Orthodox group protests kosher food firm

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}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: “Times New Roman”; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }NEW YORK (JTA) — A coalition of rabbis joined workers and labor activists in a rally against unfair labor practices at the kosher food distributor Flaum Appetizing in New York.

Uri L’Tzedek, an Orthodox social justice group, helped organize a protest Tuesday with workers’ rights activists against Flaum, a 93-year-old Brooklyn 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 Flaum pay $270,000 in restitutions to its workers, but Flaum 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 Flaum 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."

Apax declined to comment to JTA. Tnuva USA issued a statement saying that the company had "received assurances from Flaum’s management that Flaum… abides by all legal requirements," and urging Flaum to "act judiciously and fast to solve their internal matters."

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