Struggle over union at Bröd Kitchen

Workers World, February 4, 2016, By G. Dunkel

"The owners of Bröd Kitchen on Manhattan’s trendy Upper East Side suddenly announced on Jan. 14 that they would permanently shut down the unionized bakery/restaurant the following day. This threat to throw 19 workers out of their jobs was a clear attempt at union-busting. The company made the announcement just as it was supposed to begin negotiations for the union’s second contract. The union represents primarily immigrant and African-American workers, some of whom had left other jobs to work at Bröd.

Bröd is the new name of the Hot and Crusty bakery. In 2012 workers there waged a historic unionization campaign, led by the Laundry Workers Center and shown in the award-winning documentary The Hand That Feeds. They fought hard for a better life for themselves and all workers, forming their own union, the Hot and Crusty Workers Association, which won paid vacations, de facto seniority, a union hiring hall and other crucial rights. ..."


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Union Workers Protest Bröd Kitchen on NYU Site

Washington Square News, January 27, 2016, By Abraham Gross

"Dozens of union members and affiliated groups gathered outside Bröd Kitchen on the corner of West Fourth Street and Greene Street last Friday afternoon to protest alleged anti-union actions by the restaurant owners and its partners.

Protestors, some of whom were union workers from the former Hot and Crusty and now Bröd Kitchen on 63rd Street and Second Avenue, stated that their bosses were aiming to shut down their Upper East Side location in favor of the nonunionized NYU site.

According to Mahoma López, president of Hot and Crusty Works Association and an employee of the restaurant for over a decade, the conflict goes all the way back to 2012. Back then, workers unionized for better conditions and benefits.

Owners negotiated a contract with the workers before rebranding the restaurant as Bröd Kitchen. As contracts were set to be renegotiated this year, owners said they were considering shutting down the 63rd Street location.

'We’re asking for the most minimum increase in the salaries, and basically they tried to shut down the place because they don’t want to negotiate,' López said.

Despite union requests for the financial information detailing why the 63rd street location was failing, López said workers were not sent anything as a tactic to delay negotiations. ..."


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