New York grocery giant uses anti-immigrant intimidation to stall union drive – Full Article – Worker’s World
By Milt Neidenberg
Published Dec 19, 2007 12:37 AM
Nine hundred FreshDirect warehouse workers in the midst of a union organizing campaign are under attack from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in collusion with their employer, a Queens, New York-based online grocery delivery corporation. The company has suspended several dozen workers, predominantly Latina immigrants, and fired a few.
A union election is scheduled for Dec. 22-23. Both the Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers are on the ballot, along with a “no union” option. The company and ICE have embarked upon an illegal, ruthless anti-immigration investigation to sabotage the union campaign.
From 12 to 18 hours daily, the workers labor under mandatory overtime, standing in near-freezing temperatures to insure the freshness of the food they pack, price and label. They prepare the boxes, many heavy with canned goods, for the truckers and delivery helpers. For this exhausting labor where it’s winter all year long, they make around $7.50 an hour and no benefits. A supervisor reportedly told workers, “What’s wrong with working so many hours? Now you don’t have to look for a second job.”