Legislators, Leaders Tell Quality King: Equality is not Optional

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More than a hundred Quality King members rallied July 14 alongside a delegation of elected officials, faith, community, and labor leaders, insisting on equal pay for equal work.

They delivered dozens of letters supporting UFCW Local 2013’s campaign for fair wages and gender equality to management at Quality King’s headquarters.

Quality King, which packages and distributes beauty care products from its Long Island warehouses, has settled contracts with higher wages for divisions of the company that employ mostly men.

The 200 members of the Repack division, however, are almost all women and the company proposed only to pay them minimum wage. The workers’ contract expired in May, and members of UFCW Local 2013 have been fighting for a fair contract since then.

Quality King is owned by the Nussdorf family, one of the wealthiest families in America. According to Forbes’ estimates, the Nussdorfs are worth $1.6 billion.

“It’s unconscionable that the Nussdorfs only value Quality King workers as minimum-wage employees,” said Mark Carotenuto, president of UFCW Local 2013. “These are hard-working men and women trying to support their families. Immigrant workers are the backbone of Long Island, and it’s time they were treated like it.”

“We have human rights laws in Suffolk County—and all over this country,” said Kate Browning, Suffolk County legislator. “I’m shocked that any company would want to treat female workers different than male. And certainly no company that has enjoyed subsidy support from our state ever should.”

Quality King has received millions of dollars of subsidies from New York State taxpayers to grow and expand its business, which employs about 1,000 people across Long Island.

Along with Browning, Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez and a representative of Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory’s office attempted to discuss these issues with the company, but were turned away at the door.

“Quality King had the gall to tell our bargaining committee that if immigrant workers couldn’t afford to live in Long Island, they should move elsewhere,” Carotenuto added. “Maybe the Nussdorfs should spend less time at Hampton beach houses and more time focusing on the workers who have built this company.”

Sister Judy Fay of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood spoke at the rally, telling UFCW Local 2013 members that when one person suffers, everyone suffers.

Victoria Daza of Long Island Jobs with Justice also shared her sense of outrage.

“The fact that Quality King is not raising the wages to the same level as their male employees is a complete insult,” Daza said.

Vilma Eraso, a bargaining committee member who has worked at Quality King for 13 years, said: “My co-workers and I work hard. What we ask for in return is a fair wage and to be treated with respect. We should not be treated differently just because we are women and immigrants.”

FOR MORE:

Newsday: Workers Rally for Higher Wages and Equal Pay at Quality King’s Bellport Headquarters

El Diario NY: Trabajadoras Hispanas en Long Island Exigen Igualdad Salarial

Univision: Trabajadoras Exigen Igualidad Salarial

 

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