In September 2012, after a long drawn out fight with management, the workers at Golden Farm, a local Kensington supermarket, won union representation through a National Labor Relations Board election. The workers are seeking respect at the workplace, better working conditions and basic benefits that any worker should not be denied. Some of the items the workers are seeking are a few paid sick and personal days, vacation time and reasonable wage increases; allowing them to take care of their families. These are all very basic and reasonable requests. Unfortunately, the owner of Golden Farm, Mr. Kim, does not see it that way.
During nearly 9 months of negotiations, it has become clear to Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, the union representing the workers, that Mr. Kim does not believe the workers who operate his store and keep his company going deserve basic benefits. He sees them simply as a means to line his own pockets. Mr. Kim has a simple philosophy, he is willing to take from the Kensington community, but is not willing to give back to the very same community that shops in his store, keeps his business going and fills his wallet. The workers in the store all live in the community. They are your neighbors, your friends and in some cases part of your family.
That is why the community should be outraged by some of the things Mr. Kim or his representatives have done or said during negotiations. Things like demanding that Mr. Kim be the one to dictate whom the union can use to represent the workers! Saying,“I’ll decide who can speak to me about the employees and their issues!” Or not wanting employees to be paid for our national holidays unless they work for him on those days, too! When he said, “Why should I pay someone for a day if he is not making ME money that day!” Mr. Kim would not offer even small wage increases to the workers because he believes he could find workers to do it for less than minimum wage. Saying, “I can find people who are so desperate they’d even work for less than the minimum wage!”
This fight is not just about the workers at Golden Farm, it’s a fight for better jobs in the community and it’s a fight for our neighbors, friends and families. If Mr. Kim and Golden Farm are able to defeat the workers and not sign a fair contract with them, it will be a loss for the entire Kensington community. This shouldn’t be just the workers’ fight –it should be the community’s as well. If we cannot keep our local businesses responsive and responsible to the community, what does that say about the future of Kensington?
On behalf of the workers at Golden Farm, we are asking the Kensington community to unite behind the workers and let your support for them be known. Please call Mr. Kim at 718-871-1009 and tell him that this community demands better from their local businesses and that the workers deserve the dignity of a fair union Contract!
Jack Caffey Jr., Area Director
Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW