UFCW Local 1500 Responds To “Cowardly and Undemocratic” Walmart Campaign for First New York City Site

Opposes Walmart Supercenter in Brooklyn

QUEENS VILLAGE, NY (04/26/2010)(readMedia)– United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, New York State’s largest grocery workers union with over 23,000 members, accused Walmart Stores of waging a “cowardly and undemocratic” campaign to subvert the New York City Council, local community boards and residents of targeted communities in pursuit of their first New York City location.

” Walmart’s campaign is based on avoiding the New York City Council, the local community boards, community groups and the New York City labor movement because they fear an honest and democratic debate,” state Bruce W. Both, the President of UFCW Local 1500. “Our Union, the New York City Central Labor Council and many elected officials have held out an olive branch to Walmart for years to come and sit at the table and have an intelligent conversation, but they continue to slap us all back with the same olive branch we have extended. It is cowardly, arrogant, undemocratic and it shows that profits, as always, are the only item on Walmart’s agenda,” stated Both. “It is also clear, that they do not trust the residents of New York City or their elected representative’s ability to engage in a honest debate. They must have as much doubt in their ability and sincerity to be a responsible and accountable employer in New York City as we all do,” Both concluded.

The project, Gateway Mall Two, went through the NYC land use project without a mention of Walmart said Patrick Purcell, spokesperson for UFCW Local 1500. “This is the type of behavior that sets development back in this City. A cloud of dishonesty and deception about potential uses for sites will now hang over development and the New York City Land Use Process,” Purcell stated. “This has the potential to set back retail development for years. Communities will distrust developers and we will all approach development with cynicism and increased agitation. Under this atmosphere, we would have never concluded Coney Island, Willets Point or the many other projects recently approved with cooperation and agreement,” Purcell warned.

Purcell also called into question all material presented to the City Council regarding Gateway Two expansion. “It is ridiculous to think that the traffic studies, environmental impact statements and the socio-economic effect studies are now accurate or relevant. We are talking about a possible 200,000 square foot Walmart,” Purcell continued. “The loss of small businesses, the trading off of jobs from existing retailers in Gateway One, increased traffic from cars coming into the area from all around the surrounding area, more pollution etc. The list goes on and on. We urge all the parties to sit down, discuss the issues with all relevant participants and find a better use for the development,” Purcell suggested. “Together, I am sure we can find tenant’s that will complement Gateway One and not encourage anymore of these irresponsible and arrogant games being played by Walmart”.

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