What the picketing in the Admiral District is about

December 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle restaurants | 23 Comments

Multiple tipsters say picketers have returned to The Admiral District for the second time in two weeks. Here’s what we know: The picketers are with a group called Seattle Solidarity Network. This is the second time the group has targeted a local restaurant this year, alleging “wage theft,” according to flyers and picket signs. In both cases, after hearing about a protest, we checked with the state Department of Labor and Industries, to ask if any such complaint had been filed – that’s the agency that investigates workplace complaints. In both cases, L&I had no complaint on record. (L&I also has an online lookup.) Earlier in the year, we asked the group why they were picketing if no complaint had been filed, and the representative who answered our inquiry did not address that question. We will check again with L&I on Monday to ask again if any local wage-theft investigation is under way.

23 Comments

  1. The person that was asking for their wages was deported about 4-5 months ago, so don’t think they were able to file with L&I. Yep it gets deeper..

    Comment by Ace20604 — 8:57 pm December 8, 2012 #

  2. They handed me a flyer last time they were picketing and it said the worker had been deported and they wanted the restaurant to get the owed wages to him in the country where he now resides (I believe it was Mexico). Would a worker be able to file an L&I claim if they were deported? (This may be an entirely different worker, but that was the issue being protested back in October.)

    Comment by Ajax — 8:58 pm December 8, 2012 #

  3. Thank you WSBlog for reporting. For us to know and be informed of present-day issues we need to hear all sides.

    Comment by LongTimer WS — 9:16 pm December 8, 2012 #

  4. Will be interesting to see what L&I has to say – having seen this group in action, there is a lot more than what their protest signs say.

    Comment by Colleen — 9:46 pm December 8, 2012 #

  5. That’s the same group that occupied Borrachini’s Bakery earlier this year.

    Comment by Tracy White — 10:04 pm December 8, 2012 #

  6. Exactly which local Admiral District restaurant have the picketers targeted? I don’t see a business name in the story.

    Comment by Alvis — 10:42 pm December 8, 2012 #

  7. deleted

    Comment by Admiral935 — 12:26 am December 9, 2012 #

  8. Exactly. They picketed Borrachini’s for almost the same reason and it turned out the fired employee was lying. Borrachini had video evidence that the employee’s claim of no breaks was false.
    This group has no credibility and people should break their picket line and show the restaurant additional support.
    And, as a union guy, I don’t make that statement casually.

    Comment by David — 1:13 am December 9, 2012 #

  9. If the worker was an undocumented worker (which can be assumed as he/she was deported) then it is highly unlikely that any claim was made by the employee to L & I. And it would be tough to prove unpaid wages without hard copies of your timeslips, even if he/she was here. I’ve researched this group & don’t agree with all of their tactics & it’s unknown how thouroghly they “vet” people who come to them, but they have exposed legit unfair labor practices in a couple of cases. As my mother says, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Comment by SKB — 5:00 am December 9, 2012 #

  10. The flyer with name of drinking establishment/food service/sports viewing place is posted on several poles in the Admiral District. There is one at California and Lander by Lafayette.

    Comment by gina — 8:49 am December 9, 2012 #

  11. If the business would pay the worker for the time worked, wouldn’t this problem be solved?

    Comment by Vanessa — 9:45 am December 9, 2012 #

  12. I don’t get why the name hasn’t been posted? It’s a little like censorship isn’t it?

    Comment by Neighbor — 9:59 am December 9, 2012 #

  13. Thank you for covering this story.

    Comment by charlabob — 10:29 am December 9, 2012 #

  14. Here is the deal with these guys. They are radicals, that subscribe to various forms of Marxism, Marxist-Leninism, Anarchism, Trotskyism, etc. By virtue of their theory and practice, they believe that using government help is counter to their revolutionary ideology, and that only “direct action” is the method that will be used to address grievances. So, no L&I filings in any case. They also tend to target small businesses and non-profits and accidental landlords. No large chains, property management corporations, or big firms.

    In some cases, the amount of money, time and resources expended to get a payout is far above the amount of the payout, because maximal conflict based resolution is a means to an end (the leaflets for the non-profit landlord smear campaign cost more then the 100 dollars they were trying to get back). That end is to “expose the contradictions of capitalism” with the hope that the aggrieved will then see the rationale in their ideology and join the group.

    They choose places they see as winnable, and legitimacy is second. Their ability to deal with the press is horrible (no comment? The worst.) One of their people was interviewed on Dori Monson on KIRO, and while talk show hosts tend to come off as twerps, the rep for SeaSol was dogmatic and dodged questions.

    This is not to deny that people do get their wages ripped off, and sometimes do not have the L&I system at their disposal, but this particular group seems to take advantage of people to build some kind of revolutionary cadre, and the way they dehumanize people in their tactics is unacceptable.

    Comment by yes and no — 11:39 am December 9, 2012 #

  15. Who are they picketing? Is it a secret? Just give us a hint.

    Comment by Alex — 12:33 pm December 9, 2012 #

  16. Thanks, yes and no, for a fair and balanced report.

    Comment by slc — 1:46 pm December 9, 2012 #

  17. They are protesting a Pub in the Admiral District. The establishment is owned by the same folks who previously leased the space at Marination Ma’Kai.

    Comment by Brian M. — 4:51 pm December 9, 2012 #

  18. The reason we decided to write and publish this item, after some debate, is because over the course of these pickets, we have received a fair amount of notes and texts from people who have seen them and wondered what it was about. While we have responded to most individually, it seemed like we needed to at least note publicly that we have looked into it. Otherwise, publicizing the establishment’s name – without any proof they are under formal investigation – seems like, in crime coverage (the only other violation-of-law analogy we can think of), publicizing the name of a suspect who hasn’t been charged or even arrested, which we don’t do unless there is an imminent life-safety risk. Regarding those who say the allegation involves an undocumented worker, and therefore maybe they couldn’t go to L&I – the latter agency addresses that here: http://www.lni.wa.gov/WorkplaceRights/ComplainDiscrim/Discrim/default.asp
    .
    TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:26 pm December 9, 2012 #

  19. Twice these folks have been standing outside of the Admiral Theater. I asked why they were there and they replied they were waiting for the rest of their group before they went down the street to picket The Admiral Pub. I asked them why it just said Admiral on their signs- that it was misleading and it made the theater look bad. They seemed to think that was amusing. I got several calls again this weekend as they were apparently at it again and people thought WE were being targeted.

    Most of my employees have been with us for 5 years or more. I don’t appreciate these picketers casting doubt on our good name. Be forewarned, next time I will ask them to move or call the police and report them for trespassing especially after reading these responses and Tracy’s report.
    The Admiral Theater

    Comment by Dinah — 12:32 pm December 10, 2012 #

  20. I walked by the group and talked to a few of the people picketing who were very respectful and let’s be honest- they have a point: if you work, you should be paid.

    Comment by Rhiana — 4:28 pm December 11, 2012 #

  21. Claiming an instance of wage theft hasn’t happened “unless it has been properly filed with L & I” sounds pretty silly, especially for the restaurant industry. Try googling wage theft and doing some light research first please. Here’s a few links to help you get started.

    - “Wage theft epidemic” http://goo.gl/g9Ykd

    - “Unpaid Overtime: Wage and Hour Lawsuits have rocketed in the past decade” http://goo.gl/vcbfe

    - tons of books and reports on the reality of wage theft http://goo.gl/0A7VE

    In regards to our fight with Borachinni’s, you can read about what really has happened at Borachinni’s at nobreaksnocakes.com. We ended the fight after management started giving their employees breaks. Sad to hear a union guy encouraging people to cross a picket line.

    In reply to Yes and No, we have fought national real estate companies and Chase Bank and won. Spend some more time at our website please!

    In regards to that previous fight with that other “local restaurant”, WSB again asked about documented complaints at L & I. There were none to very few. That of course did not change the outpouring of support we received from Alki residents and former workers of that restaurant – many of whom have been cheated in the past. Were all their claims of wages stolen dubious to the WSB also? We had a blog with those testimonies, but took it down after they finally paid their former cook. You can read some of them here though: http://goo.gl/gcVGm.

    Thanks all have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Really!

    Comment by Monty — 8:52 pm December 11, 2012 #

  22. Furthermore, like with all our fights, we gave the pub two weeks to either pay the wages they owed or to explain how they already have. All they could say was that Lucio owes THEM money, but could never settle on the right amount. Even if this were true, I am not sure how they can use that as an excuse to not pay wages. They never even tried to claim they had paid him.

    We dont’t take on fights without proper research or good reason. This is a simple situation and has a simple solution.

    Comment by Monty — 4:44 pm December 12, 2012 #

  23. I spoke to several owners or loyal employees of the Admiral Pub on Friday 2 November. They did not give me their names. Some of them claimed they had sponsored the unpaid employee to come to the United States and work for them and that he still owed them $3000.00. Others of them said no, it was his cousin they sponsored that owed them the $3000.00. Still others of them said no, that was not true, no one owed any $3000.00 for any sponsorship; these people claimed that the unpaid employee habitually requested and that they had extended pay advances, so that rather than the Admiral Pub owing him 800.00 for his last week’s work, the unpaid employee actually owed the Pub for payroll advances in excess of the $800.00 last weeks wages. All agreed that the unpaid employee owed the pub money. They only disagreed with each other about the amount they said he owed them. They all admitted not having sent him the $800.00 for his last week’s wages.

    Comment by Howard McCay — 12:42 pm December 14, 2012 #

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