Retail Action Project

The Retail Action Project (RAP) is an off-spring of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which finances much of its overhead costs.  Similar to the New York City-based worker center Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), it employs brand destruction tactics and publicity stunts to pressure corporate retail brands to change their allegedly poor labor practices.

Foundation and government grants as well as direct and in-kind contributions from unions make up the balance of RAP’s revenue. Like other worker centers, the organization is staffed by former union organizers, yet hides behind the veil of charitable non-profits.  Like its peers, RAP is showing signs that it intends to launch chapters across the country in an effort to create the illusion of a grassroots uprising among retail workers.

Founding

Like many worker centers, it is an inexact science to pin down exactly when the RAP began. The group traces its roots back to 2005, but the organization that we know today really became operational in 2010. That is when a New York City-based labor and housing organization, Good Old Lower East ...

Funding

Like most worker centers, the Retail Action Project gets its funding from a variety of sources. Foundation and government grants, direct and in-kind contributions from unions all combine to make up the vast majority of their funding. In RAP’s case, their operational partner – the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store ...

Key Alliances

Like most worker centers, the Retail Action Project (RAP) tries to develop strategic third party allies to enlarge their activist network and diversify their message and activities in an attempt to inoculate themselves from charges that they are just a union front group. Since unions have limited credibility with policy ...

Size and Scope

While still small in relation to other worker centers like ROC, RAP claims to have 2,000 worker members. Growing the individual memberships of the worker centers themselves is the only way unions can address their rapidly declining membership. The Retail, Warehouse, department Store Union, the union partner of RAP, has seen ...

Tactics

Like many other worker centers, the Retail Action Project (RAP) employs aggressive union style tactics when pursuing their many public-pressure campaigns. They run the gamut from frivolous lawsuits, publishing spurious “studies,” demand letters on employers, street theater protests and slanderous accusations in the media. These are all part of a ...