Frequently Asked Questions

How can undocumented immigrants legally form a union?

The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 guarantees the right to organize for better pay and working conditions, and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 guarantees minimum wage and overtime. These laws apply to most workers in the US— and not only to citizens. Time and again, the courts have interpreted the legal term […]

This seems like a very New York story. How does it relate to the rest of the country?

Over 37% of New York City’s population is foreign born (an all-time high, nearly three times the national average), and over 22% of its workers belong to unions (this number is declining, though it’s now about double the national average). The labor of immigrants, including the undocumented, is without a doubt indispensable to the city’s […]

Don’t unions have a problem with undocumented immigrants?

Despite the contributions of immigrant workers to the American labor movement, for much of the 20th century, many unions favored restrictive immigration policies. Their view was that immigration was a threat to American workers because immigrants took jobs away from citizens and lowered standards by accepting lower wages and worse working conditions. In the second […]

What’s the difference between a Workers Center and a Union?

Unions are legally recognized to represent groups of workers in collective bargaining with management on issues such as wages, benefits, and working conditions, as well as disputes over contract violations. Workers centers are nonprofit, community-based organizations that offer support to low-wage, often immigrant workers who are not part of a collective bargaining entity such as […]

Will higher wages hurt the economy and lead to unemployment?

At first, the workers in our film were most concerned with dignity and respect in the workplace. They asked for very modest raises, and the assurance that everyone in the shop get basic minimum wage and overtime. But the Hot & Crusty struggle was a prelude to the Fast Food Strikes, a New York City […]

What is the situation now for the heroes of the film?

After the store reopened in 2013, the new management cooperated with the union and honored their three year contract. During this time, the name of the store changed to Bröd Kitchen, and the workers described a situation that was completely different from when they started the campaign— they felt greater respect in the workplace and […]