Press contact: Rosanna Rodríguez, co-director Laundry Workers Center
New York, NY—Over 200 workers from B&H Photo Video’s Brooklyn and Manhattan warehouses have gone on a day-long strike, in conjunction with “un día sin inmigrantes” strikes happening around the country.
Hundreds of workers and supporters picketed outside B&H Photo’s retail store in Manhattan this morning. A delegation of workers and community members delivered a letter to B&H management, demanding that the company “respect and acknowledge that WE, 300+ B&H warehouse workers and our wives and children, who have been without us, dedicated our lives to building up your operations… for decades.”
B&H Photo workers reportedly worked under extremely dangerous conditions in the warehouses. They decided to fight back, trained with Laundry Workers Center for over a year, and in 2015 voted overwhelmingly to form a union.
This year, B&H announced plans to close its Brooklyn warehouses and move almost 330 jobs 75 miles away to New Jersey, making it nearly impossible to for the predominantly Latino workforce to keep their jobs.
“We are here today to let B&H know that we, the workers, have the power. We will not allow B&H to leave over 300 workers without a job,” said warehouse worker Francisco Pimental.
“We see this an attempt to bust their union and stop the grassroots worker organizing that has resulted in concrete improvements at B&H”, said Rosanna Rodríguez, co-director of Laundry Workers Center.
B&H workers also saw the strike as part of a larger struggle against injustice, as hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers participate in a general strike, or “Day Without An Immigrant”, on May 1.
In an earlier statement, warehouse worker Rigoberto Gallos wrote, “Our communities have come together to stand against the Muslim ban, against ICE, against the violence on communities of color and the working class, that has been going on for a very long time.”
“This is a call to keep fighting for dignity and justice. Today, we are in solidarity with all workers around the world.” said Rosanna Rodríguez, co-director of Laundry Workers Center.
Workers vowed to keep up the struggle. “We are striking for dignity and respect, and we will fight to the end,” said warehouse worker Jorge Lora.