Black Friday OWS Action Planning

Walmart workers across the country are organizing, and planning strikes and a day of action for Black Friday. We may not have any Walmarts here in New York City, but that won’t stop us from organizing in solidarity!

Join Occupy Wall Street, 99 Pickets, and allies to plan “Wall Street to Walmart”, an OWS-wide series of actions starting before Thanksgiving and culminating on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.

Black Friday OWS Action Planning meeting
Saturday, 10/27, 4-6pm
NY NJ Joint Board
33 W 14th St., New York, NY

Workers Win Historic Election for Union Representation at New York Restaurant Chain Hot and Crusty

Hot and Crusty workersCiting Company-Wide Wage Theft, Safety Violations, Verbal Abuse and Sexual Harassment, Workers Vote for Independent Union in 12 to 8 Victory

New York, NY–May 24, 2012. Workers at the 63rd street location of Hot and Crusty restaurant voted yesterday to certify an independent union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association, with 20 of 22 eligible employees submitting their vote at the National Labor Relations Board. After a 4 month-long public campaign to bring attention to injustices in the workplace, workers were overjoyed by news of their victory. Documenting widespread labor violations spanning 6 years, including overtime and minimum wage violations, non-compliance with health and safety codes, and sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees, workers began organizing their campaign after approaching grassroots community organization Laundry Workers Center United to assist them in their efforts.

Following multiple attempts by the workers to reach a reasonable agreement with the company, parties came to an impasse when management refused to negotiate in good faith over terms and conditions of employment. Responding to the employers’ threat that “structural changes within the workplace would not happen without a union,” the workers formed an independent labor organization and filed a petition for certification with the National Labor Relations Board.

Employing provisions contained in New York State’s newly enacted Wage Theft Prevention Act, championed by community organizations and State Senator Diane Savino (D-SI/Brooklyn), a civil lawsuit was simultaneously filed for overtime and minimum wage violations, as well as liquidated damages. Gene Eisner of Eisner and Mirer, P.C, counsel to the workers, emphasized the importance of the Act’s “stiffened penalties, liquidated damages and critical protections for the undocumented in reclaiming what is rightfully owed to these hardworking individuals.”

Applauding the workers resolve in rejecting multiple settlement offers that failed to address continued violations in the workplace, Laundry Workers Center Founder, Virgilio Aran, said “this was a struggle completely led by the workers, and the decisions were made collectively to address structural issues that many immigrant workers in this country face. We have all learned a great deal from their courage and determination to organize.”

Mahoma Lopez, a leader in the campaign who has worked at Hot and Crusty for over 7 years, stressed the importance of workers coming together in their workplace to stand up against injustice, saying “this is a victory for us all, particularly for immigrant workers. We have shown the bosses that when we organize, there is no stopping us. When we come together, we are strong.”

The company has responded to the workers organizing efforts with threats, intimidation, and offers of monetary compensation, all of which are unlawful under the National Labor Relations Act. Workers at other Hot and Crusty locations have subsequently come forward with similar wage and hour violations, which are currently being investigated. Recently the company hired a union-busting firm and forbid workers from speaking to the press in response to the success of the organizing of the Laundry Workers Center.

For more information, contact:
Nastaran Mohit (914)557-6408
Virgilio Aran (347)394-8350

Winning @ Work: Labor Law for the 99%

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
CWA 1180, 6 Harrison Street


Daniel Gross
Brandworkers International,
author “Labor Law for the Rank and Filer”
… Sonia Lin
Attorney, Immigration and Employment Law

“If it’s effective, it’s illegal”. This is common wisdom for anyone trying to organize in workplaces today.

The Taylor Law, Taft-Hartley regulations, employer sanctions and numerous other regulations of workplace labor all stand as hurdles organizers face in taking on the 1% where it counts most – at work. Often the courts, laws, and stables of lawyers stand between workers and justice.

But the history of working class struggle is a history full of examples of how people overcame these challenges through creative methods of using, avoiding, or breaking the law.

Presented by the OWS LABOR ALLIANCE