Saigon Grill in Upper West Side Manhattan has been in the center of labor disputes for years. New owners Qiao Lin and Bei Lin are continuing this tradition.
The Lins, who bought the three-restaurant chain in October 2010, refused to employ servers and busboys who they deem “too old,” because they are over the age of 40. They also fired workers who spoke out against this as well as delivery workers who tried to form a union.
Protesting workers and the Justice Will be Served! campaign have demanded that the Lins:
- Stop the Retaliation and Ensure Workers’ Right to Join the Union
- Stop the Age Discrimination and Ensure Equal Employment Opportunity
- Rehire the Workers Discriminated and Retaliated Against
- Comply with the Labor Law; Don’t Touch Workers’ Tips
The workers have filed a federal lawsuit, and protesters are organizing a boycott against the three-restaurant chain. A number of local and state politicians - including New York State Senators Adriano Espaillat and Tom Duane, City Councillor Gale Brewer and State Assembly member Linda Rosenthal - are supporting the campaign. The campaign has also enlisted a number of local businesses to oppose sweatshops.
The previous owner, Simon Nget, sold the restaurant after losing a three-year battle with his delivery workers, who had been paid less than the minimum wage. A federal judge awarded the workers $4.6 million and sentencing Nget to 90 days in jail.