SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — About 50 employees from three local cafés banded together and delivered a demand letter to management asking for their needs to be met last Friday.
Employees of Foxy Loxy, Fox and Fig and Henny Penny joined a group called the Union of Southern Service Workers in hopes of having more power when addressing management with their concerns.
Sam Hughes, a Fox & Fig employee, said this has been months in the making.
“We demand dignity and equal treatment and equal pay regardless of race, gender, immigrant status, age, sexual orientation or mental health disability,” they said as they read from the demand letter. “Respect from management, an end to arbitrary suspensions, and we are demanding fair grievance processes.”
The list goes on.
WSAV spoke with the owner of the cafés, Jen Jenkins, and she released a statement. It said she respects the rights of employees to explore union options. She went on to state, ‘We believe that keeping a direct relationship between the company and our employees is fundamental to the well-being of employees and our business that we have built together.”
Jenkins also said the demands on the list were broad and subjective and will release a statement on how the demands have already been met.
Nina Areyan, a Savannah local, told News 3 that while attending SCAD, visiting the cafes frequently and having relations with some of the employees, she is aware of the work environment.
“You would think from the outside it’s very nice and put together,” Areyan said. “I do know quite a few things going on inside aren’t the most efficient. Both for the workers and for the workplace.”
Hughes said they have previous employees and community members backing their stance.
“We’ve been reached out to by dozens of people that use to work here at these cafes since our video became so popular,” they said. “I’ve heard stories from so many people, where they had the exact same experience that we are having at our café. Every single person that I have met here in Savannah is excited about what we’re doing and is excited to be coming together as a community.
Hughes said since they’ve gotten their first response from management Wednesday morning, their next step toward action is unclear.
Jen Jenkins mentioned in the statement saying she will have more information about benefits for the employees and business soon.