Victorious Chinese Workers Celebrate Belated New Year

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The Chinese New Year ended more than a week ago, but Chinese Staff and Workers Association — a militant labor-rights group trying to gain better pay and conditions for employees in the city's Chinese restaurants — held a celebration at P.S. 2 on Henry Street yesterday. "It's the Golden Year of the Pig, and it will be good for workers," said Wing Lam, the group's executive director. It's a moment for the association to be celebrating: Its members refused to sign a contract with the Saigon Grill mini-chain, which led the restaurant to suspend its delivery service last week, and in February a federal judge ruled that managers at the 88 Palace restaurant on East Broadway wrongfully pocketed a service charge the restaurant had imposed on banquet tabs, ordering owners to fork over to eleven busboys and waiters some $700,000 in gratuities and other costs dating to 2002. Lawyers for 88 Palace's owners have filed an appeal, and they're also fighting the workers' attorneys' request for close to $1 million in legal fees. But for now, at least, happy Year of the Pig.
Mary Reinholz