Macy's and Workers Union Reach Deal, Averting Strike at Flagship, 3 Other Area Stores

The union said a deal had been reached Thursday morning

What to Know

  • Macy's executives and a union representing workers held successful talks, averting a strike at four area locations, including the flagship.
  • Workers were prepared to strike Thursday if a contract agreement wasn't met.
  • Workers said key contract issues like healthcare and unpredictable schedules needed to be resolved.

Macy's and the union representing the workers at its flagship store in New York City reached an agreement during contract negotiations Thursday morning, averting a strike, the union and store both said.

In an early morning Facebook post, the union said that it had come to an agreement with the company and that employees should report to work for their regular schedule on Thursday. 

Macy's also confirmed the tentative deal later Thursday morning. The company said it doesnt't plan to release further details about the agreement. 

Hours earlier, the union said that talks were ongoing and that workers were prepared to strike later in the day if the negotiations fell through.

The current contract expired Wednesday night at midnight.

Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which represents the 5,000 workers including the 3,500 from the store, said prior to the agreement that key issues still needed to be resolved, including health care, unpredictable schedules and pension plans for senior employees.

"Fireworks are nice, but if Macy's wants to be a responsible member of the New York community, they have to make sure that the people they employ are able to afford to live in the city," Appelbaum told The Associated Press. "Macy's is an iconic New York institution. What happens in these negotiations will set the trend for the city and for the country."

The flagship store, a Manhattan tourist hot spot famous for its prominence in the city's Thanksgiving Day parade, has not had a strike since 1972.

Branch stores in the Bronx, Queens and White Plains, New York, were also prepared to strike.

Seeing the threat of a strike as real, Macy's had placed ads seeking temporary workers in local newspapers including The New York Times. Macy's spokeswoman Elina Kazan had said negotiations are ongoing.

The labor dispute came as Macy's struggles with slowing sales growth and intensifying competition on all fronts.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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