Employees at a Macy’s store in San Francisco, Calif. are officially on strike during two of the most crucial shopping days in the holiday season after failing to come to an agreement on a contract with management.
Members of the UFCW Local 5 union on Friday announced that they “overwhelmingly rejected” a contract offer from Macy’s, authorizing the bargaining committee to strike. The strike began at midnight on Thursday, Dec. 22 and will last through 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec 24, or Christmas Eve.
The union said they are contacting the company to see if they can come to agreement on a better offer that includes higher wages, affordable healthcare and improved safety and security measures in the store.
“Macy’s workers stood together to reject a substandard offer from a company with sales of 25.5 billion and over a Billion in Profit over the past 12 months,” the union wrote in a statement.
The possibility of a Christmas Eve strike at the store loomed as early as last week, after members rejected a prior offer. The committee met again with Macy’s on Dec. 21 to work towards an agreement but had planned a tentative strike on December 23 and 24 in the event that a deal was not reached.
The union also said last week that it filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Macy’s related to the retailer’s handling of a membership vote.
A Macy’s spokesperson said the company’s top priority is to “ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers. Our Macy’s Union Square store remains open to customers and colleagues.”
Last week, in advance of the Dec. 21 meeting, a spokesperson sais the company hopes all parties can come to an agreement.
This is not the first time workers at a Macy’s store have moved towards a strike. Macy’s workers at the company’s flagship store in NYC prepared to go on strike in 2016, but ended up negotiating a deal that focused on issues such as health care insurance, work schedules and pension plans.
Across the U.S., retail workers in Starbucks, Amazon, Target and REI stores have joined the wave of unionization efforts in recent months, as employees seek higher wages and safer workplaces in the wake of the pandemic.