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Ed_David

B&H Photo - largest seller of camera gear in USA exploits workers

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B&H and Adorama, and many other stores, are run by Orthodox Jews.  It sounds like the warehouse workers have grim work, but so do most Jewish workers in these stores.  They are bused from their communities in Brooklyn and live very spartan lives, which is why these stores succeed (lower prices).  You read about "tribes" in the Middle East but don't need to travel there to see one in action.  Go to B&H.  Then go to Williamsburg, Crown Heights or Borough Park.   You won't see a lot of money flowing about.  Yet they gather round and protect their own.  I find these communities creepy.  Then I remind myself Park Avenue is just as creepy in its own way too.   There are no easy answers here, like boycotting a store.  The truth is, wherever you live, if you weren't born into money getting work is very difficult--especially if you're an immigrant.   In that story the only job many of those workers could get was at B&H.  Again, believe it or not, B&H doesn't treat its own Jewish workers much better.  The difference is that the Jewish employee believes in something more than money.  Or maybe they're too scared of raising prices (to pay workers more) and losing their customers to Mormons.

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1 article. Written by an Islamic site. Attacking a very Jewish company. Haven't heard from both sides. Probably won't know the ins and the outs unless we take the time to investigate fully..... equals unfair judgement on someone. 

Islamic site? Aljazeera is one of the least biased news corporations worldwide.

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/12/headlines/nyc_warehouse_workers_launch_campaign_to_unionize_b_h_photo_video 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%26H_Photo_Video

Its not about religion. Its about companies abusing workers.  

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1 article. Written by an Islamic site. Attacking a very Jewish company. Haven't heard from both sides. Probably won't know the ins and the outs unless we take the time to investigate fully..... equals unfair judgement on someone. 

I was going to say.  May want to take this article with a grain of salt... or boulder of salt.

The truth is, wherever you live, if you weren't born into money getting work is very difficult--especially if you're an immigrant.   In that story the only job many of those workers could get was at B&H. 

I've lived in New York.  Fortunately I had a college degree and a high paying job... relative to the masses.  Is there any evidence that any of the other New York or New Jersey outfits offering rock bottom prices operate any differently?

And I hear you on the Orthodox Jew thing.  New York has some really hardcore stuff going on.  There are groups that operate nothing like the friendly Jewish family down the street in any town USA or even like the average Jew in Israel.  The Jewish population is diverse as any other.  In the end I don't know where on the spectrum the fine retailers at B&H fall.

Anyone that sees the prices in the US for various things from produce to electronics and doesn't think there is something fishy happening is deluding themselves.  We are all enjoying this capitalistic orgy.  Hopefully Trump doesn't ruin the party by trying to deport all the cheap labor.

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1 article. Written by an Islamic site. Attacking a very Jewish company. Haven't heard from both sides. Probably won't know the ins and the outs unless we take the time to investigate fully..... equals unfair judgement on someone. 

An Islamic Site?!  AJA is a relatively well regarded news organization, regardless of any biases you may have to where they are headquartered.  Also: please search for the word 'Jewish' in that article.  (Spoiler:  you will not find it, because that's not what the story was about.)

The author is American, she's from Massachusetts.  Further, from what I've read, the photographer in that story is Jewish himself.

I find the story pretty damning, but (a) B&H hasn't responded yet and (b) a second news agency hasn't picked it up -- only folks on photography/videography sites are forwarding/riffing on the original story. 

It's possible that this is just a muck-raking play to go with the shockingly timely announcement that the B&H workers are unionizing:

http://lwcu.org/press-room/press-releases/b-h-photo-warehouse-workers/

...but it's also entirely possible that B&H runs a sweatshop.  I'd like a second story to either corroborate or rebut AJA before I make up my mind.

- A

 

 




 

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I don't shop with Apple unless it's used and I also don't use amazon anymore.

What's the dirt on Amazon?

Where are the "clean" places to shop for camera gear?

 

I find the story pretty damning...

Compared to what?  Big business is a cesspool in America.  Do you want to pay higher prices?  Do you support unions?  Do you own a "Feel the Bern" Tshirt?

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An Islamic Site?!  AJA is a relatively well regarded news organization, regardless of any biases you may have to where they are headquartered.  Also: please search for the word 'Jewish' in that article.  (Spoiler:  you will not find it, because that's not what the story was about.)

Well regarded by you maybe, but not everyone, which is the point. They lost all credibility with me when they were doing all the coverage of the Egyptian uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood was paying and supplying people to do the protests and riots and Aljazeera dutifully helped sell the whole deception. 

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Well regarded by you maybe, but not everyone, which is the point. They lost all credibility with me when they were doing all the coverage of the Egyptian uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood was paying and supplying people to do the protests and riots and Aljazeera dutifully helped sell the whole deception. 

I also did not state the story was true.  I'm saying this is a developing story -- B&H may rebut the AJA story, other news orgs might corroborate the story or add something to it, etc.  We're still in the 24 hour news cycle of this, and today's physical protest inside/outside the store may draw more light to it.

Personally, I don't care about the union angle, AJA, etc. -- I just want to know if B&H is worthy of my continued business.  If half of what was reported is true, they aren't getting another dime from me.  Amazon may be jerks to their warehouse people, but they aren't vicious or unlawful.  I have no delusions of a warehouse full of happy workers, but they should be allowed bathroom breaks, given reasonable hours and be allowed to use the restroom.

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1 article. Written by an Islamic site. Attacking a very Jewish company. Haven't heard from both sides. Probably won't know the ins and the outs unless we take the time to investigate fully..... equals unfair judgement on someone. 

I would like to hear both sides of the story too. My limited interactions with B&H have made me feel they are a league apart from anyone else. But that's obviously a customer's perspective. 

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This whole story smells fishy. If it is soo horrible, then don't work there.

They aren't slaves.

The part that made me question them is the stacks of pallets bit... An electronics pallet is probably 5 feet tall, so 3 high sounds like normal practice to me. And then they speak of not being trained... It sounds like union rhetoric. As if B&H, one of the largest camera stores in America is going to allow untrained fork lift drivers barreling around millions of dollars of fragile merchandise.

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I get the company being liable for not requiring the forklift driver to have a certification (i believe Home depot offers them, and they are easy to get because driving a forklift is fucking simple). But the operation of a forklift does not require you to stand on top of an 8 foot pallet. There's idiocy on both company and worker. This is why every major factory I install my company's systems for requires me to sit through 30 minutes of the most brain numbingly simple safety videos before working. 

On discrimination, who knows? This is a piece to promote the formation of their union with only one side's narrative, how unbiased do you think it is? 

To clarify, the company is liable and their safety supervisor (if there is one) should be fired. There's a reason supervisors act like dictators. It's because workers are in general idiots of the first rate when it comes to personal safety.

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Islamic site? Aljazeera is one of the least biased news corporations worldwide.

http://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/12/headlines/nyc_warehouse_workers_launch_campaign_to_unionize_b_h_photo_video 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B%26H_Photo_Video

Its not about religion. Its about companies abusing workers.  

Anyone who has spent even 30 seconds in B&H picks up that it's run by Orthodox Jews.  To mention that nowhere in the story, whether the New York Times, or Aljazeera makes one question the reporter's competence, if not their eye-sight.  Because of the work-ethic of Orthodox Jews, (like closing on Saturday) I can't see how it is not relevant.  Also, to add to my previous post.  There are probably hundreds of electronic stores in NYC alone.  B&H is not successful because of cheap prices only.  It's a very well-run store.  

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I think look into the 5.7 million dollar cash lawsuit settlement in 2007 the article references. 

Unfortunately, most settlements are not instigated by the victims, but are brought on by lawyers.  I'm not saying that B&H didn't abuse workers, only that all companies, when they reach a certain size, are targeted by lawyers who make the real money.  It's the American way.  I have a fair amount of experience in Wall Street settlements and what the public sees as some large number, is actually quite small, a cost of doing business.  In other words, even if B&H were no better or worse than any other company, it would still end up paying $5.7 million to settle SOMETHING.  Generally, various law firms attack companies and join together to get something.  Not pretty!   I'd like to say the government is un-biased, but it too, is run by politicians looking to score points with voters (who never look at the details). 

We all accept that this happens, I believe, because we understand the best we can do is keep a fire under everyone's butt.  If B&H was really bad they would get fined out of business.  

If one doesn't buy what I'm saying then I ask, have you never gotten a ticket (for your car) that really had little to do with safety and a lot to do with shaking you down?  

Ahhh life! :)

 

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Anyone who has spent even 30 seconds in B&H picks up that it's run by Orthodox Jews.  To mention that nowhere in the story, whether the New York Times, or Aljazeera makes one question the reporter's competence, if not their eye-sight.  Because of the work-ethic of Orthodox Jews, (like closing on Saturday) I can't see how it is not relevant.  Also, to add to my previous post.  There are probably hundreds of electronic stores in NYC alone.  B&H is not successful because of cheap prices only.  It's a very well-run store.  

Two things:

1) Any AJ/AJA haters just needed to see the word Jew or Jewish once in the story and they'd be off to the races that AJ was targeting a Jewish business.  Though I don't necessarily believe the story until someone corroborates it, I actually think it was wise NOT to use either word in the story.

2) The story, again, appears to be about worker abuse, not about a Jewish-run business.  I want to stay on topic.

Everyone on the internet is getting sidetracked with AJA vs. a Jewish business and Union vs. Non-Union.  I do not give a damn about either matter. 

I care if the business I am giving thousands of dollars to is running a sweatshop.  That's what I want to know.  I just want this story either backed up with more information or invalidated as not being true.

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Yeah but unfortunately I don't think there is any billion dollar revenue business with a large head count that hasn't been sued by a worker and settled.  That's like trying to find a doctor in the US that has been in practice for 40 years that hasn't settled a malpractice suit.  Okay, we stop buying from them.  So who do we buy from that is any better?  I don't know if they are bad people but trial lawyers have so cheapened the legal process in the United States we can't tell who the good guys are.  Even the good guys are settling out of court.  And the race to the bottom ensures everyone is using illegal aliens in code violating buildings.  I buy organic salad.  At least it is labeled organic.  No labels about the labor.  No organic cameras for sale in the US.

And after paying a visit to B&H on a recent trip to New York I just don't think Al Jazeera is the organization that should launch the jihad against them... optics are terrible...  which I thought a film making site of all places would realize.

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