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Struggle Erupts at Hot and Crusty
Four arrested in Manhattan as company tries to bust union
By Marty Goodman
”I want to send a message that we have to change the way immigrants are treated in this country. We have to show the bosses that we can’t be treated like animals any longer. We need to take radical action like people did in the civil rights movement, so that our voices can be heard. We are so happy to have the community here with us.”
[Posted by The Politics of Immigration]
New York, NY, September 1--Yesterday, at the corner of 63 street and 2nd Ave., workers and supporters rallied to save jobs at Hot & Crusty, a chain of pastry shops in Manhattan. Hot and Crusty's was briefly occupied by about 15 people and about four were soon arrested by NY's finest. As of last night, two were released. Pickets are now 24/7 starting at noon Saturday. The best way to get there is by taking the F train to 63rd and Lexington. Be there.
Here's the deal. Hot and Crusty's wants to bust the union by closing. Yesterday was their last day dealing with a union - or so they thought. Organizers from the Laundry Worker's Center say that H & C's hopes to re-open with all new non-union workers. It]s criminal!
Below are photos from yesterday's protests and arrests, along with a press release. Pass it all onto friends. See you at Hot and Crusty's!
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Workers and Occupy Wall Street Fight Shop Closure; 24-Hour Picket and Occupation of Hot and Crusty Bakery Begins
Workers Allege Retaliatory Store Closure is an Employer Tactic to Break Recently Formed Union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association
New York, NY, August 3, 2012—Following news of an impending store closure, workers at the 63rd street location of Hot and Crusty bakery have called for a 24-hour picket and store occupation, alleging the company has deliberately withheld rent payments following a hard-fought and successful unionization drive in May 2012. The company, owned by private equity partner Mark Samson, gave the Hot and Crusty Workers Association 11 days notice of eviction from the property, informing employees that August 31st would be their last day.
The August 31 closure will mean the loss of 23 jobs – including those of employees with as many as twelve years of employment with the company. Workers allege owners, including Mark Samson, Evangelos Gavalas and Nick Glendis, have a demonstrated history of wage and hour violations, intimidation, retaliation and harassment of workers in several of their businesses, as well as a pattern of closing down shops and opening under different aliases to avoid legal and economic liability. Workers have filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board alleging that the company is closing the 63rd street shop to intimidate workers organizing at other Hot and Crusty locations.
The union, led by grassroots labor organization Laundry Workers Center, and a contingent from Occupy Wall Street, students, faith and community members are occupying the workplace and holding an around-the-clock picket demanding the company discontinue its union-busting tactics, pay its rent immediately, and continue to negotiate a fair contract with its workers. The company has used several bait-and-switch tactics during negotiations, threatening workers’ immigration status to deter their commitment to continuing the fight.
Mahoma Lopez, a leader in the campaign who has worked at Hot and Crusty for over 7 years, said: ”I want to send a message that we have to change the way immigrants are treated in this country. We have to show the bosses that we can’t be treated like animals any longer. We need to take radical action like people did in the civil rights movement, so that our voices can be heard. We are so happy to have the community here with us.”
Diego Ibanez, a member of Occupy Wall Street, emphasized the connection between Wall Street and workers, saying “we’re sending a clear message to greedy bosses that we are watching and will not allow our people in he community to be oppressed any longer.”