On October 21, the New York Times reported on the role that community organizers such as Andrew Friedman ’98 of Make the Road New York played in precipitating the recent arrests of two Brooklyn supermarket executives for allegedly illegally withholding hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary from immigrant workers. Friedman, who serves as co-director of the not-for-profit economic justice organization with Oona Chatterjee ’98 and Ana Maria Archila, has helped to organize boycotts and confront employers that he says swindled employees throughout the neighborhood of Bushwick. As Friedman explained to the Times, the supermarket arrests follow a series of tough civil settlements over unpaid wages, including “$28,000 in back salaries from a fruit stand, $70,000 from a 99-cent store, $45,000 from a pizza shop, $400,000 from a chain of sneaker stores.”
Friedman is optimistic about the future and believes that the arrests demonstrate state law enforcement’s commitment to protecting workers. “These arrests, and this enforcement action, send a powerful message to employers throughout New York State that the attorney general does not plan to accept business as usual,” he said.