Mar 15, 2011

Saigon Grill Owners Collude with Business Union Local 713 IBOTU to Undermine Workers’ Organizing

Since November, workers, students, and residents have been picketing at Upper West Side Saigon Grill, calling for an end to the new owners’ discriminatory and retaliatory practices. Despite the owners’ repeated attempts to stop the protest, the National Labor Relations Board upheld the right of workers to picket at the restaurant.

Recently, the owners brought in a business union, Local 713 of the International Brotherhood of Trade Unions (IBOTU).  Local 713 and its top officials have a long history of shady business. The current officials of Local 713, Richard Scalza, and his brother Perry Scalza were once top officials of Local 819 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, until 1994, when the federal government found them to be selling union memberships for cheap health insurance, creating fictitious companies and records for their members. Richard, Robert, and Perry Scalza are permanently barred from the Teamsters union for engaging in organized crime (NY Times).

A year later, the Scalza brothers and Peter Hasho formed Local 713 IBOTU. In 2003, a federal grand jury indicted Local 713 President Peter Hasho with conspiracy to steal and embezzle more than $350,000 in union and welfare funds from Local 148 of the Novelty and Production Workers Union in a “multi-faceted fraud-scheme” (U.S. Department of Justice). With this history of corrupt dealings, it is no wonder that the Saigon Grill owners brought in Local 713 to break up the workers’ campaign to improve conditions at the workplace.

Immediately before the Local 713 union election was held on February 24, 2011, workers currently working at Saigon Grill reported that manager Frank Jhang said, “If you don’t vote for the union, we will all lose our jobs because the ones outside will come in to work.”  Saigon Grill owners are using Local 713 to dupe not only the workers but also the Upper West Side community, which has largely supported the boycott.

We call on supporters to join us to stop the unfair labor practices at Saigon Grill!

1 comment:

ayla b said...

The same union is in cohorts with the owner of three stores in Flatbush, Brooklyn, there will be elections held tommorrow at two of the stores, just one month after a legitimate union election took place at the third store. This is bad news.