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Tom Cat Bakery takes steps to save immigrant jobs, but Homeland Security still wants employee documentation

March 29, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

After facing a backlash for threatening to fire more than 30 immigrant workers in response to a Department of Homeland Security investigation, a local industrial bakery is now aiming to protect its workers.

Several weeks ago, management at Tom Cat Bakery, located at 43-05 10th Street in Long Island City, threatened to fire 31 immigrant workers within 10 business days if they did not produce new proof that they were legally allowed to work in the country.

Tom Cat’s decision to ask its employees for such proof came in response to an investigation by DHS.

Last week, the workers rallied outside of the bakery in protest to demand that management take their side in response to the DHS investigation.

“We risked a lot to come to this country in order to make a better life for our kids,” said Tom Cat employee Librada Antigua. “The Trump administration may want us to disappear, but we’re not leaving our children for anything. Our unity is our strength, and our commitment is to victory.”

Many local politicians voiced their support for the employees, and following negotiations, the company agreed to try to help them keep their jobs, beginning by securing an extension from DHS to delay the layoffs until April 21.

“It seems to me that since the election of President Trump, it’s been ‘open season’ on immigrants,” said State Senator Jose Peralta, who represents much of Jackson Heights. “This is jeopardizing the livelihood of hard-working immigrants, who are just trying to put food on the table and pay rent. I stand with the workers of Tom Cat Bakery as they fight for their rights.”

In addition to rallying outside of the bakery, Tom Cat employees called for workers throughout the country to fight against the crackdown on immigrant workers through a general strike on May 1.

“We are organizing not just for Tom Cat workers,” said Tom Cat employee Henry Rivera, “but for workers in New York and the whole nation to encourage them to fight for justice.”

Tom Cat workers are members of non-profit group Brandworkers, which represents food-manufacturing employees throughout the country. Brandworkers is working to launch the nationwide strike.

“As a child of parents who came to the U.S. from another country, I know that hard-working immigrants are the backbone of our society and will continue to stand with them against the wrong-headed and mean-spirited policies coming from Washington,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.

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17 Comments

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Safety Mom

What about the children and their suffering?? My heart breaks. Separating them from their moms?

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Frank

The kids are free to go back with their parents to their home countries. Perhaps the parents should have considered this outcome before breaking our laws.

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Adorable Deplorable

The bakery is simply following the law. They can be heavily fined for employing people who fail to produce documentation as to their legal status.
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Immigrants and ILLEGAL immigrants are NOT the same thing any more than shoppers and shoplifters are the same.

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MRLIC

Why should we protect the illegals kids. If the illegals broke the law having kids should not make them exempt from deportation. Take the whole family and deport them if they want to stay together. If I were an illegal I would come here and have kids too. Someone would protest for me to keep my family together and I could send my kids to over crowd USA schools some more, demand the dream act be passed get free medical and food stamps. Why would I not come here, Especially he sanctuary cities Like NYC and LA. I want to see our homeless and poor and especially Veterans take n care of FIRST, As Trump said America and Americans FIRST.

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Paul

Mr Anonymous, you speak of having pity for “these people” yet you feel the need to penalize the businesses that hires “these people”. Can’t work both ways. For the record, I don’t blame the workers. I blame these good for nothing politicians (and the idiots that buy into them) that sit on their pompous self righteous good for nothing behind wondering which “plum” job they can get or which higher office they can run for while standing on the backs of every decent tax payer out there. Let me put it this way…you know there is a homeless problem, I know there’s a homeless problem. But the MOMENT you suggest ways to get rid of these homeless from the MTA, politicians like Van BRamer (and several LIC post readers) jump in and scream “ANTI HOMELESS, ANTI POOR PEOPLE, LEAVE THEM ALONE” while doing NOTHING! That’s the problem

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MRLIC

To Anonymous, these Illegals should not have had children knowing they cold be deported at any time. Sanctuary cities such as ours in NYC should be banned by federal law.If these families want to stay together, let them all go back and come here legally if they wish not to be separated. Yes not just Hispanics should be deported, however they are he majority of illegals I am willing to bet. There is no border with Sweden or Ireland with the USA. Just as Most Muslims are not Terrorists but most Terrorists are Muslims, the Hispanics are the Majority funneling into his country Illegally, he companies that hire these Illegals should pay hefty fines and/or be arrested. Dumb-O-Crats aare the party that caters to these Illegals mostly. NYC s a Dumb-O-Cratic city and state primarily. We also have a stupid mayor and City Council Leader. The Governor is another who caters to the Illegals.

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Micki

Hispanics are not the majority! Have a heart will you! Ugh! Do it’s ok to break up families? Nice!

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Frank

I will be about as concerned about breaking up an illegal aliens family as I would about breaking up any other criminal’s family by ending them to prison. Violating the law carries risk, for the violator and those who love him.

Reading comprehension tip: MRLIC was saying that the majority of illegal aliens are Hispanic. This is a fact – 59% alone are from Mexico.

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Anonymous

What a mess. These workers have American-born children that should be protected. If you have a drop of humanity in you, you feel pity for these people, despite the stupid decision they made to work illegally. At the same time, we’ve turned a blind eye as greedy law-breaking companies like Tom Cat made money on the backs of illegal workers while millions of Americans are desperate for jobs. Something is seriously wrong with the workplace today, and just going for cheap applause by blaming all the problem on the workers themselves is not going to fix a damn thing.

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Frank

The corporations deserve punishment too, but it does not change that fact that the only appropriate course of action for illegal aliens is immediate repatriation to their home country. If they have kids born here, the kids go with them too. It is like buying a stereo off the back of a truck – just because you bought it, doesn’tt mean it is yours. These kids got their citizenship through illegal action and should receive no special treatment.

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MRLIC

Paul, No one could have said it better than you did. If you listen to Chuck Schumer say” it should not be a crime to cross the border and come to the USA without papers”. This is the Dum-O-Cratic thinking, think of Hillary’s “OPEN BORDERS Speech to some Global Bankers. One of the reasons she lost. It is also one of the reasons I switched from Democrat to Republican and voted for Trump. I hope Trump De-funds all the Sanctuary cities including NYC.

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Anonymous

You guys continue to let employers like Tom Cat completely off the hook. If you were in charge of solving the drug problem in the US, you would only jail people who use drugs and not go after members of the drug cartels.

People are working in the US illegally because they are being enabled by our screwed-up labor system, and politicians — in BOTH parties — have decided it’s better to let the system continue than tackling the problem. And not all of the workers are Hispanics. Three-quarters of the bars in Woodside would lose their Irish bartenders, and a good numbers of the Scandinavian au pairs on the Upper East Side who overstayed their tourist visas would be chucked out too. I don’t see ICE agents hauling off Swedish nannies and putting them on planes back to Stockholm.

Try keeping the bigotry down and think a little more carefully about what is going on. It’s not so simple as the hate mongers would have you believe.

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ANNOYED

Did State Senator Peralta’s parents come here legally or illegally? Did State Senator Gianaris’ parents come here legally or illegally? Did they collect any kind of government assistance? Did they crowd into basements and SROs. My grandparents came here legally. They had to prove they could support themselves and their children. My mother’s parents raised five children. My father’s parents raised eight children. They all lived through the depression WITHOUT government assistance. No section eight, no food stamps, no health insurance, no dream act. All sons fought in WW 2. Not one went to jail. All learned English and referred to the US as “their country” proudly! .

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ANNOYED

These people, who ” risked everything”, came here ILLEGALLY!!!! They have NO “rights”! Next time I vote I am going to remember the politicians who are working for citizens and LEGAL immigrants, and those who work for ILLEGAL immigrants, wasting our tax money! ILLEGALS have more “rights” and receive more services, FOR FREE than our veterans and senior citizens. I see seniors and veterans in drug stores and grocery stores struggling to pay for meds and food. Disgusting!!!

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Paul

if our elected officials spent as much time and effort fighting the MTA as they do for illegal immigrants, perhaps we’d never have a fare increase or even better–get DECENT trains that run on time. Obviously being a US citizen is no longer a criteria anymore, truth be told, you’d get treated better as a illegal immigrant than a citizen, but to ACTUALLY go after NYC Businesses b/c they need to fire undocumented workers…i am totally lost for words. But you know what, Tom Cat Bakery shouldve know better. May they learn a valuable lesson in following the rules of the land. Moral of the story: Hire legally.

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SunnysideBaby

@Paul,

1. Undocumented immigrants aren’t a semi-government, semi-private monopoly. They don’t have a unified voice to speak on their behalf.
2. Everyone knows that Albany controls the MTA, not the city.

I wish I could live your life where I am so out of touch and delusional that I think being an undocumented immigrant is treated better than a US citizen. Many undocumented immigrants still have a viable path to citizenship, but it takes times. Many others were here, biding their time, and PAYING TAXES because we were a nation that appeared to be getting more progressive. Now they’ve built lives here, paid their dues, but have to live in fear under our new fuhrer.

I cannot emphasize enough that undocumented immigrants are paying taxes. They pay state and federal taxes, property taxes (if applicable), and, of course, sales taxes. Because they are undocumented, they are NOT eligible for social security (which they’ve also paid into) and any other federal benefits. Any workers with jobs fall into this category of paying in but not reaping the benefits.

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Frank

So what if they are paying taxes? Consider those taxes a fine for violating the laws of this nation. They are here illegally and should be deported, period.

Reply

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