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Letter to the Membership re: COVID Vaccination 12.21.21

LOCAL  3 United Storeworkers                                                                                                                                                                                                  RWDSU Council/UFCW                                                                                                                                                                                                             31-21 31st Street, 4th Floor                                                                                                                                                                                                      Astoria, N.Y. 11106                                                                                                                                                            (212) 371-6230 President, Cassandra A. Berrocal Secretary-Treasurer, Shaun Kavanagh Recorder, James R.  de Szigethy December 20, 2021   Re:    COVID vaccination – Bloomingdale’s Dear Local 3 Member: As you may have heard, on December 14th, Mayor de Blasio, through the New York City Department of Health, issued a vaccine mandate for private sector employers within the 5 boroughs of New York City. This mandate states that beginning December 27th, all private-sector workers who have not filed for reasonable accommodations for either religious or medical reasons must provide proof of full vaccination or proof of at least one vaccine dose to their employers. Bloomingdale’s sent you a memo on December 17, 2021 stating it was complying with the City’s mandate and set forth requirements you must follow. Under the City mandate, if an employee has received one dose but is not fully vaccinated, the employee must inform the employer the date by which proof of the second dose will be provided. According to New York City requirements, that date must be within 45 days of when proof of their first dose was submitted. Workers who believe they may qualify for a reasonable accommodation for medical or religious beliefs must request this accommodation by December 27th. If you do not get vaccinated, or do not timely file for an accommodation, the City-mandate prohibits you from entering your workplace. Prior City-ordered mandates have been upheld by the courts for public sector workers and we see no reason why a court would not uphold this mandate for private sector workers if challenged. You may have also heard that President Biden’s OSHA COVID regulations for employers with 100 or more employees, which applies to Bloomingdale’s, has been going back and forth in the federal courts. These regulations allow some flexibility for employers. As of Friday December 17, a federal appeals court upheld the mandate (others have struck it down). The ruling is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. We will be discussing both President Biden’s OSHA regulations and the City mandate with Bloomingdale’s. The Union does not want you to risk insubordination or discipline and, as of now, Bloomingdale’s vaccine policy is in effect. Bloomingdale’s will be asking you to provide proof of vaccination so that they are compliant with the New York City mandate. Should you have any questions about this or need assistance filing for a reasonable accommodation, please contact RWDSU Local 3 at (212) 371 6230. Thank you for your patience during this time. In Union Solidarity, Local 3 United Storeworkers RWDSU/UFCW    

No room for harassment and violence in our retail stores

by RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum New York Amsterdam News Retail sales in the U.S. are already surging as holiday shoppers are checking their lists and buying their gifts for the 2021 holiday season. It’s important that consumers are returning to stores this holiday season, but we are also concerned about an alarming uptick in harassment and abuse directed at retail workers, especially this year. Retail workers in New York—including thousands of RWDSU members at stores including Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, H&M, Zara, Guitar Center, and more—are eager to welcome customers back into stores this holiday season. However, workers are experiencing increased aggression and poor treatment from stressed out shoppers. It’s been a tough time for retail workers in the U.S. and across the globe. Besides the risks to the health of workers and their families that’s hung over retail during the entire pandemic, violence, abuse, and harassment on the job skyrocketed. Tensions rose as stores and governments instituted mask, social distancing, and other COVID safety protocols, and retail workers bore the brunt of customers’ anger, often fueled by misinformation and extreme political rhetoric. Workers were yelled at, spat upon, coughed on, and worse. Some workers have even been shot at—and some murdered—by irrational customers over mask and COVID restrictions. This type of behavior toward retail workers needs to end, and can’t simply be shrugged off as “part of the job.” We owe it to these retail workers—who have courageously served us throughout the darkest days of the pandemic—to make this a stress-free holiday season. Even in the best of times, the holiday season is very stressful for workers at retail stores and supermarkets. Big crowds, irritable customers, hectic days and the need for workers themselves to take care of their own holiday obligations can all weigh heavily on workers’ shoulders this time of year. In 2021, however, with the pandemic still a part of our lives, this stress could be exponentially worse. All of this is aggravated by a shortage of goods caused by supply chain problems this holiday season. Retail workers can become the target of shoppers’ frustration when customers hear that coveted holiday items are stuck on shipping containers at sea and have been backordered for months, especially if they’ve gone to multiple stores only to go home empty-handed. This holiday season, we need to treat retail workers with dignity and respect, and we must understand that our own stress and the problems we are experiencing shouldn’t be placed on the shoulders of working people. Workers are not to blame. Stores should provide security, safety protocols and training to handle problems that may arise. It’s a time to come together this holiday season and do everything we can to reduce stress and anxiety for each other, and especially retail workers. A little extra kindness and understanding will go a very long way this holiday season.

Local 3 Meetings

    LOCAL 3 RWDSU Executive Board and General Membership Meetings Continue reading

2021 Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Coverage

To All Local 3 RWDSU Members:2021 Open Enrollment Period for Health Insurance Coverage ends on May 27, 2021. Colleagues must re-enroll for benefits even if they wish to remain in their current insurance plan. To enroll contact the Colleague Support Center at 1-(800) 234-6229 (choose option #3), 8am-9pm ET. If you have any additional questions, please contact Local 3 at (212) 371-6230.   In Solidarity,Cassandra A. Berrocal, President Shaun Kavanagh, Secretary Treasurer

Local 3 Members Health and Safety Notice

Dear RWDSU Local 3 Members, We hope you are all doing well and are all safe and healthy. As you may know, The CDC has modified their recommendations to relax mandatory mask rules and New York State and NYC has now adopted those recommendations as well. This is very concerning to Local 3, along with other labor organizations, because it leaves the decision for customers to wear masks in the hands of the individual employers. Unfortunately, Bloomingdales has chosen to allow vaccinated customers to not wear masks but requires unvaccinated customers to wear masks. This policy does not put our members health and safety first because the mask wearing is now left to the honor system whether the customer is vaccinated or not. Wearing a mask is to keep others safe and by customers not wearing masks it puts our members at risk. Fortunately, we have recently negotiated a new collective bargaining agreement with language that addresses this issue if any of our members feel uncomfortable being with or in a close vicinity to unmasked customers. Please see the Article below that is in our current collective bargaining agreement. As always, if anyone has any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Local 3.Remember……. We are STRONGER TOGETHER!!!!Article XXIX, Section 20 In the event a colleague is uncomfortable with servicing a customer who is not wearing a mask, as per our established practice, the colleague should politely step away and contact the appropriate people leader for customer assistance such colleague will not be disciplined for politely stepping away and contacting the appropriate People Leader to service the customer.   In Solidarity,Cassandra A. Berrocal, President Shaun Kavanagh, Secretary Treasurer

Contract Ratified

            Dear Local 3 Members, Congratulations to all Local 3 RWDSU/UFCW members working at Bloomingdales on ratifying a new three year collective bargaining agreement. We would like to thank the Local Officers as well as the negotiating committee for their hard work and dedication. Always remember……we are STRONGER TOGETHER!!!   Cassandra A Berrocal, President Shaun Kavanagh, Secretary Treasurer


    LOCAL 3 CONTRACT RATIFICATION VOTE NOTICE   GREAT NEWS! Local 3’s Officers and Executive Board/Bargaining Committee are proud to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement with Bloomingdales/Macys Inc. This tentative agreement comes after months of very difficult and challenging negotiations during a very challenging and unprecedented time that we are going through not only in NYC but across this nation. We are happy to announce that we have been able to not only maintain what we currently enjoy within our contract, but we have made many improvements. This did not come easily but the committee remained steadfast and focused. The members of Local 3 will now have the opportunity to vote and ratify this agreement. Please see the voting information below. The Local 3 leadership and Executive Board/ Negotiating Committees strongly recommends that we vote YES for this agreement. Remember…We are STRONGER TOGETHER!   Cassandra A Berrocal, President Shaun Kavanagh, Secretary TreasurerLocal 3 Executive Board/Negotiating Committee   VOTING INFORMATION WHEN - WEDNESDAY, MAY 5, 2021 WHERE - Bloomingdales 9TH CONFERENCE ROOM TIME - 7AM, 9AM, 11AM, 1PM, 3PM, 5PM, 7PM