For nearly two years the workers at the Golden Farm Deli in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn have been trying to get a contract.
Finally, the Golden Farm owner gave up his attempt to get Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 338 decertified. He gave up trying to provoke the community support organized by Occupy Kensington into fights or discourage it from picketing and organizing an effective boycott. He signed an agreement with the union the last week of June.
The workers at Golden Farm said that they had won a hard-fought victory.
One of them, Martin Gonzalez, told Occupy Kensington: “We the workers of Golden Farm thank you for all your help. Thank you for your time on the picket line. Above all, thank you for making this campaign a dream come true — a campaign that nobody stopped, only victory.”
Another said: “Hi, my name is Roberto and in the name of my co-workers from Golden Farm we greet you most sincerely and thank you very much — to every one of you — for the unconditional help. This victory is also yours. Thank you to everyone and God bless you.”
The contract includes paid sick days, holidays and vacation time and a small raise, which takes their pay above the minimum wage for the first time. It also includes a “good cause” clause, which requires that management must provide a reason for firing a worker. It also recognizes the right of the workers to have active union representation.
The issue about “active union representation” was the main sticking point for Golden Farm owner Sonny Kim.
Members of the Green Party, Socialist Alternative, OccuEvolve and the OWS Labor Outreach Committee helped sustain the community pickets over the course of the last two years. The Rude Mechanical Orchestra made several visits.
Unable to shake off the union and outlast the community’s resolve, Golden Farm settled.