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Morton Williams Supermarkets
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In Partnership With: RWDSU/UFCW 

A neighborhood grocer supporting workers, communities, and customer needs

Two brothers started Morton Williams Supermarkets with their first store in the Bronx over 50 years ago. The family steadily expanded to 12 stores by designing its operations to cater to the diverse populations of New York City, be it the Italian-Americans in Westchester or international patrons near the United Nations.

The grocer also found success by defying a cookie-cutter approach in its employment practices and work culture. As Avi Kaner, an executive at Morton Williams, attests, “In corporate America there’s often a negative dynamic between management and unions. In our case, it’s very different. We view it as a win-win situation.”

At a Glance

Morton Williams Supermarkets is a family-owned neighborhood chain of upscale stores specializing in selling fresh goods and gourmet fare in New York City.

Headquarters
New York, NY

Website
www.mortonwilliams.com

Industry
Retail Food

Union Employees
744 cashiers, sales, chefs, produce, dairy, seafood, and meat department employees

Total Employees
750

Annual Revenues
N/A

Outlets
12 supermarkets in the greater New York metropolitan area

The grocer also found success by defying a cookie-cutter approach in its employment practices and work culture. As Avi Kaner, an executive at Morton Williams, attests, “In corporate America there’s often a negative dynamic between management and unions. In our case, it’s very different. We view it as a win-win situation.”

Morton Williams takes great satisfaction in providing a secure livelihood for its employees, and has honored its employees’ wishes to be members of the United Food and Commercial Workers. As its business expanded and new employees were hired, the grocer’s workforce has used the majority sign-up process to choose whether to join the union—including supervisors and management. The company believes that in order to have a stable workforce, employees must be given access to affordable health care, fair pay, and a pension.

The workers’ union reciprocates by providing three main benefits to the company: extensive health and safety training, a systematic approach to address issues of disagreement, and a loyal, veteran staff. Providing meat-cutting services to its customers, the union’s training assistance is invaluable to preventing injuries. With a union contract facilitating their operations, they have a clear blueprint to tackle any concerns and develop plans to overcome these obstacles. Because of the good benefits, many employees have worked at the company for over 20 years. The grocer affirms that by offering long-term job stability, its employees tend to become very good at what they do.

Morton Williams recently won an award from the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce for expanding its business to a developing community. It has also lent its voice to support many community and workers’ rights issues including a living wage ordinance and job creation for unemployed neighborhood residents.

Watching as retail giants advance a race-to-the-bottom business model, Morton Williams also supports the Employee Free Choice Act so competition is fair and all grocers can have comparable labor benefits and policies. Morton Williams is a testament to the fact that you can be successful in the supermarket industry and look out for your employees’ well-being..

 
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