Low Wage Workers Resuscitate NY’s Organized Labor
With New York’s barbell economy destroying traditional middle class employment, fast food workers aren’t the only ones fed up with low wages and unfair labor practices. Others rising up to fight for fair pay include workers from:
• Farm Country in East New York – 63 current and former workers at Farm Country in East New York will receive a total of $500,000 in back pay as a result of being underpaid hourly as well as being shorted on overtime. Workers voted to unionize and will be getting 50-cent raises over minimum wage, overtime, and paid days off.
• Golden Farm in Kensington, Brooklyn – Since 2008, workers from Golden Farm have been fighting for fair pay, overtime, and paid sick leave…and they’re winning. After contacting the Dept. of Labor, suing the owner for back pay, organizing a community-wide boycott that has resulted in a 20% drop in revenue, and voting to unionize, employees are just 2 negotiations away from signing a fair labor contract.
• Astoria Car Wash and Hi-Tek 10 Minute Lube Inc – In September of 2012, workers at Astoria Car Wash and Hi-Tek 10 Minute Lube became the first car wash employees in NYC history to vote for unionization. This came after a 2008 investigation by the state labor commission found that nearly 8 out of every 10 car washes in NYC violated minimum wage and overtime laws. Since September, 4 other car washes have voted for unionization.
• Hot and Crusty – After nearly a year of organizing against a fiercely anti-union boss, workers at this NYC chain went on strike, formed their own independent union, and are helping to educate and inform other chain restaurant workers of their rights.
• Retail Action Project (RAP) – RAP is an organization of retail workers that is fighting to improve workplace standards. In October of 2012, they launched the Sustainable Scheduling campaign. This is an effort to curtail corporate retailers’ unpredictable, part-time scheduling practices. Their goal is give workers stable hours that produce a sustainable income.
• Air Serv and Global Elite Group – Security workers at JFK airport threatened to walk off the job before the holiday rush in December of 2012 unless their demands for higher wages and safer working conditions were met. The Port Authority asked them to call off the strike and strongly urged their contractors, Air Serv and Global Elite, to work out an agreement with employees. The employees are also considering unionization.