Workers at famed Long Island cookie company Tate’s Bake Shop have claimed management threatened to call immigration authorities and have them deported if they joined a union.
Employees said they were warned of repercussions including being ‘sent back’ to their countries if they voted in favor of unionizing next month.
Tate’s, owned by multinational conglomerate Mondelez International, has been a staple in Southampton, New York for four decades.
But while the store caters to the wealthy Hamptons’ clientele, with Neighborhood Scout finding the average Southampton home goes for around $1.9 million, most of its 450-strong workers are reportedly undocumented immigrants.
Workers at famed Long Island cookie company Tate’s Bake Shop (above) have claimed management threatened to call immigration authorities and have them deported if they joined a union
Several staff members, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of a backlash from their employer, told News12 they have been left in fear of losing their jobs or being deported if they join the union.
They claimed Tate’s management has been harassing them and threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
One female staffer said through a Spanish interpreter she was no longer happy working there because she is being treated differently over her right to organize in the workplace.
‘She is not happy there anymore because when she gets there, everyone is looking at her saying, ‘Oh you’re with the union so you shouldn’t be here,” the interpreter said.
Another worker told Gothamist staff are now ‘scared to talk’ and ‘express themselves’ for fear of a backlash.
The sanitation worker, who said he earns $16 an hour and has not had a raise in five years, told the outlet he wants to unionize because he feels staff are not supported by HR at the company.
Employees said they were warned of repercussions including being ‘sent back’ to their countries if they voted in favor of unionizing next month
‘I believe we need to be represented by someone because the company doesn’t represent us,’ he said.
He said he arrived from the Dominican Republic 11 years and is in the US legally but is still fearful of reprisal for speaking out.
Cosmo Lubrano, president of Eastern States Joint Board union, told News 12 the company has been doing everything in its power to stop staff unionizing.
‘They began threatening people based on their immigration status, telling them that if their documents are not in order and they attempted to join the labor union they would get deported,’ he said.
The firm has also allegedly hired labor relations consultant Carlos Flores, who boasts of helping firms stay ‘union free’ on his LinkedIn, to double down on the efforts to stop unionization
Under the National Labor Relations Act, undocumented workers have the same legal rights to organize in their workplaces as documented workers.
The law also states it is illegal for employers to use a worker’s immigration status to threaten or retaliate against them because they are taking action about their working conditions.
Tate’s, owned by multinational conglomerate Mondelez International, has been a staple in Southampton, New York state for four decades
But while the store caters to the wealthy Hamptons’ clientele, with Neighborhood Scout finding the average Southampton home goes for around $1.9 million, most of its 450-strong workers are reportedly undocumented immigrants
If an employer does for example threaten to call ICE or demand workers produce new immigration papers because workers try to join or talk about joining a union, the National Labor Relations Board can pursue legal action against the company.
Mondelez International has denied the allegations leveled against the company.
‘Any allegation that the company has violated any aspect of the National Labor Relations Act is untrue,’ a spokesperson told News 12.
‘Tate’s prides itself on treating all its employees with respect, and we have fostered over many years an inclusive, supportive, caring work environment and culture with our employees.’
DailyMail.com has also reached out to Tate’s for comment.
Workers will receive their ballots about unionization March 26 and have until April 21 to vote.
Tate’s, known for its chocolate chip cookies, was founded by Kathleen King in 1980.
Named after her late father, King’s business grew from one bake store to a full line of American baked goods now available to buy across the US and Canada.
The Southampton’s store still draws lines of customers.
Tate’s was acquired by Mondelez in 2018 in a deal worth $500 million.
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