NYC Grocery Workers Win!
October 15, 2012 8:37 am
The non-profit New York Communities for Change has been carrying out a drive to organize low-paid workers at small New York City grocery stores since 2010. Last last week, they won their largest settlement yet. Dae Yoo, the owner of Farm Country grocery store, agreed to pay back wages totaling $500,000 to 63 current and former employees, some of whom made well under minimum wage with unpaid overtime taken into account. The settlement equals out to about $9,000 per worker.
The mostly immigrant workers also held a successful union vote, and Farm Country ownership recently agreed to a contract providing wages 50 cents above the minimum, as well as paid days off. NYCC, in conjunction with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union/ United Food and Commercial Workers Local 338 have taken on the laudable task of organizing the underserved immigrant and low-wage workers with good reason — Farm Country employee Ruben Guardado speaks on feeling trapped by prior conditions:
I felt like we didn’t have any rights. We were afraid. We worked because we needed the job, but at the same time … we need what is fair. We don’t have to put up with making less than is fair.
A July report by leading employment firm Seyfarth Shaw evidenced a dramatic rise in wage and hour lawsuits. With hope, some of those suits will result in outcomes as favorable as this one.
Image from here