Workers United — the union organization behind Starbucks 300+ unionized stores — announced Wednesday the workers at Barboncino in Brooklyn, New York have voted to unionize. After filing for an election with the National Labor Relations Board in May, the majority of employees voted to be represented by Workers United, making the Crown Heights restaurant the first unionized pizzeria in New York City.
The union will recognize approximately 40 non-managerial employees that work at Barboncino, which is widely considered one of the best pizzerias in New York. The employees hope that under union representation, they will be able to advocate for better wages, flexible scheduling, clear disciplinary procedures, and a stricter sexual harassment policy.
“Our decision to unionize is fueled by our collective desire for a workplace that respects and honors our contributions to its success, as well as a commitment to raising the bar for the entire industry,” John Collins, a server at Barboncino said in a statement provided by Workers United. “By joining together, we are amplifying our voices, ensuring that our concerns, ideas, and aspirations are heard and taken seriously.”
Although better wages and scheduling policies have been a common thread among recently unionized foodservice establishments — including not only Starbucks, but also a Chipotle, Ben & Jerry’s, and Peet’s Coffee — sexual harassment has not been mentioned as frequently in union workplace demands. However, sexual harassment has long-been an issue throughout the restaurant industry and according to Harvard Business Review, some 90% of women in the industry have experienced sexual harassment.
“There are no protections for the workers when there is a mentality that the customer is always right,” Barboncino server Andrea Lopez said in a statement. “…This union will not only fight for a living wage for our employees, but it will ensure that the people working on the floor every day get a say in their working conditions.”
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]