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Shocker: B&H are also capitalists
  • The workers described shocking conditions at B&H Photo warehouses. Employees are told to unload or carry extremely heavy loads, without sufficient help or safety training. Pallets are often stacked more than 15 feet high, and workers operating the heavy machinery to unload the pallets are rarely trained. Other workers are forced to carry heavy loads alone and suffer back injuries. Dust is constantly in the air, and the rooms are extremely hot and dirty. “My nose bleeds two or three times a day sometimes,” said B&H worker Silverio Cano. “I went to the doctor, and she told me that the nosebleeds were caused by the dust in the warehouse.”

    Workers say they are not permitted to use emergency exits. During a recent fire at the warehouse, “there was a ton of smoke, but we continued working, even when the room filled with smoke,” recalled B&H Photo worker Baltizar Martinez. “When we were finally allowed to leave, we had to go through the metal detectors. This process lasted for a half hour. When we got outside, there were 50 firefighters and a helicopter, and imagine! We had been inside, working, this whole time.” After the fire, nothing changed. “The alarm goes off from time to time, but no one pays it any attention,” said Martinez.

    http://lwcu.org/campaigns/bhexposed/

  • 27 Replies sorted by
  • Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I'll be keeping it in mind and sharing @PublicHerald.

  • The story is the same for any company these days. Replace B&H with any company name. No one gives a shit about warehouse employees. People that run the company, managers, and office employees believe that warehouse workers are low-end poor people who deserve to work in shitty or dangerous conditions. Meanwhile office employees/managers continue to do a bullshit excuse for work and company makes record profit. Where does the profit come from? From the high margin on a poor chinese made product and the low wages for the warehouse employees combined with a non-existent customer service department.

  • Nah, I'll still keep on buying from B&H! When it makes sense. As likely this is mostly just a media beat up.

  • @IronFilm

    You can check their old story, I think we had it on site also.

    it is all same for big retailers who aim for cheap price.

  • The U.S. needs more people in unions. This is more important for worker's right than which Democratic candidate gets nominated.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/24/the-incredible-decline-of-american-unions-in-one-animated-map/

  • The U.S. needs more people in unions.

    What it means.. "need"? It is objective situation - modern capitalism with monopolies kill any unions.

    You can open any chart here depicting how fast incomes of top earners rise. And to do this they need to reduce any unions power.

  • B&H doesn't seem cheaper than any other retailer in my opinion. All the local shops seem to have the same prices unless there's some kind of bundle deal.

  • I'll always support my local shops. Even local shops online. G&G Technologies in NJ is the best for getting Blackmagic gear out as soon as it's released.

  • B&H doesn't seem cheaper than any other retailer in my opinion.

    If it is not cheaper, it is because most manufacturers tell minimum advertised price :-)

    But they frequently have good discounts, believe me as the guy who track them for years.

  • ....well those warehouse stories remind me of Gaza . What a surprise !

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    It is objective situation - modern capitalism with monopolies kill any unions.

    In objective situation - modern capitalism with monopolies will try to kill any unions as much as it can. But in objective situation, there are more forces at play than just the capitalists. The workers can improve their situation to some degree by creating their own monopolies on labour (unions).

    To try to fight back against the kind of conditions described in B&H (and probably all similar companies) by changing where you shop is very difficult (I'd say pointless). The only way is for the workers to organize and fight back.

  • But in objective situation, there are more forces at play than just the capitalists. The workers can improve their situation to some degree by creating their own monopolies on labour (unions).

    Well, capitalism is ... shocker... dictatorship of bourgeoisie, ruling class.

    So, while workers can try to fight and win in certain situations, they are not equal to their owners, as all tools - police, court, banks are belonging and execute orders for their enemies :-)

  • “They are exploiting us," he said. "They are 'juicing us' like a fruit. Once they take all the juice from us then we will be thrown away because we are going to be good for nothing.”

    http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2015/10/bh-workers-claim-discrimination-unsafe-standards1.html?utm_content=main&utm_campaign=ajam&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=SocialFlow

    B&H Photo Video has a record of alleged workplace discrimination violations. In 2007, B&H settled $4.3 million discrimination lawsuit filed by Latino workers over unequal pay and lack of health benefits. The suit forced B&H to submit to monitoring by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Yet, despite the monitoring, B&H was soon slapped by a new round of lawsuits. In 2009, a group of female workers sued the company, arguing they were paid less than male employees and were not promoted because of their gender. B&H promptly fired the lead plaintiff. (The suit was later dismissed.) In 2011, in the third suit in five years, B&H was hit by another multimillion dollar racial discrimination lawsuit, filed by two Latino workers, who claimed the company refused to promote them and that B&H was an “abusive work environment.”

  • My first full-time job was molding rubber parts in a 400+ degree press in 120 degree ambient temps. I got sick of it eventually and found something better. These workers should simply leave and take a better job, as there will always be douchebag employers that you cannot bargain with.

    A true dictatorship would be shooting a worker for disagreeing with management. IMO, unions just swap out one master for another, then they additionally tell you who you must vote for and when you have to strike and when you get to work. I'd rather work on my own terms and vote my conscience but to each their own... the world is a big enough place for different employment philosophies.

  • I'd rather work on my own terms and vote my conscience but to each their own...

    Well, union is.. union, as one man have no real force against firm owners and management.

    Proposal to just leave and take a better job, if implemented in country scale can lead to very interesting consequences most here won't like.

  • I hate dealing with B&H, they are always rude, impatient, and always act like you are waisting there time. But unlike most NYC camera shops, they are not scam artist trying to bait and switch you and pawn off grey market products. They also have pretty good prices for a legit dealer.

    That said I would rather shop on Amazon or buy from a friendlier dealer who actual wants to build relationships with clients.

  • That said I would rather shop on Amazon

    You mean that Amazon is better in this regard? :-) You can try and work for them some time.

  • No I know people that have worked in the Amazon warehouse and it's a pretty crappy job, but still better than working at wal-mart and then conditions are better than B&H as far as I know. It's the always be timed thing that would wig me out. But Amazons customer services is easy to deal with you just email them and bam your covered, sometimes they refund you without even asking. B&H you get attitude when your just trying to buy something, even if the item is like $6K they still give you attitude and act like you are a piece of garbage.

  • Well, union is.. union, as one man have no real force against firm owners and management.

    True. I don't understand anti union rhetoric. I've belonged to two huge unions and the dues were fair and the benefits excellent. They had my back. Worst thing I can say about unions is they protect some workers that in actual fact should be fired. But bad workers are usually the exception not the rule so it's a small price to pay.

    On the subject of B&H, I've done lots of business there but lately I've found significantly better deals at Adorama. The Panasonic FZ1000 was $100 cheaper at Adorama. Dunno how they treat warehouse workers. Maybe worse.

  • B&H workers have unionized after passing a 200-to-88 vote yesterday to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union. Last month, nearly 200 workers launched a protest and unionization campaign, accusing the photo retail giant of subjecting employees to long hours, unsafe work environments, inadequate training, and discrimination

    They also get support from other people who wrote http://bhexposed.org/#letter

    At least people do smart things.

  • As far as labor practices are concerned, the real culprits are Congress, the city of New York, and the surrounding states, which could pass strong labor laws but did not. In particular, the national minimum wage is ridiculous in New York, which has a cost of living in the stratosphere.
    From a customer standpoint, B&H is in a class by itself. Occasionally you run in to a New York attitude, which is not a problem for me. I recently went there for the first time. I learned more in half an hour than can be found anywhere on the internet. B&H is a real store, with people who know and love the merchandise. Amazon is a racket, designed to lowball everyone else and take over the market.

  • As far as labor practices are concerned, the real culprits are Congress, the city of New York, and the surrounding states, which could pass strong labor laws but did not. In particular, the national minimum wage is ridiculous in New York, which has a cost of living in the stratosphere

    As you shop in B&H I am sure you call and ask if you can pay 50% premium on price you see on site? No? Why?

    Answer to this question is same as reason why "Congress, the city of New York, and the surrounding states, which could pass strong labor laws but did not". Do not try to ask capitalists and Congress they own to part with their money and instead of implementing their wish into law (as they do always) do opposite.

    Amazon is a racket, designed to lowball everyone else and take over the market.

    You just described large corporation who want to become monopoly. Well, all of them want, but not all can.

  • Not much news, but

    A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleges that B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. has systematically discriminated against Hispanic employees and female, black and Asian jobseekers at its Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse.

  • B&H degrades quickly. Avoid them.