That is when I made an unique suggestion on how to show our support for our union sisters and brothers:
Something has to be done to help our brothers and sisters out.The response was even better than I could have hoped. Since then, it has continued to grow, and just last week, it became an international affair.
But that something is not what some of you might suspect.
Usually the response to this sort of action would be to go to Serb Hall and protest their unfair labor practices and/or to boycott the place.
I do want you to go to Serb Hall, but not to protest or hold a rally.
I want you to go to Serb Hall and enjoy a fish fry. But I want you to go and make sure you ask to be seated in one of the union waitress sections. Ask for Patricia, Sandra, Mary Ann, Victoria, and/or Michelle. If the hostess tries to tell you their sections are full, tell her you'll wait until there is an opening.
And while the board had taken away their gratuities, the union won them back through arbitration. So after you have enjoyed your meal, please make sure you leave a healthy tip. The waitresses will appreciate it and it will send a clear message to the board that they would do well to rethink their policy.
And tell them Cog Dis sent ya.
Sadly, at least one of the waitresses, Patricia, was driven out since this first started.
At that first Solidarity Fish Fry, my wife and I, as well as half the dining room, had the unpleasant experience of seeing the general manager, Tom Miller, openly berate, harass and threaten Patricia in front of her coworkers and customers alike.
I got into it with him that night, and I have no regrets for it.
Especially after what I learned tonight.
Tonight I got a clearer picture of just how bad it is for the union workers there. Here are some of the things that the union workers have had to deal with in the past several months:
- Bad faith bargaining
- Being targets of harassment (like I just mentioned),
- Not being allowed to exercise protected rights,
- Management interrogating workers regarding union activities, and not allowing union representation be present,
- Stopped providing health care coverage
- Stopped providing dental coverage
- Discrimination against potential employees who might be eligible to join the union
And despite what management is trying to tell people that they won't lose union business, I hope they were eavesdropping on the Labor Council meeting tonight. Then they would have heard Sheila Cochran, Secretary/Treasurer of the Milwaukee County Labor Council say very clearly that she is very concerned about what is going on at Serb Hall and that this might very well be the last year that we meet at Serb Hall or use it for any of our other events, including many unions' holiday parties.
The members of Local 122 also repeatedly told us how much the support of the Solidarity Fish Fry means to them and how it's helped to get management to start budging. The round of applause showing our support for the workers was deafening.
Which brings us to this Friday, which will be the fifth week for the Solidarity Fish Fry. There are no more election cycles looming. Thanksgiving isn't for two more weeks, so you have lots of time to buy your turkey. There are no excuses for us not to make this the biggest week for the Solidarity Fish Fry yet.
Please join Randy Bryce (who's coming with the other old fogies for the very early dinner) and me this Friday, November 9th, for the fifth helping of Solidarity Fish Fry.
All you do is come for a fish fry, anytime between 11:30 am and 9 pm, and ask for a union server.
Put your forks where your mouth is.
One fish fry longer, one fish fry stronger.
And tell them Cog Dis sent ya!