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On the picket line

April 27, 2007 | Page 14

Saigon Grill
By Dawning Greenstreet

NEW YORK--Delivery workers at the Saigon Grill in New York City have been picketing two of its three locations twice a day for the past month.

The workers, calling themselves the Justice Will Be Served (JWBS) Coalition, are protesting against being locked out of their jobs after refusing to sign a false statement saying that they had been paid minimum wage and overtime pay. In truth, the workers had been paid just $1.60 an hour, far below the legal minimum wage of $4.85 an hour.

Working conditions at the Saigon Grill, which makes about $2 million a month betweens its three locations, are deplorable. Workers are subjected to ridiculous fines, including $200 for customer complaints, and $50 for slamming a door or taking sick leave. They are also forced to pay for food that is lost if they are robbed while on a delivery, and are responsible for their own medical expenses.

The workers were inspired by the recent victory of workers at 88 Palace, where workers successfully sued the restaurant for paying below minimum wage and stealing their tips.

Yu Guan Ke has worked at the Saigon Grill for 10 years, making just $400 per month. Ke, who read about the victory at 88 Palace in a Chinese-language newspaper, decided it was time to take action. Picketers said in an interview that their actions have cut business in half.

Support the Justice Will Be Served (JWBS) Coalition. Send an e-mail to the owners of the Saigon Grill at [email protected], or call 212-875-9072 or 212-982-3691. Join workers in picketing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at 620 Amsterdam Ave.; and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at 93 University Place. Call JWBS at 212-334-2333 to donate to help support locked-out workers.

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