City and state officials were set to close in on Bloomingdale’s on 59th Street Tuesday, not for a sale, but to support the store’s 2,000 unionized workers who are seeking a new contract ahead of a May 1 deadline.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and several elected officials joined the 11:30 a.m. rally outside the flagship department store where the members of Local 3 of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union are ramping up support for their first new contract in five years.
Their main argument is that Bloomingdale’s can’t afford to weaken a strong workforce as the company faces ever more competition.
The union workers are making their case for key changes in commissions, wage increases, and protection of fair work schedules.
The commission adjustments they’re requesting are based on dramatic changes in the retail landscape instigated by online shopping. The Bloomingdale’s workers want to be able to keep commissions on returned items, as well as earn commissions on online purchases they're responsible for.
They are also hoping to maintain their existing pension plan, healthcare coverage and seniority rights detailed in their 2012 contract.
“Bloomingdale’s should recognize that these incredible workers make the flagship store a highly profitable global showroom for customers from many countries. These dedicated employees generate millions in sales for Bloomingdale’s, including from the company’s website,” Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, said in a statement.
“They deserve a fair contract that offers commissions for online sales and returned items, along with good wages, benefits, and scheduling protections,” he said.
Metro reached out to Bloomingdale's for comment.