March 2014

Unity and Solidarity in Negotiations with Barney’s

Red Day.600

In our third bargaining session, the bargaining committee of New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board members employed at Barney’s New York organized a red day on March 14.  Demonstrating their unity at the table and their unity of purpose, the committee came together again to answer the company’s proposals and set forth a strong position for the Union.

The Company made a new proposal to withdraw from the Union Health Plan and offer insurance through the Company plan. We requested information from the Company so that we can compare the benefits and costs of the Company insurance side by side with the Union insurance. The Company also announced that they still had more proposals to make and would do so at the next meeting.

Members from a number of departments spoke about the pros and cons of inter-selling in their departments and reported back on their conversations in the store.  We agreed that it is a sensitive and important issue that must be dealt with carefully and with consideration for everyone’s interests.  We also made it clear that we expected the company to provide more information about their plan before we could set out a unified position on the proposal. A number of members expressed the view that certain specialty departments should be excluded, if we are to consider open selling.

Evelyn Bernacet, shop steward for the shipping and receiving department who has worked at Barney’s for over thirty years, discussed the working conditions in her department, including health and safety concerns, and frustration over the lack of respect for the work done by her and her colleagues.  Together with her coworkers, she presented a petition demanding specific changes in her department and the company agreed to meet with a subcommittee to address these concerns.

Julie Kelly, General Manager of the Joint Board, spoke about the Union’s desire to help make Barney’s a successful company and a company whose growth has come only with the success and stability of its Union workforce.

Fred Kaplan made a strong statement calling out the pettiness of some of the company’s more backward proposals – eliminating overtime pay for days over 8 hours, reducing family, medical, and parental leave, and making 4th of July and New Year’s Day mandatory – and underscoring the Union’s long history, demonstrable power, and commitment to fair bargaining that ensures a secure environment where all members can flourish in their careers.   He also told the Company that until all of their proposals were on the table, the Union Committee would not respond nor would we put our own economic proposals on the table.

The strength and commitment of the committee, coupled with the feedback we have received from everyone in the stores, indicate that the Union is in a good position to win a strong contract this year.  The next bargaining session is set for Friday, March 21.

Leave a comment

Paul Stuart Stalls Negotiations with the Joint Board

Members of the New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board, Workers United, employed at Paul Stuart have been in negotiations for a new contract since February 27.  Despite our longstanding, peaceful, and cooperative relationship, the company has repeatedly stalled negotiations, abruptly cancelling bargaining sessions on March 6 and March 13.  The contract expires on March 31, 2014.

Here’s the facts:

On 2/14/14 the Union presented Health Insurance renewal rates to the Company in advance of our first meeting which was scheduled for 2/27/14.

At our first meeting on 2/27/14, the Union Committee presented all of our other proposals including, non-selling Support Staff wages, Ladies Department wages, Men’s Department revised commission rates, sick and personal day rates, Sunday scheduling, detailed reporting of sales and credits by accounting period as well as other issues to be discussed.

On 3/4/14 the Company called us to cancel the meeting scheduled for 3/6/14. The Company said that they needed more information regarding the Union Health Plan.

On 3/6/14 the Company sent us an information request regarding the Union Health Plan. We forwarded that request to the Amalgamated National Health Fund that same day.

On 3/10/14 a response to the information request was sent to the Company’s attorney by the Health Fund.

On 3/12/14 at 4:15pm the Company called to cancel the meeting scheduled for 10:00am today (3/13). The Company said they needed more time to review the Union proposals and more information regarding the Union Health Plan. The Company has requested rates for other Health Insurance plans from the Union Health Fund.

In addition, the Union Committee has requested that the meetings be held onsite at the store due to scheduling and customer service concerns. The Company so far has refused to meet at the store. The Company has suggested an additional meeting date of 3/28/14 so that we have an opportunity to complete negotiations prior to the expiration of the Agreement. The Committee is willing to meet twice in one week provided that the Company will be reasonable and flexible regarding the location of the meeting.

Our history with Paul Stuart has been one of cooperation and peaceful labor relations. We are hopeful that we can get past these recent events and get to the actual “give and take” of collective bargaining.

Leave a comment

Bargaining with Barney’s Continues

2014.03.05.Barney's at the Table

On March 5, the committee of NY NJ Regional Joint Board members at Barney’s Madison Avenue continued bargaining with management from Barney’s Madison Avenue.   The committee continued to show strength with over 20 members in attendance.

While the company came to the table rejecting Union proposals and counter-proposing drastic changes, senseless cuts, and a clear move to undermine the longstanding good relationship with the Union, the committee stood firm in setting forth strong wage increases and increased recognition for non-selling staff.

The next bargaining session is set for March 14.

Leave a comment

Éxito en Peerless Umbrella

Después de intensas negociaciones, ayer el 5 de marzo, los miembros del New York New Jersey Joint Board en Peerless Umbrella ratificaron su nuevo contrato. Con el liderazgo de Cathy Carrasco y las poderosas miembros del comité de negociaciones – Cecilia Montano, Miriam Maya Rodriguez, Liliana Sandoval, y Beatriz Zuniga – ganaron varios nuevos  beneficios además de los aumentos en sus salarios.  Cuando el dueño de la compañía quería forzarles a usar sus días de vacaciones para quedarse en casa cuando se enfermen, el comité lo rechazó fuertemente y ganaron otro “día de enfermedad” pagado encima de lo que ya tenían.  Además trabajaron con la compañía de seguros de la unión – Amalgamated – logrando un una reduccion en el cost del seguro médico y aseguraron que este ahorro fue revertido hacia los miembros.  Así ganaron también por primera vez la inclusión de un plan dental.  Todo esto lograron con el apoyo de sus compañeras y compañeros del trabajo y la solidaridad del sindicato.

¡Felicidades a todos nuestros compañeras y compañeros en Peerless Umbrella!

2014.Peerless Negotiating Committee.SMALL
Success at Peerless Umbrella

After intense negotiations, on March 5, the members of the New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board at Peerless Umbrella ratified their new contract.  With the leadership of Cathy Carrasco and the powerful members of the negotiating committee – Cecilia Montano, Miriam Maya Rodriguez, Liliana Sandoval, and Beatriz Zuniga – members won various new benefits in addition to annual raises.

When the owner of the company tried to force them to use their vacation days to stay home when they got sick, the committee strongly rejected this and was able to win an additional paid sick day on top of what they already had.  Also, working with the union’s insurance company – Amalgamated – they were able to control the increased costs of the health insurance and see that those savings were passed along to the members rather than the company.  In this way, they were also able to win dental coverage for the first time.  All of this was achieved with the support of their coworkers coming together and the solidarity of the union.

Congratulations to all at Peerless Umbrella!

Leave a comment