New York City's Real Life Super Heroes Stand Up To Villains: B&H (10/12/2015)
Workers march on the 4th day of Comic-Con in New York City (10/12/2015) Photo Credit: Lira Alli
Xochitl Ollin Yaotl --- On Sunday, while many swarmed the streets of midtown in super-hero costumes after New York City's 4th Annual Comic-Con convention's, hundreds of workers marched nearby to B&H Photo & Video Store headquarters between 9th Avenue and 34th Street. The objective of the workers was to deliver a letter demanding justice to the owner's of B&H the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the United States. According to The Laundry Worker's Center, "Over 150 B&H workers have experienced horrible health and safety conditions as well as rampant discrimination, verbal abuse and precarious conditions".
The demonstration was intentioned as a counter to the usual invisibility suffered by B & H's immigrant workers, many of whom work up to 16 hour shifts. Dismal worker conditions have been hidden away from the daily average of 5,000 customers that visit the store every day from Sunday to Friday. At the protest, workers held cardboard boxes with photos of the faces of workers, denouncing the exploitation and wage theft at B&H, and articulating their demands for more rights.
Despite the Mexican consulate's attempt to silence activists, the Mexican immigrant population in NYC continues to display its organizing power. Openly using their first amendment rights, the majority of the workers in the march to B&H were from Mexico. One of the protestors, Isidro Morales, from Puebla, Mexico, emphasized that other immigrant workers may be experiencing the same kind of exploitation. He maintains that such workers should stand up for their rights & the need for equality along with the end of the racism & mistreatment of workers.
Audio Interview: Worker explains situation with regards to B&H (10/12/2015)