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Statement of Brandworkers on the Anti-Free Speech Legal Action Filed by the Flaum Appetizing Corp.

Contact: press [at] brandworkers.org

Brandworkers is proud to stand with the immigrant employees campaigning to bring the Flaum Appetizing Corporation into compliance with the rule of law. For years, Flaum, one of the top processors and distributors of kosher foods in New York, illegally withheld overtime pay, denied workers any benefits, and ultimately subjected workers to vicious retaliation when they stood up for their rights. Though the workers prevailed after a full trial over the company's retaliation, owner Moshe Grudhut has done nothing but resist the court's order and has failed to compensate workers for over $260,000 in lost pay. Grudhut owes hundreds of thousands more in unpaid overtime but has refused attempts at reasonable settlement.

It's ironic then that after years of law-breaking, Flaum and Grudhut are invoking the legal process with charges at the National Labor Relations Board in an effort to restrain the peaceful, dignified communications of the workers' campaign for justice. The workers and their supporters are currently on the streets and in the communities of New York City educating customers about the reality of employment at Flaum. The charges that the company has filed seek to prevent the workers' campaign from educating customers where Flaum products are sold.

Grudhut has silenced the workers' voices for too long and far from having their intended effect, these anti-speech charges only strengthen the workers' resolve to win respect for their hard work. Because consumers have a right to know, the workers will continue educating potential customers of Flaum products about the abuses they've suffered and the unwillingness of Grudhut to comply with a standing court order.

In addition to Flaum-branded products including pickles, hummus, and other Middle Eastern appetizers, the company sells kosher products under the Sonny & Joe's label and distributes dairy products from Tnuva and cut produce from the Bodek company. It appears that one of the biggest sellers of Flaum products, the KRM Kollel supermarket, is cooperating with Flaum's anti-free speech legal action.

The right to freedom of speech and freedom of association is the bedrock of a free society and finds protection in both domestic and international law. Brandworkers will defeat this crass attempt to silence workers' voices and will press on until justice is won at the Flaum Appetizing Corporation.

Brandworkers is a New York-based not-for-profit organization protecting and advancing the rights of retail and food employees. By empowering employees with legal, advocacy, and organizing tools, Brandworkers wins fairness on the job and challenges corporate misconduct in the community.