Hundreds of workers at Macy’s San Francisco flagship store walked off the job Friday amid the last-minute holiday shopping rush for a two-day strike demanding better pay, healthcare, and working conditions.
Workers at Macy’s Union Square store went on strike after contract negotiations between members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UCFW) Local 5 and the retail giant—which reported $108 million in third-quarter income—broke down Thursday. Strike-breakers kept the store open for the final two days of Christmas shopping.
Union president John Nunes toldNBC Bay Area that Macy’s only offered a $1-per-hour pay raise over three years and would not compromise on affordable healthcare, staffing levels, and seniority.
“What the company is offering is completely insufficient to what the workers had to go through for the last three years,” Nunes said. “The wages are inadequate. The healthcare is really bad.”
Chelsea Thomas, a Macy’s employee and bargaining committee member, said in a statement that “nobody wants to go on strike at Christmas time but after six months of management stalling and refusal to make an offer that recognizes the hard work that we do to make the company profitable and successful, we don’t have much choice.”
“The outcome of our struggle will ultimately impact the workers and the customer experience at our store and at Macy’s stores throughout California,” Thomas added.
UFCW Local 5 says its workers are striking for:
- Higher wages that reflect high the cost of living in San Francisco;
- Improved safety standards;
- Better store and worker security;
- Fair and affordable family healthcare; and
- Appropriate staffing levels
“Negotiations between Macy’s and its workers are underway. It’s time for Macy’s management to show its appreciation for all of the hard work and health and safety risks that Macy’s workers have taken during the pandemic,” the union said in a statement. “But instead of recognizing the workers’ sacrifices, Macy’s is proposing to reduce the full time guarantees and seniority provisions in the contract. This is totally unacceptable!”
“UFCW Local 5 Union Square Macy’s workers are standing together for their families and their community,” the union added. “Union Square Macy’s workers have had a traumatic couple of years between the closing and opening of the store due to the pandemic and civil unrest, and notable incidents of violent thefts at the workplace. All the while Macy’s and its CEO have raked in huge profits while the workers have been crushed by rising inflation. Now it’s time for Macy’s to take care of their workers and the community!”
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