According to Laundry Workers Center United officials, seven employees from B&H Photo’s Manhattan warehouse were fired the same day workers voted to join the United Steelworkers.
“These seven workers had requested meetings with B&H Photo human resources, demanding respect and an end to hostile treatment and scare tactics,” read an emailed statement to the AmNews. “They expressed their interest in the benefits of a union but were not a part of the group that petitioned for and won the February 23 election. It is illegal and wrong for B&H Photo to retaliate against these workers. Collective action is protected by U.S. law.”
As the AmNews reported last week, a National Labor Relations Board-conducted election resulted in workers voting to join the union after training with the Laundry Workers Center, a grassroots labor group. In January, Midtown B&H warehouse workers went public with the goal to end what they call “abusive” and “dangerous” workplace conditions along with discriminatory practices.
In November 2000, B&H warehouse workers in Brooklyn voted to join the United Steelworkers after also complaining about unsafe working conditions, discrimination and wage theft. They found an ally in the Photo/Video Alliance for Fair Labor, whose open letter called for an end to the working conditions and discrimination that B&H warehouse workers allegedly faced. The open letter had 1,000 signatures from people in the world of film, television, academia, journalism and commercial photography.
Workers at the Brooklyn warehouse said they were pulled from their workstations and forced to meet with consultants who demanded information regarding union campaign leaders. They also stated that consultants threatened workers who didn’t speak up and screamed at workers who didn’t comply with orders. Workers claimed to have recordings of B&H managers doing this.
Meanwhile, Laundry Workers Center officials hope to get the word out of the seven fired B&H employees via social media.
“We stand united with hundreds of B&H warehouse workers, the Photo/Video Alliance, the United Steelworkers, and the New York labor community, demanding that B&H Photo Video immediately rehire the #BH7,” concluded their statement.