Hot And Crusty Bakery Employees Go From Lockout To Victory In One Week

Categories: Labor, Unions

Hot and Crusty employees Marcelino Cano and Mahoma Lopez will have their jobs and their union back.
In one of the most remarkable underdog stories in recent labor history, 23 low-wage restaurant workers at a Hot and Crusty Bakery location on the Upper East Side have won a surprising victory.

The bakery's owners closed it August 31after the workers successfully formed a union, but the workers fought back, briefly taking over the bakery on its last day and maintaining a 24-hour picket and street cafe through the following week.

Saturday, it was announced that new owners had taken over the bakery, and had signed binding promises to reopen the bakery within 15 days, rehire its workers, recognize their union, and institute a hiring hall, giving the workers control over the hire of new employees.

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Bakery Workers Occupy Hot & Crusty When Owner Closes It Down Rather Than Allow Union

Categories: Labor, Pizza, Unions

Lauren @JailhouseTapes,
The scene outside Hot & Crusty Friday afternoon.
Friday was the last day that the Hot & Crusty bakery on 63rd and 2nd Avenue was scheduled to be open. Instead, employees and their supporters took the store over briefly Friday afternoon before police moved in, emptying the shop and arresting six people.

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At Con-Ed Lockout Protest, Unions Embrace Class War

Categories: Con Ed, Unions

Marchers at yesterday's protest of the Con Edison lockout.
The Con Edison lockout of 8,500 workers is now well into its third week, and there doesn't appear to be any end is in sight.

Negotiations between the utility giant and members of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 resume today, but sources inside the negotiations say so recent talks haven't gone anywhere.

Con Ed locked out its union employees at the beginning of the month, when they wouldn't promise not to strike on short notice. Since then, it has been filling the gap by reassigning 5,000 managers to do the field maintenance necessary to keep the grid running through heat waves and brown-outs.

Locked-out workers tried to turn up the pressure yesterday with a noisy demonstration that began outside Con Ed's headquarters on Irving Place and proceeded to Union Square.

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The Stonewall Stop and Frisk Summit - Or, Al Sharpton, Chris Quinn and the NAACP Walk Into a (Gay) Bar...

Stonwall Summit.jpg
Steven Thrasher
Front row L to R: Speaker Quinn, Stuart Appelbaum/RWDSU, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum/CBST, Sharon Stapel/AVP at podium; Ben Jealous/NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton/NAN, Marty Rouse/HRC, George Gresham/SEIU

An historic coalition of traditional race-oriented civil rights organizations, labor unions, and LGBT groups met yesterday at the Stonewall Inn to endorse the upcoming SIlent March to End Stop and Frisk on Father's Day, June 17. The "press conference" featured an impressive roster of speakers -- including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and NAACP President Benajmin Jealous -- and had anyone wanted to wipe out nearly every LGBT leader in the city, they could have done it with one strike.

But as historic as it was to see "Gay Inc" standing alongside black civil rights groups at the location where the Stonewall Riots kicked off the gay rights revolution four decades ago, there was one inconvenient truth which the event did not acknowledge. In fact, when the Voice even asked about this -- that the assembled were joined to fight a policy which belongs primarily to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a very close ally of several of the speakers, particularly Speaker Quinn, and also the Human Rights Campaign, who honored Mayor Bloomberg last year -- it brought the "press conference" to a hasty end. (Like most events we cover, it was expected by organizers that the speakers would talk at us and we journalists would transcribe whatever they said and repeat it without question.)

Still, it was one of the most unusual events we've covered, and a hearteningly significant one at that.

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New York Hotels to Issue "Panic Buttons" to Some Workers

Perhaps there might be some positive outcomes from the Dominique Strauss-Kahn fisaco after all. In a direct response to the case, the newest version of the New York Hotel Trades Council union workers' contract calls for some employees to be equipped with "devices to be carried on their persons at work that they can quickly and easily activate to effectively summon prompt assistance to their location." In other words, panic buttons that function exactly like the ones that elderly folks sometimes wear in case they fall down and can't get up again.

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MTA: New York Post 'Harmful' to Union Negotiations

A disputed tip to a tabloid about MTA employee contact talks could deal a damaging blow to negotiations -- according the MTA Transit Authority's top honcho, Joseph J. Lhota.

In today's New York Post, an article claims that the MTA "has caved to several costly union demands," including "one concession agreeing to give subway operators three paid days off when they hit someone."

An exasperated-sounding Lhota fired back with a statement this morning, disputing the paper's reporting.

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UC Davis Chancellor Announces Pepper Spray Review; Japan Earthquake; Violent Protests in Egypt

After footage of a police officer dousing students with pepper spray went viral, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi announced she is forming a "task force" to look into the incident. She told CNN, "We really want to look into this very carefully and take action ... make sure that it will never happen again on our campus." She added that the task force would be "made of faculty, students and staff," and they "will review the events and provide a report within 90 days." [CNN]

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Potential School Bus Drivers' Strike 'Outrageous,' Bloomberg Says

school bus .jpg
Mayor Bloomberg just held a press conference with NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo to address a possible strike by the city's school bus drivers that would affect 152,000 kids.

Bloomberg described the proposed strike as "just outrageous" and said that "the city has been threatened with what we believe is an illegal strike." The disagreement stems from a Department of Education request for bids for new school bus service for special education pre-kindergarten kids. Local 1181 of the bus drivers' union wants an employee protection provision for long-term employees, something that the city says has never been included in the contract.

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Occupy Lit: Publishing Employees to Rally Against HarperCollins

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Spotted at Occupy Wall Street by the Observer: employees of News Corp-owned book publishing company HarperCollins are staging a rally next Wednesday, making this the latest union action to throw its lot in with OWS.

"Employees of HarperCollins have been working without a contract for almost a year," the flier reads. "Management wants to eliminate guaranteed wage increases, double the cost of health benefits and eviscerate layoff and seniority protection."

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Andrew Cuomo's Walmart Runs Are Annoying the Union

Like anyone who's recently moved, Governor Cuomo has been doing a lot of shopping (for the Executive Mansion, in his case), spending "about $300 in recent months" reports the Daily News. State workers have been sent to Albany-area Walmarts for supplies for Cuomo's official abode. This is to keep spending down, because, as a matter of fact, Walmart does seem to have some fairly good deals. However, union leaders are not happy, given Walmart's apparent, rather notorious, stance against unions. "We think it would be a better use of taxpayers' money to shop at stores that are not causing so much harm to working people," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (and a supporter of Cuomo).

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