IWW Hits Giant Big Apple with Daily Pickets
Members from the NYC Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) put up daily picket lines this past week in front of Giant Big Apple Beer Ltd, a beer and soda distributor in Woodside, Queens. Wobblies, workers, and supporters were out there every day starting Monday, March 26, through Saturday, from about 8:00 am until 2:00 pm. The pickets were held in response to the vandalism of union workers’ cars. The goal of the pickets was to hurt the company by preventing trucks from making deliveries to the company.
The pickets proved to be a useful tool against the company, as a number of trucks did not want to cross the picket line and thus did not make their deliveries. Tuesday was probably the most successful day of the picket, as three out of four trucks were turned away. Most of the truck drivers who make deliveries to Giant Big Apple are Teamsters and thus respect picket lines. However, there were some Teamsters as well as some independent contractors who drove their trucks past the lines. Even though some drivers crossed, enough trucks were turned away to have caused a substantial loss to the company this week.
The power of the line was proved true by the fact that the company began holding unusual hours later in the week so that they could still receive their deliveries. One day, they opened at 6:00 am, two hours earlier than normal, so that they could receive a Budweiser shipment.
Overall, the pickets were effective in giving the company a scare.
VANDALISM TO UNION WORKERS’ CARS
Over the past few months, all of the known union workers at Giant Big Apple have had their cars damaged while they were at work. Damages include: smashing in headlights, slashing tires, and even pouring sugar down one car’s gas tank (the motor of that car is now ruined). These vandalisms have all taken place in the parking lot of the warehouse. When one employee asked to see the surveillance camera that covers the parking lot, he was told that the camera does not cover the specific part of the parking lot his car was parked in.
GIANT BIG APPLE & UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES
Giant Big Apple is one of five food warehouse companies that the IWW has been targeting for unfair labor practices. When workers first approached the IWW, they were working around 70 hours a week and earning $350 with no overtime compensation. Most of the employees are undocumented workers from Mexico. Those who have tried to unionize have had their hours cut or have even been fired. One union worker was told he was let go because there was no work for him, yet the company then immediately hired somebody else.
The folks at Giant Big Apple clearly think they can intimidate workers who try to stand up for their rights. This past week, workers and their allies sent a strong message to the company that such intimidation tactics will not be tolerated.
For more information:
visit www.wobblycity. org
email iww.nyc@gmail. com