It’s Time for the CSWA Picnic!

Join us for a day of fun with family and friends

BBQ * Swimming * Hiking * Games

Date: Sunday, August 23, 2015

Time: 8:30am-5pm

Location: Lake Welch, Harriman State Park

SEATING IS LIMITED! RSVP / pick up bus tickets from CSWA’s Chinatown Center or call (212) 334-2333

Bus Tickets:
$15  Members *  $20 Non-members  * $10 for children under age 12
(Buses leave from Chinatown and Sunset Park, Brooklyn)
 Highlights of the trip include:
  • Beach – Enjoy swimming, sunbathing and sand on a half-mile long beach
  • Hiking – Take a stroll on one of the many trails in Harriman State Park
  • Games – Kid and family friendly fun
  • Community – Come learn about recent developments in our work!
*Please note there is a $8/vehicle entrance fee if you plan to drive. 

** Press Advisory **

Communities Protest DCP’s Refusal to Protect Communities of Color,

     Call for March to City Hall- Call on Mayor to

Protect Chinatown and Lower East Side and Stop Extell

Date: Thursday, August 20, 2015
Time: 11AM
Location: Across from 227 Cherry St (corner of Pike St)
    Since the passing of the 2008 rezoning plan that only protected the East Village while excluding Chinatown and Lower East Side, many residents and small businesses have been displaced from our communities. The Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side met with the Department of City Planning (DCP) on August 5th and asked the DCP to give the same protections to Chinatown and the Lower East Side, which are mixed communities of color, as given to the East Village, a majority white community. The Coalition was told that we were too ambitious and our rezoning plan could not be implemented.
On August 20, 2015, 11am, the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side will hold a press conference at 227 Cherry Street where Extell is building a racist tower that will include a “poor door”. We will tell Mayor de Blasio that communities of color have had enough with the city’s racism and efforts to push us out! We will also call for a march to City Hall on September 25, 2015, from the former Pathmark site.
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Coalition to Protect Chinatown & the Lower East Side
318 Restaurant Workers’ Union, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Chinese Staff & Workers Association, District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar, District Leader Pedro Cardi, LaGuardia Houses Tenant Patrol, Lands End 2 Resident Association, Lower East Side Anti-Displacement Project, La Mujeres y Hombres Luchadoras, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, Orchard Street Block Association,
Professor Peter Kwong from CUNY-Hunter, Project Reach, Sixth Street Community Center, Professor Juanita Díaz-Cotto from SUNY-Binghamton

Nail Salon, Restaurant, Day Laborer Workers and Advocates Applaud Attention to Wage Theft and Enforcement Call on Gov. Cuomo to Support SWEAT Bill to Make Labor Law Enforceable

Stop Wage Theft

Nail salon, restaurant, day laborer, home attendant, office, and other workers have been standing up against wage theft and even winning decisions. But despite these judgments, workers have not been able to collect the wages owed to them because legal loopholes allow employers to completely escape responsibility. By fraudulently transferring assets, declaring bankruptcy, or shutting down their business and changing names, unscrupulous employers can avoid ever paying the stolen wages of even those workers who win decisions at the DOL or judgments in court, such as the nail salon workers at Babi Nails.

This not only causes many workers to suffer, it also undermines those employers who comply with the labor law. Even the Labor Department says it is frustrated because it cannot collect stolen wages.

As long as bosses can run away from the law, there will be no end to wage theft. The Coalition calls on the Governor to support the SWEAT bill (Securing Wages Earned Against Theft) to make the labor law enforceable and to put a stop to sweatshop conditions.

83-85 Bowery

Monday 5/18 at 10AM: Tenants Speak Out Against Eviction by Slumlord, and Demand Repairs

*Press Advisory*

Tenants Speak Out Against Eviction by Slumlord, and Demand Repairs

Urge Mayor to Take Steps to Prevent Further Displacement in Chinatown/Lower East Side

What: Press Conference

When: Monday, May 18, 2015,10am

Where: In front of 83-85 Bowery St. New York, NY, 10002

For years, residents of 83-85 Bowery Street have been experiencing constant water leakage from ceilings, and recently, a bathroom floor on the verge of collapse. For example, when one floor takes a shower, water leaks through the floor below. In one apartment, they have to keep an umbrella up in their bathroom to prevent water from the above apartment from coming down on them. In addition, the uneven and sloping stairs have been a hazardous problem for one of the buildings, where many families, seniors, and children live.  Most recently, after the tenants organized a tenant association, the tenants of 85 Bowery had their gas cut off since April 1st, 2015, and despite calls to 311 and asking the landlord to resolve, gas was only reinstated last week, after over 40 days.

The landlord, Joseph Betesh, has left the building to be rundown since he acquired it in 2013, along with 9 other buildings on Bowery Street.  Since then, no repairs or upkeep have been done by the landlord. The landlord is deliberately keeping the building in disrepair as a way to force tenants out because he cannot do so legally.

Since the passage of the 2008 rezoning, many luxury developments have been pushed into our neighborhood, and landlords in Chinatown and the Lower East Side have been evicting low income people from rent stabilized buildings left and right. The tenants are demanding the landlord to fix immediate dangers in all apartments and that the City should hold the landlord accountable.  The tenants, along with the Public Advocate’s Office, call for public attention to this concern and urge other tenants to speak out against poor living conditions.

Chinatown and the Lower East Side say “No Way!” to Extell’s Luxury Tower Call on Mayor De Blasio to Support Community-Based Rezoning Plans

***Press Release ***

Community based organizations, residents, and small businesses of the Lower East Side and Chinatown rallied Tuesday to demand that Mayor de Blasio stop Extell from constructing an ultra-luxury skyscraper for the 1% on the Lower East Side waterfront. The tower could potentially rise 700 feet and be twice as high as any surrounding development. Despite recent news that Extell is bringing the tower down from 72 to 56-stories, the community is still opposed. Allowing the tower to be built will result in the mass displacement of low-income families of color and ultimately destroy Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We are demanding that the Mayor support a community based rezoning plan with anti-displacement and anti-harassment provisions to protect the local neighborhood, and especially public housing, which is being privatized.

“The local community fears that allowing the tower to be built as proposed will exacerbate the neighborhood’s already ongoing gentrification, result in the displacement of low-income families of color, and ultimately destroy the existing unique character of Chinatown and the Lower East Side” says Ginger Lopez, Community Organizer at Good Old Lower East Side.

The Extell tower is being built on a former publicly-owned lot (the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area) that housed a Pathmark, the only affordable supermarket serving the surrounding low-income community. Since the Pathmark was closed in 2012, residents have struggled to find quality affordable groceries. Many are forced to travel as far as New Jersey to meet this need. Furthermore, the Extell tower will be built in the middle of several NYCHA and publicly subsidized low and moderate income developments.[1] Many fear that the Extell tower will accelerate the privatization of the surrounding public housing.

The tower is yet another example of how the City is robbing the poor to feed the rich and making low-income people of color second-class citizens in our own neighborhoods” says, David Tieu, organizer at NMASS. Furthermore these policies create economic segregation while damaging the history and diversity of the Lower East Side and Chinatown. “In fact, these same policies are affecting neighborhoods all over the city from Jamaica, East New York, the Bronx and Staten Island and we stand with all those communities in their fight as it is all one fight” says, Naved Husain, Lead Organizer at CAAAV. The Extell tower may potentially be subsidized by tens of millions of dollars in public financing including 421A tax abatements, Housing Finance Agency Bonds and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which will be used towards building a much smaller and separate “poor door” building next to the luxury tower. Rather than helping to solve the affordable housing crisis in the city, these subsidies are contributing to the destruction of existing affordable housing by encouraging and subsidizing luxury development.

“We oppose this racist tower that will displace thousands of people of color. Already public housing is being sold off to the rich. Our community says no to racism and no to the Extell development” said Wendy Cheung from Chinese Staff & Workers Association.

The Chinatown Working Group, a community-based planning process convened by the City in 2008, is in the process of finalizing a rezoning plan for the entire Chinatown and Lower East Side neighborhood in order to protect the existing community from displacement and prevent luxury development. Part of the plan calls for a rezoning of the East River waterfront, where the Extell tower is to be built, in order to prevent out-of-scale luxury development. The plan also requires that developers build at least 55% low-income housing on new developments along the East River waterfront. Approximately 10,000 residents, workers, and small business owners signed petitions supporting the plan. Although Mayor de Blasio’s administration has paid lip service to community involvement in the development process, a recent letter from the Department of City Planning expressed that this plan was rejected by the administration because it focused too much on the “preservation of affordable housing”. Members of the community call on Mayor de Blasio to pass this plan to protect the community from displacement and prevent future luxury development like Extell’s tower from being built in the community.

The community organizations urge more residents and to come forward to say no to Extell and join monthly rallies at its site. Residents can call for more information.

###

[1] Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Chinatown Tenants Union, Chinese Staff and Workers Association (CSWA), CAAAV-Organizing Asian Communities, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Mujeres Y Hombres Luchadoras, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS)

NYCHA developments include: Smith Houses, Two Bridges, Rutgers Houses, LaGuardia Houses, Vladeck Houses, and Seward Park Extension. Publicly subsidized developments include: Land’s End I, Land’s End II, Two Bridges Houses, Two Bridges Townhouses, Two Bridges Senior Apartments, and Two Bridges Tower.

Chinatown and the Lower East Side say “No Way!” to Extell’s Luxury Tower

 Call on Mayor de Blasio to Support Community-Based Rezoning Plan

For Immediate Release

Community based organizations, residents, and small businesses of the Lower East Side and Chinatown are rallying to demand that Mayor de Blasio stop Extell from constructing an ultra-luxury skyscraper for the 1% on the Lower East Side waterfront. The tower could potentially rise 700 feet and be twice as high as any surrounding development. Despite recent news that Extell is bringing the tower down from 72 to 56-stories, the community is still opposed.

The Extell tower is being built on a former publicly-owned lot (the Two Bridges Urban Renewal Area) that housed a Pathmark on 227 Cherry St., the only affordable supermarket serving the surrounding low-income community. Since the Pathmark was closed in 2012, residents have struggled to find quality affordable groceries. Furthermore, the Extell tower will be built in the middle of several NYCHA and publicly subsidized low and moderate income developments.

The local community fears that the Extell tower will accelerate the privatization of the surrounding public housing and will result in the mass displacement of low-income families of color that will ultimately destroy Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We are demanding that the Mayor support a community based re-zoning to protect the local neighborhood, and especially public housing, which is at risk of being privatized.

Location: Across from 227 Cherry St., NY, NY 10002 (Corner of Cherry St. and Pike St.)

Date:Tuesday, 4/28/2015

Time: 11 AM

Hosted by: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Chinatown Tenants Union (CTU), Chinese Staff and Workers Association (CSWA), CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), Mujeres Y Hombres Luchadoras, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS)

On March 8, Commemorate International Working Women’s Day

Workers protested this summer and called on Costco to boycott Sweatshop manufacturer Reynolds.

Workers protested this summer and called on Costco to boycott Sweatshop manufacturer Reynolds.

Shame on Costco for Selling Sweatshop Products!

What: Rally for Working Women’s Rights!

Date: March 8, 2015 | International Working Women’s Day

Time: 2:00 pm

Location: Brooklyn Costco

976 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 (between 37th and 38th Streets)

Take the D/N/R to 36th Street or contact us to coordinate.

For more info, visit www.boycottreynolds.org

Celebrate the New Year with CSWA!

 Please RSVP for our annual Lunar New Year Celebration and help us usher in the Year of the Ram!

Sunday, March 15, 2:30pm
@ PS 1, Chinatown / 8 Henry St.
New York, NY 10038

Card-Content

Yr-of-Sheep-Card-front

 

Happy Lunar New Year! We are charging forward in 2015, breaking new ground:

Taking Back our Community

After years of condemning the racist East Village Rezoning Plan and fighting to include Latino organizations into Chinatown Working Group (CWG), we recently won a battle against developers. On January 5, 2015, CWG adopted important principles of the People’s First Plan. The plan includes 100% low-income housing on NYCHA public land and placing height limits and 55% low-income housing on private land in waterfront area, which encompasses the hotly-contested former Pathmark lot. Armed with this victory, and encouraged by the recent arrest of Assemblymember Sheldon Silver, Chinese workers are leading the fight for change and coming together with communities across the city to tell Mayor DeBlasio that our communities are not for sale.

Fearless in the Fight to End Wage Theft

In 2014, we supported East Market Restaurant workers to launch a picket line in front of the restaurant, in the heart of the Fuzhounese community, to kick off the campaign against the wage theft. Later, joined with hundreds of workers from other communities we held demonstrations monthly in front of NYS Department of Labor (DOL) to demand Governor Cuomo enforce the labor law and increase the minimum for tip-workers. The action successfully forced the Cuomo administration to convene the Wage Board to increase wages from roughly $5 to $7.50 for ALL tipped workers. Furthermore, we brought to light the need for better enforcement as well as new legislation to make enforcement possible. Currently, the DOL has a 17,000 case back-log, which is unacceptable.

Taking Back the 40-hour Workweek

Chinese women workers have made huge strides, putting time at the forefront of the debate in workers’ struggles and women’s struggles. We connected with workers in Pactiv’s Arkansas factory who are facing retaliation for organizing against 12-hour mandatory overtime shifts. On March 8, International Women’s Day, we are launching a national boycott of Costco, urging the company to stop buying Pactiv and Reynolds sweatshop products. This May, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the demand for a 40-hour workweek, the Ain’t I A Woman?! Campaign will join students, faith groups and workers’ organizations across the country who are teaming up to take back control of our time.

We invite you to join us in fighting these struggles during this year of the Ram which symbolizes determination and steadfast bravery in the face of difficult opposition. We also hope you will join us at the celebration on March 15th to welcome in the Year of the Ram!

The Coalition for a Real Minimum Wage Increase is happy to hear that Governor Cuomo has finally announced that his administration will convene the wage board and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, the majority of whom are women.

But we are not stopping here. We continue to to rally in front of the Department of Labor and keep up the pressure to make sure the wage board is inclusive, and to make sure Governor Cuomo and the DOL commit to enforce the law by investigating wage theft claims 6 years back and supporting the SWEAT bill to strengthen the current law and make enforcement possible.

Furthermore, we call on Governor Cuomo to raise the minimum wage to more than $8 so workers can survive and stop giving millions in subsidies to corporations for hiring teen workers.

We urge all workers and supporters to join the picket line. This is a crucial time for New Yorkers to speak out and demand Governor Cuomo take action.

www.realminimumwage.org

Governor Cuomo: We Demand a Real Minimum Wage for All Workers

Not Second-Class Treatment, Not Corporate Welfare!

The New York State bill is a sham. It will enrich employers and corporations to the detriment of all working people. New Yorkers deserve a real wage raise, one that improves conditions for all workers.

  • The bill is too little, too late: Raising the minimum wage to only $9 over 3 years is not enough for anyone to survive on. New York’s minimum wage would be over $10.70 if it had kept up with the cost of living since 1970.
  • The bill is discriminatory against tipped workers: This bill does not include a provision to raise the minimum wage for tipped workers. It directs that decision to a Wage Board. This excludes the hundreds of thousands of tipped workers who are predominately women and people of color.  Due to increases in the cost of living, going without a raise in reality means a pay cut.  Separate is never equal.
  • The bill subsidizes Corporations to hire young workers, encouraging them to replace those who are currently employed. Businesses will receive a refundable tax credit for hiring youth aged 16-19. This encourages businesses to lower the wages of especially older workers or replace them with teenagers. It is projected to cost the public hundreds of millions of dollars every year.
  • Furthermore, the bill does not hold corporations such as Dominos Pizza, McDonalds, etc. accountable and does not put resources into enforcing the labor law.Many workers receive less than minimum wage and work long hours without overtime pay, but when they come forward, it often takes years for the Labor Department to investigate the cases. This lack of enforcement encourages employers and corporations to violate the labor law.

This bill is harmful to all working people. Hold Gov. Cuomo accountable!

We demand:

  1. The minimum wage should be increased to be at least $10/hr, indexed to inflation.
  2. Tipped workers should not be treated as second-class citizen. Tipped workers should receive a minimum-wage increase along with all other workers.
  3. Put resources into enforcement and strengthen the labor law, instead of giving millions to corporations in subsidies to hire youth to replace workers currently employed.