Ex-Employee Sues Hunts Point Market ‘Race Influences Market Activity’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Prominent New York Civil Rights Lawyer Eric Sanders filed a $35 Million Dollar Federal Complaint Alleging ‘Race Influences Market Activity’ Within the Hunts Point Market

(New York, NY) November 29, 2015 – Plaintiff Willie J. Mitchell accuses defendants’ D’ARRIGO BROS. CO. OF NEW YORK, INC.; PAUL D’ARRIGO; JOSEPH SCHNEIDER; INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS; TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION No.: 202; DANIEL J. KANE, JR.; CHARLES MACHADIO; LEONARDO SERVEDIO; HUNTS POINT COOPERATIVE MARKET, INC.; MATTHEW D’ARRIGO and STEPHEN KATZMAN, of ‘conspiring’ to violate the civil rights of minority male employees, particularly African-Americans for their financial and pecuniary gain.

Since June 1980 to this day, Mr. Mitchell alleges in the federal complaint that the HUNTS POINT COOPERATIVE MARKET, INC., its member organizations such as D’ARRIGO and their agents have condoned, encouraged or acquiesced a shadow market of minority males particularly African-Americans to become employed primarily as “Lumpers” and other forms of “off the books” employment for the financial benefit of its member organizations to the detriment of the workers.

According to the complaint, “Lumpers” are off the books employees consisting of primarily minority males particularly African-Americans who simply gain entry onto the Hunts Point Market property and offer member organizations such as defendant D’ARRIGO to unload rail cars, trucks and other forms of conveyances for wages.

Mitchell says, Caucasian males do not generally “Lump” member organizations simply hire them as employees with all pay, benefits and pension rights.

In order to fraudulently conceal the wages, which intentionally precluded minority males particularly African-Americans from securing the same pay, benefits and pension rights as Caucasian male employees, member organizations such as D’ARRIGO would give workers a written voucher form for a sum certain marked “Miscellaneous.” The workers would then turn in the written voucher form and receive United States Currency in return. The workers were not allowed to keep a copy of the written voucher form, according to the complaint.

Mitchell says, him and other minority males particularly African-Americans were paid less wages than Caucasian male employees.

According to the complaint, since June 1980 to this day, defendants’ D’ARRIGO; PAUL D’ARRIGO; JOSEPH SCHNEIDER; INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS; TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION No.: 202; DANIEL J. KANE, JR., CHARLES MACHADIO; LEONARDO SERVEDIO; HUNTS POINT COOPERATIVE MARKET, INC.; MATTHEW D’ARRIGO; STEPHEN KATZMAN and their agents have a long history of performing flawed and unfair investigations, grievance meetings and arbitration hearings whenever minority male employees particularly African-Americans complain about “Lumping,” lack of employment, unfair wages, lack of promotional opportunities, unfair discipline and other related complaints of race discrimination in the workplace.

Since June 1980 to this day, defendants’ D’ARRIGO and PAUL D’ARRIGO and their agents would further create a racially hostile work environment by artificially driving up the produce prices for minority customers then causing him and other minority employees to handle the irate customers, Mitchell says.

Since June 1980 to this day, defendant D’ARRIGO and PAUL D’ARRIGO and their agents charge African-Americans, Dominicans’, Mexicans, and Puerto Rican clients the highest produce prices, Mitchell says.

According to the complaint, since June 1980 until August 22, 2015, defendants’ D’ARRIGO; PAUL D’ARRIGO; JOSEPH SCHNEIDER; INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS; TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION No.: 202; DANIEL J. KANE, JR., CHARLES MACHADIO; LEONARDO SERVEDIO; HUNTS POINT COOPERATIVE MARKET, INC.; MATTHEW D’ARRIGO; STEPHEN KATZMAN and their agents knew minority males particularly African-Americans are belittled in the workplace subjected to racially offensive jokes and lack of employment opportunities.

Mitchell says, defendant JOSEPH SCHNEIDER encouraged defendant D’ARRIGO managers, supervisors and their agents to “write up Blacks for anything so we can get rid of them.”

On July 30, 2015, defendants’ D’ARRIGO; PAUL D’ARRIGO; JOSEPH SCHNEIDER and their agents, using “Black Codes” falsely accused him of “stealing time” while traveling back to his work location, he stopped for 2.5 minutes in the parking lot to place some fruit in his vehicle, according to the complaint.

On August 22, 2015, defendants’ D’ARRIGO; PAUL D’ARRIGO and JOSEPH SCHNEIDER sent him a certified letter of termination for allegedly violating the Last Chance Agreement.

On September 9, 2015, he complained to defendants’ INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS about the lack of fair representation due to race discrimination and they referred his complaints to defendants’ TEAMSTER LOCAL UNION No.: 202; DANIEL J. KANE, JR., CHARLES MACHADIO and LEONARDO SERVEIDO.

On September 28, 2015, defendants’ INTERNATIONAL BROTHERHOOD OF TEAMSTERS; TEAMSTERS LOCAL UNION No.: 202; DANIEL J. KANE, JR., CHARLES MACHADIO and LEONARDO SERVEDIO essentially blamed him for his own termination, failing to address his complaints of race discrimination.

After being initially denied unemployment benefits, on November 4, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Viren Pergadia ruled, his job was ended for “non-disqualifying reasons” and overruled the denial of unemployment benefits.

“Needless to say, if even some of Mr. Mitchell’s allegations can be verified, federal, state and local government agencies need to perform a vigorous, detailed, top to bottom review of the Hunts Point Cooperative Market” says Sanders.

About The Sanders Firm, P.C.

The Sanders Firm, P.C. offers those in the New York City area legal services related and connected to civil rightscivil service rights, criminal law and discrimination. We firmly believe in everyone’s individual rights that are described and guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. We understand that our freedoms and liberties are sacrosanct and that they have been won in many and various hard-fought battles. We are committed in every way to protecting your civil rights.

Contact

Eric Sanders, Esq.
President and Owner, The Sanders Firm, P.C.
Business Phone: 212-808-6515

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Read Federal Complaint

Read NY Post