June 17, 2016
By Steven Wishnia
New York, NY – At about 5:30 this morning, the union representing workers at four Macy’s stores reached a tentative contract deal with the company. The all-night negotiations averted a strike scheduled to start when a 45-day contract extension expired at midnight on June 15.
The proposed four-year contract with Local 1-S of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union will give workers a “major boost,” the union said in a statement. It covers the about 5,000 workers at the flagship Macy’s on 34th Street in Manhattan; the branch stores in the Queens Center mall, Parkchester in the Bronx, and White Plains; and the furniture showrooms associated with those stores.
Workers at the four stores will vote on whether to ratify it from June 20-23, says RWDSU spokesperson Janna Pea. While the union did not want to release specific details before workers see the actual contract, it said the deal includes “substantial wage increases” and “a better and more affordable health-care plan.” Workers had objected that the company’s current plans are too expensive and have deductibles as high as $3,000 for a single person and $6,000 for a family.
“We are very proud of this contract,” Local 1-S President Ken Bordieri said in a statement. “By standing strong throughout the negotiations, our members were able to secure big improvements in wages, health care, and benefits. We are glad that Macy’s addressed our key concerns in the final hours of negotiations. And we are grateful for all the support we received in this important fight.”
"We are pleased with the outcome of our overnight negotiations and happy to report that a tentative agreement between Macy's and Local 1-S for our workers has been reached, therefore averting a possible strike today,” the company said in a statement.
A much-resented company proposal to make working on holidays mandatory is “gone, out the window,” says Pea. The agreement also includes “numerous protections for senior workers,” she adds. The company had wanted to cap wages for workers after a certain number of years on the job, but will give raises to all employees.
“This contract is a major victory for Macy’s workers and for New York City. It raises the bar for what retail jobs can be and should be,” RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said in a statement. “This contract shows that Macy’s workers are the real magic of the company. It’s a major step forward for the entire retail industry, and it shows the importance of what our union does to empower retail workers.”