Rose Syracuse, 92, Macy's Longest Serving Employee, Retires After 73 Years

Over the course of their careers, workers rarely stay at one company anymore -- let alone at the same one for more than 70 years. But that was the experience of 92-year old Rose Syracuse, who retired Wednesday from Macy's, Inc., after 73 years of service.

That means that her first year of work was in 1939, while "Gone With The Wind" was still making its first run in movie theaters, as was pointed out by the New York Daily News. Through her whole career, Syracuse (pictured above center) has worked out of Macy's flagship store in Manhattan. Her tenure makes her the longest serving employee in the history of Macy's, which opened in 1858.

Over her more than seven decades as a Macy's employee, Syracuse has handled a number of jobs at the "world's largest department store." Most recently she was working on archival projects for special events like the annual Thanksgiving Day parade. (She's watched it every year of her career.) She began working at Macy's in its Deposit of Accounts department when she was 17-years old.

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At her retirement, Syracuse looked back on her career and ascribed her success to one of the most important of career accomplishments -- contentment.

"This was my first job and I didn't go anyplace else. I was happy here," she told the Daily News.

A positive attitude coupled with a diligent ethic has been apparent through her career, her supervisors say.

"Rose is an hourly worker. She clocked in every day. It's just a passion of hers to be here," Robin Hall, senior vice president of the Macy's Parade and Entertainment Group, told Yahoo Shine. "She's not a person who seeks attention. She just loves to work." (Hall is pictured above on the left.)

And so as a send-off for Syracuse, Macy's organized a fete on Wednesday at the Manhattan store, located on 34th Street. Attendees included Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, who dropped to one knee to deliver Syracuse a bouquet of roses.

"For us to be able to say that we've had anyone work for our company for 73 years is just a milestone that will never again be repeated," he said at the event.

Indeed, over her career, Syracuse has seen her fair share of change at Macy's. She began at Macy's after her family moved from Pennsylvania to Brooklyn in the 1930s so her brothers could avoid working in the coal mines. When she started at Macy's, she says, she couldn't afford anything in the store, which then offered wool cardigans for $2.14 and raincoats for $2.98, according to Yahoo.

When she started out, Macy's was what she calls a "one-stop store," where you could buy meat from the butcher shop, drugs from the apothecary and do your banking on the fourth floor. She was working in the store when the famed Christmas movie, "Miracle on 34th Street" was filmed inside. And she remembers a more grueling schedule than the one in today's contract, which offers benefits for employees who work a 35-hour workweek.

"We worked 48 hours a week, including Saturdays, and we earned $14 a week," she told the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "Everyone worked because everyone needed a job, but we knew things could be better."

Doing anything for more than seven decades and then stopping would be a shock for anyone. But Syracuse, who only retired because of a broken hip sustained six months ago, has in the past embraced optimism during times of transition.

After decades of service in the store's phone and mail order department, the division was eliminated when the Internet made the work obsolete.

But she didn't mind.

"One day you're selling needles and thread, and the next thing you know it's all high-class stuff," she told the Daily News. "Change is so terrific."

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Macy's in America ruthless as Bugsy Siegel
Macy’s managers are well paid to abuse Macy’s workers and employees
Macy’s managers enjoy the good life, driving very expensive cars, getting high as much as they want to and promotes violation of labor laws for Macy’s benefits with the advised of some lawyers working on the Labor Laws ethical borderline
Very well paid Macy’s managers abusing a lot of employees justifies their very high salary, because they are saving a lot of money to maintain a large number of employees paid at the minimum wage and making a lot of profits on its sales as well on the low wages paid to employees.
No employee hourly increases, in other words nobody gets a dime, never, even after working many years for Macy’s and having an excellent performance on the job
Macy’s profits came from a combination of paying low wages to employees and very high mark ups of cheap merchandise bought from Asia
Violations of labor laws is the norm at Macy’s and well and cheating and deceiving.
Macy’s is having Lawsuits for paying less hours that the hours worked by the employee. Not one case, but on many cases on employees working in the USA
Also taking more deductions than the law allows on employees paychecks
“I know the name you have in mind, but unfortunately you can not say it here, because it is a bad word and some people may feel offended by that”
The best you can do is not shopping at Macy’s
Show Macy’s smart ass managers getting high all the time, who is the boss!
Macy’s without customers, won’t go anywhere and Macy’s managers will not get the money to buy the drugs to get high and doing illegal things on employees
But obviously, Macy’s managers are receiving orders from the CEO or others very important people at Macy’s to act illegally
Is Macy’s the new ruthless Bugsy Siegel gangster in America?

February 27 2013 at 1:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Congratulations, Rose. You're a fine example to the world. Positive and hard-working! What could be better! Enjoy your retirement! After all those years it will be an adjustment. If you're in good enough health and retirement gets boring, maybe you can be a visitor to other elderly persons who don't have your spunk!

September 10 2012 at 10:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

First, that is NOT Terry Lundgren on the right! Watch the video.

While this was a "nice, feel good” story, and FREE advertising for Macy's, BECAUSE so many DO NOT want to work there. Why? Because they treat most employees like garbage.

This article also NEVER mentioned if she broke her hip "on the Job" and will collect NYS Workers Comp (good luck)??? Not to mention, if she was in a Union??? Or will she receive Social Security Disability, she's entitled to either way. Even still if there was a lawsuit involved? These questions come into play… I do hope she got more than flowers from a company who generally gives its employees the boot anyway when the get hurt, on the job (I should know after worst injuries and permanent disability – Macy’s is still fighting a 10 yr Worker Comp claim with Appeals and dumped me off on Social Security Disability, so they don’t have to pay!) It’s called racketeering and more $$ for Macy’s. A company like Macy's, whose Annual revenue for 2009 was $24.892 billion and Terry Lundgren, Macy's $17 Million in 2011 -- CEO, Chairman and President, according to Forbes. This, not including his Directorships with other organisations. One being on the Board of Directors for the New York Federal Reserve Bank, also includes JPMorgan-Chase's Jamie Limon. Need I say more?

Oddly enough, getting back to Rose Syracuse, who actually remarked in an ABC interview that Macy’s was also a Bank back in the day. Syracuse began and ended her career at Macy’s in the accounting department. ”I was always looking for the accounting department,” says Syracuse, “you know, Macy’s was a bank at one time….” And we wonder why the country is in financial ruination, need I say more. Maybe we should worry about the “Macys-ization” of the US and another crummy bank in the future.

September 10 2012 at 3:14 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Perfect example of dedication and hard work. I hope this lady has a pleasant retirement and writes a book. I'm sure she's met all sorts of customers over the years at Macy's and witnessed a lot of changes in fashion trends. I hope they include her in their parade at Thanksgiving too ... that would be cool.

September 10 2012 at 11:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

this is a sweet story, but why has it been running for three days?

September 10 2012 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

And the rich get richer, "that will never again be repeated"

September 10 2012 at 10:51 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

She better have a 3 million dollar pension, you greedy corporation.

September 10 2012 at 10:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Congratulations and may I extend great respect to a role model from the old school. Macy's was always where I was taken prior to the beginning of a school year. This article does not mention how Macy's Inc. permitted an employee to continue as an hourly wage earner, was she never offered salary and a higher position? Hey Macy's, a bouquet of roses and the out the door? Are you guy's not doing a little more in the way of ensuring her retirment requirements are met, her medical care paid for, her every need or necessity handled prior to her ever having to do the leg work? The article mentions nothing for this lady's many years other than maybe and office party a bunch of roses and phhhttttt, bye byeeeee. Seriously? Embarrassing.

September 10 2012 at 10:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

give her a million dollars.

September 10 2012 at 2:09 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

See America? If you work hard and keep a positive attitude, you too can be an hourly employee in the same store after 73 years of service without ever rising significantly in pay or rank. Now let's discuss her retirement plan... at least it won't have to last very long. Whatever makes you happy, granny. Which I guess brings up another question... did you ever make it out of Macy's long enough to start a family? No? Probably for the best. Nice how they had her address the Union as well. Sort of an "I remember how bad things used to be, and if you don't shape up it'll be that bad again, young whippersnappers!" kind of thing. I wonder how much the CEO was paid when she started compared to what he's paid now. Compare that to the % increase in wages for bottom-level workers since she began. Another fine thing to dwell on while we're drifting down memory lane. Rose, the country was built on you. Too bad you didn't get to keep any part of it.

September 10 2012 at 12:21 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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