West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 20 | October 17 - 23, 2007

Villager photo by Elizabeth Proitsis

Fired delivery workers picketing outside Saigon Grill on University Pl.

Fired workers hope to turn the tables on restaurant

By Lincoln Anderson

Following the National Labor Relations Board’s issuing of a complaint against Saigon Grill restaurant at the end of last month, fired delivery workers are continuing to picket outside the restaurant’s University Pl. location. An expedited hearing of the issue by the N.L.R.B. is set for Oct. 30.

The restaurant, which also has a location at 90th St. and Amsterdam Ave., is accused of firing 22 delivery workers in early March after they tried to organize a union to fight for higher pay. According to Josephine Lee, an organizer with the Justice Will Be Served! Campaign, the workers were being paid $1.60 per hour and were demanding the minimum wage. The workers claim that management called them “dirty dogs” — and “interrogated” and “threatened” them before firing them.

The deliverymen have been picketing the restaurant five days a week, twice per day for the past seven months, demanding their jobs back and calling on people to boycott the eatery. If the N.L.R.B. finds for the workers and issues an order against the restaurant, Saigon Grill would not only have to hire them back but also pay them all their wages for the period they were fired.

According to Justice Will Be Served!, the restaurants’ owners, Simon, Michelle, Richard, Leana Nget and Tony Truong, have refused to negotiate with the deliverymen or provide an explanation for the labor law violations.

“The picketing will continue until they reinstate the workers,” said Lee. “And we also want to let the people know that the federal government has filed this complaint.”

When a reporter called Saigon Grill and asked to speak to the manager, the woman who answered the phone said the manager wasn’t there. When asked the manager’s name, she said she didn’t know it.

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