Organizing Unity in the Disorganized World of Small Restaurants


During the pandemic, restaurant workers were “interested in organizing like never before,” said Sheigh Freeberg, secretary and treasurer of Unite Here Local 17.

Mr. Freeberg added that the hallmark of many of these novice drivers is that they do not take over companies worth millions of dollars. Most independent restaurants operate with low profit margins. For those workers, he said, it’s “about respecting the job or being able to get your schedule upfront when it comes up.” “Things that don’t require money.”

Still, many recent organizing efforts have stalled or failed.

after study N7Luna Vicini, a French bistro in New Orleans for more than three years, was fired from her job as floor manager last October and received a note saying the business needs a manager who puts profitability first. He believes this is because he organizes workers around concerns about pay, transparency, and safety protocols. (The company did not respond to requests for comment.)

After the exit of Ms. Vicini, nine employees went on strike; The restaurant owners, Aaron Walker and Yuki Yamaguchi, mostly closed for a few days before reopening with a new staff. Ms. Vicini hoped to get her job back and help the N7 unionize, but the strike came to naught when some employees returned to work or found work elsewhere.

“I think people stopped the strike because they couldn’t see what it would be like if it worked,” said Ms. Vicini, 31. “And they could see what would happen if it didn’t work. ”

horse american beauty, a steakhouse, six servers and two ex-employees in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles lookout last March after restaurant owners reduced their percentage tip pool allocated to servers and other employees in front of the house. The restaurant said the move aims to give kitchen staff a larger share of the pool; The scouts said the business needed to increase the wages of its kitchen workers.


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