Washington Heights Domino’s consumed with worker uprising
The spirit of revolution has devoured a Washington Heights Domino’s, where about 20 workers are out of a job after they staged a weekend walk-out.
The fed-up former employees — mostly young, Spanish-speaking immigrants who pedal through the streets dropping off the pies — are demanding reinstatement, saying their dismissal by the pizza giant was improper and unjust.
“What we are doing is fair,” said Jose Sanchez, a 32-year-old deliveryman from Mexico who sparked the uproar claiming a comrade was being mistreated. “People are on the bandwagon with us.”
The workers held a candlelight vigil Monday evening, mourning their newly unemployed status in front of the store on W. 181st St. — the same spot where they gathered, just a day earlier, chanting defiant slogans and pumping fists in the air.
Sanchez — speaking through an interpreter — said the uprising began last Thursday, when he and his co-workers joined scores of restaurant workers from across the city who walked off their jobs to attend a march demanding higher pay.
Fast-food laborers are taking part in a nationwide movement asking for a $15 hourly wage from Domino’s, McDonald’s and other international chains.
Washington Heights Domino’s deliverymen said they earn a mere $5.65 per hour, which comes out to about $300 a week when tips are added in.
Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre couldn’t confirm the pay rate; the Washington Heights pizzeria is operated by an independent franchisee, not the international corporate giant.
Sanchez said one of his colleagues was forced to stay in the kitchen Saturday folding pizza boxes, as punishment for going to the Thursday march.
Keeping a delivery man in the kitchen, where he can’t earn tips, is akin to cutting his pay.
“It was unjust what I saw,” said Sanchez who stormed out of the W. 181st St. shop on Saturday, enticing his co-workers to follow him.
A Domino’s manager contended that the posse walked out and “quit,” and countered their assertion that they were fired for rebellion.
Despite the drama, Sanchez and his cohorts said they’d like to return to work. They teamed up with Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Washington Heights) and a civil rights lawyer, Leo Glickman, who has asked Domino’s brass to give them back their jobs.
Manager Jesus Arriaga rebuffed the efforts.
“They walked out of their jobs. They basically quit,” Arriaga said.
Glickman said they were fired, and noted a lawsuit could be in the works.
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