Former Windows On The World Employees Become Advocates For Fair Treatment Of Service Workers
On Sept. 8, 2001, Sekou Siby hogan outlet was playing moncler soccer on a field in Queens with several of his co workers. At that time, Siby was a line cook and chef who spoke four languages. Like everyone else in the game, he worked at Windows on the World an elite eatery atop the north tower of the World Trade Center, and the most profitable restaurant in America.
Among the players were Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians a highly international group, but one typical of the Windows staff, which included immigrants from every hogan outlet milano corner of the globe. By all accounts, it didn't matter air max outlet online that people hailed from dozens of different countries. The Windows workers formed a tight knit community.
Three days later, nearly everyone who'd been yeezy boost 750 in that soccer game was dead victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center manteau parajumpers pas cher and killed 2,977 people in New York, Virgina and Pennsylvania.
Siby, who would have been at Windows that morning had he not recently agreed to swap shifts with a co worker, was stunned.
"It was five years before I was able to play soccer again," he said.
People who worked outlet hogan at Windows on the World speak about it today in the language of family. The workers prayed together in the building's stairwells, and shared meals on religious holidays in the Windows cafeteria.
But the destruction of Windows, and the tragic deaths of 73 of its employees, did not mark the end of that community. Siby and many of his co workers would eventually become involved in a new restaurant, one that paid tribute to the people who died on 9 11 and that advanced the lisseur ghd france principles of fair treatment for service workers.
And even in the aftermath of the attacks, as New Yorkers and Americans struggled to understand what they had just experienced, louboutin pas cher the seeds were being planted for a new group the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York which would become a voice for powerless immigrants and restaurant workers across outlet ray ban online the country.
For Fekkak Mamdouh, 9 11 made one thing clear: a lot of people in New York's restaurant industry needed help.
Mamdouh, a Moroccan immigrant who held degrees in physics and chemistry, had been at Windows on the nike air max outlet online World since 1996, working as a waiter and union air max 90 shop steward. He spent much of the week of Sept. 11 in various hospitals and the city morgue, trying to account for jordan pas cher his missing co workers.
When he wasn't searching for the lost Windows employees the 73 people he today calls his "brothers and sisters" Mamdouh was also helping to process emergency casework for immigrant members of his collective, the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees (HERE) Union.
As he did so, he began to understand that restaurant workers and their families were some of the most vulnerable people in the city particularly if they were cheap adidas yeezy undocumented immigrants.
"Ninety nine percent of people that work in restaurants don't have anybody to go to," Mamdouh recently told The Huffington Post. "People, when they get mad in restaurants, they just go next door or look for another job. And people are used to this. Like, this is the restaurant business and this is how it goes. Take it or leave it."
Many of the people whose cases Mamdouh handled were struggling with problems financial instability, a lack of health care, few or no workplace rights that predated 9 11, and that couldn't be resolved in a few hours at an emergency center.
Mamdouh was realizing they had no safety net, and few opportunities to find one, due to the transitory nature of the restaurant industry. And that industry, like many other components of the city's economy, was having troubles of its own during the fall of 2001. More than 12,000 restaurant jobs in New York vanished after the attacks, and by December, almost two thirds of them still hadn't come back.
In October 2001, as the surge of post 9 11 relief began winding down, HERE officials approached Mamdouh about setting up a sustainable organization for restaurant workers.
The group included a number of former Windows on the World outlet hogan employees. Mamdouh said he remembers that having everybody in one place again, at least initially, "was like some medicine for all of us."
The members of ROC pooled their knowledge about job openings in the city and began speaking ray ban wayfarer out against restaurant owners who treated their employees unfairly. Not everyone involved with ROC had been at Windows on the World, but it was the group's ties to the Windows community that got ROC its first moment in the spotlight thanks to a well publicized conflict with David Emil, Windows' former owner.
In June of 2002, Emil was opening a new restaurant in Times Square called Noche. He had rehired 16 burberry outlet online former spaccio moncler Windows workers a number that Mamdouh and Jayaraman considered unacceptably low, given that Emil had once pledged to do everything in his power to help the displaced Windows staff.
At the ROC's urging and after a protest in which some 50 former Windows employees picketed the new restaurant and Mamdouh led chants with a bullhorn Emil agreed to take on an additional 15 staff members from Windows, a victory Mamdouh said he had never expected.
Not long after, the cable news channel NY1 interviewed Jayaraman about ROC NY's fight with Emil, and its mission to advocate for restaurant workers throughout New York.
"They put the phone number of the Center on the screen," Mamdouh remembered, "and said if you have a problem, call the Center."
The next day, he said, "the phone never stopped ringing."
The Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York has grown exponentially. These days, there's also a Restaurant Opportunities Center in Chicago, one in Miami and five others in five more locations.
One of the places where ROC has established a presence is New Orleans where, Mamdouh said, some restaurant employees make so little that they can't afford rent. At the end of their shift, he said, they leave work and sleep under a bridge at the end of Canal Street.
In the past nine woolrich outlet years, ROC now ROC United, the umbrella group comprising eight chapters and 8,000 members has campaigned for paid sick days and minimum wage increases, and has fought against misappropriated tips and workplace discrimination. It's published more than a dozen reports on the restaurant industry, and won more than $5 million in settlements for aggrieved workers.
It has also compiled a list of restaurants where the conscientious diner can enjoy a meal places where employers pay fair wages, allow paid time off and make options for health care available.
Shailesh Shrestha, a founding member and board member of ROC NY, told The ray ban uk Huffington Post that his work with the organization has afforded him "full respect and dignity."