On March 4, 2015, the Santa Clara Wage Theft Coalition organized a rally to protest the practice of wage theft by Crazy Buffet restaurant in Sunnyvale, California. Crazy Buffet has a total of 21 judgements against it, totaling over $1 million, for not paying worker wages. In the last 2 years, the Labor Commissioner has issued citations totaling $1.6 million to the owners of Crazy Buffet.
Among the groups that participated in the rally were the Santa Clara Wage Theft Coalition, the Labors’ International Union of North America, members of the Democratic Club of Sunnyvale, a member of the San Jose Peace and Justice Center and the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants. As a Filipino American, I was especially happy to see the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants, or PAWIS for short. I took a lot of photos and talked to many people about wage theft. I learned a lot from the conversations.
Wage theft is a problem with many buffet restaurants in Northern California. California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Sue has issued wage theft citations against ten Northern California buffet restaurants totaling approximately $16 million. The citations include civil penalties as well as wages and damages owed to more than 600 workers for multiple wage theft violations.
Investigations found that servers were paid an average of $1.15 per hour for 72 hours of work each week. Some servers were either not paid at all, or were paid just $200 per month. Kitchen workers were paid very low fixed salaries, without any compensation for overtime. Workers were not given meal or rest breaks as required by law, and were paid cash without the required itemized wage statements.
Here are some photos I took of the protest rally against Crazy Buffet.
A video by the Santa Clara Wage Theft Coalition and the Pilipino Association of Workers and Immigrants (PAWIS) about a January 24, 2015 protest rally against Crazy Buffet in Sunnyvale for wage theft violations