Close to 100 employees of a Bellport distribution center demanded equal pay and gender equality during a rally Tuesday outside the company's headquarters.
The mostly female and immigrant workers in the repack division of Quality King, a business that packs and distributes pharmaceutical and personal care products, have worked without a contract since their previous one expired in May.
Negotiations between the company and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2013, which represents the workers, are ongoing, said Mark Carotenuto, president of the local.
He said the company takes advantage of workers in the repack division "because they think they can."
The workers at the rally said they want more than the company's current minimum wage offer.
They were joined at the rally by labor leaders and at least two elected officials.
The company has already settled union contracts that include higher wages for divisions that employe mostly male workers, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2013.
Representatives from Quality King did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Workers chanted in Spanish, "Yes, we can" and "A united town will never lose" on the sidewalk outside of Quality King's headquarters.
Victoria Daza of Long Island Jobs with Justice, a workers' rights organization, told the employees in Spanish that she knows that in many cases women are the sole providers for immigrant families.
"The fact that Quality King is not raising the wages to the same level as their male employees is a complete insult and a complete disrespect for the quality of life for their workers," she said to applause.
Sister Judy Fay of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood later said she told the gathered workers in Spanish that when one person suffers, everyone does.
"As a member of the faith community, I do believe in justice," Fay said.
Carmen Albarenga, 46, of Bay Shore, who is originally from El Salvador and has worked at Quality King for three years, said through a Spanish interpreter that she attended the rally "to support all my co-workers who are fighting for fair wages and benefits.".
Maria Leon, 33, of Patchogue and originally from Ecuador, said through an interpreter that she wants benefits to improve her quality of life, such as health care and vacation time, so she can visit her three children in her native country.
Legis. Kate Browning, (WF-Shirley) and Legis. Monica R. Martinez, (D-Brentwood), attended the rally as did a representative for Legis. DuWayne Gregory, (D-Amityville).
In a letter written to Quality King executives, the three Suffolk legislators reminded company officials they have received roughly $15 million in New York State subsidies.
"We strongly believe that if a company receives tax dollars to support its growth and success, it has a responsibility to be a good steward of those monies and ensure that it provides good jobs at fair wages to its workforce and our constituents," the letter stated.