At Stake Are Their Jobs and $230,000 in Back Pay From Flaum Appetizing, a Kosher Food Producer in Brooklyn
By Maia Efrem - The Jewish Daily Forward, August 4, 2010
Workers who were fired by a Brooklyn kosher food producer after demanding overtime pay have been protesting outside the owner’s house and a supermarket this summer, and preparing for a return to the National Labor Relations Board this fall.
Flaum Appetizing, Inc., a producer of kosher salads, pickles, and smoked fish, has been embroiled in the dispute since it fired17 immigrant workers in May 2008. The terminated workers had complained about working conditions and demanded to be paid overtime after working 60 to 80 hours a week. The NLRB ruled that Flaum had violated the workers’ rights, and ordered their reinstatement with back pay. Flaum has not complied, and a NLRB hearing is set for September 21.
“Our belief is that if you work, if you sweat and deliver a service, you’re entitled to have your legal rights protected, and that includes payment for your work,” said Daniel Gross, executive director of Brandworkers International, a not-for-profit organization that advocates workers’ rights and has taken up the cause along with the Industrial Workers of the World union.
“The [fired] workers are currently very active on the streets, and we seek dialogue, but we are also not afraid to fight,” Gross said.