More on the Saigon Grill saga: the owners were arrested yesterday on over 400 counts of “violating minimum-wage laws, falsifying business records and defrauding the state’s unemployment insurance system”.
“Like so many restaurants across New York City, Saigon Grill was run on the backs of its workers,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “These workers allowed the business to thrive, and in exchange they were allegedly cheated out of wages, fined for ridiculous reasons” and, he said, “pulled into a painstaking ploy to cover it all up.”
A federal judge has awarded $4.6 million in back pay and damages to 36 delivery workers at two Saigon Grill restaurants in Manhattan, finding blatant and systematic violations of minimum-wage and overtime laws.
We live right around the corner from one of the SGs and have avoided eating there despite the decent and close Vietnamese food. The fired workers were out in front of the place protesting for months and months…it’s great to see hard work pay off like that, particularly when the protestors probably couldn’t actually afford to be out there.
The deliverymen at Saigon Grill won their lawsuit against the restaurant’s owners. The employees claimed that they were underpaid ($120 for 75 hours per week!), were fired, and then picketed the restaurant for months.
Twenty-eight of the deliverymen were fired during the next two days, in violation of a federal law prohibiting employers from “retaliating against workers for engaging in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection.” As the lawsuit dragged on, diners arriving at the Saigon Grill locations were forced to cross picket lines of angry, unemployed workers.
We live near the Greenwich Village location (the enthusiastic chants of the picketing deliverymen could be heard from our living room) and didn’t order from them or visit the restaurant during the strike. Assuming the workers are hired back and the restaurant reinstates delivery, we’re looking forward to ordering from them again and doling out some big tips.