UFCW Local 342 and Sparks Waiters and Bartenders Win Big at the Labor Board
A National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Administrative Law Judge issued a decision on Friday, November 18, 2016 on Local 342’s Unfair Labor Practice case filed against the Sparks Restaurant owner in December, 2014.
The waiters and bartenders of Sparks WON BIG! The judge ordered the owner of Sparks to offer all the waiters and bartenders their jobs back, with full back pay and benefits, plus interest! Additionally, the judge ordered the owners to post a Notice inside the restaurant, listing all the violations the judge found, and stating the owners would not commit the violations again.
After listening to the testimony during the trial that was held last year, and examining the evidence, the judge found that the owners of Sparks violated Federal Labor Law by refusing to reinstate the workers when they made an unconditional offer to return to work after a strike in December, 2014, which of course was two years ago next month. Federal labor law does not permit employers to punish economic strikers by refusing to employ them because they exercised their right to strike.
As many Local 342 Members remember, the waiters and bartenders at the Sparks Restaurant in Manhattan asked Local 342 to help them get a union contract in 2013. Local 342 Representatives worked with the group, and won an election in July, 2013. As with all anti-union employers, the owners bargained with Local 342 and the Employee Committee, but did not want to agree to the most basic parts of a contract. The owners also tried to make the bargaining take as long as possible, hoping that the employees would get discouraged that it was taking so long. After bargaining for over a year, the waiters and bartenders at Sparks voted to strike. Many of our Members helped on the Sparks picket line, including many from Long Island and all parts of the City encouraging fellow workers to stand up for their rights. The strike was very successful, and the workers at Sparks refused to give up and cross the line even though the owner tried his best to get them to abandon having a union, and exercising their rights under the law. Once Local 342 filed the charges against Sparks, the workers agreed to do whatever they had to do in order to support themselves while going through the legal case, and never gave up on their goal to work at Sparks with a Local 342 union contract. It was a long wait, but the waiters and bartenders at Sparks got a big win on Friday!
President Abondolo and the staff are consulting with our attorney, Marty Milner, Esq, about this decision so we proceed through this process in a way that is in the best interest of the workers at Sparks Restaurant. The employer has the right to file an appeal to the decision, and we should know whether the employer is going to appeal within the next couple of weeks. The NLRB does not have to grant an appeal, but the employer has the right to file one. Additionally, some anti-union employers refuse to follow the judge’s orders. We do not think this employer will do that, but until some days pass we will not know for sure. If that happens, the NLRB will go into court to get the judge’s orders enforced. Marty Milner was our attorney for this case, and will continue to advise us on the legal matters involved. Local 342 Representatives are also speaking with the waiters and bartenders, and will formulate a bargaining plan now that we have won the case. Local 342 hopes to resume bargaining with Sparks as soon as possible, but the first order of business will be to get the remaining waiters and bartenders who want to return to Sparks back to work and paid any money owed to them. Once that occurs, Local 342 will move forward on contract negotiations.
This is an important win for the workers at Sparks, and everyone at Local 342 congratulates them!
This is a developing situation, as the decision was just issued, so Local 342 will post updates as we have them.