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Solidarietà Internazionale. Joseph Sanchez

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From the International Solidarity Commission of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Dear Fellow Workers, I hope you're doing well. I'm writing to ask for your help at a critical moment in our campaign for justice at Flaum Appetizing Corp.

Flaum is a highly profitable kosher food processor and distributor in Brooklyn that has engaged in systematic exploitation of immigrant workers from Latin America. Company executives have illegally withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in minimum wage and overtime pay from workers laboring 60 to 80 hours per week. Employees were pushed to work at unsafe speeds to the point of exhaustion and were subject to anti-immigrant bigotry from top management. When workers stood up for their rights, Flaum illegally fired seventeen of them in retaliation.

Though a judge ruled that Flaum's retaliation was unlawful, for over two years the company has evaded responsibility by raising discriminatory allegations about immigration status; allegations it was never concerned about as workers gave as many as 13 years of their lives working at the company.

Organizing with Focus on the Food Chain, a joint effort of Brandworkers and the NYC Industrial Workers of the World, the workers are leading a powerful campaign to win respect for human rights at Flaum and promote a sustainable food system. Over 65 of New York's most popular supermarket locations have decided to stop selling Flaum products, including the Sonny & Joe's hummus brand, until Flaum is held accountable.

While a consensus has largely emerged against Flaum's labor practices, Tnuva, the world's largest kosher cheese company, continues to use Flaum to distribute its products in New York City. Tnuva's cheese products are a significant source of revenue for Flaum, yet it refuses to use its influence with Flaum to encourage a just settlement. After repeated attempts to initiate a dialogue with Tnuva, a delegation of Flaum workers and prominent rabbis led a spirited rally outside the offices of Tnuva’s owner, Apax Partners, calling on the company to help bring Flaum into compliance with the law or choose a different distributor.

Building from that powerful event, Flaum workers are stepping up their actions to win accountability from Tnuva. On September 22nd, we are asking you to take part in a global day of action calling on Tnuva to honor the human rights of its distribution workers. By organizing a demonstration, leafleting event, or other type of action in your area, you will be putting pressure on company management to get this dispute resolved and bring justice to Flaum Appetizing. The Focus campaign can suggest locations in your community to take action and provide you with all the materials you'll need including leaflets and a press release.

The workers are struggling diligently toward victory and your solidarity here will make an important contribution to their effort.

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Thank you very much.

In Solidarity,

Joseph Sanchez