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Four arrested, on day Tom Cat Bakery fires approximately 30 immigrant workers

Earlier Tom Cat protest

April 21, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Four people were arrested after chaining themselves to delivery trucks outside of Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City to protest the firings of 31 immigrant workers following an ICE investigation.

Instead of working their final shift at Tom Cat Bakery at 43-05 10th Street this morning, many workers chose to protest for immigrant worker rights outside.

Early this morning four people chained themselves to delivery trucks outside the bakery before they were arrested, delaying morning deliveries from the bakery and kicking off the “Day Without Bread” protest.

Today’s protest comes about a month after workers at Tom Cat were threatened with mass termination if they could not produce new paperwork proving their right to work in the United States as part of a government investigation in to the bakery.

Since then, workers have launched several protests, which will culminate with a mass strike on May 1 to protest President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and to demand better protection for immigrant workers.

“The New York Immigration Coalition is proud to stand with Tom Cat Bakery workers as they bravely resist the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants and workers’ rights,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “Our fight with them does not end today. This May Day, we are bringing together allies and thousands of New Yorkers to fight back against the bigotry and hate we see coming out of Washington.”

The protest today is an effort to encourage businesses and customers not to serve or consume bread all day in solidarity with the workers losing their jobs, and several local restaurants and businesses have thrown support behind the cause.

In addition to standing against Trump’s policies, the protesters are also demanding fair severance packages for the laid off workers and are standing against the company punishing employees for standing against the ICE investigation after a longtime employee was fired yesterday for helping organize protesters.

“The Trump administration may want us to quietly disappear, but we’re not going away silently,” said Henry Rivera, a Tom Cat Bakery worker. “We’re on strike today to send a message that we help make America great and we cannot just be thrown away like day-old bread.”

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5 Comments

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Well

I don’t think it is fair to expect a local privately owned bakery to lead a fight on federal immigration policy. They have no lobbyists and slim margins. They will not succeed in shift policy alone and will pay dearly for resisting. If any business is to participate, it is the Apples and Intels of the world, with their political connections, huge profits, and dependence on foreign workers, who should act to shift policy. Give TomCat a little break, they are between a rock and a hard place.

Reply
Dee B

More companies should follow suit ! It is Illegal to hire illegal immigrants! Illegal immigrants are a drain on U.S taxpayers stealing IDs, SSN of citizens to work illegally. Most dont pay taxes but use their anchor babies to collect welfare and drain educational resources!

No Illegals you do not make America great you make America corrupt for Cheap illegal workers lower wages of Americans taking jobs you dont deserve and should not have !

Reply
Anonymous

AHHH!!! For crying out loud! You’re applauding Tom Cat, a company that has been breaking labor laws for years and cheating U.S. taxpayers for now doing its fair share? How about the them not paying taxes and draining funds from education? Why do they get to slip by without even a slap on the wrist? Folks, we managed to stop slavery and child labor in this country dead in its tracks. And we did it by severely punishing any employer who engaged in these despicable practices — and that’s exactly what will bring the practice of hiring undocumented workers to a conclusive end. It seems people here are more interested in spewing their Fox hate than in honestly trying to solve the crisis of illegal labor practices.

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Anonymous

Just another elitist who keeps pointing the finger at just one side in this tawdry affair. Again, you don’t even mention that fact that an exploitative employer like Tom Cat — which benefited for years by its illegal arrangement with these people, and which screwed the government out of a lot of money by not paying payroll taxes it should have — is off the hook. We’re never going to solve the problem of illegal immigrant workers in this country as long as people don’t hold the employers who maintain the illegal activity to account. It seems like posters on this site can’t get beyond their bigotry and resentment to make that happen. There’s no other reason to explain it.

Reply
brooklynmc

You have illegal workers who are in the country illegally. Most of them are not paying taxes. Many of them live in cars, van, campers. They are a drain on social services from their children in public schools to collecting food stamps to police and EMS and hospitals. Then they have the nerve to say that they help “make America great” and that they “are not going away silently”. They should be happy Tom Cat offered them severance, they should say thank you and move on.

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