On May 1, RWDSU/UFCW Local 3 members who work at Bloomingdale’s iconic 59th Street flagship store in New York City, ratified the first-ever contract that addresses diminished wages from online sales. The hard-fought contract acknowledges the increasing number of non-sales tasks that workers have been asked to do since the company began pushing customers to shop online in 2012.
Under the new four-year agreement, which was ratified by an overwhelming margin, the company can no longer require sales associates to handle order fulfillments or other non-sales duties and cannot require members to leave their department when any viable sale opportunity is present. This agreement will begin to remedy a portion of the loss in wages, which is 20 to 30 percent on average, which workers have suffered in recent years. The company also agreed to wipe off $2,500 of each employee’s commissions deficit, and convert several department’s pay systems from draw versus commission to hourly wages to also provide relief. In the new hourly conversion departments, general wage increases will also apply.
This is a huge win for sales workers at Bloomingdale’s because most are paid solely on commissions in a draw versus commission system. Other wins for workers in the new contract include general wage increases, and an increased percentage of company funding for medical and sick day benefits.
“As my first experience on the contract negotiations committee, I am truly amazed by the tenacious spirit the team brought to the table,” said Betty Lloyd, a Bloomingdale’s swimwear and coats sales associate. “We worked long into the expiration to ensure that the voices of workers were heard by the company – this contract will finally recognize the 20 percent in wages we have lost over the past five years due to online sales.”
“I am proud of the stand our membership-driven negotiations committee took to point the spotlight on a growing epidemic in retail – online sales. This negatively impacts our membership, which is largely a commission-based sales force,” said Cassandra A. Berrocal, president of RWDSU/UFCW Local 3. “It is long overdue that the company recognizes the hard work our members do every day to ensure that customers return to the Bloomingdale’s brand – especially in an age where they can no longer compete on price, but must compete on brand loyalty. The work our team did brought general wage increases, increased the portion the company will pay for medical benefits, and secured our benefit fund. I know this contract will ensure all Bloomingdale’s Local 3 members earn fair wages for their work over the next four years.”
“Today’s recognition of the work Local 3 members do to support sales from the company’s online platform is a huge victory not only for these 2,000 workers, but for commission paid workers across the country who will now have a model with which to fight for fair pay for non-sales work,” said RWDSU/UFCW President Stuart Appelbaum. “In addition to the recognition of associated online sales, this contract also sets the standard for contract fights during the Trump era and it shows that workers’ collective voices will never be silenced in our country.”