Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Day Without Bread, April 21: Support NY Bakery Workers as They Fight “Silent Raids”

During the Obama administration employers and the government used the “silent raid” as a major
tool for intimidating undocumented workers. In this scenario a company notifies some of its employees that the government has found problems with their documents; if the workers can’t verify their legal status by a certain date, they lose their jobs. This tactic has led to the firing of thousands of immigrants—often from better-paying union jobs—driving them into substandard jobs in the underground economy.

Workers at the Tom Cat bakery in Queens are fighting back. Thirty-one of them have been threatened with firing on Friday, April 21, if they don’t produce documents, but instead of accepting this tactic the workers are calling for a citywide “Day Without Bread” on the date. The nonprofit organization Brandworkers is representing the workers, and several local restaurants have already agreed not to serve bread on April 21. Other supporters are demonstrating their solidarity by signing a petition and contributing to a relief fund for the workers.

The April 21 action will kick off with a rally outside the bakery from 6 am to 8 am.  The location is 43-05 10th Street in Long Island City, which is accessible from several subway lines. Yes, it’s early in the morning, and there’s a good chance of rain, but by turning out New Yorkers can help the bakery workers in their struggle—and build locally for the national Day Without Immigrants on May 1.

NYC Bakery Workers Plan Citywide ‘Day Without Bread’ to Protest Immigrant Firings
Can you imagine an entire day in New York City without bread?

By Simone Wilson, Patch Queens
April 19, 2017
LONG ISLAND CITY, QUEENS — We've endured a day without immigrants, a day without women and even a day without bodegas in the name of standing up to President Trump and his policies. But can we endure a day without bread?

Workers at New York’s oldest artisanal bakery who say they're facing immediate termination due to their immigration status are urging all "restaurants and consumers across the city to refrain from selling or eating bread" this Friday for what would be the city's first-ever “Day Without Bread.”

Tom Cat Bakery's management previously told workers at the Queens factory that the company was being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, the protesters claim.

Now, “thirty-one workers, many of whom have been at the bakery for a decade or more, have been told they will be fired April 21 if they do not provide new employment documents,” according to a statement issued by Brandworkers, a nonprofit that is representing the workers.[...]

Read the full article:

Tom Cat Does Trump’s Dirty Work

By Danny Katch, Socialist Worker
March 23, 2017
WHEN PEOPLE talk about Donald Trump's anti-immigrant base, they usually aren't thinking of artisanal bakeries in New York City.

But when Tom Cat Bakery in Queens handed out letters to 30 employees on March 15 demanding that they show proof of legal status, it showed that the people who have the most to gain from Trump's crackdown aren't white factory workers in the Rustbelt, but bosses everywhere who want to keep their workers divided and afraid.

“I pay taxes, I work hard, I have a family. Last week, we received a letter asking us for documentation. We were only given 10 days [to submit the paperwork]. I think it's very unfair the way we're being treated. We've given so much to this company. The reason why the company is successful today is because of our hard work.”[…]

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