Let’s celebrate the struggles, the victories of working people. We work in restaurants, stores, offices, schools or factories, or in our homes caring for our families. We’re documented, we’re undocumented. Let’s meet other members and supporters in our newly-renovated center, share the latest about Domino’s Pizza, People First, and Cuomo’s minimum-wage fiasco. Let’s gear up to stand together for equal rights for all workers–taking control of our work, our homes, our community!
Bring friends and family! (childcare available)
Let’s get ready to dance!
Bring food, drinks to share. Donations welcome.
345 Grand Street (btw Essex and Ludlow)
B/D to Grand St., F/J/M to Essex/Delancey
For more info, call us @ (212) 358-0295
We write to set the record straight as you continue to spread disinformation. You accuse community members of “falsehood” in documenting what you have done as a City Council Member and as a deputy director of the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE). Following is a response to your March 21 letter to the Lower East Side Community.
You say that you have “worked to develop affordable housing on the Lower East Side.” But, in reality, by taking pro-luxury development positions on re-zoning laws and development plans on NYCHA property, 1) the vast majority of the housing that you have helped to develop is for the rich, 2) much of the housing that you call “affordable” is not affordable to the majority of this community. 3) your denial of protection for the LES and Chinatown community from luxury high-rises invites more luxury development, which causes our rents and costs to go up.
For example, you say that you negotiated “over 500 units of affordable housing in Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.” Let’s see who you are developing the nine public lots of SPURA for. Of 1,000 units:
· 500 market rate—for rich families (for rents of $6,000 a month)
· 100 apartments for families making $105,062 – $132,330 (for rents of $2,627 – $3,308 a month)
· 100 apartments for households making $48,120 – $104,260 (for rents of $1,203 – $2,607 /mo.)
· 200 apartments for households making up to $48,120 (for rents of $1,203 a month)
· 100 apartments for seniors
How many of Chinatown and the Lower East Side can afford these apartments? Looks like your vision for SPURA took inspiration from AAFE’s 2004 plan , for SPURA to be developed resembling the gentrified Cooper Square area.
In Community Board 3, the area which covers Chinatown and the Lower East Side, the median income of Latino households is $21,603; the median income of African American households is $25,707; the median income of Asians is $27,723. Many of us make even less: $10,000 or $15,000 a year. So, SPURA is not for most of us.
You say that you were not a Council Member when Bloomberg’s East Village Rezoning Plan passed. Correct: you were a director of Asian Americans For Equality when AAFE not only supported this racist rezoning plan that excluded Latinos, African Americans and Chinese of the LES and Chinatown from protection from high-rise development, but helped shape this plan.
Your support of Bloomberg’s plan seems to have benefited AAFE, which has received several government grants and funding for their pet projects , since you entered office in 2010. Yet, many LES Latinos say they have not benefited from AAFE’s affordable housing development, citing discrimination. Teresa Torres, who has lived in AAFE buildings for 14 years, and was repeatedly stymied by Chin’s manager at AAFE, says, “Chin’s group doesn’t like Hispanic people.”
You also treat low-income Chinese unfairly. “Margaret Chin has been selling out the community for a long time, even when she was deputy director of AAFE,” says Wing Lam, well-known labor organizer and Director of the Chinese Staff and Workers Association for 25 years. “She crossed union picket lines left and right in Chinatown. She does not represent us workers. She is racist, she looks down on blacks, Latinos and Chinese who are poor. She represents the developers who gentrify our community and the Chinese sweatshop owners, the worst kind of Chinese.”
You say that you “do not support the sale of NYCHA property to private developers.” Why, then, did your organization AAFE propose in its 2003 RCI plan , recommend the idea of “reclaiming open space” on NYCHA for private development. And, why, then, did you support Bloomberg’s transferring the ownership of Rutgers housing to Citigroup–in effect selling Rutgers?
And why have you not spoken out against Bloomberg’s plans now to lease vacant space on Smith, Baruch, Campos Plaza, La Guardia, and Meltzer? They want to build 80% luxury housing right on our NYCHA property. We know what will happen to our rents, parking lot fees, food prices when rich people move in next door. So we may not get evicted today, but if we can’t afford to live here anymore, we will be forced to leave. This is how the plans you support displace us.
Yet you still refuse to support the People First Rezoning Plan which proposes height limits to protect our community from high-rise development. This plan also says that if anything is built on any public land in the LES and Chinatown—such as SPURA and NYCHA— that it be 100% low-income housing.
You say that “BIDs promote and support small businesses in our community.” Why, then, was the Chinatown Business Improvement District (BID) met with such angry opposition by property and small business owners, who collected the largest number of petitions ever submitted to the City Clerk? And where does this money go? To the BID which pays the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation–which you helped to create–to manage the cleaning services.
Instead of speaking up for our community, you attack organizations, such as NMASS, that dare to stand up against Bloomberg’s destructive development policies. When NMASS spoke out against Bloomberg’s East Village Plan for being racist, you with AAFE were the first to come out and defend Bloomberg, calling his opponents “divisive.” Like a true Jim Crow apologist, AAFE advocated for a “separate” and of course unequal plan for Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
This past term, you have largely supported Bloomberg’s policies. And banks and real estate developers, such as Edison Properties and Algin Management have been awarding you for a job well done with generous donations for your 2013 re-election campaign.
You’ve denied us rezoning laws to protect us from luxury development. You’ve helped to give our public land to luxury developers. You’ve passed laws that make it impossible for small businesses to survive. Your record shows clearly that you are fighting not for our community’s needs, but for the needs of your rich developer friends.
1. America’s Chinatown, A Community Plan, April 2004 contracted by the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE)
2. Since 2010, AAFE has received a government grant for its redevelopment project under the Manhattan Bridge. CPLDC, founded by AAFE members, including Margaret Chin, has received government funding for the BID.
3. Chinatown: Where Tradition Meets Tomorrow, Columbia University Urban Planning Studio, 2003, contracted by AAFE
4. See AAFE Position on the East Village Rezoning
5. NYC Campaign Finance Board
DEMAND DOMINO’S PIZZA TAKE RESPONSIBILITY NOW!
Domino’s Pizza made $501 million in gross profit in 2012, the highest ever, with nearly 10,000 stores worldwide. Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle alone took home $9.1 million last year, or roughly $4,375 per hour. Workers, on the other hand, who delivered these pizzas, made only $4 an hour, working 60 to 70 hours a week in rain, snow and storms. They had no time to eat. Workers were then fired for speaking out about conditions. “They treated us like slaves,” said Anatole, a Domino’s delivery worker for four years.
How does Domino’s get away with making so much money by abusing its workers? Mitt Romney probably gave helpful tips when his venture capital firm Bain Capital took ownership of the company in 1998. Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan’s funding of anti-choice campaigns in past years probably curried favor with key politicians. And Domino’s poster boy, franchise owner and millionaire Dave Melton, probably enhanced the Corporation’s bottom line with his book, “Hiring the American Dream: How to Build Your Minimum Wage Workforce Into A High-Performance, Customer-Focused Team”.
Except that Melton failed to pay his “minimum-wage workforce” minimum wage. Or overtime pay. Or any pay at all for the 15 – 20 hours over 45 that workers put in every week. Or for their uniforms and bikes. His high-performance team of workers are now speaking out against Domino’s sweatshop practices. They are holding Domino’s Corporation responsible, and demanding an end to the abuses and labor violations at the stores owned by Melton and all Domino’s stores citywide.
When one Domino’s worker went to the Labor Department to file a complaint, he never got a response. Later, he and 73 other workers sued Melton for labor-law violations. In response, Melton, who had boasted of annual revenues of $1 million in each of his six stores, filed for bankruptcy, claiming that he has no money.. Recently, a federal court judge ruled in favor of the workers to include Domino’s Corporation in the lawsuit as a joint employer, citing the corporation’s control of its franchises and promotion of policies and practices. The corporation requires its franchises to use computer systems to track hours and pay, and performance of the workers—down to the number of minutes it takes to deliver a pizza. It details how employees should carry out tasks. It reviews this data, and inspects the stores. However, the corporation is trying to say that it is not responsible for its franchises’ practices.
As workers like the Domino’s workers come forward to hold their employers like Domino’s Corporation responsible for the sweatshop conditions they faced, we need our government to back us up. Instead of giving millions of dollars to subsidize corporations and employers like Domino’s Corporation in his new minimum-wage law, Governor Cuomo should be committing more resources to labor-law enforcement. Instead of funding incentives for bosses to divide workers and slash wages, Cuomo should be supporting workers who want to organize and speak out against abusive conditions. Otherwise, workers will be left hanging. Scofflaw bosses like David Melton will declare bankruptcy, hide assets, and claim poverty. And top entities like Domino’s Corporation will hide behind the franchising and sub-contracting system, and claim that, “those are not my employees, that is not my business.”
Enough! Whether we are Domino’s workers, students working minimum-wage jobs, young people doing unpaid internships, or office workers at risk for being laid off, we are all being squeezed. What are you going to do about it?
Join us in the fight against Domino’s sweatshop empire. If we take down Domino’s, the rest will fall.
For more information, contact Justice Will Be Served! Campaign at (212) 358-0295 or visit us online: www.knockdowndominos.com * www.facebook.com/boycottdominos * @jwbscampaign
The New York State bill that will become law this week is a sham. It will enrich employers and corporations to the detriment of all working people. New Yorkers deserve a real wage raise, one that improves conditions for all workers.
They repeatedly violate labor laws, then hide behind franchises to avoid paying for these crimes.
Across NYC, Domino’s Pizza franchises:
Join us to demand Domino’s Pizza Corporation to be held responsible for these crimes, pay workers what they’re owed, and rehire the workers fired for speaking out
The victory at the Saigon Grill is a victory for all workers!
Sweatshops cannot survive on the UWS!
Join Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and the Justice Will Be Served! Campaign to demand:
Saigon Grill landlord pledge NOT to rent to another sweatshop boss and to EVICT any future restaurant owner that continues the legacy of sweatshop Saigon Grill owners by violating the labor law.
FRIDAY, MARCH 8TH, 12PM//SAIGON GRILL, 90TH & AMSTERDAM
On the ten public lots on Delancey (SPURA),City Council Member Margaret Chin recently led the City to shut out Latinos, African Americans, and other workers and poor families on the Lower East Side and Chinatown.
On February 11, State Supreme Court Judge Marcy Friedman ruled that the current owner of Saigon Grill must pay the 38 former employees over $1 million owed to them from the judgments against the former boss Simon Nget.
After Nget went to jail for fraudulent payroll records the new owners, Jiu Sheng Lin and Qiao Lin, purchased Saigon Grill’s 90th Street location in 2010 with the requirement that they would pay Nget’s debt to the workers. The Upper West Side community was led to believe that the Lins would run the business with better labor practices. Instead, the Lins fired the older workers and the younger workers who spoke out against their age discrimination practice. Furthermore, the restaurant fired the workers trying to unionize the delivery department.
Since November 2010, the fired workers and supporters have been picketing in front of Saigon Grill to demand justice. The determination of Saigon Grill workers has inspired many workers and residents. Many other workers have come forward to demand improved work conditions in dozens of establishments including Domino’s Pizza, Land Thai, Tomo, Sun Lee West, Gabriella’s and Aqua.
Workers and supporters continue to picket Saigon Grill 5 days a weeks and twice a day until the employer pays the judgment and rehires the fired workers.