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Retail Union Head Blasts Merchants Group for Opposition to Health Care Reform

NEW YORK, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With thousands gathering in Washington to protest for health care reform, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU, UFCW) is blasting US merchants for what he termed "shameless indifference to a crisis they helped create."

Union President Stuart Appelbaum's comments came in response to a threat by National Retail Federation Vice President Neil Trautwein to fight any health care reform legislation that requires employers to provide health insurance to workers.

"Thanks to the members of the National Retail Federation and other merchants 23 percent of retail workers are now uninsured," Appelbaum said.

"If Mr. Trautwein and his colleagues want to see who's to blame for the crisis of the uninsured they ought to look in a mirror," Appelbaum said. The RWDSU leader pointed out that, in 2007, at a time when it was refusing to provide tens of thousands of Macy's workers with access to quality, affordable health care, the department store chain paid its CEO more than $15 million in total compensation.

"Retailers like Macy's can choose to be part of the solution (to the health care crisis) or they can remain part of the problem," Appelbaum said. "Either way they need to know that America's retail workers desperately need affordable, quality health care and, like it or not, we're going to get it."

Based in New York City, the RWDSU represents 100,000 retail employees and other workers throughout the U.S. and Canada. It is affiliated with the 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers union.

SOURCE Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union
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