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Macy's Employees, Members of Local 1-S, RWDSU/UFCW Rally for Fair and Decent Contract

Monday, February 27, 2006

NEW YORK, February 27, 2006 - Members of RWDSU Local 1-S (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW), local and national labor leaders, elected officials and other supporters rallied today for a "fair and decent" contract for all Macy's New York employees. RWDSU Local 1-S currently represents over 3,500 workers in Macy's Herald Square, Bronx, Queens and White Plains stores.

Last week, the retail workers union announced that its members, employed by Macy's Federated Department Stores, voted to authorize a strike should a job action become necessary to obtain what the union calls a fair and decent contract. A strike could occur if a new contract is not agreed upon by the current deadline of March 3rd. No strike date has been set.

Contract negotiations with Macy's started last month, but have moved at a slow pace, and a federal mediator has been called in by both sides. Major conflict issues include Macy's proposals that demand employee concessions in areas such as healthcare, job security, and general wage increases. Under Macy's current healthcare proposal, a majority of employees, mostly women and minorities, will be unable to afford healthcare benefits and will force workers to pay upwards of 60% of their healthcare premiums. Federated is currently one of the top employers in the state that is transferring the cost of healthcare for its employees to New York taxpayers. Macy's is also refusing general wage increases. Last week, Federated announced triple digit profits during the Company's annual earnings report.

Macy's contract proposals also include a "pay for performance" concept that would deny many workers a general wage increase despite their performance. Federated Macy's has always had the opportunity by contract to award merit increases for good performance but the company has chosen not to pursue that option. The union is seeking across the board wage increases for all hourly and salary-plus commission employees.

"The 98 percent affirmative vote is a very clear indication that our members support their negotiating team and are ready to strike, if necessary, to support their objective of affordable healthcare and living wage increases. It is time for Macy's to wake up to the harsh realities and everyday struggles of its workforce," said Local 1-S president Ken Bordieri. "Our members deserve a strong and fair contract that reflects the enormous financial success of Macy's Federated Department stores over the past few years, especially here in New York. Currently, our members need a 'miracle on 34th Street' for them to afford the high-cost of living and working in New York City."

"Retail workers struggle every day to make ends meet, while multi-billion dollar companies like Federated are enjoying record triple digit profits. We strongly believe Macy's workers deserve a contract that gives them confidence in their own futures," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "There is no doubt that we face another week of difficult and contentious bargaining. Many critical issues remain unresolved. Adequate general wage increases and affordable healthcare plans are urgently needed to improve the living standards of our members and retirees. Macy's workers' role in making it possible for Macy's to achieve unparalleled levels of prosperity must be recognized."

Appelbaum continued, "We cannot and will not accept the lowering of living standards for the hard-working employees of Macy's. 'America's Department Store' can do better, and its workers deserve all of the respect and dignity they have earned for the company."

For more information, visit the RWDSU website or call 212-684-5300.

Local 1-S
Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
RWDSU, UFCW
140 West 31st Street, New York, NY 10001-3411
212-594-6910

Contact:
Zita Allen, RWDSU, 212-684-5300

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