By CUNY Internationalist Clubs and Internationalist Group
Immigrant workers at the former Hot & Crusty bakery on 63rd St. and 2nd Ave. in Manhattan are waging a courageous struggle that has inspired defenders of labor and immigrant rights. Facing 72-hour workweeks, below-minimum pay, harassment and abuse, they took a stand. After winning tens of thousands of dollars in back pay, they set about organizing their own union, the Hot & Crusty Workers Association, with assistance from the Laundry Workers
On May 23 the union won representation elections by a large majority; the results were certified on June 1st. Rather than negotiate, owner Mark Samson closed the store on August 31. The workers set up picket lines to fight this union-busting. Electrifying news came on September 8, when the union announced that a new owner had signed an agreement recognizing the union and even agreeing to a union hiring hall. On September 12, the prospective new owner came to a public event in front of the store where he reaffirmed this accord. Yet on Friday, September 14, another turn came in the situation: the report that the building’s owners refuse to sign a lease with the prospective new owner. It is clear that powerful interests who live off the super-exploitation of immigrant labor in this city are bent on stopping the example Hot and Crusty workers have shown.
Faced with this new situation, the Hot and Crusty workers have resumed their picket line in front of the 63rd Street store. Their objective is clear: to return to work with the union recognition and hiring hall already
agreed to. With their bravery and determination, the Hot and Crusty workers have shown the way. Immigrant workers, union, student and community activists and have a stake in this fight. The workers’ struggle
continues–they need solidarity more than ever.
Come to the picket lines! Every day, 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., northwest corner of 63rd St. and 2nd Ave, Manhattan. Bring coworkers, classmates and friends. Their fight is our fight: let’s help win it now!