NY: Bloomingdale's flagship store, workers authorize strike


*Update-> NY: Bloomingtons and RWDSU continue negotiations for 2 more weeks (4/30/08)
RWDSU, The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, workers have voted to authorize a strike if the negotiations have not come to an agreeable contract offer by Thursday. Nearly 2,000 workers will walk out at any time after the deadline, the union is still at odds with Bloomingdale's over health care and wage increases.

The RWDSU is affiliated with the UFCW, United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and has recently had a large membership increase with with workers in the union friendly H&M clothing stores sign up. The H&M labor friendly policy was actually what would be expected if there was a passing of the Employee Free Choice Act. They agreed to respect their workers wishes to form a union by a card check, From RWDSU press release (11/20/07) :
Under the terms of an agreement negotiated earlier this year, H & M agreed to a process called “card check recognition” which required the company to respect the decision of employees to have representation once a majority signed cards affirming their support for the union. The company also pledged not to interfere with the workers’ efforts to organize.

“By respecting the right of employees to join our union, H & M is setting an example other retailers should follow,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, adding that he expects the National Labor Relations to certify the union as the workers’ collective bargaining agent.

Bloomingdale's

From NY1 (4/26/08) :
Bloomingdale's Workers May Go On Strike
April 26, 2008

Workers may hit the picket lines at Bloomingdale’s flagship store on the Upper East Side as early as next weekend.

The famous department store’s employees said they will strike if a contract agreement is not reached by the time their current deal expires on Thursday.

Negotiations between the company's Executive Board and the local chapter of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union have been lasting for more than two months.

A union spokesperson said that negotiations will continue, but nearly 2,000 workers at the store have authorized a walkout. The union said the date for the strike has not been set.

The group is fighting for a general wage increase and to protect the employees' current health coverage.

This would be the first time the store has been shut down by a strike in 43 years.

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