From the Wobbly City Newsletter:
What: MARCH TO DEMAND AN END TO EXPLOITATION IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY. The march will begin at 9:30 am and proceed through the industrial areas of Bushwick, Williamsburg and Ridgewood. DRESS FOR COLD WEATHER!!
When: Monday February 19, 2007 starting at 9:30am
Where: Rally with us at 3 locations!
- 9:30 AM @ Sunrise Plus/E-Z Supply, 48-01 Metropolitan Ave. in Ridgewood, Queens.
- 11:30 AM @ Morgan stop of the L train (Morgan and Harrison)
- 1:00 PM @ March on Associated Supermarket on Knickerbocker ave
- L train running on Saturday Schedule
Why: In an attempt to rise out of sweatshop conditions, workers in the Brooklyn wholesale food distribution industry have engaged in strikes, protests, and filed lawsuits alleging minimum wage and overtime violations. Over 20 workers from two warehouses were fired in the past few months in retaliation for their union activities.
At Associated Supermarket owners have committed egregious wage violations against their workers, including failure to pay minimum wage and overtime, and having some workers paid in tips only with absolutely no benefits.
These workers need your support as they struggle to enforce the minimum wage and demand their right to organize.
For the latest update visit the Wobbly City Newsletter
For more info call
Billy J Randal at 646 645-6284
or Tomer Malchi at 646-753-1167
Directions and details
9:30 am @ Sunrise Plus/E-Z Supply, 48-01 Metropolitan Ave. in Ridgewood, Queens.
Take the L train to the Grand stop, walk east over bridge and onto Metropolitan ave. Walk 6 blocks past fork in the road, Sunrise plus (EZ-supply) will be on the left. Street map at or
People will be stationed at the Grand Street L stop from 9:30 – 10AM to give directions and lead contingents to Sunrise Plus/E-Z Supply.
Secondary meet-up/Press meet up
11:30 – 11:45am at the Morgan stop of the L train. The March will wait for 15 minutes at the Morgan stop before marching on Handfat – Handyfat is 2 blocks south from the train on Thames between Morgan and Bogart.
At 1:00pm we will march from Handyfat to Associated Supermarket on knickerbocker ave.
The 460 campaign began around a year and a half ago when workers at Handyfat, a food distribution warehouse, approached the Bushwick Latino community/workers center, "Make the Road by Walking." The Handyfat workers had already organized outside of any union, but were looking for support. Make the Road by Walking put them in touch with Billy Randel and Bert Picard, two experienced IWW organizers. Since then, the campaign has expanded to four other warehouses, and we are constantly talk to more and more workers.
A year ago, workers at EZ-Supply voted for IWW representation in a NLRB certified union election. In May of last year, Amersino's boss rigged their election by saying that a number of his friends were a "night shift" that didn't actually exist. Later he illegally fired several key organizers. The NLRB is (still) currently considering action against Amersino regarding the firings.
EZ-Supply on the other hand flaunted its obligation to bargain in good faith with the union after the successful election, and retaliated and harassed union members. Only in November of this year, after leafletting EZ-Supply's customers (restaurants) and convinced several to switch to a different supplier, did EZ-supply reinitiate bargaining with the union. At this juncture the union negotiated a landmark contract (for the industry) that was tentatively agreed upon by EZ-Supplies boss and the union. In December, the union marched on Top City Produce to demand the boss pay their workers according to minimum wage requirements and to recognize the union. Also in late December the union filed several lawsuits against all of the above companies for wage and hour violations, in excess of 100,000 dollars.
At this point Handyfat, EZ-Supply, Amersino, and Top City all gave their union workers letters requesting workers' immigration papers. This move, although a flagrant violation of the law and clear retaliation for union activity, was their trump card. The bosses had never requested to see any immigration papers before and some of the workers had worked for their respective companies for over 10 years. EZ-Supply also claimed that it had never tentatively agreed to a union contract. The next week, the very day the IWW served EZ-Supply with a complaint for back wage violations, EZ-Supply fired all its union workers. Next Handyfat did the same. Top City had also closed temporarily to "reorganize" its business supposedly to get rid of debt but rehired everyone as of February 15th. This leaves 25 workers. The union's defense fund has compensated all the workers for their lost pay and all have gotten new jobs by now. Major court action against the employers is pending from the NLRB and the Department of Justice for various lawbreaking.