WE’RE SO CLOSE!!
Thank you so much for your support for the Golden Farm workers. Three years ago Mr Kim paid them less than $5 per hour. Now they receive the minimum wage of $7.25.
Earlier this year Mr Kim denied ever having paid them less than the minimum. This month he has signed a settlement agreeing to pay a small portion of the back wages he withheld from them.
In September he had signs up on the front of the store saying that 75% of them didn’t want to join a union. The signs have been removed because of a judge’s ruling that they were untrue and misleading and now in October Mr Kim is required by law to negotiate in good faith with the union they voted to join – the RWDSU.
None of this could have happened without your support!
Mr Kim assumed the fact that the workers did not speak English would keep them isolated from the community, and ill-informed about their rights. As manager Steve Kim told the Daily News “The Spanish guys don’t know English reading and writing. How would they know American labor law?”
He also assumed that his customers would not identify, or sympathize with the workers.
We have proved him wrong.
THE WORKERS STILL NEED US TO BOYCOTT
Throughout this dispute the workers’ biggest fear has been that Mr Kim would fire them.
While he was under legal scrutiny because of his minimum wage violation and the lawsuit on back wages this gave them some measure of protection but they feel strongly that the best protection has been provided by the support of our community.
Although they have achieved an improvement in their pay the workers still do not have have a written contract that would prevent Mr Kim from firing any of them without just cause.
Mr Kim is required by law to negotiate with their union, but without pressure from us, the community, he will draw this process out as long as possible. The workers voted to unionize in May and, thanks to spurious legal challenges from Mr Kim’s lawyers, only got union recognition in September.
Since mid-August he cut many of the stock-workers’ hours by a third, so they have lost a third of their wages. This is not a sustainable situation for most of them. Many have young families to support.
The worker’s have achieved so much, but without job protection it will all have been vain. Continuing the boycott until the worker’s have a basic contract is the only way that we will see a just resolution to this dispute.