For the past several months, workers at Great Oriental Restaurant in Chinatown received no wages working 40-60 hour workweeks. Most workers are paid less than minimum wage, face many labor violations and disrespect on the job. Some were only paid $900 a month for 10 hr days, 6 days a week.
In March, Great Oriental Restaurant workers began to organize and stand up for their rights, with the support of Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) and community allies. Community-worker delegations met with the owner, Ming Wah Leong, and supporters have been passing out flyers outside the business.
With little progress, the workers and supporters planned a rally today in Portsmouth Square in the center of Chinatown. As a result, the owner has paid back workers close to all of their promised wages. The workers have called off the rally and are marking their partial success with a celebration.
The workers and supporters are continuing to organize, however. Great Oriental has not paid legally due wages, in accordance with minimum wage and overtime laws. He has even threatened to sue CPA and workers asking for minimum wage rates. CPA is also organizing for a citywide Low-Wage Worker Bill of Rights to protect workers rights in industries such as the restaurant industry where employment violations are rampant.