Tortilla factory owner Erasmo Ponce arrested after probe by AG Schneiderman [NY Daily News]

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 5:55pm

The owner of a Brooklyn tortilla factory where a worker was crushed to death has been charged with filing false tax documents and not paying employees overtime. Erasmo Ponce, who is also accused of not paying for worker’s compensation insurance, was arrested Tuesday and released without bail. He could not be reached for comment on the charges brought by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Statement on the Arrest of Tortilla Factory Owner Erasmo Ponce

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 2:32pm

Focus on the Food Chain is very gratified that tortilla factory owner Erasmo Ponce has been brought to justice in a case stemming from the workplace death of Juan Baten.  While nothing will bring Juan Baten back to his widow and daughter, this arrest is an important step forward toward accountability in New York City's food processing industry, where reckless disregard for worker health & safety is increasingly the norm.  Juan Baten started working at the Chinantla tortilla factory at age sixteen, working as much as twelve hours a day, six days a week.  OSHA, the federal workplace safety agency, concluded that Mr. Baten would not have been crushed to death in a mixing machine had the employer installed a simple and legally required machine guard.

Tom Cat Drivers Launch Workplace Justice Campaign with Brandworkers!

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 11:44am

Focus on the Food ChainMembers of Focus on the Food Chain at one of New York City's largest industrial bakeries launched a campaign on Wednesday to win respect at work in the face of an aggressive attempt by the factory's new private equity owners to degrade their jobs. Drivers at Queens-based Tom Cat Bakery, a leading supplier of artisanal breads to many of the New York metro area's finest restaurants and gourmet food retailers, are forced to work under a highly abusive manager and are being threatened with severe health care cutbacks.

Check out some inspiring photos of the event.

The Tom Cat workers, mostly Latin American immigrants, gathered yesterday in Long Island City with worker and student allies representing a variety of groups including the Occupy Wall Street Immigrant Worker Justice Working Group, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Jornaleros Unidos de Woodside, the Laundry Workers Center, the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, and Domestic Workers United.

Juan Baten Remembrance Coverage

Thu, 02/02/2012 - 1:42pm

Focus on the Food Chain has been hard at work seeking justice in the crushing death of Juan Baten, who was killed just over a year ago in a Brooklyn tortilla factory. We've been working closely with Juan's widow, Rosario, to honor Juan's memory, hold his employer accountable, and to do everything in our power to make sure such a tragedy isn't repeated in New York's food supply chain.

Big Step Forward for Flaum Campaign, As Tnuva Severs Ties

Mon, 11/14/2011 - 12:25pm

Tnuva, the world's largest kosher diary company, will discontinue its relationship with New York food processor and distributor, Flaum Appetizing, after a global campaign led by immigrant workers and their supporters in the Jewish community.  Tnuva joins several other food industry leaders who have cut ties with Flaum after a court ruling which found that the company illegally fired seventeen of its Latino employees for demanding to be paid in accordance with state and federal law.  Flaum and its owner Moishe Grunhut continue to resist complying with the court order even as they face an additional trial over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid minimum wage and overtime.

Flaum's Attorney Accused of Serious Ethical Violations in Bid to Trick Workers Out of Wages

Fri, 09/23/2011 - 9:28am

In a bombshell legal brief, Flaum Appetizing's attorney, Jeffery Meyer of the firm Kaufman Dolowich Voluck & Gonzo LLP, is accused of extremely serious ethical violations in connection with an attempt to trick immigrant workers at Flaum into signing away their right to the wages they worked for.

In Global Day of Action, Kosher Consumers Join with Workers to Call on Tnuva to Honor its Distribution Workforce

Thu, 09/22/2011 - 7:20pm
Flaum workers and supporters rallied at Tnuva USA's headquarters

Workers and kosher consumers around the world participated in actions today to call on Tnuva, the world's largest kosher cheese company, to honor the human rights of its distribution workers.  The multinational kosher cheese giant distributes its cheese in New York City though the Flaum Appetizing Corp., a business widely shunned for unlawful labor practices and abuse of immigrant workers from Latin America. While a consensus has largely emerged against Flaum's labor practices, Tnuva continues to do business with Flaum.


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