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UPDATE: Unionized Staff at Ellen's Stardust Diner to Stop Singing After Multiple Terminations; Owner Responds!


Stardust Family United and owner Ken Sturm continue to respond to recent controversial events that have gone down at the theatre district hotspot.

According to an email sent by Stardust Family United "Barely a week after Labor Day, a holiday set aside to celebrate the workforce of our great nation, Ken Sturm, owner of the famous Ellen's Stardust Diner, Sturm fired six long-time employees in retaliation for their efforts to form a union to protect and improve their working conditions - an attack on the workers that have lifted his family to fortune for the last 30 years.

Bianca DiSarro, one of the servers terminated during yesterday's ambush, is truly sad that it's come to this. "I've always had such pride in the fact I was part of the diner's legacy. We created this union to assure that legacy didn't die at the hands of cruel and incompetent management; it's all very sad," she said.

Two weeks ago, workers announced the highly publicized formation of Stardust Family United, the Stardust employees' union branch, under the Industrial Workers of the World, which is supported by over 70 employees of Sturm's restaurant, Ellen's Stardust Diner.

Through tears and frustration one of the servers who contract was terminated, Meg Doherty-Scannell - an employee of over five years - stated: "For so long I have just done what was asked of me and I have worked hard for this company. Through holidays, hurricanes and blizzards I showed up and did my job," she said. "When I spoke up, asking the business to treat me and my coworkers with the respect that is due to its dedicated employees I was ignored. Our cries for help in making this business better have fallen on deaf ears. And after all of this I was tossed aside and my integrity questioned. I feel completely betrayed."

Mr. Sturm had previously told multiple news outlets that he was looking forward to hearing his employees concerns, but so far his only communication with his employees regarding their union has been through forced meetings with union-busting lawyers, and the plastering of anti-union, misleading propaganda in all corners of his business. To fight for a better work environment, over twenty charges of unfair labor practices have been filed with the NLRB and more are on the way.

Management has yet to respond to an email from SFU asking Sturm to meet with the newly formed union and has instead hired famed union-buster Brent Yessin.

During shifts, employees are taken into meetings with union busters, where they are told their union is unnecessary and will cause them loss of pay and federal rights. Fliers are regularly distributed to employees warning them against joining the union, specifically stating that employees should not sign a union card providing a home address or shift information because the union would "go to your home and talk to your family while you are working.""

In response to the outcry following Stardust's recent terminations, Sturm released the following statement: "Like all employers, we at times terminate employees for any number of reasons. We want to be clear that these recent terminations were for valid reasons and have absolutely nothing to do with anyone's union activity."

In addition, nearly thirty new servers have been hired. These new "Stardusters" are being trained in secretive meetings and told to not communicate with current staff members for the safety of their job. Part of their training has been intense, multiple hour union busting meetings run by individuals who until recently refused to provide a business card or name.

It's not all sadness and frustration though. The union has received an outpouring of support for their work and cause. The Broadway community has sent in numerous videos showing support and proudly saying, "We Are Stardust".

Stardust Family United is a branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (the singing union) and is not seeking formal recognition at this time.

The email concludes noting that "In response to recent retaliation from Sturm and manager, diner employees will be escalating union tactics today at 12PM. Servers will cease all singing in the restaurant for short intervals throughout the day. In addition, workers and supporters will gather outside of the diner located at 51st Street and Broadway to protest unfair labor practices committed by their employer. Come show your support!"

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