K&P Carwasheros Ignore Intimidation, Organize Instead

Photo courtesy RWDSU

Despite attempts by both the ownership of the K&P Car Wash and the Association of Car Wash Owners to intimidate them, workers at the K&P Car Wash in New York voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), an affiliate of the United Food and Commercial Workers. K&P becomes the ninth car wash to unionize since a campaign was launched in 2012.

K&P employee Jose Pedro Calderon said:

We organized ourselves because we want to have a union contract that guarantees us better working conditions. But, most importantly, we organized ourselves because we wanted respect.

As the organizing drive was ongoing, K&P shut down the car wash one afternoon while members of the Association of Car Wash Owners led a captive-audience meeting. Workers report that the meeting was an attempt to make them fearful that the business could be shut down if they joined the union.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said the latest victory in the WASH campaign to organize carwasheros in New York was part of a larger movement:

This is our ninth victory in a row, and we have achieved first contracts in every other organized car wash thus far. Low-wage workers—regardless of immigration status—are coming together and standing up for better working conditions and respect on the job. We are proud of the carwasheros and welcome them to the RWDSU family.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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The Biggest Struggle With Working In Retail Isn’t Low Wages

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The retail sector is notorious for low wages and high turnover. But one of the most troubling aspects of working for retail is scheduling.

Many big retail stores use computer systems that use data from the weather outside, the flow of customers in the store, and the rate of sales to determine how many employees are needed for any given time.

This sort of automation is intended to boost the store’s bottom line. But for retail workers, who are often parents who need to hire babysitters, students who have tuition payments due, or people just trying to juggle shifts with two jobs, the “just-in-time” scheduling system wreaks havoc on their lives.

Watch and share this video from our friends at the Retail Action Project, and text JOBS to 30644 to join the fight for dignity at work for all.

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Guitar Center Workers Hit the Note with RWDSU

Workers at Guitar Center’s flagship Chicago store voted last week to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Earlier this summer, workers at the Manhattan Guitar Center votedoverwhelmingly to join the RWDSU.

RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said the Chicago vote “proves that retail workers are ready and willing to stand up and demand change.” He added:

Retail workers at Guitar Center nationwide are reaching out to the union because they understand that when they unite and stand together, their voices will be heard.

The Guitar Center chain is owned by Bain Capital and is the world’s largest musical instrument retailer with some 220 stores in the United States.

Brian Webb, a sales associate at the Chicago store, told Rolling Stone that he struggles to survive on his pay of roughly $11 an hour.

I make exactly as much as I did when I started here seven years ago. Anyone who works a hard, 40-hour week should be able to earn an honest living. This isn’t just about our store—it’s part of a larger effort to revive the middle class in this country.

Many of the company’s employees are musicians themselves. Webb plays guitar and sings in a local band called Jonny Rumble. After Guitar Center workers and the RWDSU launched a petition drive to build support for their campaign, a number of prominent musicians and members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) signed on, including Steve Earle, Tom Morello, Billy Bragg, Ted Leo and Kathleen Hanna.

Add your name to the petition.

Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW

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