Call for market boycott
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and about 100 local union workers called for a boycott of Amish Market on W. Broadway last Friday.
An Amish Market worker was fired in August for trying to unionize, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, and at least two other workers have been harassed.
One worker who wants a union is Luis Cinfuentes, 55, who has been a dishwasher at Amish Market for nearly two years. Being a union member would mean healthcare, better pay and guaranteed working hours, he said in Spanish while on his lunch break this week. Cinfuentes, during a conference call with a union official, said he used to work about 45 hours a week, but the manager cut him down to about 30 hours after he started talking about a union.
At the rally last Friday, U.F.C.W. and several construction trade unions pledged not to buy from Amish Market until the labor issues are resolved.
An assistant manager at the store who gave only his first name, Brian, said the managers had not harassed anyone. The store posted a statement outside on the door saying the U.F.C.W. is the one harassing the employees, trying to convince them to join the union, when the majority have chosen not to do so, but the union said that is not the case. Two Amish Market employees who were working during the protest told Downtown Express they liked their jobs and had no complaints.
Last year, the Amish Market had to repay workers at nine of its locations, including Tribeca, nearly $1.5 million in illegally withheld overtime pay, based on a settlement with the state Dept. of Labor.
“We’re not going to spend our money, which is taxpayer money, supporting a business that steals money from its workers,” Quinn told the rowdy crowd outside the grocery and popular lunch spot.
— Julie Shapiro