May. 7, 2012 | Eunice Cho
Golden Farm Supermarket Workers—Immigrant Worker Campaign of the Month!
Across New York City, grocery store workers routinely suffer wage theft and other workplace abuses. At the Golden Farm Supermarket in Kensington, Brooklyn, after a decade of wage and hour abuses, workers joined together to fight back. These workers, overwhelmingly immigrant workers, began organizing with the community group New York Communities for Change (NYCC), and filed a lawsuit in June 2011 demanding their back wages. The Golden Farm workers won a major victory when the owner finally began complying with minimum wage and overtime laws, but they are still fighting to recover the back wages they are owed.
Workers also decided that they not only wanted back wages, but also basic rights such as paid sick days and vacation, living wages and job security. Workers signed union pledge cards with RWDSU/UFCW Local 338, and on May 2, 2012 voted 13 - 8 in favor of Local 338 as their collective bargaining agent. The election still has to be certified by the NLRB, which is expected this month.
The campaign is the result of a collaborative project between NYCC and Local 338 founded on the idea that workers have more power when community-based organizations, unions, and workers unite as allies. The Golden Farm effort is the continuation of a campaign that also includes successful organizing drives and lawsuits at other supermarkets in Brooklyn, New York. The campaign has attracted press attention, in In These Times and the NY Daily News.
"The boycott is a way to pressure the owner to settle with us and to pay us the wages that he stole us. Also so that he knows that the workers have the support of the people in the community. I think that we have sent our boss a strong message on behalf of the workers and the community. We feel stronger knowing that we have the support of so many people," said Roberto Ramirez Martinez, current worker at Golden Farm, named plaintiff on lawsuit." "I have been working at Golden Farm for over ten years. For many years, we were worked for less than minimum wage and overtime, working for many hours every week. We are fighting for what's ours, we are fighting for the money they owe us. We are fighting for basic benefits," noted Felix Trinidad, current worker at Golden Farm, named plaintiff on lawsuit.
For more information about the Golden Farm campaign, please visit: http://www.nycommunities.org/
Filed under: Past Worker Campaigns of the Month