From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
By Jaclyn Diaz
Retail workers and the unions that represent them should be on alert after the recent announcement of hundreds of Macy’s, Kmart and Sears stores closing, a labor professor told Bloomberg BNA.
The growth of e-commerce, namely, online retailers such as Amazon, has a hand in pushing out traditional department stores and their workers, Francis Ryan, director of the Labor Studies and Employment Relations graduate program at Rutgers University, told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 9.
“The growth of e-commerce is definitely part of a longer historical path of retail change,” Ryan said. “The rise of e-commerce is having a powerful effect on how people shop and on the people who work in the stores.”
While the retail unions should be able to maintain the current level of job standards for their workers, it isn’t certain that will last, Ryan said.
“It is a very precarious time” for unions, Ryan said.
Along with the rise of e-commerce, the labor movement is facing an unprecedented challenge with the imminent transition to a Republican White House and GOP-majority in Congress. That, as well as a possible shift on the U.S. Supreme Court, could pave the way for anti-union policies, Ryan said.
Macy’s said it will close 100 stores by the end of 2017, citing poor holiday sales. The company estimates it will cut 6,200 jobs, and another 3,900 workers will be displaced by store closures. Some employees could be reassigned, the company announced Jan. 4.
Sears and Kmart will close 150 stores by the end of the year, Sears Holdings, the company that owns both stores, announced Jan. 4. In 2016, 78 Sears stores shut their doors and more than 200 closed in 2015. The company did not disclose how many workers might lose their jobs.
Two Macy’s locations with workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers will close in 2017, according to the union. An estimated 180 workers at the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco and 100 at the Everett, Wash., Macy’s lost their jobs.
The UFCW recognizes that retail is changing but the union is preparing for industry changes, Jess Levin, deputy communications director with UFCW, told Bloomberg BNA. The union provides opportunities for members to grow beyond their retail work by giving tuition assistance to members for college and by sponsoring job-training programs.
“But retail can and should continue to provide good jobs for workers even in light of technology or competition with Amazon,” Levin said.
By closing 100 stores by the end of the year, Macy’s plans to refocus on expanding its online business to remain competitive, Macy’s said Jan. 4
As technology and consumer behaviors change, so too will retail, the National Retail Federation, the industry’s largest advocacy organization, said in a Jan. 9 statement to Bloomberg BNA.
“NRF is excited about the future of retail and the innovative ways that retailers will continue to serve their customers. Change is inevitable, and every day, retailers assess and reassess their business models,” representatives for the NRF said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Jaclyn Diaz in Washington at jDiaz@bna.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)