Overworked, underpaid NO MORE

ImageBelated report-back. Saturday night February 2nd was very cold and windy. At 7:30p.m., on the corner of New York and Church Avenues in Flatbush, about 30 members from the New York Communities for Change’s (NYCC) Flatbush neighborhood chapter and the NYCC Workers Committee met and then marched down Church Ave. towards 18th Street. Why? To fight for justice for immigrant workers. To clean up Church Avenue! To make Flatbush an exploitation free zone. No more wage theft. No more 72+ hour work weeks for sub-poverty wages. Sick days for all. Living wages for all.

Why the late start time for the march? Because most march participants worked during the day and could not participate until later in the evening. March organizers wanted to go directly to the  very workers inside the restaurants, green groceries, nail salons, etc., that remained open at that hour. People working and on the street were informed about their rights and encouraged to organize. Employers were put on notice.

Juan, Junior and Lucas spoke about why they were going to march:

At 18th St. and Church Ave the marchers stopped and were ferried in a van to the most famous green grocery in all of Brooklyn. GOLDEN FARM!

Once there a few Occupy Kensington members joined the marchers and called upon Golden Farm owner Sonny Kim to sign the contract and guarantee his employees paid sick days, vacations, personal days, holidays, annual raises and job security.

Image

Comite de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores de NYCC

Image

Sandra Castro marched on Feb. 2!

Why was it a beautiful night? Because workers from other stores that have organized, fought and won were present to support their brothers and sisters at Golden Farm.

Cesar from Master Food supermarket (3008 Church Avenue, Brooklyn) spoke. His store won a union contract with Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW and a 300K settlement in back pay. Junior from Key Food supermarket (9530 Church Avenue, Brooklyn) spoke also. His store won a union contract with Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW.

Image

Justice chalk!

Advertisements

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.

Image

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

How Much Don’t You Spend at Golden Farm?

Let’s do the math! How much money is Golden Farm owner Sonny Kim losing in business by prolonging negotiations with the workers? Fill out this form! Courtesy of our friends at 99Pickets and Occupy Kensington! Check out the following post from KARMABrooklyn Blog:

HOW MUCH DON’T YOU SPEND AT GOLDEN FARM?

_________________________________________________
 
Dear Sonny Kim:
 
I support workers at Golden Farm.
 
Before the boycott, I spent about $______ per week at
the store.
 
When you sign a fair contract with the workers I will come
back to shop at Golden Farm.
 
Sincerely,
 
Name: __________________________________
 
99 Pickets & Occupy Kensington // 99pickets.org
_________________________________________________
 
 
If you’re boycotting Golden Farm, let Sonny Kim, the owner, know how much money you no longer spend there each week. And that you’ll be back in the store, cash (or plastic) in hand, after he negotiates a fair union contract.

The boycott, requested by Golden Farm employees, has caused a 50% drop in sales on peak days. Boycotters want the owner to

  • sign a fair union contract with the employees and include paid sick days,
  • restore employees’ work hours that the owner cut illegally in retaliation for employees organizing, and
  • reinstate employees who were fired in retaliation for organizing.

To help, just fill out a paper card like the one shown above (get it from a picketer) or an online form.

A neighborhood delegation will deliver the cards to Mr. Kim.
 
This “pledge drive” is brought to you by 99 Pickets and Occupy Kensington.
 
Image

Why is Marcos standing on the ladder?

 

MLK, Memphis and Golden Farm

99Pickets organizing:

Fight for a Fair Contract at Golden Farm

“Sunday. 1/20, 2pm
Fight for a Fair Contract at Golden Farm

Where: Golden Farm, 329 Church Ave, Brooklyn NY 11218

After over a decade of getting paid well below minimum wage – totaling over $500,000 in stolen wages – Golden Farm workers stood up for their rights, suing owner Sonny Kim for their back wages and voting to form a union.

In September, workers achieved a partial victory when Sonny Kim was ordered by the court to pay the workers a portion of the wages he stole. Now Golden Farm workers are demanding that Sonny Kim negotiate a fair contract to prevent further abuses, reinstate illegally fired workers and restore the hours he cut to retaliate against workers that stood up for each other.

Join 99 Pickets and the Occupy Wall Street community to support Golden Farm workers in the final leg of their fight for justice.”

To honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., watch the following clip as he speaks to Memphis sanitation workers in 1968:

“You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor; so often we overlook the worth and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so called big jobs, but let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity it has dignity and it has worth…you are reminding not only Memphis but you are reminding the nation that it is crime for people to live in this rich nation and receive starvation wages.”

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Flyer distributed to sanitation workers in Memphis:

Image

“The only force we will use is soul-force which is peaceful, loving, courageous, yet militant.”