Brandworkers Fifth Anniversary Dinner

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 5:49pm

On October 24th at the Angel Orensanz Foundation, Brandworkers celebrated our Fifth Anniversary with members, community members, and allies. Together we raised over $55,000 to support organizing, training, and leadership development for low-income immigrant workers and their families.  The resources raised are an investment in our members to improve their workplaces and help create the kind of economy we can all be proud of.



Fifth Anniversary Champions of Economic Justice Awardees:

- Terri Gerstein, Labor Bureau Chief, Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, for her diligent enforcement of workplace laws on behalf of hard-working New Yorkers;

- Workers at an industrial bakery in Queens, for their effective campaigning to create a dignified workplace and a sustainable food processing industry in New York City; and

- Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, for their superb legal representation of Brandworkers members and advocacy for equal employment opportunities





A special thank you to the Fifth Anniversary Awards Dinner Sponsors:


Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard, P.C.


Michael J. Hirschhorn and Jimena P. Martinez

Martin Kaminer

Michael Ratner, Esq. 


Steve and Myrna Greenberg


1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Carelle, LTD.

Outten & Golden, LLP

Prof. Russell G. Pearce

James Gray Pope

Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York



Communications Workers of America Local 1101


Law Office of Rankin & Taylor

Lichten & Bright, P.C.

National Employment Law Project

New York State AFL-CIO

Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP

Debby and Michael Steven Smith

UFCW Local 1500

Forward Association



The event was an extraordinary and memorable capstone for our first five years and a powerful send-off for five transformative years to come. We at Brandworkers can do this work of creating a responsible food system for two reasons: the boundless determination and ingenuity of our members and the generous and inspiring support of our allies. That's how we can take on the big fights and win.


The nights success would not have been possible without the exceptional work of the co-chair team:


Vincent Avagliano, Esq., Labor Union Attorney

Richard Blum, Esq., Attorney, Legal Aid Society

Gene Carroll, Co-Director, NYS AFL-CIO/ Cornell Union Leadership Institute

Andrew Chapin, Director of Counseling and Public Interest Scholars, Fordham Law School

Maia Goodell, Esq., Supervising Attorney, Workplace Justice Project, MFY Legal Services, Inc.

Melanie Greenberg, Writer

Alexa Kasdan, Director of Research and Policy, Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center

Daniel Meyers, Esq., National Lawyers Guild (NYC)

Pat Purcell, Assistant to the President, UFCW Local 1500

Michael Ratner, Esq., President Emeritus, Center for Constitutional Rights

Diana Robinson, Campaign and Education Coordinator, Food Chain Workers Alliance

Nancy Romer, General Coordinator, Brooklyn Food Coalition

Audrey Sasson, Co-founding Member, Community / Farmworker Alliance

Michael Scimone, Esq., Attorney, Outten & Golden, LLP

Michael Steven Smith, Esq., Law & Disorder Radio, WBAI

Amelia Tuminaro, Esq., Attorney, Gladstein, Reif & Meginniss, LLP

Alex Van Schaick, Law Student, CUNY Law

Garrett Wright, Esq, Attorney,Community Development Project,Urban Justice Center



The night was full of highlights:

-Brandworkers member Richard Merino presenting Vladeck Waldman with their Champion of Economic Justice Award less than a month after the firm helped him and his co-workers win a $950,000 wage theft judgement from a beverage distribution warehouse.  

-Brandworkers member Juan Cespedes, a truck driver at Tom Cat Bakery, being met with thunderous applause after describing the campaign for dignity that he and his co-workers are carrying out, with a great deal of early success.

-Honoring Terri Gerstein, the Labor Bureau Chief at the New York State Attorney General's Office, who nobly brought a successful criminal case this year against the owner of the tortilla factory in Brooklyn where Juan Baten was needlessly crushed to death. We were humbled to hear Terri from the stage express the pride she felt at being recognized by Brandworkers, an organization she described as, "tough, smart, and scrappy."


Thank you all for your support. We look forward to continuing this work together. 


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