Saturday, February 27, 2016

B&H Photo Updates: More Workers Unionize, Government Files Discrimination Suit

Workers at B&H Photo’s Manhattan Warehouse Vote to Unionize
By Claire Voon, Hyperallergic
February 23, 2016

This morning, workers in the basement warehouse of B&H Photo Video‘s flagship store in Manhattan voted 46–14 to unionize, hoping to give themselves a voice in a work environment that many have described as hazardous and abusive. Their decision to organize with the United Steelworkers — North America’s largest industrial labor union — occurs three weeks after a group of B&H employees picketed outside the store, announcing their intention to join a campaign launched by around 200 others stationed at the electronics merchandiser’s two Brooklyn warehouses.

“After this victory, what is coming is respect, fair treatment for all workers, and a decent salary,” B&H worker Benicio Najera said in a statement. As Hyperallergic previously reported, the pro-union employees, who largely comprise a Hispanic community, have described years of discrimination based on their race from managers, the majority of whom are Hasidic Jews. Such complaints range from brief incidents of name calling to disparities in wages. Workers have also described dangerous workplace conditions that threaten their personal safety. This month, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed a number of violations in both of the company’s Brooklyn warehouses, fining B&H $32,000.[...]

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B&H Sued by Labor Department for Discrimination
By Samuel Lieberman, New York Magazine
February 26, 2016

The Department of Labor filed an administrative lawsuit on Wednesday accusing B&H, the New York electronics retailer, of discrimination against Hispanic, black, female, and Asian employees at its warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The suit accuses the company — its official name is B&H Foto & Electronics Corporation — of forcing Hispanic warehouse workers to use separate and filthy restrooms. It further charges that B&H also failed to provide designated changing rooms for women, and that employees used “racist remarks, degrading comments and harassment” against Hispanic workers at the Navy Yard warehouse.[...]

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