April 1, 2013
CONTACT: Russell Bannan
SC Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee
50+ COMMUNITY MEMBERS STAGE “DINE-IN” TO SUPPORT RESTAURANT WORKERS AT COPPER RIVER GRILL
“Copper River is undermining the fundamental pillars of the work force in America!"
On Monday April 1, over 50 community members from Boiling Springs and Spartanburg participated in a “dine-in” at Copper River Grill in support of the servers, bartenders, hostesses, and other workers as they fight for a voice on the job and the right of self representation at work. The community wore stickers today that read "I SUPPORT THE WORKERS OF COPPER RIVER GRILL."
The action coincides with the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s march with sanitation workers demanding union recognition in Memphis, where he delivered his famous last “Promised Land Speech before being assassinated on April 4th, 1968.
Ken Riley, President of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, met with the workers of Copper River Grill this weekend. Riley stated; “We are with these workers because what Copper River is doing is undermining the fundamental pillars of the work force in America. They are taking us back to the 1920s.”
“I serve food to people all day, but I make barely enough to get by. I am a single mother and I have to think about the future of my 9 month old son,” Victoria Ballard who has been at Copper River for three years. “Is it too much to ask that a working mother gets paid enough to put food on my own table without having to rely on food stamps?”
Restaurant workers have over a dozen federal charges filed against Copper River Grill including, harassment, coercion, surveillance, interrogation, discrimination, and retaliation.
"I joined the "dine-in" to show support for these workers' rights and reasonable demands," said Spartanburg Representative Harold Mitchell, Co-chair of the SC Progressive Network. "It's wrong for corporations to rely on tax payers to subsidize their low-wage, high profit policies," Mitchell noted.
Mitchell, who is also Chair of the SC Legislative Black Caucus, pledged to introduce legislation to protect often exploited service workers. "It's against federal law to fire someone for organizing for better pay or working conditions," Mitchell said, "we need to require bosses to have a "just cause" to take someone's livelihood away from them."
“Apparently Copper River thinks that the tax payers are responsible for paying their workers,” stated Spartanburg resident Russell Bannan with South Carolina Jobs with Justice who helped to organize the event. “Because that is what Copper River is saying when they pay hard working employees starvation wages.”
Many community organizations participated in the “dine-in” today including Jobs with Justice, South Carolina AFL-CIO, Communication Workers of America, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, South Carolina Progressive Network, SC Democratic Women's Council, and others.