Sunday, October 7, 2012

Send Serb Hall A Message

My long time readers might recall that Serb Hall in Milwaukee used to be a special place for my family. Not only was it one of the best, if not the absolute best, places for a fish fry, but it had become a family tradition.

Sadly, four years ago, this came to a screeching halt. Serb Hall's long time manager retired. To replace him, the board hired some schmuck that wanted to shake things up, make it a fancier place, and as Chris Abele would say, look at ways to increase efficiency. What they ended up doing was ruining the dining experience and driving customers off.

We went back a year later and found that there had been some improvement, but only a little bit.

Sometime over the course of the next year, the board finally woke up and realized that their new hire wasn't so good for business after all and let him go. The old manager came back from retirement and the place was back to being golden. It really was a joy for my family.

Unfortunately, it did not stay nice long and started slipping again. We haven't been back since.

This past Wednesday, I found out that Serb Hall is again making changes. And again, they are not for the better.

The changes they are trying to put into effect are aimed at their waitstaff. You see, Serb Hall is a union shop. Management would like to change that by busting the union that represents the waitresses, bartenders and other. Over the past year or two, they have harassed union staff who chose to simply leave rather stay and take their abuse.

Because of the exodus, the union is down to about a dozen members and the board is practicing bad faith negotiations in an effort to finally bust them up once and for all.

The board's latest proposed contract was only for a year. But the kicker is that they also want to eliminate seniority rights and to have these dozen people take a $80,000 cut by giving up all of their benefits and their gratuities. That comes to be about a 40% pay cut.

And since January, they have started replacing union members with "students" so that the union numbers remain depleted. On top of that, they assign the union staff in the worst areas and refuse to seat customers in their sections in an effort to starve them out.

Something has to be done to help our brothers and sisters out.

But that something is not what some of you might suspect.

Usually the response to this sort of action would be to go to Serb Hall and protest their unfair labor practices and/or to boycott the place.

I do want you to go to Serb Hall, but not to protest or hold a rally.

I want you to go to Serb Hall and enjoy a fish fry. But I want you to go and make sure you ask to be seated in one of the union waitress sections. Ask for Patricia, Sandra, Mary Ann, Victoria, and/or Michelle. If the hostess tries to tell you their sections are full, tell her you'll wait until there is an opening.

And while the board had taken away their gratuities, the union won them back through arbitration. So after you have enjoyed your meal, please make sure you leave a healthy tip. The waitresses will appreciate it and it will send a clear message to the board that they would do well to rethink their policy.

And tell them Cog Dis sent ya.


  1. How in the heck can an employer take away gratuities?

    1. Some places make the employees pool the gratuities. That way they can pay the non serving staff less.

  2. One of your best articles Capped. Used to love on the south side back in the day. Gonna travel from point back home just to follow through with this. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Well I LIVED on the south side... Gee Capper, I HATE auto correct


  5. TOM from greenfield union butcherOctober 12, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    was at serb hall a few hours ago, who does the managers think they are treating the union members that rudely ! guess they didnt like when we requested union staff! well if we dont get union i will walk out . that was uncalled for by a manager and the customers around us would agree!!! thanks for the great service pat and erin