Orthodox group protests kosher food firm

Orthodox group protests kosher food firm

NEW YORK — A coalition of rabbis joined workers and labor activists in a rally against unfair labor practices at a 93-year-old kosher food distributor in New York.

Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice group, helped organize a protest Tuesday with workers’ rights activists against the Faum Appetizing Corp., a Brooklyn-based firm that the National Labor Relations Board ruled abused workers by forcing them to work unpaid overtime and firing them when they complained.

The ruling ordered that Faum pay $270,000 in restitutions to its workers, but Faum is appealing the ruling, arguing that it is not obligated to pay back wages to undocumented immigrants.

The protesters gathered outside the offices of Apax Partners, a private equity firm in Manhattan that owns the largest food manufacturer and distributor in Israel, Truva, which distributes its products in America through Faum. Activists hope that Truva will use its influence to force Faum to change its labor policies.

A delegation of rabbis and community members attempted to meet with Apex Partners, but were told that the office was closed.

“As an Orthodox Jew, keeping kosher is very important,” said Ari Hart, a founder of Uri L’Tzedek. “But keeping yosher [ethical] is just as important as keeping kosher, and exploiting immigrant labor is not yosher according to Jewish and secular law.”