Because the Kensington community believes in paid sick days and a living wage. Or at least a VERY NOTICEABLE percentage of the people. How much exactly? Hard to quantify. Sonny did sue NYCC for $3 million dollars and alleged in his suit that since October 2011, 20% of the business had disappeared. We would argue that since the boycott started on August 18, 2012 that the percentage has been higher.
Not everyone is a supporter though. People loooove their Golden Farm. On the picket line we get to meet AND hear from Kensington’s finest! These scabs, sorry, fine neighbors, come in all shape and sizes:
The “Stuck in the Cold War” type:
“Go back to Cuba you communist!”
The “A–hole That Takes Flyer and Crumples It” type:
“Get the F— out of my way!”
The “Hipster Gentrifier” type:
“I feel for the workers but this store has the best Kombucha. And the microbrew selection is off the hook. Sorry man.”
The “Straight-up Racist” or “Brown People Who Speak Spanish are Not Human Beings” type:
“These illegals don’t deserve anything. These Mexicans shouldn’t be here in the first place!”
The “Still Stuck in the Matrix” or “The NYTimes is My Bible” type:
“This is just horrible. They should just file a lawsuit or call the Department of Labor and everything will be taken care of…You say they already did? Good, then why are you out here? I’m sorry, I really have to go inside and get some groceries quick. Good luck with everything.”
The “Smarty Pants I’ve Talked to ALL the Workers and They Don’t Want You Here” type:
“This isn’t going to work you know…if you boycott how is the owner going to have money to pay the workers? I’m really good friends with all the workers and they don’t want you out here….You’re asking me if I speak Spanish and if I’ve talked to all the workers? No. Just a couple cashiers.”
The “Don’t You Realize I’m a Walking Contradiction” or “Convenience Justifies Crossing Picket Lines” type:
“Listen, I’m on your side. I’m pro-union. I’m a supporter, I signed your petition a while ago. Why am I still shopping here? Because this is such a convenient store, and Foodtown is really pricey, McDonald farm is not as good. This is just a really convenient store. I only shop here when I need to anyway.”
The “I’m From Another Planet” type:
“You guys are just trying to close down this store so you can open your own! Don’t think for a second you’re fooling me!”
Good times! We could go on and on. Fortunately however, there are the types that believe in basic human decency, labor rights and solidarity. Local residents Rabbi David Siff and Jennifer Fortune are just a couple examples:
Thank you Rabbi! Thank you Jennifer!
They (among many others) are the reason why this boycott is working and why at some point soon (knock on wood) Sonny Kim will do the math and realize that making peace is the sensible thing to do for his business (if we forget about justice for a second). The proverbial ball continues to be in his court. Sign the contract Sonny! We want our Kombucha!
(and also to shop in a union shop where the workers have paid sick days, raises, vacations, personal days and cannot get fired without just cause.)