Saigon Grill workers explain their situation in front of restaurant. PWW photo by Ken BeSaw.
Immigrant labor makes New York City run. If you doubt it, order some food for delivery. All over the city (and increasingly around the country) immigrants are the backbone of the food service industry, working as chefs, line cooks, dish washers, bussers, and, of course, delivery workers.
In New York City those restaurant delivery workers often face low wages, unfair rules, and unsafe conditions. The dramatic case of the delivery staff at the Saigon Grill is case in point. Delivery workers there were locked out of their jobs months ago when they brought legal action against the restaurant's owner for illegally low wages and working conditions. Workers were being paid less than $2 and hour and being stiffed out of overtime pay in violation of State Labor Laws.
Organizations like Chinese Staff and Workers Association and the Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund have rallied around the Saigon Grill workers and supported their nearly daily pickets of the restaurant. In May, 200 students disrupted meal service at the Restaurant's downtown restaurant in support of the workers. The boycott has recieved support from local elected officials such as Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, State Senator Tom Duane, and City Councilmember Gale Brewer.
The boycott of the Saigon Grill is just the beginning. Legal action is being taken against a number of other city restaurants with deplorable policies towards restaurant workers.
If you are interested in joining the picket, check out the schedule.