Oct. 5, 2003
ITHACA, N.Y. - About 50 people gathered on Cornell University's Ho Plaza Oct. 3 to publicize allegations made against Collegetown Pizzeria, accusing the eatery of numerous workers' rights violations.
According to the Cornell Daily Sun, those gathered listened to several speakers who called for action against the alleged violations.
The accusations were made by the Workers' Rights Center after three restaurant employees contacted the organization over the course of the last year. Workers claim they were paid below minimum wage, denied overtime pay and forced to work in excess of 70 hours per week.
Michael Casaus, chair of the U.S. Latino/Latina Graduate Student Coalition, said one worker was fired after he requested a day off. The newspaper reported some workers claimed they had been housed on mattresses in the basement of the pizzeria and were subjected to verbal abuse.
Casaus told the newspaper the pizzeria's owner, Khalid Attia, had been receptive to complaints but grew unresponsive over the last several weeks. Local groups complained to the Office of the New York State Attorney General, which is currently conducting an investigation into the matter, the newspaper reported.
"We're holding the rally today not only to report these allegations to the students ... but also to educate the public that workers not only in Ithaca but around the world ... should be treated with respect and dignity," Casaus told those gathered.
The protest was held in conjunction with the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride, a series of rallies in Washington and New York City to advocate immigrant workers' rights.