Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Solidarity Fish Fry, Week 20: It's Snow Joke

Just a friendly reminder that this is week 20 of the Solidarity Fish Fry this coming Friday.

The gentle eater will remember that the management of Serb Hall in Milwaukee has been trying to bust the union by harassing the union workers and practicing bad faith bargaining and prohibited practices.

Things have gotten slightly better now.  Between the pressure that the Milwaukee Area Labor Council has put on them, getting slapped around by the National Labor Relations Board and the solidarity we have been showing for our union brothers and sisters, management has started negotiating in good faith again.

Progress in the negotiations is slow, but it is there.

And most timely, another local restaurant which has been treating their workers poorly has also seen the light.  Meyer's Family Restaurant had been playing fast and loose with paying their workers, trying to rip them off.  They too found out that labor laws are there for a reason, and have agreed to pay the workers $116,000 in back wages.

The owner of the restaurant admitted the error in their ways:
“Food service workers often work long hours in physically demanding occupations. These workers deserve to be paid properly,” said Theresa Walls, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Minneapolis District Office in a release. “The resolution of this case should remind employers that the department will not hesitate to investigate if they deny workers their rightful pay. We are committed to protecting the many vulnerable workers employed in the restaurant industry and will vigorously pursue violators to ensure compliance with the law.”

Owner Larry Meyer said the restaurant has already paid the back wages, implemented a system to monitor payroll for overtime hours and is now under full compliance with labor laws. He said the situation arose from paying some employees a salary, employees the U.S. Department of Labor classified as hourly employees.

“We were under a different impression of what the law is,” Meyer said. “Some of the skilled labor, we’d negotiate a weekly wage, or a salary. We were under the impression that was fine. It was not. You can’t salary anybody and everybody.

“We were surprised that we weren’t able to do a lot of the things we were doing. They were understanding of that. They didn’t come down too hard on us; there were no fines or penalties.

“I didn’t have any trouble with it. The law’s the law. I’ve been doing this 48 years. Sometimes my thinking is old schooled. I got an education.”
Time will tell if the management of Serb Hall will see the writing on the wall.

In the meantime, we will continue with our weekly show of solidarity.

And as the gentle eater is most likely aware, the forecasters are saying that we are about to get a few inches of snow Thursday night and into Friday.

After all that shoveling, one can work up an appetite, and the best way to cure that it a good ol' fish fry.

So go to Serb Hall, ask to be seated at a union server's table and enjoy. Don't forget to leave a big tip and make sure you write on the receipt that it's in support of the union.

So we'll see ya there this Friday, and that's snow joke. (Because the real joke was there last week.)

1 comment:

    thanks for the support and only a few know the joke was there , i would have gave you my apron!!!!