Oct 1, 2010


From our brothers and sisters at UFCW Local 367 in Tacoma:


The women who wait on you deserve more!

Who cares about a bunch of women who sell Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Jones New York clothing? Tacoma Macy’s wants them working for minimum wage and is willing to demote, lay-off, fire, and otherwise get rid of all of its long-time employees on the top tier who are earning more than minimum wage. Isn’t there a moral issue here? Can anyone feel good about laying out a lot of cash on designer clothes knowing that the people who are on their feet all day fetching things to the dressing rooms and putting clothes back on the hangers can’t raise their families on what they are paid? Are we under the misconception that because we are shopping at a store that carries cotton blouses costing $120 that the people who are helping us can afford to buy one, too? Do we really think these women spend their entire pay checks on the luxury items they are surrounded by all day?

During the ongoing negotiations between UFCW Local 367 and Tacoma Macy’s, a major sticking point has been Macy’s demand for a two-tiered contract. The company wants to grandfather in without commissions – in this case grandmother in because most of its employees are women – the employees who have been with the company for a number of years and have worked their way to the top of the scale. Macy’s wants all new hires to begin work at minimum wage, with increases that will top out at not much more than that.

So, what will happen to the people who have been hard-working and loyal employees? In an attempt to keep wages distressingly low, Macy’s plan seems to be to purge them out of the store. And that process has already begun. People who have worked at Macy’s for years are being charged with minor infractions that at one time might well have been overlooked, but now these workers are being demoted or summarily dismissed.

If Tacoma Macy’s gets its way, their 300 employee’s lives are going to change drastically. There will be no more commissions (except in very limited areas) pay will never get much higher than minimum wage, and general operating procedures will change.

This is a model that seems to be being tested in the Tacoma store and in time could very well sweep across the country to all Macy’s 800 locations.

This model will impact every community Macy’s is a part of. If Tacoma Macy’s is given free reign, it means the community will lose $2,250,000 over the three year contract. And that figure can be extrapolated out even longer because once the cuts are made that money will never come back. One more segment of the population will be added to those struggling to get by on less and less.

This comes at a time when Macy’s Inc. is being lauded by the financial community for its excellent second quarter report. Macy’s profits were up 21 percent and their cash on hand rose 11 percent.

We are in the midst of an economic downturn, it is true. Yes, Macy’s is running perpetual sales to lure customers in, and maybe that $120 blouse will go on sale. But, trying to make even larger profits on the backs of its workers is an inequitable and cruel trick to play on women who need their jobs and have few other job opportunities available to them.

The employees of Tacoma Macy’s deserve the support and understanding of the union community. They deserve to know that they can keep the jobs they have worked hard at and hold on to the rate of pay they have earned over the years. Local 367 will continue to fight for these women and all the Macy’s workers who are our members.

No comments: