Thousands of Macy's Employees Set to Strike at Midnight; Company Trying to Pay Workers Less as it Makes Record Profits

Update, June 16: The Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union has announced that it has reached a tentative agreement with Macy's leadership, and workers will start voting on that contract today.

How's this for a deal? When their contract expires at midnight tonight, Macy's employees will start to see eroded earnings, higher healthcare costs, less paid time off, and fewer opportunities to advance within the company, while the department store's CEO will continue to enjoy a multimillion-dollar compensation package (it totaled $15 million last year).

Not buying it? Neither are 4,000 Macy's employees in and around New York City, and they've authorized a strike to prove they're serious. According to a statement from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, which represents the workers:

Workers represented by the union and union leaders are outraged that a company in such solid financial health is making extremely unreasonable demands on wages, benefits, and hours. Macy’s earned $847 million in profit last year and its CEO earned nearly $15 million in total compensation last year, far more than any other department store CEO. In addition, according to the latest available data and financial filings, same-store sales at Macy’s have exceeded market analysts’ expectations, the credit rating of the company has recently been upgraded and its year-over-year sales have risen to nearly $6 billion.

Said Local 1-S president Ken Bordieri, "Many of our workers at Macy's are barely surviving in New York City and the surrounding metro area because they are just not earning enough. It is offensive for Macy's, a company earning record profits, to expect these workers to sacrifice even more and to worry about basic survival."

For its part, Macy's says it's continuing to bargain with the union and that its wages and benefits are "among the best for department stores in New York City and across the country." Unfortunately, "the best" wages and benefits, if they are that, aren't very good, especially in the most expensive city in the country. Really, no matter how you slice it, offering employees less money at a time when you're making record profits is a foul move. Strike, strike, strike!

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at June 14, 2011, 6:38am

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018