Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Week We Eight The Solidarity Fish Fry

It started out looking like this was going to be a really good week at the Solidarity Fish Fry. More and more people were getting jazzed at this being the eighth week and there were a lot of people planning on coming.

As his is want, Randy Bryce, my cohort in coleslaw, ate early like the old fogy that he is.

By the time I got out of work, by phone was starting to buzz with messages of the other early diners who were saying what a good time they had and what wonderful service they received by Victoria, the union waitress of the evening.

When we arrived at Serb Hall, there was already an impressive group waiting for us in the bar. People like Annie Wacker, Vice President of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council, and Wendy Strout, Executive Director of Emerge Wisconsin. There was also Rick and Linda Rumpel who drove in all the way from Watertown. There was Karen Tuerk and Thor Backus who came all the way from Madison to show their support for their union brothers and sisters. There was the always charming Kelley Dee Albrecht, coming up from Burlington to make our evening even more cheerful.

As we were greeting each other and making introductions, I saw my friend Arlene Renner and many members of her family already seated and enjoying their meal.

Arlene Renner (front, left) and the
Lynch Family
With our spirits high and our appetites large, you can imagine our shock and dismay when the host told us that there were no union waitresses working this evening.  He said that there was a murder mystery event going on where most of them working.  When I said that I knew Victoria was working, he smugly said that she was done for the night and wasn't taking new tables.

Following our own rule of thumb of not eating if we weren't being waited on by a union server, we started to discuss where we should go to have our dinner.  It was then that I caught Victoria's attention.  She said that she had been planning on leaving, but said that she would not turn her back on us after we've shown such strong support for her and her fellow union members, she agreed to stay on and had us seated.

Management was none to happy about this as they set up the extra tables to accommodate our growing numbers.

The King's Table
Others also came in asking for a union server, keeping Victoria hustling all night.  There were four fabulous teachers from the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association.

And for once meaning in the best possible way, there were more.

Luz Sosa and two of her friends

A good time was indeed had by all.  And we made sure that we gave an extra good tip to Victoria, not only to support her and her coworkers in their struggle to keep management from busting their unions, but in our appreciation of staying later just to take care of us.

Victoria wanted to make sure that she expressed her gratitude to everyone who came out to support them for these past eight weeks.

She also emphasized that just as she was helping non-union workers last week, this week the same waitress had helped her this week when she got slammed with a big table and many requests for her.

One would think that the way that the union waitresses are staying busy all night long while the others aren't, management at Serb Hall would have figured out that they would stand to gain even more by bargaining in good faith and even letting the union expand to include the other servers.

But sadly, the have not yet accepted this truth.

So we'll just go back next Friday for Week #9, because a Solidarity Fish Fry is quite divine!


  1. You guys must be driving Serb Hall crazy by dropping a few hundred bucks a week I there until they unionize. I bet they get on that by 2025. And I'm sure no unionized restaurant wants good solid customers added to their bottom line.

    If you want Serb Hall to notice you have to start going. Right now they're crying in the additions you're putting on their winter homes.

    I'm going to go buy a dozen Palermo's piazza now. Solidarity forever.

    1. contrary to wing nut belief, we do not want business to go out of business. We just like to reward the ones who treat their employees like human beings!

      Also if you think buying a dozen Palermo's Pizzas makes you a winner you better think again. i can only say, I hope you eat those and do not donate those nasty things to a food shelter, they deserve better!

    2. Judging from management's reactions, it appears to be working just fine. They're starting to realize how much the unions mean to their business.

    3. Is that why they didn't make sure they had more union waitresses working this past Friday? It makes me wonder whether the fish fry business they do isn't a small percentage of their income compared to renting and catering the hall. They certainly don't bend over backwards to create any kind of ambiance in their dining room.
      Last I heard, Palermos welcomes the union vote. Why is it not being scheduled?

    4. IMBAR,

      If you had reading comprehension skills and memory retention abilities, you would have realized how stupid your questions are.

      Serb Hall, through harassment, has chased away many of the unionized staff. Furthermore, through illegal hiring practices, they refused to hire union-eligible staff. And as the students they hire reach the age of majority, they harass and intimidate them from joining. It's all in the charges filed with the NLRB.

      You are correct about the catering, which is where most of the few remaining union staff are working.

      But with the little bit of non-union business they're bringing in, including events, the fact that they're trying to drive the unions out shows their lack of business sense.

      Your Palermos question is also disingenuous. After they fired 75 workers who would have voted for the union and intimidated untold numbers of those they couldn't fire, now they, and you, want a vote? But tell me this, how can you defend a company that willfully hired so many illegal aliens?

    5. Easy with the hostility, cupcake. I was just trying to point out that they may not be warming to your support for their union staff as much as you would like to think.
      Not sure I was defending Palermos as much as pointing out the union effort is between a rock and a hard place there. Even the NLRB is siding with Palermos.
      I'll defend Palermos if you can defend Obama promising amnesty to all illegal aliens.

    6. LOL, no one expected management to warm up to us. Why would we when we are supporting the union they're trying to break?

      And if you read the report instead of listening to talk radio, you would have known, as I just pointed out in my previous comment, that the NLRB also found that they were illegally intimidating and threatening workers.

      It looks like Palermos is the one in a tough spot. They were admittedly hiring illegal aliens, they were trying to illegally prevent unionization, and there are a lot of other crappy frozen pizza makers out there.

      You mean the same amnesty that the Republicans are also supporting?

    7. IF IMFRANKRIZZO then youmustbewhatDecember 2, 2012 at 1:52 AM


      Looks like Capper has dealt with what smelt already. Know what I mean FAVA BEAN?

    8. Frank Rizzo? Come back from the dead have we? or is that the name you cast your second POTUS vote with?
      Well then, if everybody is supporting amnesty then we cant hold business accountable for hiring illegals. Or firing them for no other reason. To quote Seinfeld, Laws the law.
      At this rate we'll be exporting the ingredients and importing frozen pizzas, like twinkies. If we send the jobs to Mexico maybe the workers will follow!

    9. Well, seeing how the whole Hostess thing was caused by the greed of the executives, logic would conclude that Palermos is on the path to ruin due to the greed of their executives. I knew you'd eventually come around to your senses!

    10. Thinking of this conversation as I made my sons lunch this morning. Noticing i was putting a little Debbie snack in it for him I thought I would do a bit of research. Seems their owners are not as greedy, I'm also assuming their workers are not as greedy as well since they are not striking at the instruction of their fat union bosses.

    11. I hope they're thankful that the unionized shops raised the level of pay and other standards that they are enjoying. See how unions help union members and non-union people all the same? Why do you think that it is bad to raise all the boats?

    12. Apparently they haven't raised the level of pay and other standards for workers at Dolly. Assuming their sales have fallen as much as Hostess sales over the years I would say it is their lower operating costs that keep them solvent.
      I know you swear by the union lifestyle but in the end who is better off, the union worker who sees his retirement fund vanish in the bankruptcy of his company, or the non union worker who has his 401k in his name? Even you have to admit that union contracts can put a company out of business if the unions aren't willing to re-negotiate when sales suffer.
      Soon we are going to see the judges rulings on these multiple cities in CA that are declaring bankruptcy. Will they still honor the retirement plans that put them in bankruptcy?

    13. Unionized states have an average salary of $5K more than RTW states. Better working conditions, etc., etc.

      And you know what happens when you ass-ume, right? ;)

      Remember that the Hostess unions did negotiate and already took big cuts. You can only get so much blood out of someone.

      And w/out the unions, they wouldn't even have a retirement plan to fight for.

  2. It was a pleasure to share a meal with my friends and support Serb Hall's ALREADY UNIONIZED wait staff. Not all the staff are union members, so we had to ask to be seated in the right section. We were served by Victoria, who did a great job with our party of ten. She works hard and deserves decent pay and benefits. Solidarity!

  3. Jesus IMBR, I don't know why you're advertising the fact that you never graduated the 3rd grade. But seriously, your Fox News bender should really stop.

    You know why Hostess went under? Because their CEO got a 300% raise. Or how about the fact that they had millions upon millions in different types of debt? That they couldn't pay the rent on their factories? How about the fact that NO ONE EATS THEIR FOOD anymore? It's abhorrently unhealthy. How the hell is that anything to do with the union? You should be thanking your lucky damn stars that unions have given you everything you enjoy about being employed.

    1. Jesus? Obviously not a religious person are you. I don't think I've quoted fox news yet. But I do enjoy your assumption, that you have the world figured out to the point that you can call any differing opinions "un-educated".
      I can't defend the cash grab by the executive officers and maybe the law should be changed to regulate the executive pay ratios as compared to average pay, of companies that have been through bankruptcy as they have.
      But you bring up a good point in that their sales dropped, do you not think it would have been wise for the employees to re-negotiate as the money was no longer there to cover the existing contracts?
      And your right, the unions have brought us much in terms of labor laws. But now that the laws are in place and there's government agencies in place to oversee them, the unions are not crucial anymore. I still believe the free market will set the value of employees to a company. The way I see it, the union only protects the bad employees as the good ones can go work for the competition if they feel they are undervalued.
      I know, that's probably not the way they taught you in college the way it should be, but your advocating the type of policies that are crushing southern Europe. Question is, will the sheep that are voters in the US, follow europes lead?