Workers protest Domino’s Pizza

In complementary stories about the same event, Annie Correal of El Diario La Prensa and Yijeng Du of the World Journal reported on the joint demonstration of Latino and Chinese restaurant workers on Nov. 16.

Their numbers, swelled by Occupy Wall Street demonstrators and other protesters, filled Verdi Square at Broadway and 72nd Street, chanting, “No justice, no pizza,” “Down with sweatshops!” and “Down with Domino’s Pizza!”

In September 2010, according to El Diario La Prensa (original article in Spanish),

workers filed a lawsuit against David and Angelina Melton, the owners of the four Domino’s franchises in Manhattan. More than 50 workers are demanding compensation for wages they allege were stolen from them for years.

The workers maintain that David and Angelina Melton have cheated their employees for years – paying them less than minimum wage and without overtime – not to mention not letting them take breaks during shifts.

The workers also stated that they had to pay for their own uniforms and bicycles, and that their bosses did not give them the extra carrying equipment they needed to make deliveries.

Joining the Domino’s workers were Chinese employees of Saigon Grill, who have been on strike since November 2010.

Protesting Domino's Pizza and Saigon Grill

Protesters speak out against working conditions at Domino's Pizza and Saigon Grill. (Credit: World Journal)

According to the World Journal (original article in Chinese),

One of them, Mr. Tu, said that in the democratic society that is the United States, there are many incidents of mistreatment against employees and workers. “I came to support these former employees and I hope that Saigon Grill will face legal consequences soon for their horrific actions,” he said.

He indicated that even a year after being suddenly fired by the restaurant, “We still protest in front of Saigon Grill every Wednesday thru Sunday. I hope these protests will trigger more Chinese people who are mistreated to speak up. We can’t just brush off employers who take advantage of us.”

In response to alleged sweatshop working conditions, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) said that many Chinese immigrant workers don’t actually know their rights are being abused. Even if they do know, they may not speak up due to a language barrier.

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