B&H Responds To Accusations of Employee Abuse & #BHExposed

In response to yesterday’s article on the alleged B&H warehouse worker abuse, we spoke with B&H’s David Brommer, Director of the BH Event Space, about the accusations levied against the camera retail giant, and what’s to come in the next week.

Brommer started off by informing us why B&H has remained relatively tight lipped on this matter, despite the severity of the accusations. “We didn’t want to comment on a situation without time for more information to surface”. He goes on to explain that of the 200+ protesters that protested outside B&H’s New York offices, only two were actual B&H employees. The remaining crowd were comprised of the Laundry Worker’s Center, the union that has spearheaded the push to unionize B&H’s warehouse workforce.

Brommer goes on to explain that currently their factory workers are paid from $10 to $14 an hour, with access to the same healthcare benefits that all employees (including Brommer himself) receive. Warehouse workers are also entitled to the same 17 annual paid days off and 3-weeks worth of vacation time as everyone else. In response to the accusations of racial discrimination and abuse against their workers, Brommer naturally refutes them. “To start, we’ve never received any OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) citations or warnings. Beyond that we’ve actually passed several impromptu inspections from OSHA over the years with flying colors”.

B&H warehouse workers stand together for better rights. Genuine fight for rights or union cash grab?

Taking it a step further, Brommer describes B&H’s attempts to secure lines of communication with their workers. As many of them spoke English as their second language, B&H realized many of their office memos and notices may not have been fully understood. In response to this realization, B&H hired a Spanish speaking liaison to ensure they understood any and all messages.

As for what comes next? Well, as it turns out the vote to unionize is scheduled for next Wednesday, November 4th. At that time, all B&H factory employees will vote on whether or not to form a union, despite only a handful of employees supposedly pushing for said union. Brommer says this could lead to disaster for all the workers, bringing their benefits to halt until they are renegotiated under the new union. Then, he says, their fate is completely up in the air. “The pay, the benefits, all of it will be reworked. Add in the new union dues they’ll be paying on top of everything and this could actually damage all our factory workers.”

So, what are we to believe? Who are we to believe? If we believe The Laundry Worker’s Center, hundreds of B&H employees have been denied benefits given to all workers in the nation, and have even been systematically abused and racially discriminated against. However if Brommer and B&H are to be believed, a predatory union has descended upon some confused, perhaps even disgruntled, employees to cash in more union dues. Both situations are slightly dramatic, but certainly not unheard of.

In this case only time may tell, and we may never truly discover the truth. The only thing that matters now is the vote currently scheduled for next week, and whether or not The Laundry Worker’s Center has sold their story enough to secure the outcome they desire. B&H seems to be taking the wait and see approach, with a watchful and ever ready eye to react to whatever future the workers decide for themselves.

What do you think?

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  1. Regardless of the outcome, it hardly seem as if B&H is blocking a vote or denying the workers the right to decide if a union is right for them. This whole media fight seems like jockeying for position rather than truth. Every one of B&H’s statements have been supportive of the workers’ rights to choose. As to allegations of wrong doing, we just have to choose which side to believe. B&H has been around for 40 years and very much in the presence of social media. You’d think sweatshop conditions would be more readily captured on photos and blogs – if not inside, then from people watching what the workers look like as they exit the building after work. So far, no one has ever come out looking as if they’ve been tortured. As Jake suggests, this may be a predatory union descending upon some confused, perhaps even disgruntled, employees to cash in more union dues…

  2. Apparently the author hasn’t read the articles in the New York Times and on Politico and didn’t bother to interview the workers or their representatives. I learned as a journalist to provide at least more than one source to report fairly and in an unbiased fashion. There are over 200 employees attempting to unionize. The hazards at the facilities were not even addressed in the HDSLR article. If ever there was a softball article to keep an advertiser placated, this would appear to be it. Shame on you for not presenting both sides of the story! Myself and others are boycotting B&H until they show improvement in treating their employees in a better fashion.
    Tomas Ovalle

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