Former Restaurant Workers Demand $27K in Unpaid Wages

Former workers of the Plaza Garibaldi restaurant on 89-12 Roosevelt Ave. in Elmhurst, alongside family members, demand unpaid wages. The workers said that they will sue the owner of the restaurant if they are not heard. (Photo by Gloria Medina/EDLP)

Wage theft has been a recurring issue for New York City’s Latino community. On March 21, former workers at the restaurant Plaza Garibaldi in Elmhurst, Queens, held a protest, claiming they were cheated out of wages due to them. Below is the translation from Spanish of an El Diario La Prensa article by Gloria Medina on last week’s protest.

Yesterday [March 21], five female ex-workers of the Plaza Garibaldi restaurant in Queens demanded that their former boss pay them $27,000 in wages that they say they earned over months of working there.

The women, all of them Mexican, said that the restaurant manager, Antonio Ganoa, hired them in October of 2011 to work for $350 a week, but then made various excuses and didn’t pay them the money.

“I was hired as a cook. They only paid me for two weeks and I worked there for three months,” said Celina Alvarez, 48.

Like Alvarez, the other women said they had toiled for 12-hour periods, six days a week without compensation.

Anallely Alvarado, 26, said she had worked making tamales, washing plates, grinding meat, serving food to customers and sometimes even taking on the role of a waitress. “Sometimes I had to work a double shift and they didn’t pay me,” she added.

Magdalena Barbosa, a lawyer who works for the organization Make the Road New York and represents the five women, said that the restaurant has a history of violating labor laws. The women are hoping to reach a settlement with the owner of the restaurant, and if that doesn’t work, they will file a lawsuit through the Department of Labor.

Ganoa could not be located to comment on the women’s grievances.

The restaurant’s owner, Cosme Téllez, defended himself in a telephone interview, saying that he had rented the part of the business focused on serving food to Ganoa, and that it was Ganoa who hired the women.

“I rented out the place to Antonio in October and I had to shut it down because he didn’t pay me rent,” said Téllez. “I didn’t have anything to do with the people that he hired, and now I can’t find him so he can pay me my money. On top of that, he got me tangled up in problems.”

2 Comments

  1. I left an article on facebook resently that might help in this backroad. I am his longtime partner the “Gringo”, I lnow what these women have gone through because Cosme would not let me verify their complaints from the computer. He knew what he did and does not care who he screws up! Rumors within the community says, ” he might be a MS13 Sureno informent, or contributor”, the local gang uses his bars to hangout and watch for drunken targets to mug afterwards. They call Cosme Tellez, “Primo or Tio”, for their respect. Cosme Tellez, “joked about having his business partner killed, if he says anything!”
    Give another heads up resently, (before Halloween of 2017), there was a bad fight in one of Cosme Tellez’s ventures, the bar’s name is Atlantic on Roosevelt Ave. The Gringo was acting as assitant manager, he was waking a drunken customer (who was known by the owner), ones awake started to fight and could not be controlled because the security guard was outside the door. The assitant managaer was pumeled by 3 customers (2 more joined into the fight against the assitant manager)! When the security guard was finely summoned to help, the Gringo was down on the floor bleeding from his head. Shakened but not too bad, he got up and chased the other 2 out the door with the security guard. To shorten this story, the owners Geovanni and Cosme Tellez never gave workers comp to the Gringo, paid any bills from the local hospital (for 2 weeks in patient) and did not in any way to help financially to the assit manager!!

  2. I stay because Cosme Tellez promised, to repay me back for everything he took from me. Will he do so – God above, douts it!
    So I wrote this, maybe you people can investigate more than me?
    Thank you for letting me vent it out,

    The Gringo

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