1,000 signatures reached
To: Ownership of Enrico's Tazza D'Oro
Severance for laid-off Tazza D'Oro staff
Tazza D'Oro fired it's entire Millvale staff with only a days notice, and has a history of retaliation and poor management practices. We're calling on owner, Amy Enrico to:
1) Meet with aggrieved workers to talk about next steps
2) Pay severance to laid-off Millvale workers
3) Hire Erika Anderson’s Proteus or a comparable organization to help guide the business through a strategic restructuring with a focus on representation from barista and kitchen staff
Why is this important?
My name is Adelaide Smith and I am a former barista and coffee equipment technician at Enrico’s Tazza D’Oro.
I started working as a barista at the Highland Park location in April 2017 and have been with the company as it expanded from two cafes, to four cafes and a training lab. When I first started, it was clear that the management structure was somewhat disorganized and not totally functional, but as the new cafes opened, the situation became much worse. Stores have gone months at a time with no manager, so managing responsibilities were piled onto assistant manager and barista workloads. This resulted in day to day operations becoming increasingly stressful for baristas. When that trickled into bad experiences for customers, upper management would show up to hassle the staff about their performance and general attitude, leaving no opportunities for productive discourse.
In the context of this managerial chaos, myself and other women consistently received lower scores on job evaluations compared to our few male coworkers, despite working for a company owned by a progressive woman. As a direct result of this disparity, men became eligible for higher raises then women at the barista level. This is a great example of how a well-intentioned feminist can perpetuate gender-based wage disparities in the workplace by failing to implement systems and structures that insure just and equitable working conditions. I don’t believe the owner wants gender-based discrimination to be happening anywhere, but the current structure of her own business makes the issue difficult to address.
The owner, Amy Enrico, has a history of retaliating against workers who speak out. In one such instance, where two baristas were fired after bringing up concerns at a staff meeting, the National Labor Relations Board was prepared to back the workers in a federal suit, though Tazza and the employees settled out of court. Throughout the various locations staff have been intimidated and harassed by management in retaliation to collective concerns and issues that baristas had no power over. As the equipment tech and part of the coffee quality control team, I would look into any situations where coffee quality was below our standards. On three specific occasions at the Millvale cafe, management came down on the entire barista staff accusing them of making bad coffee, when the problem was out of their control. I pinpointed the equipment issues that compromised our standards and made the issues known to management, but management continued to hassle the baristas until I was able to fix the issues and show that with properly functioning machinery, the coffee was not just adequate, but better than the other locations.
Workers at the Millvale location have been targeted and blamed for the poor performance of the store despite their earnest attempts to make that cafe thrive. When management got onto them about evening shifts taking too long, staff worked off the clock to make sure the cafe was stocked and clean for the morning shift. In April of this year, the Millvale staff was told their jobs had been eliminated and the store was closed with only a day’s notice. Later that day on their social media accounts, Tazza D’Oro claimed they would just be closing the Millvale cafe for only a week and reopening the following Tuesday. After the fired workers organized a picket, the plans to reopen the store were postponed. One of the workers was able to pick up part-time work at another location, while the other four are trying to make it by on unemployment.
I know these kinds of issues are commonplace in the restaurant industry, but they don’t have to be! We’re calling on Tazza D’Oro to do the right thing and sit down with us, develop a plan to restructure the company, and pay severance to the laid-off Millvale workers.