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Standout Chinatown Restaurant Clashes With Union in Dim Sum Drama

Joy Luck Palace is closing to the public in the face of an apparent union dispute

Joy Luck Palace
A protest outside of Joy Luck Palace last week
Photo via Eater tipline

In the wake of news that Joy Luck Palace would be closing its doors to the public and turning into a banquet center, protestors were seen outside of the popular dim sum spot in Chinatown carrying posters reading “no retaliation” in both Chinese and English.

A sign posted outside of Joy Luck Palace — considered one of New York’s finest dim sum restaurants since opening in 2016 — says that the restaurant is changing from a standard cart-style dim sum restaurant to a private banquet and catering center as a result of business difficulties.

But last Thursday, about 20 people were seen picketing with a loudspeaker in front of the restaurant, protesting an alleged “retaliation” by management. According to a report from local Chinese media outlet China Press translated for Eater NY, a group of union workers at the restaurant saw the announced business changes as a “retaliatory and intimidating act” taken by the restaurant in response to workers requesting more protections.

Restaurant manager Qingwen Chen told China Press that the it was sparked by an incident involving two workers who were accused of stealing wine from a banquet at the restaurant. The workers were allegedly then given a written warning and leave without pay.

Those workers saw the situation differently, though. They attended the protest as union members and said that the wine they had taken had been left behind by the guests and felt that their punishments were not warranted. Another union member described an incident to China Press where they were not allowed to return to work after taking approved sick leave for an eye surgery.

Eater NY has reached out to the restaurant for comment.

Joy Luck Palace

98 Mott St., New York, NY 10013