Ellen's Stardust Diner Blames Mass Firings on 'Alleged Theft Scandal'
As BroadwayWorld reported earlier this year, following a series of controversial terminations at Ellen's Stardust Diner last fall, the theatre district hotspot is now reportedly taking aim at former employees.
The unionized staff, known as Stardust Family United, writes:
After facing multiple counts of gross legal misconduct, restaurant owner Ken Sturm has lashed out at several of his former employees in a callous and spiteful last-ditch attempt to save face during a heated labor dispute. Last September, Ellen's Stardust Diner began a mass firing of its long term employees after the famed singing waitstaff publicly announced the establishment of their worker's union, Stardust Family United. Recently, the New York Post published allegations from Ken Sturm, part-time owner of Ellen's Stardust Diner, that the terminated servers in question were not fired in retaliation for union activity, but rather for their participation in an alleged theft scandal.
Theft is a predictably common allegation made towards restaurant employees during union campaigns, used as an attempt to discredit the employees and their grievances in the workplace. The fact of the matter is, dozens of workers were abruptly fired after publicly announcing the formation of Stardust Family United. Every single employee who was terminated on the questionable grounds of "theft" was an official and public union member.
Ken Sturm presented his "evidence" of alleged misconduct to both the National Labor Relations Board and the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. Three judges found the employer had no evidence of theft, and have unanimously acted on behalf of the servers who were wrongfully terminated thus far. In some cases, the company withdrew their appeal against the fired servers. The NLRB has filed a complaint and is prosecuting the diner. The charges against the diner can be seen below.
It is the firm belief of both Stardust Family United and their legal representatives that these allegations are nothing more than a desperate retaliation against lawful union activity. Ken Sturm is currently facing a massive class-action lawsuit comprised of over eighty servers who have worked at the diner over the past six years, on the grounds of multiple forms of wage theft.
Stardust Family United, a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), continues to fight for lawful and fair treatment in the workplace for all employees, while upper management continues to disparage the names of long-term workers who have provided the diner with years of faithful service.