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Across the US workers are choosing a union voice

Stuart Appelbaum, President, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, www.rwdsu.org | 7/6/2017, 10:57 a.m.
At our union, the RWDSU, we are seeing workers across the U.S. demand the respect and fair treatment all workers ...
Stuart Appelbaum

At our union, the RWDSU, we are seeing workers across the U.S. demand the respect and fair treatment all workers deserve. They are doing it by choosing a union voice, and they are doing it because now more than ever, workers need a union in their corner so they can build better lives for themselves and their families.

In the South, where it is more difficult to be a union activist than anywhere else in the U.S., the RWDSU Mid-South Council recently celebrated reaching the remarkable milestone of 10,000 members, doubling their size in five years. The Mid-South Council just won union recognition and a first contract for workers at four Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Alabama. And in Georgia, the RWDSU Southeast Council is celebrating a win for more than 100 workers at a Nestle Foods distribution center.

In New England, where the RWDSU represents hundreds of workers at Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottling plants, the union has won strong new contracts. And at Guitar Center stores in New York, Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston, workers are about to hold a ratification vote for their first union contract, which the dedicated worker activists there have for years fought for.

No workplace is too big or too small for union representation, and there are no industries in which workers can’t improve their jobs by joining a union. The RWDSU has welcomed workers at poultry plants and retail stores. And, the RWDSU represents workers in New York’s medical marijuana industry, as well as adult toy stores in New York City, including Babeland, and thanks to their win at the end of June, Pleasure Chest.

The dedication of union workers to winning a voice, the strong contracts they are proving they can negotiate and the diverse field of industries represented show that workers can win, even at a time when the playing field is stacked squarely against them and bosses will do whatever they can to keep unions out.

Workers are proving that they don’t have to settle for lack of respect at work, and for an economy that sees workers fighting for scraps while the rich just get richer. Working people have had enough of being told they should just be happy to have a job, and that the wealth at the top will somehow magically trickle down to them if they just go along with low pay, poor benefits and bosses who won’t listen to them or address their problems. They are fighting back against anti-union propaganda and intimidation. They are fighting back against professional union-busters who spread lies and misinformation, and try to scare workers away from changing their jobs for the better. Workers are joining together and winning together, and the RWDSU stands with all of them.