|NY Guild Rep. Anthony Napoli makes a purchase from new Guild member Yanil Astacio at the May 30 grand opening of the combined Hudson News-Dunkin' Donuts shops at Penn Station.|
Friday, June 15, 2012
You’re racing through New York’s Penn Station with just enough time to grab coffee and a doughnut. Speed walk your way right past that other national chain and head into one of two – soon to be three – Hudson News stores with new full-service Dunkin’ Donuts shops.
You’ll be buying pastry with a union label – more specifically, treats and sandwiches baked and sold by 60 of the newest members of The Newspaper Guild-CWA.
“To the best of our knowledge, these are the only unionized Dunkin’ Donuts stores in the entire country,” said Bill O’Meara, president of the New York Guild, which organized the city’s Hudson News newsstand employees 12 years ago.
The local represents about 240 Hudson retail and warehouse workers at Penn Station, Grand Central, the Port Authority and other New York City locations. But hard copies of newspapers and magazines don’t sell as well as they once did, with so many readers getting their news online.
Last year, Guild-represented Hudson workers told the union about a rumored deal to build Dunkin’ Donuts counters in space Hudson no longer needs. “We had a meeting with Hudson about it, and they said, ‘Yes,” they would be willing to negotiate those jobs under our existing contract,” O’Meara said.
The Guild has built a cordial, cooperative relationship with Hudson News, and managers acknowledged as much when it came to discussing the Dunkin’ Donuts workers, he said.
It wasn’t always that way, though. Management successfully defeated organizing drives in the late 1990s, the first by another union, the second by the Guild.
But on a third try in 2000, workers voted for Guild representation. Since then, O’Meara said, contract negotiations and other issues have been handled fairly smoothly. “We’ve only had one arbitration in all that time, and we won - - the worker got his job back.”
Creating the combined stores took away some of Hudson’s newsstand space, but none of the newsstand jobs, O’Meara said. Even when the stores were off-limits for construction of the Dunkin’ Donuts counters, there were no layoffs.
With the permission of Amtrak – Penn Station’s primary tenant – Hudson was able to open temporary newsstands. Had Amtrak balked, O’Meara said, “We’d told Hudson that we’d lobby for them if they needed us to, that we’d make it clear that the union was very interested in making sure its members stayed employed. Management was very appreciative of that.”
The newly combined stores at Penn Station are just the first for Hudson’s New York group. Ultimately, there could be dozens, each one staffed by Guild members. The first two Hudson-based Dunkin’ Donuts already employ 60 workers.
Like Hudson’s Guild-represented employees, the Dunkin’ Donuts workers are fully covered by the union contract, and are accruing vacation and sick leave, have access to medical plans and to CWA’s 401(k) plan. Bargaining begins this summer for a new contract for all the Hudson-Dunkin’ workers.
O’Meara encouraged all locals to look for opportunities to “follow the work,” organizing employees who may have only an ancillary link to traditional Guild jobs. “Even Hudson News was ancillary for us, but the link was that they sell the newspapers our members work for,” he said.
Adding Dunkin’ to the mix makes for a Guild trifecta: Waiting for your train at Penn Station, he said, you can “read a story written by a Guild member, in a newspaper rung up by a Guild member, while having coffee and a doughnut sold by yet another Guild member.”
Dunkin' Donuts Workers Join TNG-CWA
If you're passing through New York's Penn Station, be sure to stop for a doughnut with the union label — specifically The Newspaper Guild-CWA.
The Guild's New York local now represents workers at two, soon to be three, new Dunkin' Donuts shops that are located inside Hudson News stores at Penn Station.
For more than 10 years, the local has represented Hudson News retail workers at Penn Station and other locations in New York City. Because e-readers and other digital media are cutting into sales of magazines and newspapers, Hudson management decided to turn some of their space into Dunkin' Donuts outlets.
New York Guild leaders heard rumors about the combined stores last year, and laid the groundwork to ensure that TNG-CWA would represent the Dunkin' employees.
"We had a meeting with Hudson about it, and they said, 'Yes," they would be willing to negotiate those jobs under our existing contract," said New York Guild President Bill O'Meara, adding that he believes the new members are the only unionized Dunkin' Donuts workers in the United States.
The Guild has built a positive relationship with Hudson News, which managers acknowledged when it came to discussing the Dunkin' Donuts workers, he said. The new combination stores at Penn Station are just the first for Hudson's New York group, with the potential for dozens more, O'Meara said. Sixty people have been hired already for the first two stores.
Like Hudson's Guild-represented employees, the Dunkin' Donuts workers are fully covered by the union contract, and are accruing vacation and sick leave, have access to medical plans and to CWA's 401(k) plan. Bargaining begins this summer for a new contract for all the Hudson-Dunkin' workers.
Read more about the Dunkin' deal on the TNG-CWA website at www.NewsGuild.org.
Posted by Robert Daraio at 10:05 AM