Tuesday, October 11, 2016

We Are Stardust

If you walk past Ellen's Stardust Diner at Broadway and 51st, you'll find their singing waiters making music -- on the street.

They're singing in protest of several firings that came after they unionized this summer in response to a change in management they say led to sexual harassment, bullying, and other abuses.

Ellen's Stardust Diner has been in business since 1995.

The workers' union is called Stardust Family United, a branch of the international labor union Industrial Workers of the World. You can visit their site to support them, and see more on their Facebook page. Playbill has many more details on the story.


Brian said...

It is a shame that there is little leverage for the employees. Stardust can do the ultimate, like the Carnegie, and simply go out of business. So much of restaurant labor was undocumented worker and off the books wages in the past,that going legit is causing problems for the businesses who have to create legit business plans that include legal wages and better treatment of employees.

Brian said...

What is the point of the union if the management apparently can so easily mass fire the employees?

Gena Hymowech said...

This is shocking considered this is a female-run business. I think Ellen's was around before 1995. I remember going to another location of it in the 1980s, mid or late, or very early 90s. I stopped going to Ellen's after one memorable visit. I was looking up at their train set. A train was running on it and running in back of the train was a real mouse. I told the waiter and he didn't seem to care. That was it for me and Ellen.

Al Cabal said...

What makes you think a female-run business is going to be any more humane than any other business?

Gena Hymowech said...

I am surprised a female-run business would screw over fellow female employees.

seavon said...

Ellen's is NOT female run. Ellen is just the name and face of the business. It was founded by her husband ( now deceased) Irving Sturm. Ellen's contributed the singing server aspect to the business which made it hugely successful but she has never RAN the business. Her son Ken Storm who is now running the business has always did the paperwork for his father upstairs in their fourth floor offices. He has barely come down to the restaurant in YEARS as an owner. I would bet that he could barely pick any of his employees out of a lineup. That has awl sways been the overwhelming probliem with getting any concerns addressed. He has always been twice removed from daily restaurant operations. Now he hires a management team, who by the way were never introduced to the employees as "managers" but a training team to overhaul operations and " train" new and existing management to better serve our guests more efficiently. What they actually did was bully old manangement into submission and turn them against long time employees and turn new management into firing machines. The result mass exodus and firings of almost EVERY long time employee at Ellen's. The average tenure there is 6-8 years. One of the fired has worked at Ellen's for TWENTY YEARS. I don't know of any successful company that has had problems employees with that kind of tenure. If the reason for firing (35 employees to date ) that many employees were valid, how on earth could they be so wildly profitable for so long and why did it take SO LONG to get rid of these people? Either the owner is incredibly stupid or the fact that EVERY employee let go is a union memeber or a combination of both.
Hope this clears up things a bit.