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03-24-2017, 11:53 AM   #1
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Support B&H workers

B&H Photo workers in Brooklyn faced horrific safety conditions for years. They fought back, organized for over a year, and overwhelmingly voted to form a union with United Steelworkers in November 2015 -- with crucial support from B&H Photo costumers -- thousands from the photo, video, art, music, and labor communities.

Now the company threatens to relocate almost 330 jobs 75 miles away, making it impossible for the workers to commute to work.

Moving hundreds of jobs away from New York City is a betrayal to working families, New Yorkers, and the workers who courageously fought to be treated with respect and dignity. And that ain't right!

http://www.usw.org/news/media-center/articles/2017/support-bh-photo-video-workers-on-twitter


Last edited by civiletti; 03-24-2017 at 05:30 PM.
03-24-2017, 12:41 PM   #2
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You posted a broken link. Try this instead Support B&H Photo Video Workers on Twitter | United Steelworkers

I think "betrayal" is too much hyperbole. As far as I know, B&H had their Manhattan store, and as mail order and internet sales expanded they needed a bigger warehouse. They had 2 warehouses in Brooklyn instead of next to their Manhattan store because rent, while still expensive, was less so than in Manhattan. Southern NJ might let them consolidate warehouses and reduce their shipping costs.

NYC is a good place for a brick and mortar store because of all of the people traffic. NYC is a bad place for a warehouse because of all the vehicle traffic. Shipping a product through some of the most congested roads in the nation, only to ship it back out again for internet orders, is inefficient.

Here's a different article from January B&H Photo to Move 2 Brooklyn Warehouses and 335 Jobs to New Jersey - Bushwick - DNAinfo New York

Last edited by DeadJohn; 03-24-2017 at 12:44 PM. Reason: edited because original assumed knowledge of New York geography
03-24-2017, 01:12 PM - 1 Like   #3
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From B&H's side, it sounds like the reason for the move isn't to screw over workers, but because they couldn't find a big enough space at affordable enough prices in the NYC area. From the union side, is this not the real reason? Is there some alternative that does exist in the NYC area? I'd like to hear a somewhat more nuanced view than just "stop the move!"
03-24-2017, 04:02 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Really? It looks like there's plenty of space available at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard:

http://brooklynnavyyard.org/leasing/available-spaces/

Or how about the former Brooklyn Army Terminal:

https://www.bklynarmyterminal.com/leasing-opportunities/available-space/

I'm no expert on Brooklyn commercial real estate but Google helped me find these in less than 30 seconds...

Chris

03-24-2017, 04:24 PM - 1 Like   #5
mee
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Last 2 items I got (different weeks back to back) from BH were packaged poorly. It got me thinking about it all.

Amazon had this issue, years and years ago, when they were standing up new warehouses.. well the same issue with large boxes, but Amazon always secured my items well in the boxing. I'd order something tiny (say a pack of AA batteries) and they'd come in a box large enough to fit a desktop computer. sometimes double boxed. It was comedic at the time.

Getting a camera lens (or two) and seeing they had to have bounced around, like a pinball, in the too large shipping box (sans much in the way of packing material) not once but TWICE tells me there is probably something going on at the warehouse..

And 'DeadJohn' brings up a good point on location of a warehouse. Really Atlanta, Memphis, or St. Louis would be better places to operate a warehouse from. Keep the store where it is in NYC but open a warehouse some place else where rent is significantly cheaper and it is more centrally located.

This is why newegg and lensrentals have warehouses in and around Memphis and Amazon has 3 warehouse locations in and around Atlanta. Your rent is going to be a third what it is in NYC and the logistics/transporting are just as good, if not better.


From the link, I get the feeling the Union itself is trying to strong arm BH by demonizing BH corporate and simultaneously patting themselves on the back for being such good protectors of the workers. I got half the story.. what about the defendant's side?
03-24-2017, 04:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I'm no expert on Brooklyn commercial real estate but Google helped me find these in less than 30 seconds...
Yes, but at what price, and for mail order, you still have to get product in and out of the area. Easy to do in Florence, NJ (south of Trenton) near two major interstates, not easy to do in Brooklyn.

It is a sign of the times. I don't think Amazon has a warehouse there, nor many other dot come commerce companies (selling stuff).

No worries for the work environment problem, NJ is a union friendly state!

Best wishes to the folks in Brooklyn that can't make the move. But if they are thinking about it, real estate is cheaper just over the border in PA, and in the Delaware River valley.
03-24-2017, 04:38 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I hope for your sake your employer never decides it would be more lucrative to move to another state, beyond your ability to commute or relocate...

Chris

03-24-2017, 05:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
You posted a broken link. Try this instead Support B&H Photo Video Workers on Twitter | United Steelworkers

I think "betrayal" is too much hyperbole. As far as I know, B&H had their Manhattan store, and as mail order and internet sales expanded they needed a bigger warehouse. They had 2 warehouses in Brooklyn instead of next to their Manhattan store because rent, while still expensive, was less so than in Manhattan. Southern NJ might let them consolidate warehouses and reduce their shipping costs.

NYC is a good place for a brick and mortar store because of all of the people traffic. NYC is a bad place for a warehouse because of all the vehicle traffic. Shipping a product through some of the most congested roads in the nation, only to ship it back out again for internet orders, is inefficient.

Here's a different article from January B&H Photo to Move 2 Brooklyn Warehouses and 335 Jobs to New Jersey - Bushwick - DNAinfo New York
Thanks, DeadJohn. The link is repaired

---------- Post added 03-24-17 at 05:36 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Outis Quote
From B&H's side, it sounds like the reason for the move isn't to screw over workers, but because they couldn't find a big enough space at affordable enough prices in the NYC area. From the union side, is this not the real reason? Is there some alternative that does exist in the NYC area? I'd like to hear a somewhat more nuanced view than just "stop the move!"
Of course B&H would not claim it is moving to screw workers. As with most disputes, both sides try to make themselves look good.
03-24-2017, 06:17 PM   #9
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All I know for certain is that without sufficient facts, it is very hard to determine who is in the right and who is in the wrong in any labor dispute.

now if the company was involved in negotiations and threatened such a move, they might be in violation of existing legal rules, regulations and laws. Each side probably have qualified attorneys to advise them on how to proceed in that situation. Labor relations is a very specialized field of law

interesting enough, unless I failed to see it, there is no request by the union for any type of boycott. it seems only to ask for pr support by twitter.

make of that what you wish.

as to the economics of moving from the NYC real estate market to the proposed market in NY, I, for one, have no idea what the benefits/detriments there may be.
03-24-2017, 06:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Really? It looks like there's plenty of space available at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard:...
No matter how much space there is, heavy traffic makes it awkward to truck freight between Brooklyn and the rest of the USA. A Brooklyn warehouse is convenient for shipping things to 5 or 6 counties. The other 3000+ counties are better served from NJ.

It sucks for workers who will lose their jobs. Companies are allowed to move offices, though. Warehouses move to fit shipping needs, factories chase cheap labor and overly-generous tax deals, etc.
03-24-2017, 09:23 PM   #11
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I am a pro labor thinker, but do realize that it is a highly competitive world, not just here but everywhere. Businesses have to be on their toes to keep pace and stay in business or there will be no jobs at all. Sometimes there are unintentional losers...sometimes labor...sometimes business. It has always been this way, we just didn't always see it as frequently like we do today, with instant communications and social media.

Now comes the robot.....and millions of jobs worldwide will be wiped out in the coming decade, and more following. These are indeed trying times for workers. Satisfactory answers are few and wildly varying. It's a good time to be old and not have to worry about a job anymore.....of course, not being around all that much longer has some downside to it too! (About 6 feet down!)

Regards!
03-25-2017, 01:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
I am a pro labor thinker, but do realize that it is a highly competitive world, not just here but everywhere. Businesses have to be on their toes to keep pace and stay in business or there will be no jobs at all. Sometimes there are unintentional losers...sometimes labor...sometimes business. It has always been this way, we just didn't always see it as frequently like we do today, with instant communications and social media.

Now comes the robot.....and millions of jobs worldwide will be wiped out in the coming decade, and more following. These are indeed trying times for workers. Satisfactory answers are few and wildly varying. It's a good time to be old and not have to worry about a job anymore.....of course, not being around all that much longer has some downside to it too! (About 6 feet down!)

Regards!
I think that I agree with you, 'Rupert', even though I'm usually very anti labour union. I'm pro worker and anti union. If the business needs to move to survive, then it needs to move. How they treat the workers is a different thing. I hope that I'm not venturing into the religion and politics area here, but I am totally, viscerally against employers who treat their employees badly. But I am also very much against the employees who treat their employer badly. If it's a case of the union acting against the workers' interests, then I've been known to vent loudly. We have cases here in Oz where the union bosses of the lowest paid workers in the country have given themselves multi-million dollar lifestyles. That's just wrong.

I do hope that they can work it out.

Regards,
Richard.
03-27-2017, 05:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I hope for your sake your employer never decides it would be more lucrative to move to another state, beyond your ability to commute or relocate...

Chris
Look outside of the NYC and downstate area Chris. This has already happened to the rest of the state. Business has been fleeing NY for decades. High taxes etc. A European company just announced plans to open a high tech facility in Utica, NY. It is promising something like 300 jobs for 15 years. The problem is that NY is spending $300,000,000 of taxpayer money to make it happen. Essentially NY is going to pay their wages for the next 15 years while a foreign company (and a few politicians) should make a lot of money.

When an already established business goes to the state to see if they can get a tax break they are refused. A local package printer with over 300 employees tried to get a bit of property tax relief. They were refused. The main company closed the facility and took all the work, and jobs, to their North Carolina facility.

A recent news spot on a local television station touted a local company expanding and adding all of four new full time jobs!!! This is big news up here.

While the economy in the city may look good, the rest of the state is hurting big time. The loss of almost 60,000 jobs at Kodak in Rochester was not just because of declining film sales. Over 20,000 of those, including mine, were areas other than film. Kodak used to do a lot of things that people were never aware of. They were either relocated outside of NY or sold off to companies outside of the state. A lot of those jobs went to Mexico. Nothing like seeing long term employees having to train their replacements knowing that when the training is done, so is their career. If they did not do this they were to be laid off without the normal compensation package.

Upstate and Western NY is shedding people at a pretty good clip. And these are the working people looking for jobs to support their families. Retirees are leaving in droves too. All taking their spending with them. It's just to darn expensive to live here. College graduates don't stay either. No opportunities here. While the local governments keep touting how great it is to live in NY, they fail to mention that in order to live that lifestyle you need a decent job to do it. Not a lot of those up here to go around. NY used to have 45 representatives in Congress. Now it is down to 27 and it looks like we will lose more after the next census.

As much as the governor says "New York is open for business", it doesn't mean that people want to come here to run one. It is not a business friendly state.

Sadly, what is happening at B&H has been the norm for the rest of the state for some time now.
03-27-2017, 05:55 AM   #14
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^ Do you think taxes explains the B&H move? Aren't taxes in NJ similar to NY?
03-27-2017, 06:04 AM   #15
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If so it's a curious choice since NJ runs neck and neck with NY on taxes...

Chris
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