For Immediate Release
June 22, 2015
Picket details: https://www.facebook.com/events/618623021607314/
Since April 2014, Liberato workers with the support of the Laundry Workers Center have been engaged in a steadfast campaign against their employer protesting wage theft. After a year of trying to defeat workers from raising the issue of their stolen wages & other bad working conditions they were subjected to, through picketing and litigation the employer fought back suing for defamation and a bringing a false RICO charge against the workers. His approach has been to admit nothing, deny everything and issue counter charges while maintaining illegal pay practices. Now as the wage theft trial is approaching, Liberato attempted to “resolve” these issues out of Court with a bogus offer to settle. The offer was unreasonably low and required the workers who were still employed to leave. The workers refused, at which point three leaders of the campaign were immediately fired. On the same evening of the firings, another worker at home, noticed someone taking pictures of her car and license plate. In our opinion, by firing these workers Liberato has shown that his real interest was to rid the ranks of his employees of those seeking proper pay and an intent to continue to violate the law. Indeed after a year of being on notice of his failure to pay minimum wage and overtime he has not changed his pay practices one bit. He has tried to paint himself as the victim of a campaign to drive him out of business when the reality is he has benefited from his policies of violating wage and hour laws.
Plaintiffs believe these actions are transparent, retaliatory and criminal and they will be seeking all available immediate remedies with the Court and with other Agencies. The workers will not relent, their dignity and solidarity shines bright and have only become stronger in the face of such unrelenting illegal yet expected actions. Maggie Andres, one of the fired workers says, “Nosotros los trabajadores no vamos a parar a pesar de que el dueño, Manuel Antonio Liberato, continua violando la ley. El dueño continua sus prácticas injustas y ahora acaba de despedir a los trabajadores que han denunciado. Nosotros estamos alzando nuestra voz para que se respete la ley y queremos que el restaurante empiece a pagar salario mínimo.” (Translation: “We will not stop fighting even though the owner, Manuel Antonio Liberato, continued breaking the law. The owner continues its unfair practices and now he fired those workers who denounced him. We are raising our voice to be heard, so the law can be respected and we want the restaurant to begin paying minimum wage.”)
We are calling for solidarity for the Liberato Workers and for every other worker in this City facing wage-theft & those who have been intimated to suffer in silence. We must put Liberato and other criminal employers on notice. Wage theft does not exist in a vacuum – it can only happen if we let it. We will not allow business to steal the wages, health & dignity of our workers and our families.
We ask you to JOIN US today, Monday June 22 from 4pm-7pm in front of Liberato Restaurant at 1 W 183rd St in the Bronx for a mass demonstration to demand an end to the illegal intimidation and retaliation against Liberato workers.