Have you ever been to Del Rio? Apparently things aren’t so pleasant there right now for the employees, one of whom has started a Del Rio Workers Union blog, which I heard about on this Borders Readers United blog comment.

“Dear friends of the Del Rio,

I know that many of you, like myself, consider yourselves ‘regulars’ at the Del Rio. We go there to relax, for affordable eats, for camaraderie, for the funky art, and for conversation with friends and servers. In some cases, our kids have grown up there. Sadly, our “home away from home” is being taken away from us. Terrible changes are happening at the Del Rio. Another Ann Arbor community institution is dying; one of our favorite hangouts is being killed.

One of the factors that gave the Del Rio its special appeal was that the Del Rio Workers were able to cooperatively manage the business’s daily functions with dignity. But now the collective has been dismantled and has been replaced with a repressive, top-down management structure.

A “memo to all staff” hangs on the kitchen wall. It reads: “A positive attitude about your job and the Del Rio in general, is important. Failure to represent the Del Rio in a positive way to customers and other employees WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE TERMINATION.”

If you drop by the Del Rio now, you will notice a change. A broken spirit. An atmosphere of fear. Familiar faces are absent. This is the “New Del Rio.”

This end of the collective was announced in September, coinciding with the arrival of Karen Piehutkoski – a new part owner of the establishment. Karen is also the owner of Kilwin’s. The transition has been cruel, uncaring, and ugly. In the new and shifting context, the staff have sought to keep their jobs, their livelihoods. But the “new” bar’s policy is to abuse and mistreat staff – some of whom have been there ten years or longer – in attempts to force them out. Systematically, the most dedicated employees are being fired (and banned from the Del!) without cause. Throughout the fall, seven employees have been fired and ten more have quit due to harassment, disgust, and emotional pain. The owners refuse to explain their
actions. [..] “

Author: Rob