By Kristen Beifus
PSARA joined Macy’s associates for not one but two days of ruckussy, energy packed, informational picketing in July. These were the first informational pickets ever at Macy’s in WA State and were brought on by the all cuts contract proposal that Macy’s management had put on the table. Management proposed cuts to health care, cuts to staffing, cuts to pension funding, elimination of a progressive wage scale, inability to use earned time off on demand…and Macy’s is demanding that workers commit to working on the Thanksgiving holiday. Macy’s admits that they are doing all of this to shore up profits. Macy’s associates have had enough!
Robby Stern kicked off both days of picketing with his “Power to the People” chant. It was never more appropriate. Over 100 community members joined Macy’s workers from all seven stores on two of the hottest days of the year. Boisterous picketing occurred at both the Downtown and Northgate stores.
Macy’s associates told their stories and led fierce and relentless chants in front of their own stores while leafleting their customers. Community allies connected issues of human rights, marriage equality, transportation, LGBTQ workers, women, families, social security, and children to the importance of the Macy’s bargain. Community members were inspired by the courageous Macy’s workers, and the workers were strengthened by the solidarity of the community members.
Unfortunately, Macy’s continues to ignore the public support for their workers and the proof is at the bargaining table. Just a week after these extraordinary pickets, the Macy’s bargaining team offered only minor shifts that demonstrated that they do not value their workers.
Macy’s associates are holding strong. They know that PSARA members and other community members are with them. So please keep yourself hydrated and cool, PSARA, as Macy’s workers need you for this journey. Retail workers are rising and demanding decency, dignity and respect from their employer!!!
Kristen Beifus is a community organizer with UFCW 21, a PSARA Executive Board member, and Co-chair of PSARA’s Environmental Committee. Garet Munger is Secretary-Treasurer of the PSARA Education Fund and PSARA’s official photographer.