Stella’s Gaslighting on Details
The Union would like to bring some clarity to the issues at the bargining table and clear up any misinformation being provided by the Employer.
General Scheduling issues.
Many of the issues that UFCW is proposing at the bargaining table are in relation to scheduling, and to remove the employer’s ability to use the Schedule as a weapon against the workers.
Currently, Stella’s Workers are submitting their availability, then the employer is intentionally scheduling workers outside of that availability. When the workers try to trade shifts with each other to correct the issues, management will step in and say no.
Employees do not have to work weekends after one year of service.
This is another issue where the schedule is being used to punish workers. Stella’s insists workers are available at a whim, two shifts a week and all weekend long. This requirement has meant that in many cases the employee has to choose between work and school or work and childcare.
The Union has options that would work for all parties, but the employer needs to show up to bargaining table and actually discuss the member’s concerns.
A 30-hour minimum guarantee for significant number of employees.
This would only affect 8 employees of the 38 that work there. Stella’s already schedules roughly 25 hours for many workers. Our position is that to acknowledge the time of service, senior members should get a minimum of 30 hours. This provides the workers with a living income and provides the employer with a stable workforce.
Restriction that no table transfer can occur
To punish their staff for unionizing, the employer is intentionally scheduling breaks during busy times. The Employer is then transferring tables away while servers are on break, meaning the tips go to people who didn’t serve those tables.
Prior to UFCW, this was not a common practise in the workplace. This has been an intentional tool that management has continued to use to punish staff and take their tips away.
Finally, Wage increases
The Union has been pushing for a 25¢ wage increase to the higher scale employees.
There are two rates of pay at Stella’s: New staff start at Minimum Wage. After 1-year staff get a .60¢ raise. Minimum wage is going up on October 1 by 25¢, The Union is asking that the 1-year rate be increased by 25¢ to maintain the .60¢ gap between the starting rate and 1-year rate. If the senior employees get no wage increase at all they will lose ground on the cost of living and they are already working at wages far below the poverty line.
“We have consistently told the employer that we are willing to work with them on the wage issue and every other issue at the bargaining table, but they need to show up and take this process seriously,” said Jeff Traeger, President of UFCW Local 832. “The Employer somehow thinks that if they do nothing, the Union will just go away. We are not going anywhere, and we will continue to push for better treatment and conditions for our members.”
The Union agrees that restaurants are struggling during this pandemic, but a pandemic is no excuse to mistreat workers. Flexibility and the willingness to work towards solutions that work for workers and not just management are required to get us all through this pandemic together.
UFCW 832 looks forward to the day of Conciliation on Monday, and we hope the employer is willing to make some movement off of their entrenched positions.