September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document


Article Order:7

Title:Workers protest over alleged abuse

Author:Santiago Bonilla


Original Language:Spanish

Translator:Hillary Hawkins




Several workers protested on Tuesday in front of the chain deli Austins Cafe, located on Seventh Avenue and 27th Street in Manhattan, over alleged labor abuse.

Miguel Angel Sánchez, Siriaco Guzmán and Santos Marroquí, who said they are workers at the chain, handed out flyers in front of the store and warned customers about the abuse.
They pay us 260 dollars to work over 70 hours a week, they dont pay overtime, they give us less than 30 minutes to eat and they charge us for the food that we eat. Nothing can be proved because they paid us in cash and there is no record. Theyre going to say that everything is fine and that they comply with the laws, said Sanchez, who said he worked in the Park Ave. branch.

Mohammed Afzal, manager of the store, said that the accusations are lies. The individuals that are protesting outside do not work for this company and were sent by the labor union to force the employees to join the union.

According to what Afzal said, the workers make very good money and they have no intentions of belonging to any type of union.

William Franco, who earns a living as a cook and makes much more money than the other workers, said energetically that thats a lie, they dont respect anybody and it is certain the union has paid them to make this commotion and to harass the customers.

It is a lack of respect for the costumers who shop here regularly. Look at how they are shouting outside and insulting the customers calling them mean for not boycotting the shop, said Betsy Rampersad, employee for over two and a half years.

Employee Everaldo Velázquez said we work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., they pay us 300 dollars per week, they dont pay us overtime and they do not respect our lunch hour.
But what Velázquez says is not factual, because in addition to the $300 weekly they receive generous tips sometimes receiving more than $500 weekly, said Afzal.

Rhoda Fuld, general manager of the shops, said they lie through their teeth. We pay them according to the federal laws, complete time and all the overtime that make. They are making this spectacle to introduce the union.

Displaying a document signed by a lawyer, Fuld said that the same union leaders cancelled the elections that would have shown whether the employees want to belong to the union because they knew beforehand that nobody wants to unionize.

According to federal labor laws, if 30 percent of the workers of a place initiate a petition for unionization, the workers must vote to determine whether or not the workplace is to be unionized.

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