Everyone has the pain and anger inside... we are going to be liberated tomorrow. It’s all going to explode.
For years, workers at Manhattan upscale deli Dishes suffered wage theft, tip stealing, immigration-related threats, verbal abuse, and a basic lack of respect in the workplace. And when a worker spoke out against these practices, he was fired.
“If people have worked for you for 12 hours a day for all these years, don’t you appreciate the work that they’ve done for you for all these years? Instead of increasing their wages, you slash their money and when they complain, you fire them. Is it fair? No.”
–Dishes worker Joshua Duah
After Duah’s firing, Dishes workers attended Laundry Workers Center’s Leadership Institute, where they gained skills that would help them win respect from the community, and the boss. One of the workers had witnessed LWC’s Hot & Crusty campaign firsthand and suggested they get involved.
On March 23 2013, Dishes workers publicly launched their campaign for justice. They led a crowd of 50 community supporters, complete with a marching band, into Dishes’ midtown location, and delivered a letter signed by more than 20 workers demanding an end to wage theft and other changes at the deli.
In the following months, workers and community members worked together to leaflet the restaurant, the owner’s home, and beyond–while outside groups led protests in solidarity with the workers.
By the spring of 2014, workers reached a settlement with Dishes, receiving the overtime pay and back wages they were due.