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Bloomingdale’s Workers Demand a Fair Contract

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With a May 1 deadline fast approaching, 2,000 unionized Bloomingdale’s workers at the iconic East 59th Street store in New York City are ramping up their campaign for a fair new contract. In a show of force, a number of elected officials today joined these retail professionals, who are members of RWDSU Local 3, to rally for fair wages, benefits and hours, along with fair commissions for in-store sales and online sales.

These talented employees create a unique shopping experience for countless customers every day, and they play an irreplaceable role in driving the positive image, brand, and profitability of Bloomingdale’s as a global company.

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The following New York elected officials participated in the rally with Bloomingdale’s workers: IDC Leader and New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein; New York State Senator Diane Savino New York State Senator Michael Gianaris; New York State Senator Brad Hoylman; New York State Assembly Member Richard Gottfried; New York City Council Member Mark Levine; New York City Council Member Rory Lancman; New York City Council Member Corey Johnson; New York City Council Member Bill Perkins; New York City Council Member Mathieu Eugene; New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal; New York City Council Member Mark Treyger; New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca.

Commission sales are a key issue for Bloomingdale’s workers, who are missing out on commissions because of returns and online sales. Workers want to keep commissions for items purchased in the store but later returned, and earn commissions for online sales that grow out of in-store interactions between employees and customers.  A growing number of shoppers purchase items on the Bloomingdales website, after receiving stellar in-person customer service at the global flagship store. But currently employees responsible for those online sales do not receive commissions on them.

Additionally, employees and their union representatives are calling for fair wage increases and protection of fair schedules, along with a continuation of their existing pension plan and affordable healthcare coverage, and their seniority rights.

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In interviews, Bloomingdale’s CEO Tony Spring has described how the store creates an “immersive experience” and is a “place of discovery” for customers: they may end up buying things they didn’t know existed or that they even wanted, because of how they feel and are treated while spending time in the physical store.

“It’s unionized workers at the Bloomingdale’s flagship store who deliver the top-notch service and create the shopping experience so many customers have come to expect and love. These workers deserve a fair new contract that values their enormous contributions to the financial health and growth of Bloomingdale’s,” said Cassandra Berrocal, President of Local 3 of the RWDSU.

“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. They deserve a fair contract that offers commissions for online sales and returned items, along with good wages, benefits, and scheduling protections,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum.

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Bloomingdale’s cannot afford to weaken a workforce so devoted to customer service, especially when the company faces greater competition in the market.

When the workers are respected and empowered, they are happier on the job, and can do more to improve the shopping experience for customers, which leads to increased sales and higher profit, giving Bloomingdale’s an edge over competitors.

This year marks the 80th year that Bloomingdale’s workers at the flagship store have been unionized and represented by Local 3 and the RWDSU.