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News Thu Feb 04 2010

Workers File Fedral Lawsuit against Ole Ole

According to Veronica Avila of the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) of Chicago, four restaurant workers of Ole Ole restaurant is filing a federal lawsuit against their employer today. The employees, who are members of the ROC, are seeking back wages and assurance that the swanky Andersonville restaurant will comply with the law, guaranteeing that the tips are paid to the workers and proper compensation is made for overtime work.


The press release from ROC includes some outrageous details: waiters were not paid hourly and overtime wages, working only for tips (which in itself is illegal); even these tips weren't always distributed to the waiters, amounting to more than $100,000 in total; cooks worked for 50 to 60 hours a week but were paid for much less, if at all; minority workers faced nasty name-calling based on national origin. The workers are represented by attorneys at Working Hands Legal Clinic, an organization that provides no-cost legal representation for low wage workers in the Chicago metropolitan area.

According to a post in Working in These Times, the owners of the restaurant agreed to a negotiation in late December, but as things look today, the negotiation didn't go as the workers hoped. There is a demonstration planned later this evening, in front of the restaurant, located at 5413 N. Clark Street.

Although this may be an extreme case in terms of the amount of misappropriation, tip misappropriation is apparently not rare at all in restaurant industry. To make sure that your servers get what they deserve, leave your tips in cash, even when you use a credit card to pay for the meal. (I know we don't do this often enough!)

 

Anonymous / February 4, 2010 6:08 PM

I cooked at a fairly famous (and very good) restaurant, and while tip appropriation wasn't a problem there, we cooks were only paid for a 40-hour work week, regardless of how many hours we put in. The really big problem was that we were required to be there by 1 pm, and the kitchen didn't close until midnight, so we were guaranteed to work a 55-hour week, and dividing our weekly check by 55 came out to less than minimum wage. There was also a lot of pressure to show up even earlier than 1.

anonymous / February 15, 2010 4:52 PM

I know they have been having some problems just as other restaurants have been with just a lack of patrons. I hope things can be worked out because this restaurant is one of my favorites in Chicago and I feel they are under rated and overlooked.

Veronica / February 25, 2010 5:13 PM

The Restaurant Opportunities Center is making sure that workers, especially illegal workers, get to have the American Dream. We represent hard working latino's, even those like Victor Vega (the man on the front page of the article who has criminal background including 4 DUI's and separate battery charges against his wife and kids), who are eager to replace lazy americans. If American's weren't so stupid they would have put an end to illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico years a go. So please,... more
The Restaurant Opportunities Center is making sure that workers, especially illegal workers, get to have the American Dream. We represent hard working latino's, even those like Victor Vega (the man on the front page of the article who has criminal background including 4 DUI's and separate battery charges against his wife and kids), who are eager to replace lazy americans. If American's weren't so stupid they would have put an end to illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico years a go. So please, next time you complain that an illegal immigrant has taken your job remember it was your laziness that caused it. You might as well move to Canada because we are here to stay....

Antonia / March 1, 2010 3:15 PM

The above comment posted as "Veronica" is a misrepresentation of the Restaurant Opportunities Center and is not a member of our organization. The same poster has been posing as Veronica and posting the same comments all over the internet. We will track the IP address and press appropriate charges for libel. Please see www.rocunited.org for accurate information about ROC.

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