Newspaper article Roll Call

Labor Group Sees 'Pattern of Retaliation' against Capitol Workers

Newspaper article Roll Call

Labor Group Sees 'Pattern of Retaliation' against Capitol Workers

Article excerpt

Less than a week after the Senate food vendor settled a dispute regarding retaliation against workers who went on strike, a supervisor allegedly reprimanded a worker who spoke out against her wages.

Kim, a worker in the Dirksen Senate Office Building who asked not to be identified with her last name, detailed in an Aug. 6 piece for The Guardian how she could not make ends meet with $10.33-an-hour wages and resorted to dancing in a strip club for extra money.

According to the unfair labor practice charge obtained by Roll Call, the day Kim's op-ed was published, her supervisor "angrily told the employee that she 'shouldn't have said those things' and that 'it's not professional.'"

The altercation prompted Good Jobs Nation, a coalition of labor groups that has been organizing the federal worker strikes, to file the charge against Restaurant Associates, which runs food services in the Senate and Capitol Visitor Center, on behalf of Kim.

Kim wrote that she could not afford school supplies or clothes for her son, and resorted to dancing in a strip club because it was the "the only job I could find that let me work a flexible schedule." Kim also wrote of her past, being raised by a drug- addicted mother, living on the street and being forced into prostitution at a young age.

"The birth of my son was a turning point in my life. I found a full-time job at the U.S. Senate, and I was so proud to be able to work in such an important place," Kim wrote. "During that time, I went back to school and I got my GED. I thought that I was doing great, but it didn't take long for me to learn that even a job in the Senate wasn't enough to give me and my son a shot at a better life."

Good Jobs Nation says the alleged retaliation violates workers' rights to organize and collectively bargain laid out in the National Labor Relations Act. The campaign is also alleging Restaurant Associates violated a recent labor settlement reached on July 31.

The National Labor Relations Board found merit in charges that Restaurant Associates supervisors had retaliated against food service workers who went on strike in April. …

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