June 14, 2019 By Shane O’Brien
A number of Long Island City-based fur workers went to Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer’s office Monday to urge him to oppose a bill calling for the ban of fur sales.
Employees of Long Island City-based Stallion and Astoria-based Funtastic Furs lined up outside Van Bramer’s district office in Sunnyside on Monday to see him. They didn’t have an appointment and he was downtown at the time.
“Council Member Van Bramer has refused to meet with his own constituents who would be put out of business if the fur ban goes into effect – so today we came to him,” said Koullis Pilas, a director at Stallion.
Many of the employees targeted Van Bramer since their jobs are in his council district and they believe that they would lose them if the ban were to go into effect.
Stallion employees left a letter with Van Bramer’s staff signed by 40 workers.
The letter outlined their fears regarding the legislation. Many fur workers are concerned that they would not be able to find work in a different field, because fur is such a specialized industry.
“We have special skills and worked hard to stay in NYC despite recessions, pressures to outsource or relocate, and now our jobs will be taken away from us. Please reconsider the fur ban to ensure our jobs are not lost and our families are not hurt,” the letter read.
Many employees say that they would have to leave New York City if the ban were implemented owing to their inability to find jobs that pay a similar wage.
In a statement, Van Bramer said that he didn’t refuse to meet the fur workers and that he is listening to everyone who has reached out to his office on the matter.
“We have received feedback about the proposed legislation to ban the sale of fur in NYC from people on both sides of the issue. I am listening to everyone who has reached out to my office and appreciate their voices in the process. I will continue to study the issue and consider all feedback,” Van Bramer said.
Legislation was introduced in the council in March that would see a ban on the sale of new fur garments and accessories in New York.
The industry, represented by FurNYC, contends that it would lead to the closure of 150 small businesses and put 7,500 New Yorkers out of work.