Thursday, July 24, 2008

Restaurant Drums

A fancy restaurant with some fancy rules, this is what i felt when i trailed at one of the restaurants in new york city. It was a restaurant (which i would not like to mention here) that has got a name with spanish speaking immigrants working long hours. It is hard to believe in this time and age when slavery has been a word of the past is clearly being carried on by having cheap labour.
As i walked into the restaurant i was asked to wear the uniform and was assigned a station (remember this was a trail to know the flow of the kitchen), I was being called at by every cooks in this restauarant to help them with their preparation. I was willing to work, but never expected it would turn out to be a bad experience after all. I walked into the kitchen at 10.30am and started to work. I was not informed of a lunch break that they had so that i could have lunch. The chef calls me for a interview into his office at 6.00pm, questions asked were what was my visa status, this was a question to judge if this person he was interviewing was for cheap labor or if he had to pay normal wages. As i am a international student (which he presumed i would be), i told him the fact as the government allows me to work on a OPT (optional practical training) status for a period of 1 year he just got his break. He tells me that i will be informed of the position that will be available via e-mail or will have the chef de cuisine inform me in the night. Once i was done with the interview i saw him walk upto the chef de cuisine and tells him something and walks away. At 8.00pm i told the chef-de-cuisine i need to leave, as i had no means of transporation and had been working straight without food for 9.5 hours, but guess what he tells me, if i needed a job i needed to wait until 10.00pm. At about 9.00pm i get the results of this gruelling day, he tells me that i will be offered a position of butcher and my wages would be 10.50 per hour. This caught me by surprise as this was direct exploitation of labour. As i had applied for a position of mid managerial level which would be a demi chef. Getting to know that i was being taken for a ride made me understand that there is no value for educated and experienced people. It just matters if you are a american you get the previledges that every american gets, and if you are a international candidate you are considered to be a payed slave.

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