In factories across Bushwick, workers routinely suffer abuse. Workers are not permitted to leave their machines to use the bathroom without permission of a supervisor. Factories are unsafe and unsanitary. The right to organize, receive minimum wages, overtime pay are violated routinely and impunity by local factories and workers who demand these rights face severe retaliation.
The Workplace Justice Project/Make The Road By Walking is helping to fight against these sweatshop conditions. The group meets weekly to share experience and strategize collectively on how to ensure workers’ rights at work are respected.
The workers at the MINIMAX store on Knickerbocker Ave in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY are continuing their struggle for workplace justice. These immigrant workers have been engaged in a months long fight over poor working conditions, pay and firings. With the support of Workers in Action (Make the Road)and others, there have been many pickets and other activities.
We are still out there leafleting every Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting . We are still in slow negotiations with the bosses, the principal demands being the boss pay the back wages and penalties to the workers (some $90,000), and give a raise to all the present workers. The other demands, coffee breaks, not getting fired for being out sick or with a sick child, etc., which cost the boss no money, we apparently have won. But the money is the main sticking point.
If the workers went to court the workers will surely win their back pay. But the workers want to make a change, not only for themselves, but for all the workers. We can only win demands like the raise and so on, by pressuring the boss with protests and boycott. The court will not go there. That’s why direct action is important. So that is why we continue our protests!
If we can win something for the workers there, we can go on to target other stores in that shopping area and pressure them to comply or face protests and boycotts too. The best would be to get the workers rehired, and then have a union situation. But that is where immigrants face particular problems.
WORKERS IN ACTION/MAKE THE ROAD BY WALKING
301 Grove Street, Brooklyn, New York 11237