Months back, B&H Photo’s warehouse workers protested for the right to unionize against what they felt were an oppressive management. They also protested unsafe working conditions. But yesterday, a number of store employees organized to protest working conditions in the store. According to a press release from the Laundry Workers Center, “B&H store workers will hold a protest and deliver a letter to management demanding an end to dangerous, discriminatory and abusive workplace conditions inside the flagship store of B&H Photo Video, the largest non-chain photo store in the United States.”
The store, for those of you who don’t know, has many layers to it. There is the main floor for video, audio, televisions, etc. The second floor holds all the camera gear, computer gear, etc. But below all of this is a warehouse system where many people work to support the customer service reps–which is partially done with the Trolley system that the store has become so well known for.
B&H Photo is one of the biggest retailers of cameras in the world, with folks from all over buying from them. Details from the press release are after the jump.
This comes after the historic and successful unionization fight by more than 200 B&H warehouse workers last year. In November, 2015, B&H warehouse workers voted 200-88 to join the United Steel Workers in order to protect them from dangerous and discriminatory conditions inside B&H’s two Brooklyn warehouses. They organized this campaign with leadership training from the Laundry Workers Center.
Rally and letter delivery at B&H Photo Video
3 PM on Sunday January 31
34th Street-Hudson Yards Subway Station
B&H store employees report a slew of illegal workplace violations, including racial discrimination, verbal and physical abuse, and humiliating treatment. Many employees also report experiencing physical injuries due to the lack of workplace safety and insufficient training.
The B&H store workers are organizing with support from the Laundry Workers Center, which provides leadership training to low-wage workers. Mahoma Lopez, co-director of the Laundry Workers Center says: “This campaign was inspired by the B&H warehouse workers struggle, and it is a continuation of the energy of these workers and their demand for respect and dignified working conditions.”
About Laundry Workers Center: LWC addresses the need for community-based leadership development geared toward improving the living and working conditions of workers in the laundry and food service industries, as well as their families. Our work aims to combat abuses such as landlord negligence, wage theft, and hazardous and exploitative working conditions, all of which are endemic in low-income communities in New York City and New Jersey.
About the B&H Warehouse Workers Struggle:
NEW YORK TIMES: Workers at B&H Photo Video, Citing Hazards, Move to Unionize
AL JAZEERA: Photo retailer B&H faces unwanted exposure over worker safety