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Undocumented Workers Go on Hunger Strike to Demand Access to Pandemic Aid

Plus, a new location of Middle Eastern restaurant Samesa opens in Rockefeller Center — and more intel

A street vendor sells food by Central Park on December 27, 2020 in New York City.
Many essential workers, including some food delivery workers and street vendors, have been left out of financial aid packages due to immigration status
Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Undocumented workers and supporters go on two-week hunger strike to call for government aid

A coalition of undocumented workers and supporters are in the midst of a two-week hunger strike in NYC to bring more attention and aid to undocumented workers who have not yet received any government aid released during the pandemic. Many of these immigrants have been working in various essential roles, including food delivery workers and street vendors.

Participants in the hunger strike, which is currently in day seven, aim to push the state government to form a $3.5 billion fund to provide retroactive direct cash assistance to workers who have been excluded from any form of pandemic financial aid so far, the New York Daily News reports. More than 75 people signed on to take part in the hunger strike as of last week, according to the Daily News, including at least 40 directly impacted workers.

Undocumented workers have been unable to collect unemployment, access stimulus checks, or apply for small business loans since the start of the pandemic. Some New York state senate and assembly members have proposed the formation of an excluded worker fund with a $2.1 billion budget, which would give eligible workers up to $3,300 per month, but advocates say that is not enough to match the relief that other workers have already had access to throughout the past year, according to the Counter. The state’s budget deadline is on April 1.

In other news

— French cafe and bakery Maman is expanding into Greenwich Village with a new location at 23 East 10th Street, at the corner of University Place.

— Eleven Madison Park alums Dustin Wilson and Austin Johnson are eyeing an April opening for their new project 1 White in Tribeca.

— Hester Street Fair, the Lower East Side market where restaurants like Malaysian hot spot Kopitiam was an original vendor, is getting kicked out of its Seward Park location.

— How entrepreneurs like Teranga’s Pierre Thiam are rethinking food packaging to help sell items like fonio to consumers in the U.S.

— A new location of Middle Eastern restaurant Samesa, from chefs Eli and Max Sussman, opens in Rockefeller Center today, according to a restaurant spokesperson.

— Monday fuel: