Kensington Community Says “No!” to Union Busting at Golden Farm!

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The Kensington Brooklyn community rallies in support of the workers at the Golden Farm grocery, where owner Sonny Kim has been trying to bust the union. Kim is one of the worst abusers of workers rights in New York City, and was caught by the Department of Labor stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of the wages he was supposed to be paying his workers. No to union-busting and abuse of workers in Brooklyn!

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Why Continue to Boycott Golden Farm?

Because we are so close! Workers have shared that negotiations between Sonny Kim and RWDSU/UFCW Local 338 went well on Monday, January 28. A third and what everyone hopes will be the last negotiation date has been set for February 12. We are closer now than ever!

On the picket line we hear some people increasingly voicing frustration with the length of the boycott. That this has taken entirely too long. Labor struggles are never quick and easy. That the boycott is really just turning into an inconvenience. Personal convenience is not an excuse to support employer abuse. That the workers are nowhere to be seen. Check out the countless online material of worker images, words, interviews and video sharing their experiences, thoughts and goals. That the boycott is just not working. Owner Sonny Kim sued for $3 million dollars in losses and has met twice with the union to negotiate.

Of course, our frustration and exhaustion pales in comparison to what the workers are feeling. Yet they remain strong and want to continue to fight and we will stand by them. Victories have been hard to come by but the workers have been successful!

1. In 2008 workers successfully organized to contact the NY Department of Labor to protest their work conditions.

2. In March 2011, after many years of being underpaid, workers were successful in forcing owner Sonny Kim to comply with NY state minimum wage and overtime law.

3. After successfully organizing to fight for their back pay, the law firm Advocates for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of 13 workers in June of 2011.

4. In May 2012 the majority of the workers successfully voted to unionize and elected Local 338 (RWDSU/UFCW) as their collective bargaining agent.

5. On August 18, 2012 workers successfully mobilized the Kensington community to boycott Golden Farm.

6. After a year and half since the lawsuit for back pay was filed workers were successful in reaching a settlement.

And now, after just two negotiations between the union and Sonny Kim, workers believe that they are closer than ever to their final victory.

The boycott will not end until the workers call upon the community to do so. The workers will not do so until their 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

Too much has happened to give up now. Too much stress, exhaustion, humiliation, and frustration. Too many losses. Too many tears. Too much of our selves has been poured into this little green grocery store.

We owe it to Felix and his widow and children. We owe it to the workers. We owe it to our selves.

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Golden Farm worker Martin on the picket line!

Viva la justa lucha de los trabajadores de Golden Farm…viva

Viva la solidaridad efectiva y en la práctica con los trabajadores de Golden Farm.

Vivan las justas luchas del pueblo…viva

Boycott Pandemic

Nearly 50 people with the boycott rally bug came out today to brave the sunny, mid-40 degrees, balmy January weather. More than 20 did so as well yesterday!

For those of you keeping store at home there have been rallies outside of Golden Farm in 2011, 2012 and now in 2013…

Yesterday the Green Party crashed the Golden Farm sidewalk in solidarity with the Golden Farm workers:

And today allies left and left came out in full support and sang to Sonny Kim!

Struggles bring allies together and broad coalitions bring about change. Meet some of the members of the Golden Farm Justice Coalition:

The Hot and Crusty workers:

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(on left with sign) Mahoma Lopez, Hot and Crusty worker and activist: “Unionize Low Wage Workers, We Did It!”

99 Pickets brought people together:

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Sundrop wearing the 99Pickets banner with pride

The Internationalist Group:

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Charlie from the Internationalist Group speaks

Socialist Alternative was there as well:

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Pete from Socialist Alternative takes the mike

OccuEvolve, always representing:

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Malu from OccuEvolve!

And of course, Occupy Kensington:

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Gibb from Occupy Kensington

New York Communities for Change was also there.

Occupy Staten Island, Occupy Sunset Park and if we forgot to mention anyone our apologies!

Most important of all, Kensington residents of all types were present supporting the workers. The message to Sonny was loud and clear:

Sonny Kim! No contract, no peace!

Kensington has got a fever and the only prescription is more boycott! (never gets old)

Meet Javier!

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Meet Javier. He works at Golden Farm in the dairy department and is the father of three beautiful daughters. His salary at Golden Farm supports his family.

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So when Golden Farm owner Sonny Kim retaliated by slashing 12 overtime hours on August 17, 2012 from Javier’s work week to punish Javier and his coworkers for organizing to have a contract with basic benefits, Sonny not only succeeded in squeezing his workers but also entire families. Sonny knows which of his workers have children and are more likely to suffer with retaliatory hour cuts. Javier, however, hasn’t let this stop him from speaking to the community. Javier shared his story with members of the Flatbush Jewish Center on October 21, 2012. And just yesterday he was seen outside the store speaking to Kensington resident Jennifer Fortune, a senior at Hunter, writing a paper on the Golden Farm struggle for school.

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La lucha sigue!