Being lifelong fans of labor strife and (especially) guerrilla street theater, we received this press release with some excitement. We are passing it on without comment, except to ask why this doesn’t happen more often. What could dramatize the struggle of labor versus management better than the preannounced crashing of ritzy parties?
It’s hard out there for a Venetian millionaire. No sooner did the Cipriani boys get the all clear from their federal tax-evasion trial than a major sexual-harassment lawsuit came down upon their heads. Just in time for your weekend reading, Grub Street has acquired a copy of the legal documents; after the jump, allegations of systematic misogyny and insidious put-downs.
Labor activists, ousted employees, and local politicians gathered outside Saigon Grill’s uptown location to cheer a validating September 28 complaint against the restaurant issued by the National Labor Relations Board. In March, Saigon Grill sacked 22 workers who had taken steps to join the 318 Restaurant Workers Union. The NLRB also found that Saigon Grill’s owners promised pay raises (above a reported $1.60 an hour) to those who stayed away from the union and videotaped the employees who participated in regular demonstrations outside the Amsterdam Avenue restaurant and its University Place counterpart.
We’ve learned that Juan Garcia-Espinoza, a dishwasher who worked at Carmine’s for two and a half years is suing the South Street Seaport dive (no relation to the Upper West Side pasta joint) for allegedly violating overtime laws by paying him a miserly $260 to $300 for workweeks as long as 58 hours. We’ve pointed out that these cases are increasingly becoming “man bites dog,” and the cover story of this week’s Business Week proves it: In the last few years, companies have blown about $1 billion resolving them. At this point wouldn’t even Mr. Burns agree that that money is better spent fairly compensating workers in the first place?
Related:Wage Wars [Business Week]