Print More

Seven Puerto Rican and African American workers at a Manhattan pre-press service plant have filed complaints with the New York State Division of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission arguing that they were fired because of their race. The West 28th street plant belongs to Schawk, a Chicago-based pre-press company, which processes artwork for printing. After it acquired a competitor, the company decided to close its 28th street facility and merge with its New York headquarters at West 33rd street. On May 1, 17 of the 33 workers in the 28th street facility received pink slips, including all the plant’s Puerto Rican and African American employees and ten white coworkers. “It’s really unfair,” said William Vega, a Puerto Rican computer operator employed by the plant for 27 years. “I’ve been working so hard every day.” Vega also said his salary, $895 per week is much lower than his young, white colleagues. The average weekly wage of the seven minority workers is $813 while that of their coworkers is $1,500 per week, according to Local One, the union that represents them. State Senator Thomas Duane, who represents the district where the company’s headquarters are located, joined the workers at a press conference Thursday. “We feel that what Schawk is doing is terrible,” he said. “We don’t need companies in this city that discriminate.” A spokesperson for Schawk didn’t respond to repeated calls seeking comment. (X. Rong)