In San Francisco, workers, many Chinese, are continuing their boycott of major hotels in the city. Local 2 of the Unite/Here union are continuing to call for boycotting the Westin St. Francis, Palace and the Grand Hyatt becayse if cuts in health benefits to roomcleaners, Cooks, Dishwashers, Bellpersons, Servers, Bartenders, and other workers. Earlier in Novemeber there was a 3-day strike at the Grand Hyatt. Half the workers were Chinese.
A recent study of low-wage workers indicated how a large percentage of them are routinely cheated out of mandated pay. Based on over 4000 worker surveys in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, the study found that these low-wage workers, many of them Asian, were exploited in a number of ways. These include working off-the-clock, earning less than the minimum wage, not being paid overtime, lack of meal breaks, falsified records, and retaliation for speaking up for their rights.
On Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009, after over 3 months of struggle, New On Sang workers signed a settlement agreement with the employer for the repayment of their lawfully earned wages, including minimum wage and overtime. New On Sang is a poultry business in San Francisco Chinatown.
Representatives and supporters negotiated nearly 2.5 hours to pressure employers into finally signing the agreement. The campaign has been very protracted and difficult with pickets, grueling negotiations, and more.
Former Sunshine Travel bus drivers received their first unemployment insurance checks on May 26, after two months without income. The former employees had filed claims in March, but the case had been under review by the state Department of Unemployment Assistance.
Three workers have begun a campaign to receive a years back pay. Joined by members of Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, they picketed outside the work place Tuesday, Dong' Ari, a Fort Lee, NJ Korean restaurant. A former cook at the restaurant claimed that he is owed a year's pay of 12-hour shifts, often every day of the week. It amounts to thousands of dollars.
In the current economic crisis, we all want our community businesses to thrive and recognize that they are important employers for our community. But the recession cannot become a free pass to exploit immigrant workers, the most vulnerable members of our community. The Chinese Progressive Association calls on our community to support small businesses that provide decent jobs to workers.
Boston Chinatown Bus Drivers and the Chinese Progressive Association are battling Sunshine Travel Services over claims of thousands in unpaid wages. Sunshine Travel is a travel and bus transportation company with offices in Boston Chinatown and Quincy, Massachusetts, where many Chinese live. The company provides busing to Mohegan Sun Casino as well as East Coast cities, making revenues of at least $1.5 million per year and is owned by Lorraine Tse.