bunch. Better candidates are all but ignored. Those aligned against the masses for the gains of a slight few have given their endorsements, through ridicule and censorship.

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