Handing out a free pizza is one thing when a company is being nice to a customer, but for former employees who claim a chef owes them $15,000, the two pizzas he sent out to the picket line probably felt like a pie to the face. Especially as some of their fellows in the industry just received a settlement of $250,000 in back pay at a San Francisco restaurant.
About 25 workers gathered outside a Houston restaurant to protest the chef there, a man who they claim never paid them back wages and tips totaling between $14,000 to $15,000 they earned at his previous restaurant back in 2011, reports the Houston Press. Many of those same waiters and kitchen workers walked off the job a little over a year ago because he wouldn’t cough up the cash back then.
The chef apparently doesn’t deny their claims, but said the “whole thing” had been blown out of proportion. He reportedly claimed on Dec. 5, 2011 that his staff would be “paid in full” that very day. It never happened, say the workers.
So we can imagine their shock when the head chef sent out two pizzas to the picket line, delivered by waiters.
A chant sprung up: “No food; pay me!”says the Houston Press.
“That was bizarre,” one worker said of the gesture. “But it just energized us. We’re here for justice.”
The manager of the restaurant where the protesters were picketing says the protest is unrelated to the business there.
“This has nothing to do with the restaurant,” she explained. “This is about [the chef's] former enterprise, and he’s not affiliated with them any longer.”
It sounds like she thinks the pizzas were a good idea, however.
“We sent out pizzas,” she said. “We don’t want to be ugly. There’s no need to be ugly.” She added, “I think there’s some facts they don’t have straight.”
One fact we can verify: Two pizzas do not equal $15,000, cheesy and delicious though they may be.
Let Them Eat Cake: Chef [Redacted] Sends Out Pizza to Protesters [Houston Press]