Emilio Flores, LWC member-leader from New Jersey, led his organizing campaign after getting fired for demanding PPE & better safety protocols during the Covid-19 Pandemic at his workplace. Emilio and his co-workers won their campaign. They got economic compensation for all the damages. Part of their victory also brought structural changes around health & safety for the workers still working with the company.
The following article highlights the campaign in New Jersey and workers demand at that time: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/new-jersey/2020/10/23/leonia-nj-immigrant-say-they-were-fired-covid-19-complaints/3720594001/
Emilio Flores was born in Mexico. After a few months living in New Jersey, he joined the company Tekkote Corp. Today, which is part of the multi-national company Mondi Group, a paper company in more than 30 countries worldwide with approximately 25,000 employees. For 21 years, Emilio worked as a warehouse worker with a lot of effort, dedication, and enthusiasm.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought catastrophic consequences, thousands of human losses, job losses, and many problems that continue with us today. In the case of Emilio and his co-workers, the lack of adequate personal protective equipment was constant, and the management response was a shortage of equipment in the market. Even so, they had to continue working. The results of that negligence soon arrived; the Covid-19 infections spread in the workplace, and unfortunately, two workers lost their lives. After the first death, Emilio and his co-workers asked management for adequate PPE and even the plant's temporary closure. The answer was negative. In the first week of June 2020, the company fired 18 workers, including Emilio, with more than 20 years of work. Workers decided they could fight against the injustices they suffered and began their arduous training with the Laundry Workers Center to launch their workplace justice campaign in New Jersey. Emilio became one of the leaders of the movement.
After months of direct actions, negotiations, and alliances with colleagues in the USA and abroad, specifically in Europe. Emilio and his co-workers achieved victory. "Our victory inspires others to fight and defend their rights. Our success crossed borders and was celebrated in Europe. A victory that is not just ours but for all those who fought with us."
Today Emilio became a board member of the Laundry Workers Center and opened a family business, a flower shop.