Golden Farm workers SPEAK!

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Golden Farm workers speak to the Kensington community.

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

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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

Meet Martin (no need to walk into Golden Farm)

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Martin on the job!

Easiest Golden Farm employee to spot. Always outside (summer, winter, rain or shine, night or day, or HURRICANE!). He is on the quieter end of the spectrum, but if you want to get him going ask him about his favorite soccer team (Pumas); or if you are into music perhaps one of his favorite artists  (Lisandro Mesa); or just simply ask him about his hometown in Mexico (Chalco) and his wife and three children for whom he works for ever since he arrived to his first and and only job in the United States in 2007.

Why did Martin join his coworkers and sue Golden Farm owner Sonny Kim for his back-pay as well as organize to demand a fair contract?

[Martin] Gonzalez said he often comes to work sick, because he cannot afford to lose pay, and he worries that missing work could cost him his job.”

Brooklyn Downtown Star – Far from Golden Workers protest conditions at store

“Every worker deserves paid sick days,” said Martin Gonzalez, a Golden Farm worker who has worked without paid sick days for five years. “We are organizing here at Golden Farm so we don’t have to choose between our health and our pay checks every time we get sick. Getting sick shouldn’t mean risking your job. We’re proud to have the support of the community.”

Caribbean Life News: Community Protests “Sick and Fired” Policy at Golden Farm

Before the union election on May 2, 2012, when the majority of the workers voted to unionize, Martin noted that:

“[T}he clash is no longer just between the workers and the owner, said Golden Farm employee Martin Gonzalez. Many of the store’s cashiers—who Gonzalez said were in fact making minimum wage prior to the lawsuit—are angry with the other employees for stirring the pot, and have told customers that the other workers are lying about receiving unjust wages.

“I hadn’t realized that cashiers were being treated differently from all of us. On the average, they’ve been paid at or above minimum wage, whereas we’ve been paid way below the minimum wage,” Gonzalez said. “It’s really exhausting not only to fight with the owner, but also to be fighting with our own compañeros inside the store.”

Gonzalez said he feels confident that the election will be a success, despite lack of enthusiasm from some of the store’s 24 employees, as well as threats from Kim to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“I think that we can win the election at this moment, because we are even more committed,” he said. “Before we were afraid of speaking up, and now we are not afraid. If immigration comes, let it come.”

Windsor Terrace Patch: Community Plans Next Steps for Golden Farm Workers

Though he claims to be shy, the camera seems to always follow him!

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WATCH this video from Univision!

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WATCH this video from Telemundo!

And why does Martin believe that this 2 year fight has been worth each and every moment of stress, anxiety, and fear and even though he along with his coworkers has been continually harassed by management?

“Since we started our fight to be paid at least minimum wage, the workers at Golden Farm have been victims of different types of attacks from management, and the owner, Sonny Kim, has done nothing to stop them,” said Martin Gonzalez, a Golden Farm employee. “We believe that the state of New York should be free from discrimination and the exploitation of workers, and we are fighting to ensure workers who stand up for their rights are not threatened with jail time and deportation by management.”

KARMA Brooklyn Blog: Friday’s Rally Against Golden Farm

Better yet, you don’t have to read or listen to anything on this blog. Walk up to Martin and say “Hola Martin, como estas?”, he can be found outside of Golden Farm, by the grapes or the onions, where he has been working every single day  since 2007 (except Thursdays when he rests).

He’s a good guy to have as a neighbor since he lives on E. 4th Street within very short walking distance from Golden Farm.

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P.S. his brother Victor also works with him at Golden Farm (but we already met him!)