SOKOLOW STOLE OUR WAGES: PUBLIC STATEMENT & CALL TO SUPPORT

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The owners of Deli Sokolow, Shayne Gryn (@Shayne Gryn) and Leah Freeman (@Elle Freem) prioritized hiring queer and / or trans and / or racialized individuals to work for them- people already facing systemic barriers to employment and resources- through targeted outreach to online community spaces. Over the year and a half that their restaurant was in business they systematically exploited their employees by refusing to pay us our earned wages. 

— We are 19 former employees who are collectively owed over $6700. The owners are currently avoiding paying us these wages. —

This a call to support us in our fight to be paid what is ours and to demand accountability for their actions and the harm that they continue to cause.

We demand to be paid collectively and in full, to be provided with our legal documentation of employment, and a public apology. We expect transparency with regards to circumstances surrounding the Deli’s closure and to receive these items immediately and without further delay.

Members of our group have been requesting payment of owed wages for over a year from the owners on an individual basis, with no results. On November 21st, employees showed up to locked doors, with no notice of closure, and have since not received final pay checks or Notice of Termination indemnities.

We have already made these demands both individually and collectively using various legal and informal channels. The CNESST also operates under the expectation that the employers answer their own phones. When they do not, and also in the event of a business closing, the CNESST opens an investigation which takes a very long time. This also ensures that workers who are already exasperated and frustrated with trying to get a response from their employers need to face this frustrating bureaucratic maze on their own, leaving them to feel helpless and demoralized. The owners have been given numerous opportunities to address our concerns, pay us, and meet with us and have chosen to ignore them.

This is not new. This is the latest development in an ongoing dynamic of mistreatment in which Shayne and Leah neglect their duties as employers at our expense. Since the opening of Deli Sokolow in April 2015, employees have repeatedly faced outright unpaid wages, unpaid annual leave pay, bounced checks and associated fees, repeated delays in receiving our pay (of up to 1.5 weeks), and not being given Records of Employment. This involved manipulation tactics, taking advantage of personal friendships, general evasiveness, making empty promises, and failing to adequately follow up in cases of employee departure.

In light of this these tactics, we are organizing collectively to address our shared mistreatment and to support each other. We are publishing this statement because we believe in the power we hold collectively and in the power of community mobilization. We also believe that our communities deserve to be aware of these harms.

We are writing this public statement now because this is the time it has taken us as individuals to come together collectively, and grasp a full understanding of how wide-reaching this mistreatment was and continues to be – all within the context of no transparent communication, broken promises, and ever-changing narratives on behalf of the owners.

We demand that the co-owners of Deli Sokolow provide us with the following:
1. Forms of documentation and related paperwork regarding our employment:
– Records of Employment
– T4s
– Records of all pay stubs
– Records of 2016 sales for front of house staff
– Contents of staff tip pouches when applicable

2. All unpaid wages and indemnities:
– Wages and associated bounced cheque fees
– Annual Leave pay
– Notice of Termination Indemnities
– Reimbursement of registered mail expenses

Shayne and Leah maintain a pretence of solidarity with marginalized people and social struggles. However, through these exploitative employment practices they have entrenched the precarity of their low wage workers. It’s time for them to take responsibility and pay us the wages they have stolen.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT US:
– Share this statement in your networks
– Talk to your friends and community
– Provide written English to French translation
– To be involved in further actions, or other forms of support, please get in touch with us at sokolow.committee@gmail.com

The Committee for the Reclamation of Stolen Wages (CRSW)

Sokolowcommittee.wordpress.com
Facebook.com/WageReclamationCommittee/
sokolow.committee@gmail.com