Spanish and English:
Rosanna Rodriguez, co-director, Laundry Workers Center, [email protected]
Bronx, NY–Today, workers at New Capitol Restaurant in the Bronx went public with their campaign to end wage theft, verbal and physical abuse, and dangerous conditions in their workplace.
Surrounded by a crowd of 100 community supporters, New Capitol worker Teofilo Ríos delivered a letter to restaurant management demanding an end to unfair and unsafe conditions.
“We are tired of these abuses and the exploitation of immigrants,” said Ríos. “I’ve been waiting for this for years.”
Before today, workers at New Capitol trained in private for six months with Laundry Workers Center, a grassroots worker group with an impressive track record of victories, most recently at B&H Photo. New Capitol workers say they were inspired by LWC’s win last fall at Liberato Restaurant, also located off Jerome Ave.
Oscar Ramires, another New Capitol employee, used to work at Liberato.
“During the Liberato campaign, I learned that we cannot be afraid. When bosses break the law we must organize,” he said.
Many of the workers demanding change at New Capitol were hired as dishwashers, but also clean the restaurant, prep the food, and do deliveries. They put in as many as 56 hours a day and are not paid minimum wage. They also face dangerous safety conditions, including broken, slippery floors, and unprotected stairs.
Workers vowed to fight to the end for dignity and respect. With their supporters from all over New York, they chanted, “Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos,” and “Vamos a ganar,” meaning in English “We’re here and we’re not going away,” and “we will win.”