What’s in a name? Not much apparently for Union Kitchen. Workers discovered the D.C. cafe stole their tips through the financial service platform Square. When Union Kitchen workers uncovered the wage theft, they began to organize together. CEO Cullen Gilchrist responded with anti-union intimidation and ‘bonuses.’
Management never referred to bonuses as back pay for their previous theft or acknowledged their humiliating workplace crime. Gilchrist mocked workers when they requested financial records, slashed hours, and even removed the option for customers to tip.
Union organizer Gabe Witess’s hours were cut from 36 to 19 following this incident. “I think the union-busting campaign that management has embarked on is an abandonment of the values that they purport to believe in,” says Witess.
Rob Bollack is one of the pro-union workers terminated across the restaurant’s six locations. “I personally was fired for my involvement in the union,” Bollack says. When Bollack arrived late to a shift, he was immediately terminated.
A union election is scheduled for March 29. If successful, workers will unionize as a part of UFCW 400 Local.