For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2011
Contact: press (at) brandworkers.org
Brandworkers has prevailed against Unfair Labor Practice charges filed by the Pur Pac corporation in an attempt to hinder our right to speak out for workplace justice. Pur Pac, a distributor of food and restaurant supplies to Asian restaurants in New York City, had targeted the peaceful speech of immigrant workers who are educating restaurant customers about the company's lengthy track record of lawless behavior. Faced with a lack of evidence and a pledge from Brandworkers to vigorously litigate the matter for as long as necessary, Pur Pac and their attorneys chose to withdraw the charges. Brandworkers will meet any subsequent attempts by Pur Pac to chill workers' speech with the same determination. Charges against the workers' labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World, have also been withdrawn
Pur Puc's resort to legal action was particularly ironic given the remarkable contempt the company has shown for the rule of law in the last five years. In 2006, a majority of workers at the company, which was then called E-Z Supply Corp., successfully voted for union representation with the Industrial Workers of the World. Instead of complying with a certification order from the National Labor Relations Board, the company and its owner Lester Wen illegally fired all the union workers and engaged in a sham transaction changing the name of the business to Sunrise Plus to avoid legal accountability.
That was not the end of Wen's deceitful attempt to put himself above the law. In a separate legal proceeding, the company was found to have engaged in massive wage theft against the workers and ordered to pay them over $1 million dollars in wages they had earned. Again, instead of complying with a lawful order, the audacious Wen went for another name change in a failed effort to avoid accountability and Sunrise Plus became Pur Pac. It wasn't until Wen was faced with a possible contempt sanction in the court system, that the company in December 2010 conceded that Pur Pac is a successor to both Sunrise Plus and E-Z Supply Corp. Still though, Wen has not paid a cent of the $1 million dollar plus judgment and workers are seeking what they are owed.
Restaurant customers have a right to know that some of the food they will be served has been supplied by a company accused of egregious violations against workers' rights. Brandworkers is proud to stand by these workers as they seek justice and share their story of how they've been treated by Pur Pac.
Brandworkers has not and will not be silenced by baseless anti-speech legal actions from employers and we are energetically continuing the campaign until Pur Pac and Wen comport themselves with the rule of law.
Brandworkers is a New York-based non-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. Focus on the Food Chain is a workplace justice campaign using organizing, legal action, and grassroots advocacy to challenge and overcome sweatshop conditions in New York's food processing and distribution warehouses.