March 7, 2017
By Steven Wishnia
New York, NY - “¡Sin justicia, no hay pizza!” they chanted. En ingles, that translates pretty obviously as “No justice, no pizza!” They were about 30 people picketing a Domino’s Pizza on West 181st Street Mar. 3, one of two of the chain’s Upper Manhattan franchises where workers were on strike for one day to protest their manager cutting their hours from 35 a week to 20.
The strikers believe that was retaliation for their efforts to form a union and demand steadier schedules. “When he knows about the union, he cut the hours,” Pedro Aparicio, a 45-year-old deliveryman, told LaborPress. “He changes the schedule all the time.”
Carlos Juarez, 28, said in Spanish through an interpreter that his schedule had been cut two weeks ago from five days a week to four, with two shifts only four hours. He said the boss told them there wasn’t enough business to keep them on full-time.
But the franchise has hired new workers and given them full-time schedules, Aparicio, a father of three who moved here from the Mexican state of Oaxaca 23 years ago, told the crowd. On a part-time schedule, he says, “I can’t take care of my family. My rent is too high.”
Local 32BJ SEIU supported the strike as part of the Fight for $15 campaign. “It’s the same struggle we have,” said Flavia Cabral, a McDonald’s worker from the Bronx whose hours have been reduced to three days a week.
“Yes, you have the right to know your schedule,” City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez, who represents Washington Heights and Inwood, told the strikers, alternating between English and Spanish. “Yes, you have the right not to be placed on less than 30 hours a week.”
Rodriguez is a cosponsor of three scheduling-rights bills the Council’s Labor Committee had held a hearing on earlier in the day. One would require fast-food and retail businesses to give workers at least two weeks’ advance notice of their schedules. The other two would require fast-food employers to offer more hours to current workers before hiring new employees, and limit “clopenings,” in which workers have to close the restaurant at night and come back less than 11 hours later to open it the next day.
“Since January, it’s worse,” Jose Sanchez told LaborPress in Spanish. “We want to have a union because that’s the way to get respect on the job, benefits, and fair schedules.”
Sanchez, 35, has worked as a Domino’s deliveryman for six years. He and his father came here from the Mexican state of Guerrero 15 years ago. His mother is still there.
“We are going to keep struggling,” he told the crowd, “to show the workers inside that we’re not scared, and they shouldn’t be scared either.”
Inside, a few workers watched from behind the red counter. One man came out to complain that the picketers were blocking the sidewalk.