Grocery Workers Union Ask Governor to Remove Bottle Bill from Budget Process

Union Members Ask Governor to Side with Workers Over Drugstores

QUEENS VILLAGE, NY (03/26/2009)(readMedia)– United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 is asking Governor David Patterson to side with working men and women who are employed in grocery stores and not the interest of corporate giants CVS and Walgreens. The Governor is supporting the passage of the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (BBBB) in the current State budget being negotiated. The law currently has minimal enforcement procedures, places an unfair economic burden on Supermarkets and gives a virtual free pass to companies like drug stores CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens who have no bottle redemption centers, a history of violating the current redemption law and are notorious for refusing bottles from consumers seeking to return them.

UFCW Local 1500 members are asking that the BBBB be removed from the budget process and put into the legislative arena.

“The $500.00 fine and minimal enforcement of the existing bottle bill has been hurting grocery workers for years while companies such as CVS and Rite Aid routinely thumb their nose at the law,” said Patrick Purcell, Director of Special Projects for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, New York State’s largest grocery workers Union. “As with any law, we should want the penalties to fit the crime and that there be compliance. That is not the case with existing law,” Purcell explained. “Now the administration wants to expand the law and make those obeying it do even more,” Purcell continued. “This bill continues to reward bad behavior and penalize good behavior. It is truly Bizzaro world legislation,” Purcell stated. “We agree the Bottle Bill is bigger, but it clearly is not better.”

“Our members are eager to support this Governor as he faces difficult decisions during an economic crisis. He is a good man seeking difficult answers. Still, our members are at loss for understanding why he refuses to hear them on this issue, especially when it is clear the members of the Senate and Assembly are eager to hammer out a fair bill and compromise during the rest of the legislative season,” Purcell said. “We hope the Governor is hearing from his top environmental advisor the truth about the opposition to this bill.”

“We are imploring the Governor to support open government, a fair legislative process, the spirit of compromise and to please remove the Bigger Better Bottle Bill from the budget. There are so many people utilizing the “my way or the highway” approach with the Governor during these budget talks, yet our members are simply seeking a fair compromise,” Purcell concluded.

United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, based out of Queens Village, represents over 23,000 grocery workers in New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties. Members of Local 1500 are employed by Pathmark, King Kullen, Stop and Shop, Shop Rite, Gristedes, Fairway, D’Agostino, Key Food, Dairy Barn and Shop Rite.

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