NEW YORK — Some Macy’s employees are feeling blacked out.
Members of the Local 1-S, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union were rallying Thursday in front of the Manhattan flagship on 34th Street for wages lost during the August blackout that put much of the Northeast out of commission.
The union is affiliated with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and AFL-CIO.
Kenneth Bordieri, president of the union, said about 1,000 hourly wage employees were scheduled to work at the Herald Square store during the blackout, but were unable to since the store was closed.
“We want everybody to get paid for whatever scheduled hours [they had],” said Bordieri. “Our members had to subsidize Macy’s and that’s wrong. Every dollar counts for our members. They don’t want to know about corporate profits and margins and all that other nonsense, they just want to come to work.”
According to the union, some employees were called and told not to report to work while others spent the night in the store and were told to go home the next day, but not paid because an executive forgot to have them sign an attendance sheet.
The union also said all of the chain’s executives were paid whether or not they worked during the blackout.
“The blackout of Aug. 14 had a significant impact on millions of people in both their business and personal lives,” said Macy’s in a statement. “The purpose behind the union’s rally seems to be to publicly claim that Macy’s is unfair and has violated the labor contract covering hourly paid associates.
“If Macy’s had violated its contract, the union would be taking its argument to arbitration, which is the proper forum to resolve disputes under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement,” said the statement.
Bordieri said it was yet to be determined whether or not there was a violation of the contract and that the union was taking the matter to arbitration.
“The only thing that will make Macy’s pay their people is contractual language,” he said. “They don’t get it. That’s not the point. The point is they have a moral obligation to pay their people. Be human, that’s all.”The rally included a 15-foot inflatable rat, which served as an obvious metaphor and is a familiar fixture at other such rallies. Also there were members of RWDSU Local 338, Local 1102 and Local 3, which includes Bloomingdale’s employees.
Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are both part of Federated Department Stores Inc.
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