Workers protest restaurant owner

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THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Jeanette Lee
THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Jeanette Lee

No justice, no peace.

Protesters in Flushing chanted these words outside Chao Zhou Restaurant, located at 40-52 Main Street, in an effort to expose and shame its allegedly corrupt owner, Tsu Yue Wang on Tuesday afternoon, July 20.

Wang has been nicknamed “Flushing’s Sweatshop Kingpin” by previous employees who brought suit against him, won in court, only to be fired when he closed down the businesses named in the suit.

He built a multi-million dollar empire of restaurants, beauty salons, food wholesale, entertainment and real estate and apparently paid his employees only $1.50 an hour and required them to work ten-hour days without overtime, according to former employees.

In addition, those in attendance at the rally said, Wang’s deliverymen are often robbed and assaulted on the job, and are then forced to replace the stolen amounts out of their own pockets.

One hundred of his restaurant employees filed a lawsuit against Wang for violating the labor law in 2007. The Department of Labor found that he owed his workers several million dollars in back wages and demanded prompt payment.

Despite his promises to comply, Wang only compensated his workers a part of what he owed them and instead closed down the restaurants and fired all the workers, protesters claimed. Wang then transferred his assets and filed for bankruptcy to evade punishment.

The workers are determined not to let Wang get away.

“We’re talking about simple U.S. laws here,” shouted one protester to the crowd.

“Stop at red, go at green. This guy says, ‘I can break the law. I have money.’ Is this correct?”

Thirty-year-old Jerry Weng worked at one of Wang’s restaurants in Manhattan, Ollie’s Noodle Shop and Grill, from 2005 to 2007.

“I worked 70 hours a week and got about $350 a month. He should at least pay us minimum wage and overtime pay,” said Weng. Weng is now employed at another restaurant, where he says the conditions are a bit better.