Mar 15, 2011

Help Plan the Sweatshop Free Community Rally

Sweatshop Free Community Rally
Saturday, March 26, 1 pm
90th St. & Amsterdam Ave.

To protest the continued exploitation of workers at Saigon Grill & launch the Sweatshop Free Campaign to ensure fair labor practices in our community!

 Join our planning meetings! Thurs 6:30-8:30pm, Trinity Church 168 W 100th St

Let’s make our community sweatshop free!

Join us to plan & mobilize for the rally
Contact: or (212) 334-2333

What is a “sweatshop” and who is affected?
A “sweatshop” is a work environment that is harmful to workers and community. Sweatshops are marked by hazardous conditions and repeated violations of labor laws. Many people think sweatshops only exist in the garment industry and only affect “unskilled” and immigrant workers.  However, many more working people, whether immigrant or U.S.-born, currently face worsening conditions and heightened job insecurity. Employers are cutting benefits, increasing lay-offs, and lengthening work hours. Sweatshops bring down standards for all workers by creating a race to the bottom and undermining those businesses that do comply with labor laws. 

In the Upper West Side today, workers of the new Saigon Grill (reopened October 2010) are organizing to stop the age discrimination and retaliation against workers. By firing workers for being “too old” and retaliating against those who protest and organize for their rights, the new owners of Saigon Grill are setting a bad example in the community and threatening hard-fought improvements.

What is the “Upper West Side Sweatshop Free Campaign”?
The Sweatshop Free Campaign is led by residents, students, and community groups to build a community where fair labor practices are the standard. In the past, the struggle of workers at Saigon Grill (2007) exposed labor law violations such as failure to pay minimum wage and overtime, tip-stealing, and discrimination. This led other workers to organize and improve conditions at Flor De Mayo, Ollie’s Noodle Shop, Tomo Sushi, CafĂ© Con Leche, Artie’s Deli, Cottage, Kim’s Vegetables, and Nail Plaza. While workers and residents were able to make significant improvements, the Sweatshop Free Campaign marks a new stage, calling on the entire community to join and create a supportive neighborhood that upholds ethical business practices.

As concerned neighbors and ethical consumers, Upper West Siders urge local businesses to join the community effort: pledge to comply with all labor laws and maintain a fair labor workplace.

Why Rally on March 26?

o  Are you part of the Upper West Side Community?
o  Do you want your neighbors, school, or community group to get involved?
o  Are you or do you know a local business that wants to set an example and pledge to be sweatshop-free?

Sweatshop Free UWS is endorsed by: Senator Tom Duane, Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, Democratic State Committeeman Daniel Marks Cohen, Community Free Democrats, Three Parks Democrats, NYS Labor-Religion Coalition, Rabbi Neil Kaunfer of Judeotutor Service, Pastor Neumark of Trinity Lutheran Church, Rev. K. Karpen, Rev. Robert L. Brashear of  West Park Presbyterian Church, Justice Will Be Served! Campaign, Columbia University Asian American Alliance

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