Via the Brandworkers International website:
For Immediate Release:
April 7, 2008
Giorgione Drops Wild Edibles Amid Escalating Labor Dispute
Immigrant Workers Seeking to Improve Large Seafood Company Score Another Victory
New York, NY- Employees at Wild Edibles have chalked up a gain in their effort to win unlawfully withheld overtime pay and a voice at work with the decision of highly-regarded Italian restaurants, Giorgione and Giorgione 508, to refrain from purchasing Wild Edibles seafood until workers' grievances are fairly resolved. Giorgione joins leading New York restaurants including Pastis, Union Square Cafe, La Goulue, Mermaid Inn, and Sushi Samba that have previously pulled out of Wild Edibles over concern for the treatment of employees there.
"Giorgione has demonstrated a welcome concern for the workers behind the scenes at Wild Edibles," said Daniel Gross, the founding director of Brandworkers International, a non-profit workers' rights organization providing legal and advocacy assistance to the employees. "We look forward to communicating with the remaining Wild Edibles customers about the workers' efforts to improve their futures and the futures of their children."
Wild Edibles workers have joined with concerned community members to both remedy past injustices and win a living wage and health care for the future. Last September, a group of employees filed a large federal class action lawsuit potentially covering hundreds of workers alleging that Wild Edibles withheld overtime pay and retaliated against workers who asserted their rights. A federal judge subsequently issued an injunction against Wild Edibles and its owner Richard Martin against further retaliation. The National Labor Relations Board has also alleged that the company interfered with the rights of employees who have joined the Industrial Workers of the World labor union.
"We come to work six days a week and work hard through the night," said Raymundo Lara Molina, one of the eleven Wild Edibles employees allegedly fired or forced out of the job for asserting their rights. "We're just looking for our work and our families to be respected."
Brandworkers International is a non-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees across the supply chain. By connecting retail and food workers with concerned citizens, Brandworkers increases employer compliance with the law and challenges corporate misconduct. The Brandworkers Focus on the Food Chain initiative enables New York's mostly immigrant food processing workers to reach for a better tomorrow.