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Immigrants protest slave wages
Published Mar 2, 2007 11:20 PM
Immigrant workers demand fair wages
Feb. 19 in Queens, N.Y.
Photo: Million Worker March
In spite of subfreezing temperatures on streets lined with snow and ice, a
multinational protest of several hundred people, mostly youth, put a Queens,
N.Y.’s industrial district on notice Feb. 19. Rallying in support of
immigrant workers on strike since December 2006 and recently fired from
Handyfat Trading and Sunrise Plus, protesters marched outside these sweatshops
demanding that bosses rehire the workers and settle a contract with their
union, the Industrial Workers of the World.
The predominantly [email protected] workers led the rally and then carried the protest for
blocks, passing factories and sweatshops, many of whose workers had to be there
in spite of the holiday. Chants raised by the noisy marchers, some using
plastic buckets turned over for drumming, insisted that no worker is
Protesters included a large number of IWW supporters, a contingent of the
Million Worker March and local immigrant rights organizations such as Make the
Road by Walking and the Despierta Bushwick Campaign.
The protest also targeted an Associated Supermarket, which has ignored minimum
wage and overtime laws for its workers for years. Workers there have neither
health benefits nor vacation pay. This working class neighborhood came alive
with cries of “Boycott Associated, Stop Slave Wages!” Chants of
“Shut It Down!” were heard for blocks.
Labor united has won over $600,000 in illegally withheld wages for workers on
Knickerbocker Avenue, where the protests were held.
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