Fur workers urge Van Bramer to oppose ban
In response to the City Council’s proposed ban on fur, small business owners on Monday delivered letters to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer urging him to oppose the legislation.
Peter Georgiades, 30-year owner of fur manufacturer Stallion Inc. in Long Island City, which employs 90 people, said that he has been trying to meet with his councilman since the bill was introduced in March.
“We did send him multiple emails, but there was no response,” he said.
“We’ve been trying to get in touch with all the people that are involved with it and will be able to vote,” added Eric Rouskas, owner of Funtastic Furs.
More than 40 people from both companies lined the halls outside Van Bramer’s Sunnyside office, each with a letter detailing the hardships they would endure if the sale of fur is banned in New York City.
“Because fur is a unique textile, our skills are not transferable to other fashion jobs,” the letters read.
“Most of these people have been working for me between 10 and 50 years, so they’re not temporary workers,” Rouskas said. “They’re family workers.”
Staff at the councilman’s office told the protestors that Van Bramer was out of the office. Chief of staff Matthew Wallace told the workers that the councilman did not have an opinion on the matter yet.
“We have received feedback about the proposed legislation to ban the sale of fur in NYC from people on both sides of the issue,” a statement from the councilman’s office read. “I am listening to everyone who has reached out to my office and appreciate their voices in the process. I will continue to study the issue and consider all feedback.”
Following the delivery, Rouskas elaborated on how the bill would hurt his employees.
“Most of the people working in the fur business, this is all they know how to do,” he said. “These people are around 50 to 60 years old, and being laid off and having to change professions would be very difficult for them at their age.”
“If it gets passed, I will find another job because I’m a working man,” said Juan Mego, who has worked in the industry for 20 years, but he’s not so sure about some of his co-workers. “This is about the entire industry.”