The National Lawyers Guild Labor and Employment Committee (NYC) invites you to a weekly protest against restaurant mogul Sheldon “Shelly” Fireman. Mr. Fireman has built a restaurant empire by stealing workers tips and paying less than the minimum wage. Employees of color that would like to move from dish washing or bussing to the wait staff are routinely passed over for white workers.

Mr. Fireman is the type of employer who won't hesitate to humiliate an employee on shift or fire a worker on a whim. After years of Fireman getting away with his unlawful and abusive behavior, workers reached out to ROC-NY, a workers' center for restaurant employees, to start organizing.

Shelly Fireman has responded with retaliating against workers including some terminations. It also appears that Fireman would like to break ROC-NY. He's filed suit against the grassroots group in state court and federal court in addition to filing Labor Board charges. Today, Fireman sent a letter to the IRS seeking to revoke ROC-NY's tax-exempt status. Fireman's letter and press release are included below.

Please take a stand each Thursday night starting June 8th in a boisterous protest in front of Shelly's, Fireman's name sake restaurant, until he stops discriminating based on race, paying less than the minimum wage, and stealing workers' tips.

NLG Labor and Employment Committee (NYC) Protest at Shelly's
Every Thursday Night Until Victory
Shelly's on 41 W. 57th St. betw. 5th and 6th Ave.
F to 57th St., N/R/W to 5th Ave.
7:00pm-8:00pm
Endorsed by the NYC Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

Everyone is Welcome


Fireman Hospitality Group Fires Back at ROC-NY Activists
Thursday June 8, 9:58 am ET
Lawsuit 'A Sad Shakedown Attempt'
ROC-NY 'In Clear Violation of Both Tax and Labor Laws'

NEW YORK, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fireman Hospitality Group, owners of a half-dozen famed New York restaurants, including the Redeye Grill and Shelly's, today fired back at a group of activists who have targeted the chain with lawsuits and protests over the last several months.

Fireman accused the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC-NY), who yesterday filed their second frivolous lawsuit against the company as reported in today's New York Times, of conducting activities in violation of U.S. tax and labor laws.

"I have been, and remain shocked by the blatant disregard that these activists have shown for the law by engaging in this sad shakedown attempt," said President Shelly Fireman.

"When the truth is on your side, you must fight back, and fight is what we will do. I am proud of my company, and I consider my employees like family -- so I will of course defend both."

Fireman had previously asked for an investigation of ROC-NY and its activities by the National Labor Relations Board, and today released a letter sent this morning to the Internal Revenue Service. The letter accuses the group of using tax exempt funds designated for "charitable" purposes for non- tax exempt activity.

These activities include: Operating a competing restaurant while protesting and hurting the business operations of other restaurants; Conducting advocacy campaigns which by law should be conducted with non-tax exempt funding; Acting as a front for a local union.

(The Fireman's tax complaint is below in its entirety.)

The Fireman Hospitality Group
888 Seventh Avenue Suite 202 NYC, NY 10019
T 212.399.1325 F 212.581.5558


Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
Hotline
P.O. Box 589
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044-0589

Dear Inspector General:

I would like to call your attention to the serious abuses of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), a 501c(3) non-profit corporation operating in New York City.

ROC-NY appears to be using tax-exempt funding for purposes outside the rules governing 501c(3) organizations.

ROC-NY was created following September 11, 2001 in an effort to assist displaced restaurant workers in attaining new jobs in New York restaurants.(1) What started out as an effort to help people has evolved into an effort to harm New York restaurants by making false allegations against restaurants and picketing restaurants under the guise of assisting restaurant workers.

ROC is even described in June 7, 2006 New York Times article as "an aggressive advocate, and has used street protests and legal action" in its campaigns. We submit that aggressive advocacy is a clear violation of rules governing 501c(3) charitable organizations.

Additionally, we request that you investigate the specific allegations detailed below:

* ROC-NY is a front for labor organizing. Hotel Employee & Restaurant
Employees (HERE) created and continues to back ROC-NY.(2) The intention
is to have an arm of HERE that can effectively act as a minority union,
in other words conduct activities otherwise barred by federal labor
laws. This is not a 501c(3) charitable purpose.

* ROC-NY provides illegal competition to New York restaurants. ROC-NY
owns 40 percent of one New York restaurant, Colors, and has the stated
goal of opening more restaurants.(3) ROC-NY's picketing and
disparagement of other New York restaurants is unfair competition. A
501c(3) cannot wear two hats -- advocating for workers by picketing
restaurants and then operating a restaurant for its own benefit. In
fact, three employee owners of Colors serve on the ROC-NY Board of
Directors, including its President and Treasurer.

* ROC-NY promotes political action. According to the magazine Dollars and
Sense, ROC-NY conducts a 10-week "political education" class for
members.(4) If ROC-NY is teaching political skills to members to
direct their involvement in electoral politics, this is clearly in
violation of its 501c(3) charitable status.

* ROC-NY's "direct actions" exceed "educational" purposes. ROC-NY's
picketing of restaurants is well outside the guidelines set for 501c(3)
organizations. ROC-NY's actions:

-- Hurt the income of workers at the restaurants they picket by
interfering with the operations of the restaurants and scaring away
patrons.

-- Violate rules about distributing "propaganda" by making
unsubstantiated and even outlandish claims about restaurants'
practices.

-- Violate local laws as many of the protests or other actions are un-
permitted.

-- Rather than seeking its own permits for protests, ROC-NY often
solicits help from the Union Theological Seminary to obtain the
permits under the guise of a "worship service," which is obviously
inaccurate.(5) Apparently, these permits are obtained with the
support of the administration at Columbia University.


ROC-NY is funded by the following organizations:
-- Foundation for the National Institutes of Health
-- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
-- Nathan Cummings Foundation
-- New York Foundation
-- American Red Cross
-- September 11th Fund
-- The Policy Advocacy on Tobacco and Health Initiative
-- North Star Fund
-- Lower East Side People's FCU
-- Discount Foundation

As 501c(3) organizations, these foundations may be in violation of the 501c(3) regulations as well if they are knowingly funding non-exempt activity. We thank you in advance for attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,
Sheldon Fireman
President, The Fireman Hospitality Group

(1) Labor Notes
 http://www.labornotes.org/archives/2003/08/d.html

(2) Dollars and Sense Magazine
 http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2004/0104labotz.html

(3) ROC-NY's Website
 http://www.rocny.org/programs-cooperativerestaurantsproject.htm

(4) Dollars and Sense Magazine
 http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2004/0104labotz.html

(5) Announcement of "worship service"
 http://www.crossleft.org/?q=node/1278