Deconstructing Sonny

Open Letter to Golden Farm Owner Sonny Kim:


Sonny in action at his store

Dear Sonny,

If you were to put the same amount of time into thinking this boycott situation through as you put into deciding which shade of orange to dye your hair we would all be better off: The workers would have a contract; you would have your customers back; we could stop traveling all the way to Foodtown to shop in this freezing weather; and you would look less ridiculous.

Everyone’s a winner!

Yet you refuse to sign the contract. Thus this open letter you Mr. Kim.

You have spent tens of thousands of dollars fighting your employees. You hired a law firm to represent you in the wage and hour lawsuit. You hired a union-busting consultant and a translator to talk to your workers every day for TWO months before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election on May 2, 2012. You hired another law firm to represent you before the NLRB. Who are we to judge how others spend their hard earned money, but c’mon now, seriously.

If you are going to spend your money on attorneys why hire the guys that pride themselves in representing socialites in socialite melees:

Oved & Oved LLP Represents Lounge Owner
Jeffrey Jah and The Double Seven in Socialite Melee VIEW NYPOST PAGE SIX ARTICLE

Also, why on earth did you open the Wisconsin yellow-pages to find more attorneys. At least you don’t have to pay the NYC guys to fly in every time!

After  fighting the lawsuit (in case you don’t remember you found out about it in March 2011 when you read the Crain’s New York article) you agreed to a settlement after  a year and a half.

After investing in the union-busting consultant and his interpreter the majority of the workers still voted in favor of RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 as their collective bargaining agent. We don’t know how much those consultants charge but it couldn’t have been cheap since they spent two entire months talking to your workers every day trying to convince them not to vote in favor of the union. Did you at least get a discount when you lost the election?

You challenged the results of the election (in case your forgot how ridiculous your actions were, allow us to remind you that tried to include the votes of your wife, Steve the manager, Jose the manager, and a driver that is paid by someone else to deliver to you) and you STILL lost.

You  somehow managed to convince yourself to allege that workers were bought to organize against you forgetting perhaps the fact that they organized because you were paying them less than five dollars an hour;  never gave them paid sick day and because Felix passed away because he kept coming to work sick and did not get a chance to seek treatment sooner. You then challenged the ruling the NLRB against you and you lost, again.

Did you think you actually had a chance?

The only winners so far seem to be your attorneys that charge you by the hour.

And now you have to negotiate in good faith because the NLRB certified the election results on September 20, 2012.

All the while Steve (your own manager) has proven to be the best organizer ever against you inside your store. Did you interview this man before you hired him? Or at least check his references? Do you know that he pours bleach on people?

Even though you know that you are losing customers you would rather waste your money suing rather than settling. You would rather cut your workers’ hours rather than negotiating. You would rather have picketers arrested rather than have them as shoppers.

Did you know that the owner’s of three other stores similar to yours (2512 Linden Boulevard; 3008 Church Avenue and 9530 Church Avenue) chose to negotiate and make peace and currently do not have a picket line outside their store nor their homes? That no one chalks their sidewalks?

The community will continue to honor the boycott until the workers tell us that their following demands have been met:

1. Contract (including paid sick days and a raise above the current minimum wage)

2. Reinstatement of hours

3. Reinstatement of workers

4. Compensation for hour cuts

Workers tell us that on January 28 you will again sit down to talk to the union. We will not support a small business that does not treat its employees fairly. We will continue to shop at Foodtown (a union shop!) while we wait for you to come to your senses.


The people

p.s. Do you want to be on the New York Times and continue your reign as NYC’s most notorious supermarket owner?

Mad chalker strikes again!

Mad chalker strikes again!


Boycott Goes to Jersey!

This is what happens when you get two boycotters arrested Sonny Kim. Earlier this morning Golden Farm boycott supporters braved the cold and crossed the Hudson River to the land of New Jersey. Fort Lee, NJ to be exact. Among the protesters were Marty and Andres.

Why? To visit Sonny Kim and his wife Sharon Kim at their residence in their fortified luxury condo in NJ. The units sell for a cool $600,000 if you are looking to move to Jersey. If you can’t join us at our picket lines outside the Kims’ building, let them know how you feel by mailing a  a letter directly to the following address:

Sonny and Sharon Kim

1512 Palisade Avenue, Apt. 19A

Fort Lee, NJ  07024


Boycott in Fort Lee, NJ! (Sonny did not take this picture)

Of course, this isn’t the only property the Kims own. They recently sold a $1.1 million home in Bergen Count, NJ.

So how do the Kims afford a $1.1 million dollar home and a $600,000 dollar condo? It might have to do with the fact that for many years they paid their workers $4.86 per hour and currently give them zero paid days off (no vacation, personal, or sick days, let alone holidays – the store NEVER closes).

Sonny: We look forward to meeting your neighbors! Already 58 of them received a flyer in their hand this morning!


Sonny and Sharon Kim talking to a cop.

Paid sick days for all! Living wages NOW! Fort Lee or bust.

Boycotters arrested

An eyewitness account from Kensington resident Gibb Surette:

Sonny Kim has been trying for months to get picketers in front of Golden Farm arrested, on every pretext from “interference” with his business to his claim at one point that he actually owned the sidewalk.  At mid-day on Sunday, December 9, he saw his chance.  An NYCC staffer named Andres, and a community volunteer named Marty got out of the the cold rain for a bit by stepping temporarily under the awning and within five feet of the building.  Sonny got them on video and immediately called the NYPD to enforce a protective order.  There had been a legal agreement that included NYCC keeping picketing five feet from the store, but converting this into a criminally enforceable protective order should have required, among other things, notice to NYCC.  Apparently, no one at NYCC had received such notice, but Sonny is notorious for providing false statements to public authorities (e.g. the NYS Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board), so he may have told the court that the legally required notice had been given.  In any case, Andres and Marty, by then back out in the rain near the curb, were relieved of all objects on their persons, placed in handcuffs, and hauled off to the 66th Precinct.   The two brothers had been alone on the line.  Pretty clearly, Sonny hoped that he would eliminate the picket for the afternoon, perhaps leaving signs and literature unguarded.  However, just before the arrests took place, I arrived for my usual Sunday shift as a neighborhood boycott volunteer.  NYCC staff were alerted, the organization’s criminal lawyer was quickly brought into play, and word went out to community supporters, who began showing up in front of the store to keep the picket going.
Meanwhile, between talking to potential customers as usual, recounting Sonny’s history of theft and fraud, I amused myself with  a text very similar to the following, which I bellowed into the store at the top of my lungs: “Sonny Kim!  You can cut hours and wages in retaliation!  It’s illegal, but you’ve done it!  You can try to avoid a union by committing fraud!  You’ve done that, too!  You can stall recognition and negotiation for months!  You’ve done that!  Sonny, you can threaten workers with everything imaginable, up to and including the loss of their homes, and you have done that!  Obviously, you can get picketers taken away in cuffs for stepping out of the rain!  You’ve just done that!  But, Sonny, intimidation has not made the issues–or us–go away!  And it’s not going to!  Sonny, if you want the pickets and the boycott to go away, it’s very simple!  GIVE THE WORKERS SOME JUSTICE!”
Some of the people I spoke to characterized Sonny’s actions in getting Andres and Marty arrested as “disgusting”, or said “I understand now, and I’m not coming back”, or simply observed, “You’re winning”.