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Statement Regarding the Striking Calendula Workers

This is a statement by the IWW clarifying a strike by four servers at Calendula Cafe. It describes events in the course of the strike, issues the strikers are bringing forward, and clarifies the IWW's role in the strike.
Labor law in the United States is not a worker friendly system.
Typically,when an employer has actually violated the rights of workers as they
exist on paper in the United States, they have engaged in rather agregious
practices. The National Labor Relations Act states that collective
activity is protected activity. This means that any group of workers, union
members or not, have the right to protest, strike, and organize unions without
retaliation from their employer.

When the four servers currently on strike at Calendula notified the
owner that they were witholding their labor, they were immediately fired.

Many of these workers have worked at Calendula since its inception, and have
spent close to a year trying to be a part of building what they hoped would
be something different, something that lived up to its mission of being
a socially responsible workplace. These same workers had repeatedly
attempted to engage the ownership of Calendula in dialogue around what they
considered to be a disrespectful and at times hostile work environment.

Since its opening, Calendula had repeatedly fell back on promises made to these
workers upon hiring, and they had already accepted a round of wage
cuts that brought them from $8 to $7.20 an hour. When Calendula notified the servers that their wages would be cut a second time, down to minimum wage, with no discussion or debate, the workers protested to Craig himself. After hostility, threatening responses, and an absolute refusal to
discuss the issue, the workers determined they could take no more.

After being fired for striking, these workers came to the IWW requesting support.
The IWW did not organize the strike, but we support workers' efforts to gain democracy in the workplace. The IWW has agreed to assist the workers in negotiations with the restaurant.

Three days after being fired for striking, a delegation of the striking workers
and negotiators from the union came to the restaurant to set up a meeting
with Craig Rosebraugh, to notify him of the worker's demands and attempt to
settle the dispute. Craig's response was to notify the strikers and
the union representatives that he was not even interested in hearing the
worker's demands, and that if they did not leave he would call the police.
Since then, Craig his refused to communicate with the strikers or the union
other than through his lawyer, and has refused to meet to discuss what could
be done to remedy the dispute.

The IWW has not requested a boycott of Calendula, and hopes that the
ownership will hold to their mission of being a socially responsible
establishment by meeting these worker's demands.

Both the IWW and the strikers gave Craig repeated opportunity to sit and
talk about their demands before filing legal claims or making their
claims public. Only when Craig repeated that the workers were fired and stated
that he had no intentions of even hearing their demands did the union file
charges or the workers begin to contact the media regarding their case.

When the IWW filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor
Relations Board, Craig hired a lawyer, and through his lawyer expressed
that he was still unwilling to meet the workers to discuss what their demands
might be. For an employer to claim financial hardship, but then to hire
a lawyer to fight worker's organization before he has even been willing to
negotiate or hear the demands of the workers seems less than economically
responsible, to himself, or to the workers still employed inside. Craig
has the option not to fight the legal charges, but to negotiate their
settlement with the workers directly at any time, thereby saving himself the
expense and salvaging the name of his establishment, but has chosen not to do
so.

We encourage Calendula to swiftly negotiate a settlement with the fired
strikers, thereby salvaging the reputation of a restaurant committed to
social justice.

The IWW supports workers in their struggles to establish democratic
workplaces, and supports the right of workers to organize and even to
strike. This is based in a sincere belief that it is the workers themselves
who must begin to develop and envision alternatives to the problems we confront
as a society. We encourage workers in any industry to call us with questions about
the union and ways we can establish democratic workplaces, and work to build the
new society.

Sincerely,
J.L. Speed
Industrial Union No. 640
Industrial Workers of the World,
503-231-5488

homepage: homepage: http://iww.org
phone: phone: 503-231-5488
address: address: 616 E. Burnside


repost of strikers' statement 17.Aug.2004 15:26

servers fired for striking

originally posted on 16.Aug.2004 14:28

Please take notice that we(the servers) were organizing together before we actually went on strike.

Mission Statement for Calendula Café:

"At Calendula, we are committed to a healthy and ethical business for you (the customer), for the environment, and for our staff. Beyond our menu, we are committed to responsible business practices... .we believe in health and longevity not only for our customers and our staff, but also for the natural environment."



There is a reason why we all wanted to work at Calendula and to be a part of what we thought the restaurant is trying to create, it is because of statements exactly like the one shown above promising things to us (the employees) and to the community. But as far as wait staff at Calendula Café are concerned all of those things have become a façade. The things that were promised to the employees are thing that we feel every employee should have such as health care, competitive wages, a voice in the work place, good working conditions, and a safe and healthy work environment. At one point or another during the last six months all of these elements have felt lost to the wait-staff at Calendula Café.

The last six months have been spent helping Craig to build Calendula, meanwhile as Calendula seems to be getting more and more popular we have noticed the lack of respect for our hard work growing more and more present. Craig has not come through with any of the things he has promised to us. In return for our hard work he has lowered our wages, with the expectation that we will do more work for lower wages. He has also decided that he cannot afford health care benefits for his employees, even though it is stated in our handbook that we would be eligible after ninety days. Craig has also proven that he wants to profit off of us by taking away our free shift meal and beverage. He is now offering 25% off a meal and beverage while on shift.

This is not an attack on Craig Rosenbraug as a person or his political perspectives. This is a statement to address our right as community members to be heard by our community and by our employer. Any time we have tried to voice our concerns to Craig individually it has been met with disciplinary action or with simple disregard. More than anything we want to negotiate with our employer to make Calendula a truly great place to be for the employees and the customers. After all if the servers at Calendula are not happy in the work place this will indeed influence the customers. We are asking that Calendula hold to the promises that it has made to the community, its customers, and most of all, to us, those who do the work and have invested interest in the success of the business.

We realize the financial borders may make it difficult to fulfill the promises he made to us. However our greatest issue lies in the lack of respect that Craig has given to us. We are willing to talk with Craig about these respect issues, we have in fact already made a strong effort to do so. Our efforts have been met with Craig's irreverence to the issue. So we have been forced to take collective action to get Craig's full attention to help him understand that this issue will not just go away and that we as a group are interested in Calendula's future. We are asking that Craig do the right thing; negotiate with us, the people that have help build up his restaurant. We are hoping that we can move past these issues and prove to the community and ourselves how strong Calendula Café really is. Something needs to be done to develop camaraderie and morale in a restaurant that's main objective is to promote a health conscious community. We are asking your help in this issue to support us on our mission to improve Calendula Café.

He threatened to call the cops? 17.Aug.2004 16:49

laszlo

Oh, the irony...

Rosebraugh Calling the Cops - A Dramatization 17.Aug.2004 18:01

Father Time

[Fade in to a dimly lit room and a middle aged man wearing sweats and a headset, as a light and buzzer on the console situated in front of him announce a call:]

911 Dispatcher: "911, How can I help you?"

CR: "I want the Police to come right now and remove some annoying people who are tresspassing in my restaurant!"

911: "And your name?"

CR: "Craig Rosebraugh, at the Calendula Cafe!"

911: "Uh, Craig Rosebraugh (chuckle)? Uh, yeah, uh, sure Mr., uh, Rosebraugh (muffled snickering)... The police will be, uh, right there (snort) to assist you with your problem (chortle)..."

THE END.

C'mon, the cops don't even care to help those of us who they don't know by name and detest, who haven't led, well, marches advocating violence against them, and/or founded revolutionary organizations. Does he really think they'd have showed up?

If your side of the story is accurate, then I say good luck to you IWW, and Calendula workers. It sounds like just a little dialogue would go a long way...

it was only a matter of time 17.Aug.2004 18:57

moi

maybe he'll make ammends and use all that dough he's spending on a lawyer to spring for a shift meal or two...

many of the people responding to the worker complaints in 17.Aug.2004 20:49

fairness

threads on this board are jumping to conclusions before knowing the whole story. I don't know if he called the police; if he did, maybe one of the sainted employees was weilding a knife. I don't know, but I'm not about to take one side of the story and call it good and hang someone for it, particularly not someone who has been part of the progressive movement.

This whole article is a totally one-sided character assassination attempt 17.Aug.2004 21:02

Near By Resident

The workers weren't fired because they decided to go on strike for something better. The workers were fired for job abandonment. Calendula has obviously been suffering from financial difficulty, and that is why Craig sat you all down and told you he would have to cut your pay again. You fail to mention that he himself has taken pay cuts and has been losing money. Instead of laying workers off he gave you a choice (sure it may be a shitty one, but at least you had one unlike so many others here in Portland). They could have kept their jobs and waited for things to get better but no...

They could have used the energy they are using now to get the word out and help bring in more business but no...

Instead, after the announcement that their pay would go down to minimum wage they went to the IWW and seem to have set out to make Craig out to be a piece of shit. They could have kept their jobs.

It was their choice to get fired.

Attempts were made for these workers to keep their jobs but they turned them down. (And you wonder why Craig was upset?) Now they are making a big stink about it in an attempt to demonize Craig. Don't put this all on him like it's his entire fault. You got yourselves fired on your own accord. It was either take a pay cut, or have the whole restaurant go under (and that means that everyone loses their job). Is that what you people were really after?

Selfish people that don't think about the whole picture piss me off, enough already. Tell the whole story or don't tell it at all.

I myself don't know all the details, nor do I pretend to but from my understanding these former workers brought this all upon themselves.

I am so sick and tired of seeing Craig bashing on this site. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. What the fuck ever happened to sticking by people through thick and thin?

one person's perspective 17.Aug.2004 22:16

ian wallace

Many people stuck by craig when it really counted, when he faced down the federal government. many of these people did not agree with his perspectives, but realized that the threat to our collective political rights required that he be supported. He has heard from some of these people in the past weeks.

When craig decided to start a capitalist enterprise, he submited himself and others to certain social relationshipes. It should come as no surprise to anyone that these power dynamics are now manifesting themselves at his business. As a capitalist, craig must fufill his social role; He is a boss, and the market will force him to things that he may or may not want to do. Capitalism dictates power relationships between worker and employer that are fundamentaly adversarial.

I do not see any attempts by these workers, or the IWW , to undermine craig personaly or politicaly. His actions speak for themselves. As to statements being made in this public forum, neither the IWW or the strikers have control over them. All one can do is state their case in public, and let people make up their own minds. If one wants the "other side of the story", that request should be sent to Calendula management.

ian wallace

Public aware? 17.Aug.2004 23:24

gk

Is this dispute visible, such as any signs posted? I'd like to know if the public is aware of this Unfair Labor Practice that has been filed. I would never enter a business if I knew there was a labor dispute in progress, but then I am a unionite, all the way! As such, I am in solidarity with the waitpersons. I hope the business makes it, but NOT at the expense of its employees.

Workers are Human 18.Aug.2004 00:31

CMC

I think that this whole situation points to the classism of the U.S. The left leanings of the East Side have become nothing more than a culture, not an intelligent way of life. There is no open dialogue. Why should we be afraid to talk about being just? The people who worked for Calendula have a right to pay the bills and not struggle pay check to pay check because we think "unskilled labor" means they deserve less. If Craig was a friend, this behavior would not be appropriate. These workers are human and shouldn't be treated like commodities. They have lives and families to go home to and support.

in general 18.Aug.2004 00:31

deva

"When craig decided to start a capitalist enterprise, he submited himself and others to certain social relationshipes. It should come as no surprise to anyone that these power dynamics are now manifesting themselves at his business. As a capitalist, craig must fufill his social role; He is a boss, and the market will force him to things that he may or may not want to do. Capitalism dictates power relationships between worker and employer that are fundamentaly adversarial."

That is simply not true. I have been employed in small businesses that were not adversarial. Nobody is forced into anything though obviously the structure and social conditioning do exert influence. Each person can choose how to behave and what values they hold dear. A business owner can act ethically and working for that person can be an enjoyable and fulfilling relationship as equal humans though the responsibility and decisions are obviously not equal (nor does everyone want them to be).

A mature balanced psyche is distinctly more important to healthy relationships than the stucture itself.

There needs to be a clearer understanding of the word Capitalism and Capitalist. Many people would argue that a small proprietor business is not a capitalist business and that capitalists are speculators of capital who use it to create more without producing something of intrinsic value themselves.

The Red and Black has hired people to do certain tasks. How much difference from that and an individual hiring people to do certain tasks? Obviously many worker collectives have crumbled due to skewed power dynamics within them. No system is a replacement for respectful, sane behavior. No thought or idea can take us very far.

Judge someone on the merits of their behavior, but condemning a person and carrying a harsh negative opinion because they started a small business seems lacking in subtlety and nuance. Carried to the extreme, it becomes a dominating characteristic which defines someone who does things in a different manner as automatically an adversary. Such attitudes generally become self fulfilling.

control 18.Aug.2004 01:42

me

Some of this reflects on the earlier thread...

Our culture and the law in this country very specifically delineate and mandate human relationships regarding ownership of property. It's the basis of our society(property rights). It's the basis of capitalism. When somebody owns something; that person is ultimately in control of that thing. According to law, according to culture. When somebody "ownes" a facility for the production of anything(vegan food) that involves many people and those peoples' livelihoods, we call that person a business owner, small or large. The owner controls everyone whos' involved; means of making a living. They own, the means of production. They control it whether they make or loose money. The others who participate have an interest because it's the source of their livelihoods. However when a person works for a BOSS and they see something that could improve the source of their income, improve their life at work, they can tell the BOSS about it but the BOSS doesn't have to listen. In fact the BOSS usually doesn't. Whether the WORKER is wrong or right the BOSS always has control. It's the law.

Craig apparently made a choice to attempt to control quite a few peoples' means of making a living when he opened his restaurant. In doing so he became a BOSS. I know this because I hear he FIRED people. That is something only BOSSES can do. He was able to do this because he had access to family controlled capitol. His family is rich, he becomes the BOSS. My family is not so I'll be the WORKER.

The fact that the people who were working for him decided that he didn't have enough respect for their time and labor for one reason or another seems perfectly fine to me. So they walked off the job and are demanding more respect? That doesn't really seem so radical to me. It just seems fair. The only thing separating them from Craig in this situation is that they don't have access to family capitol, so he's in control. They got fired. He fired them.

This is the sickness in the heart of our society. We are divided into the masters and the slaves(bosses and workers). When the slaves want a better deal from the masters and speak up? What's the fucking big deal? It should happen more often. I'm sure Craig knew all along what he was getting into. No one thinks he's stupid. People just think he's rich. I'm sure he had all sorts of rationalizations. But for one reason or another he's chosen to participate in a system that's fundamentally sick. He was able to do so because of privilege that he was born with. Money and access to it. So he's got control now of a bunch of peoples' lives and some of those people don't like being controlled the way he thinks is best. It's just like almost any other money driven relationship in this country. Big deal. It's sick.

I'm always going to be on the side of the privileged tyrant though. Because luck and good breeding are an excuse for any cruelty. Aren't they?

Sounds like some formal or informal mediation is in order 18.Aug.2004 05:20

Dance

Whether due to the economic/legal circumstances, or the personalities involved, or just due to the way things have developed, it sounds like things ARE very adversarial at this point.

Perhaps Craig can approach some individual or group - or perhaps the workers can seek such - or perhaps some individual or group can come forward 1) to "represent" one or the other side to buffer some of the hostilities, or, 2) to actually mediate a respectful dialogue, or 3) at least to help arrange such "buffering representatives" or mediators.

That's my two cents.

Wading into the Morass 18.Aug.2004 08:27

CatWoman

I've been gritting my teeth since this all came out. Argh! What to do, whom to support, what to think. Look the other way and ignore it? In the end, I think a frank discussion as a community would be a good idea. To that end, I add my comments on the situation, even though I obviously don't know all the facts any more than anyone else who is posting here. Less than some.

My first gut instinct is to support Craig, even if I also support the workers who were fired. I haven't always agreed with Craig's positions, and I certainly questioned the decision to open a capitalist restaurant. I will be honest about that. I believed that someone who promotes some very extreme ideas about revolution should have considered taking more extreme steps in the way he lives his life, in the way he earns a living. That, I believe, is where we can make the greatest difference. In the end, though, how he makes a living is not my choice to make, it is his.

Having said that, though, I remind us all that Craig has set a very honorable example to this community in many ways. Despite overwhelming harassment and great personal risk, he steadfastly refused to sell out others to the new House Unamerican Activities Committee. He has taken a lot of heat for his refusal to participate in the congressional witch hunt against so-called "eco-terrorists." (A label, by the way, that would be laughable if not so absolutely dangerous.) It is an example to be emulated.

Craig has fought, side by side with us, against many of the injustices meted out by this society. He courageously fought police brutality in the wake of the murder of Jahar Perez, even though he was attacked by both the police state and the liberal peace organizers for his refusal to sugar coat his message. He kept us informed of the news from underground when he served, again at great personal risk, as the spokesperson for the ELF. And he has been a unique voice in a scene otherwise often dominated by substanceless platitudes.

For that reason alone, I want to hear all the facts before I jump to any conclusions. And, because he has been targeted for harassment for so long, I wonder if I smell something fishy in this. What better way to discredit someone whom the police state views as a "leader" among radicals (when will they get it?), than to foment a labor dispute against him? I'm not saying this is necessarily the case...but it does seem classic. Let's face it, the decision to open a capitalist enterprise left him wide open for such an attack. This has been rumbling along for awhile, in one guise or another. I'm suspicious.

Again, though, I know only what I have heard. If, in fact, this is a real dispute that has nothing to do with cointelpro, then I urge Craig to consider the reasonable request from the workers and from the IWW to meet and negotiate a settlement. Creating a healthy, ethical, and responsible business environment is no easy task, but is surely something to strive for. I think it would be very helpful for the community if everyone (Craig, the workers, we the onlookers) were to de-personalize this and deal with the facts at hand. This way, any possibility of cointelpro-like operations being effective is lessened, and social justice is more easily obtained. Surely it can be possible to support the rights of workers without bashing someone who is most definitely a comrade, however one may feel about the way he makes a living.

(Incidentally...If I may add one tiny morsel of business advice: Craig, maybe the reason Calendula is not making money is that it's not open for lunch during the week. That's the big crowd. All the business people for miles around head to Hawtorne for lunch. All the restaurants are packed then. But Calendula is closed. At dinnertime, and on weekends, on the other hand, there's hardly anyone out there. I say, close for dinner, and open for lunch. You'll do well, and you can afford to pay the workers better.)

Crappy Craig 18.Aug.2004 08:58

gk

He fired the waitpersons when they went on strike, and refuses to negotiate. Yet he gets an attorney, and they cost $. It used to be those on strike were replaced by "scabs." Apparently, those working there aren't even scabs because when you're fired, you don't get your job back.

The height of being socially responsible is to be so toward fellow humans. Looks like Craig's Calendula is not even that. He won't talk, thus closing channels of communication. So drop that label and replace it with "Socially IRresponsible," and stay OUT of crappy Craig's "chalet."

the nature of the situation 18.Aug.2004 16:17

impecunious

craigy owns a capitalist enterprise. that makes him a boss. he owns the means of production. he acts in the interest of increasing capital which, by it's nature, means exploiting workers. and that is what he's done. how come he all of a sudden has $$$ to hire a lawyer?

if he had the start-up funds to open a business and really were radical, he would have sunk it into a cooperative. now he is the boss - obviously a position he wanted to occupy, otherwise he would not have opened a capitalist restaurant.

also, the assertion that craig is an honorable man is laughable. remember, radical activists of color have raised objections over his racism - objections that he has disrespectfully brushed aside.

enough is enough, really. it's about time people start seeing this guy for who he really is as opposed to the fake radical image he creates and wishes us all to buy into (pun intended.)

A boss is a boss is another fucking boss 18.Aug.2004 18:23

fruittidurruti

It's sad to me to read comments ranging from "having some sort of ethical negotiation or facilitation" to the much worse, "but he's my friend , so I don't know who to side with." I agree with the comment about the classism in the left. It's so fucking thick, that the most controversial and public figure besides John Zerzan in the green tendency of militant revolutionaries, is a fucking capitalist. A rich kid who owns property, pays people wages, (low ones at that), makes a profit from their labor, treats them so bad that some of them wildcat him, he fires them, and threatens to CALL THE COPS! WHAT?!?! Am I in the twilight zone? No. It's the fact that the left , beyond/ultra/post/whatever the fuck you wanna call it politics is still very middle class, and filled with clueless zombies. I can't believe people haven't fucking torched the place already? Where's the black bloc now when you really need to teach capitalists a lesson? And yes he is a capitalist. If you make capital off of someone else's labor for profit, then you are a capitalist. PERIOD. It doesn't matter if he calls himself an anarchist. John Mackey, CEO tyrant of Whole Foods Market, calls himself an anarchist. But newsflash - He's not! He's a capitalist. He fires his workers for trying to organize or fight for their rights. So, because Craig ran a militant website, and made a movie and a book, and travels around talking about revolutionary violence and blowing things up in the name of revolution means he's any different? Wow. Back to the drawing board. Capitalism = Bad. Even when the boss says he's your friend.

real labor dispute- product of capitalism 18.Aug.2004 20:10

ian wallace

Neither the FBI or any right wing wise-use reactionaries have anything to do with the situation. This is a labor dispute. That the owner in the situation has a history of activism is a secondery issue. It has little bearing on the actual situation. However, his past activities do not absolve him of responsability, as some seem to suggest.

Captialism as a economic system that puts power in the hands of the owner class to extract value from the working class. it does not matter if the capitalist enterprise is a transnational corporation or a vegen cafe. the basic power relationship is the same-worker and owner/boss.

You will find often that the worst working conditions are at small little capitalist outfits that are forced to exploit wage labor at a higher rate then their larger competitors (with a larger scale of economy, and thus requiring lower profit margines) in order to survive. The market system requires business to exploit labor to survive. That is the basis of capitalism.

when workers loss their job, or get their wages cut it really does not matter if they work for Starbucks or for Calendula. the electic company does not care, the landlord does not care, the bill collector does not care if you work for a big capitalist or little capitalist. They just want their goddamn money.

Mr. Rosebraugh took on a role that brings with it power over other peoples lives. Power that he is now exercising in his own interests. The "system" generally supports Mr. Rosebraugh in this situation. He has not acted any different then most bosses act in this situation.

I believe we should give Mr. rosebraugh his due for the work he has done in the past. there can be no question that he faced down the state regarding the grand jury. Had he caved under that intense pressure, it would have reduced political breathing space in the US. To be sure, he got support from many of us in the radical community. He may indeed go on to do good work in the future. But that will largly depend on how he responds to this situation. I do not see how he could have any credibility as a anti-capitalist revolutionary in light of a unresolved labor dispute at the restraunt he owns. We should all be asking him to do the right thing in this situation, meet with these these workers and come to a settlement.

another perspective 18.Aug.2004 20:48

Calendula Worker for Craig

I have been employed at Calendula six months and have been treated fairly and respectfully by the owner, Craig Rosebraugh and my fellow workers. I like my job and appreciate the opportunity to provide organic, vegan meals to the people of Portland. I enjoy some flexibility with my schedule, receive praise for my work, and am allowed to work autonomously.

Because the restaurant can't support itself, I can't have health insurance yet. That's dissapointing, but I accept it as a necessary tightening of the belt and firmly believe that Calendula will provide better benefits when it becomes financially sustainable.

Four workers are on "strike". More than a dozen still choose to work for the restaurant because we believe it's a good place to work with a great mission. I hope the actions of a few unsatisfied workers who were not even part of a labor union at the time of their walk-out don't cost loyal workers like myself any more lost income that they already have.

Where's the Revolution? 19.Aug.2004 08:33

Ex-Portland, Still-Wobbly

Reading from the other side of the country I can't claim to be privy to the actual facts on the ground, but going over some comments I find it distressing that so many are so misguided about the fundamental logic of capitalism.

Let's be clear. Small business owners are part of the problem. They are part of the capitalist system and therefore subject to its intractably cruel logic. Just because they claim to be or even desire to be socially responsible, or use local ingredients, or do radical activism, does not mean that capitalist social relations have ceased to exist in their workplaces or that they don't function as part of the greater capitalist system. Business is about making money - you make money anyway you can or else you perish. This nonsense about ethically-responsible business is petit bourgeois rubbish.

If anything its ethical and environentally-responsible businesses that represent the next wave of capitalist development. With increasing environmental consciousness - especially among younger generations - environmentalism has become status quo, uncontroversial, part of the ruling ideology. And with the developing environmental crisis there will inevitably be a good deal of money to be made off of solutions to environmental problems, from developing alternative energy supplies, to cleaning up pollution, to more sustainable methods of agriculture and production. One needs only a cursory glance through Paul Hawkens' writings to know this to be true.

This is not to say that more environmentalist consciousness is a bad thing - it is certainly not - it is simply to state that we must remain critical about how it might fit into the ruling ideology of capitalism and what role it might play in the further development of capitalist cycles of accumulation and the reproduction of capitalist social relations. Nicer capitalism is fine and dandy but it is still capitalism.

As long as most of the world's property and resources are controlled by a few persons while the vast majority have to work for them and submit themselves to their whims, it doesn't matter how "ethically" the system is run, it is still founded on uneven relations of power, alienation, and ultimately, force. And when a system is set up that way, inevitably you will have situations like this one, where, no matter the ethics or principles of the capitalist involved, uneven power relations manifest themselves and the side that inevitably suffers will be the proletariat (in the broad sense of the word). For the state apparatus is set up to defend property rights and defend the interests of the capitalist class at the expense of the working class. I would have figured most radicals would have known this already.

It is absolutely baffling to me that radicals can make statements defending what basically amounts to austerity (belt-tightening), capitalist work discipline (firings), and the intervention of the police, and condemning time-honored tactics of worker resistance like collective action and wildcatting. To me this points to a shallowness of critique, and to middle-class values sneaking in the back door (i.e. work ethics (sic)).

The allusion to Cointelpro is patently ridiculous and fairly irresponsible. I don't know the individuals at Calendula who were fired, but I do know most people involved with the Portland IWW and they are not FBI agents or cops. Lets keep this disagreement in the realm of reality. There was a dispute at a capitalist workplace. The boss, using his power accorded to him by the benefits of the capitalist system, fired insurgent employees. They contacted a union which has made itself open and available to any and all workers who have questions or want help in a labor dispute. It just so happens that the boss in question is a radical environmental activist.

To immediately condemn Craig is blind and doctrinaire; he has contributed to radical and community movements and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt. To immediately condemn the workers betrays the latent middle-class consciousness of too many radicals, and a patently shallow understanding of the dynamics of capitalism. In all likelihood this is a situation that can be remedied in the manner that the IWW is urging: that both sides sit down and talk and try to figure out what happened, what is going on, and how it can be resolved, now and hopefully in the future. So far, apparently, Craig has decided not to pursue this option - the option most suited to radical politics, to work things out through dialogue and discussion - and has instead run for protection to the legal system which exists to defend property rights, and, ironically, has tried to fuck him over in the past.

Most distressingly this whole episode has revealed the shallowness of many people's critiques of the capitalist system, its dynamics and the reality of capitalist social relations. Supposedly what so many of us are fighting for is for something more than extreme liberalism - this is about revolution and destroying existing social relations.

And as I said I hope that this can be resolved between the parties involved in a satisfactory manner.

reply 19.Aug.2004 09:58

deva

"Let's be clear. Small business owners are part of the problem. They are part of the capitalist system and therefore subject to its intractably cruel logic. Just because they claim to be or even desire to be socially responsible, or use local ingredients, or do radical activism, does not mean that capitalist social relations have ceased to exist in their workplaces or that they don't function as part of the greater capitalist system. Business is about making money - you make money anyway you can or else you perish. This nonsense about ethically-responsible business is petit bourgeois rubbish."

I am not defending the system at all. It needs to be changed, radically and fundamentally. Your statement however, reflects a sense of disempowerment. The system is powerful, but not all-powerful.There is something within the human being that the system cannot touch or demean.

I have engaged in 'business' in my life. I have earned money in various ways. I have NEVER made money 'anyway I can' and will NEVER do so. I have not perished. In fact, just the opposite. I have the choice to act in an ethically responsible manner in all facets of my life, including in business. I absolutely must refute such a statement that would disempower everybody if accepted. It is not rubbish. The human being is more than you give them credit for. Throw off such a defeated attitude for it is the means by which people are kept in thrall.

I know this system will try to co-opt all things, including creating its own 'socially responsible business' jargon that is bullshit. However, that is superficial. The system cannot touch the human spirit, it can only distract you from your own capacity and innate nature. Acting in an ethical and responsible manner has meaning, regardless of how the system squirms and wiggles to steal the words and make you think it does not.

A Loyal Worker 19.Aug.2004 11:01

Working Class Hero

A loyal worker is someone who stands with their fellow workers not scabbing on them. The worker who claims they are "loyal" and "doing a service to portland" is dissevicing our whole class. I hope you read this and stand where it is just, with your fellow workers . If the workers win we all win .

Sadness on this board 19.Aug.2004 11:38

t

Haven't posted in a while, but I am sad to see people's comments today.

Let's be frank, if this was anyone but Craig people would be jumping down his throat. But now that a self-proclaimed revolutionary is involved people are wavering in their support for workers rights. A wildcat strike is a big deal, one that most people will never understand. Imagine being harassed at work so badly that you, in secret, organize with your fellow workers to walk off the job, accepting all the horrible consequences of the poverty and struggle. Then to have all the other workers not support you, activists to waver, etc. Its bullshit. Craig is just manifesting all the problems with workplaces. They are dictatorships and he's not interested in democracy. People expect the workers to initiate dialogue. I agree this is a positive thing to do, they tried it though and he got a lawyer. It is telling that people suggested this though. If this were some nameless business everyone would be out picketting, but when its craig you all tell the workers to go back to their boss and plead with him nicely. It just seems to me like there is classist discrimination going on here against the workers because Craig spoke out a lot about things you all care about. Call me naive, but if my heros were to exploit workers and act out of line with my principles, I'd call them on it and be out there supporting the victims.

I recommend everyone express to Calendula how fucked this is, and boycott if the workers request it.

Wow! 19.Aug.2004 14:58

Douglas Lain

I support the IWW and the workers. There is no ambiguity here at all. Either support the workers or face the fact that you're a capitalist. End of story.

The place has major managerial issues as evidenced by... 19.Aug.2004 16:35

nathTnorman

...their unbelievable refusal to not charge my friend for a cookie that he did not care for. My two friends and I went to eat there. We ate a good bit of food and racked up a pretty good bill...about 50 bucks. My friend ordered a cookie for dessert. There was something not right with it...it tasted very bad. My friend informed the waiter. It seemed like it was going to be taken care of. We then received the bill. He noticed that they had not taken off the $2 for the cardboard cookie. My friend got up and walked over to the server. All of his co-workers, including what looked to be the manager, scattered. The server apologized but stammered that there was nothing he could do about it. They had some policy. My fried was incredulous...as we all were. Of course, he did not take it out on the server, but did let him know that they were losing a customer.

It is unbelievable that they would risk losing 3 customers based on a $2 cookie that tasted like an old shoe. I've worked in many restaurants. If a customer doesn't like something, you comp it, get them something else, and usually comp that as well. C'mon man, who don't know that!

Based on this expierence, I totally believe the workers. The owner doesn't know what the fuck he's doing...just cuz you're an activist hero doesn't mean you know shit about running a restaurant or managing people. He should either higher a consultant or sell the place before it goes under.

capitalism is more then the boss 19.Aug.2004 17:48

redworker

deva,

your spiritual mumbo jumbo has nothing to do with the situation. capitalism forces all business to comply with the iron law of the market. it forces exploitation of labor power. it's not a question of the moral totality of a individual capitalist, but the sum total of all capitalist busineses competing against each other for survial. you said earlier that capitalism is a term that is misunderstood or misused. it's true, by you. Capitalism is the sum total of all economic activity, and how this activity effects all social structures within it's grasp.

you show your reformist perspectives by so misunderstanding the economy. capitalism transends individual choice and action thruogh imposing it's need to valorize in order to function. capitalism is more then just boss-worker relationship. it is also the it really does not matter how moral or good a boss is, or even if your enterprise is a co-op, market forces dictate the terms we all operate under.

only when we as a world society are able to remove the compitetion that is inherent under a market system, abolish scarcity, will we as individuals within a culture be able to realize our whole selves. only when we destroy the alienation of the production process, and integrate production into the creative sphere of our lives will we be "whole". THAT IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS COMMUNISM. until then, it is just class war.

What is going on 19.Aug.2004 20:03

Silly red

What the hell is going on here. I can't believe all this shit. You folks don't know shit about what is going on with this situation, yet you all still seem to feel like you have the right to say shit. You believe lies and spit more. If this was a different cafe no one would say shit. Point in fact does anyone even remember the Night Hawk Lounge? That was a union cafe and when it was purchased and the new owner decided to fuck over the workers, no one said anything. Ya'll didn't do shit and those people asked for help but no it was just a small bussiness and they weren't going to go after something so small and insignifacant. So those folks fought alone. In this case there is no union, only workers who didn't want there wages cut(which I think we can all understand), but instead of voicing thier complaints to Craig they decided to leave(which is also understandable). But if you don't like what happening at your work there are lots of things you can do, running out the door and abandening your job means you quite. This is how the real world works. It might not be the way we want things but your boss hired you to do something and if you refuse to do it and run away guess what you quite. If you want better working conditions you start talking with your boss about what the problems are. These workers did not do that, they ran out and then latter on decided that they were on strike. Well thats not how things work, if you quite then your done, look for work else where. All this shit about support workers no matter what is shit. If all bosses are fucked then the red and black is just another hell hole. And that group of owner/workers are oppresing those poor folks who work for them and we should burn the place to the ground. Oh course we shouldn't work on the larger forces in the nieghboorhood that are throuwing out are friend and wrecking lives, we should fight agianst one of our friends. This isn't the best situation but people need to calm down and really look at how things are happening instead of making up lies and running a telephone game where we all lose.

silly red indeed 20.Aug.2004 11:49

ian wallace

silly red indeed.

i would urge you to re-read the statement from the workers. read it again, and pay attention to what it is saying. i believe that it adresses some of the charges that you are making against these workers. Re-read the part that speaks about trying to bring up problems at work for some time, only to be meet with intemidation and the like.

going on strike over wages hours and conditions is legaly protected activity. to fire them for it is illegal. every boss that i have seen react to a worker led strike fires workers for job abandement. to be sure, thats a technical term defined in employment law. it would be at the heart of any legal made by management in this circumstance. i find it funny that you would use it if you are simply following these posts to inform youself. i wonder if you are not recieving information from a involved source.

it is to bad that the Knighthawk workers had their union roll over on them. but i really do not think that that absolves calendula of responsability. what if these workers had gone to the IWW and been told that because of the owners past political activities that they would not be given support? would that have not been as hypocritical as "radicals" defending a owner over workers in a labor dispute?

silly red, you are correct that the boss can fire whenever he wants to. it is reality because we collectivly accept it as so. What these workers are doing is raising the costs of a employer's "right" to fire at will. if all workers took such actions, the balance of power in society would be quit a bit different. I would even suggest that such a situation would be a big step in building pre-revolutiony circumstances. these workers are challenging capitals power by fighting back. As a revolutionary, it is my responsabilty to support them. Even against the likes of Mr. Rosebraugh. I suggest you make a choice about who's side you are on.

Reply to redworker 20.Aug.2004 12:22

deva

What you call spiritual mumbo jumbo is a simple fact of life. I attest to the fact in the living of my own life. I put the things I talk about into practice, and I taste the fruit that it bears.

No offense, but if you see nothing but market forces, it is your mind which is enslaved.

ian wallace 20.Aug.2004 16:30

silly red

I read the whole article, but more importantly I know people on both sides of this and people who were there at the time. The ex-workers are lying. I understand that you only know one side and that with your revolutionary blinders on the people who could ever be right are the workers. It's really funny cause you seem to support them without thought or real perspective on what happened. I really can't stand people who are bigoted against folk with no real info. The fact that I know the phrase job abandment only means that I've really had a job. the thing that gets me is that the IWW is unionizing the highest paid employees in the cafe. Do they not care for the dish washers? No, the reason they are working with the folks they are is because the dish washer is happy with his job and doesn't like to be called a scab by folks who quit there jobs. There dealing with folks who are pissed cause thier boss had to make a shitty choice and they didn't want to hang. We can all understand taking off if you don't like what's happening at your work but to attack someone who is doing there best do keep everyone employed is just fucked, and worthy of shame.

no cointellpro here... 20.Aug.2004 19:37

!mb!

When someone attempted arson at the restruant a within days of a politicly motavated wheatpaste on the sign of the restruant it seemed clear to us that somone was attempting to blaim an-exfriend who did the paste for the arson attempt.
This harassment on the part of the wobs is reflective of that expierence because:
The nature of our break in friendship resolved around a ridiculious labor dispute.
Our friend of years wanted to print arissa shirts in black and white, on his press. The work of doing multicolor prints on multicolor shirts was already promised to my wife Rebecca. He got pissed because he'd been doing work for craigr's projects for years. Craigr wanted him to help becca he wanted to do the work himself. His work has a notable punk astetic. We wanted to get away from that. We wern't rude about it. He just didn't understand. So the dude wrote us a letter telling us how we were strike breakers. How we broke his strike. How there can be such a thing as a one man "wildcat" union and we were scabs that never supported his art, or him. It made me sad how a fair number of punks I knew started hating us cause of what he said.
Well back when I was organizing an anarchist network of working collectives we distributed food boxes for about a year. I made a point to deliver him, and his partners box myself for about a year. His partner told me that him and his friend Mike D were at serious odds over well.. two truckloads of trash he left in his art collective space when they evicted MR.D it was me that went over there and moved it, and paid to have it dumped to keep my friends cool. I was on un employment at the time. But bieng as I grew up poor in a drug house with an abusive father- I value loyalty and personal relationships above greed period, and am quite capable of living on less than 3,000 dallors a year. This puts me in a small box of radicals that think that overthrowing the government is more important than expanding the middle/working class and thier institutions.
Craigr knew the guy for YEARS and had numerious similar support expierences with the guy. But we were scabs. You don't believe that a guy that works with an organization that publicly organizes support for the overthrow of the government's phone's tapped? Then YOU are ignorant of the capitalist system. Now lucky for our friend we've had MANY expierences with the feds and cointellpro or the guy would have faced investigation. I don't buy this if somone tried to burn down our co-op we wouldn't call the cops shit.
sorry.. Well we immediatly sought out our ex-friend and questioned him and saw that this was either fed or a rouge patriot. The guy apologised for his acts of -A-rt war against the restruant and called a truse.

Now within a couple days of these articles going up Craigr found that it was on most of the worlds indy sites, including australia. Either craigr's quarell was as important as say, THE WTO or somone took the time to re-post the articles around. Nope nothing wierrrd there... Whenever we start doing public work the death threats and freaky phone calls start coming in. Nothing wierd. Your middle class transient actavist "ALLIES" bash the guy cause they don't know a damn thing about him, and you get pissed off cause people that really understand what the guy's doing don't buy your shit? fucking sad.

Now since craig recently demonstrated AGAIN that he's willing to fund ARISSA work with his personal funds, and the restraunt seems to be turning around. I tend to think that your organization is rife with people that want to kill callendula because they're afraid of what craigr will do if he has money to fund projects. As an actavist that worked with the guy since the liberation collective I'm used to not having funds. I remember when the idea of "linking social justice movements to end all oppression" wasn't popular in the actavist scene here. You might think I'm joking but seriously there were a lot of people that honestly believed that if organizaitons did this they'd be encroaching on thier organization and single issues "territory." Now before you try and tell me that union actavists couldn't ever ever have been that way I'll flip some switches on my way back machine and go back to that time when I was arguing (before witnesses) with some radical brothers from the local carpenters that:

The Anarchist Carpentry Collective should do free work and sliding scale work for low income families. I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER BIENG TOLD THAT I'D BE A SCAB IF I DID WORK FOR LESS THAN CARPENTERS SCALE, PERIOD. Kinda seemed fucked to me then, seems fucked to me now. How's that for a "class" perspective.

I remember when walking in the streets was taboo, and when it was a big contraversy to walk together through red lights. This seems silly I know. My point is having a radical perspective makes enemies. It is BLATANT to me the degree to wich this capaigns drive, and peoples tendancy to intentionally miss-understand the guy is politicly motivated. If you are un aware of the personal/political strife between your allies and Craig you're too confused to be driving anything let alone a campaign to ruin my friend. I look forward to us bieng able to have the funds to publish books from authors outside our organizaiton, from the kind of radical perspectives that are activly organized against by the government and its actavist allies.
We got a lot more SCARY ideas like soup kithens and resource centers in ereas ruined by real capitalism, Oooooo them evil capitalists. We can't get a 501c3 cause there's limits on what you can express as a sanctioned organization. We can't really fundraise without organizing a base of support. Organizing people takes money. It's hard to get money when your politic isn't state santioned. If we opened a co-op or say another collective store like LIBCO we'd have to again contend with "explorer scouts" and all sorts of other closet nationalists flooding our process trying destroy us. Been there, done that, done!
Now what bothers me is that wobs I speak with privately express that this is politicly motavated but you jerks keep creep'en around these chatrooms, spitting rehtoric, acting innocent as can be. Now I supported you when you took powells, and I boycotted the daily grind, but I'm not gonna lick your actavist boots, and stop tryin to do work just cause you, and four of your friends say so.

through love and war,
heck

silly red, calm the fuck down. 20.Aug.2004 23:39

ian wallace

Silly red. I'm glad you read the article. But did you pay attention to what you read? I mean, did you give the statements from the IWW and the strikers any thuoght or wieght? Or are you just blindly taking sides? First I want to correct your factual errors. Then I want to ask you to behave in a responsible and accountable fashion.

The servers are not the highest paid segment of the workforce. Your wage is what you get on your check, from the employer net profit. Their wages were being brought down to $7.05 an hour from $7.25 (from a starting wage of $8). If a worker is getting paid less then that at Calendula, then even more laws are being broken there. I believe the kitchen's hourly wage is higher then that of the floor staff. Now, it is true that the front end takes tips home, although they do tip out the back of the house. Your tips are a gratuity that is based on the whims of the customer base. I personally have never worked on the floor, only in back (as a dishwasher mostly). I do understand the dynamics, but I don't want to get into dividing the front from the back of the house. The restaurant industry maintains a structural split (divide and rule) between workers in front and back, and I do not want to encourage that split.

I do not believe that the striking workers have called any one a scab. If you have evidence of that, please put it forward, as such a charge is certainly polarizing. It would be irresponsible of you to put words in some ones mouth in order to undermine them. You are also publicly calling people liars, but have given no supporting testimony. I would ask you to be more careful making public charges.

I have not seen a public statement from management regarding this situation. If Calendula management would make an official statement regarding this circumstance in public, then I believe we would have that side of the story. That is yet to happen. All we have gotten is accusations from anonymous supporters of Calendula management. Note I have signed my name to my posts. I'm a member of the community, and can be held accountable for my statements.

Of course the IWW cares about the dishwashers and the cooks. If you took the time to read the IWW's statement, you would note that (1) it has not called for a boycott-as not to inflict economic damage on workers livelihoods, (2) and has given Craig ample opportunities to sit down with out lawyers, with out media attention, as reasonable parties, and sort it out. It has only gotten to this point because of a refusal by management to take this situation seriously. I'm sure that it could have been resolved some time ago, with out as much as a public peep.

The IWW is offering support and solidarity to these workers, just like they would to any other workers in this situation, regardless of their employer's reputation. I guess that they see it as a responsibility to take the word of 4 workers over that of a boss.

And finally, you should not make assumptions about what I do or do not know about this situation. Every thing I have said is based on the truth, as I understand it. I guess I was correct in assuming that you are an involved party, and are getting information personally, and brining it to this forum. Fair enough, so am I.

Like I have stated before, the IWW, and the Striking workers have issued statements. While one other Calendula worker has offered their personal view, it has not been ratified by any one else there, (it does not offer any thing in they way of factual information regarding the situation). That said, it should be recognized a valid personal opinion. Management's has never issued it's perspective. Although it does seem to be telegraphed through this forum by proxy. By you.

I have to say that you are really being rather nasty about the entire situation. I would suggest you look at all my other posts, a look at the tone I have taken. I have made no personal attacks, I have not called any one a liar, I have affirmed Mr. Rosebraughs good work in the past, and have acknowledged another Calendula worker's perspectives. You on the other hand are accusing people of being liars and calling people scabs, questioned the integrity of the IWW, all salted liberally with profanity (to make a point?) . I suggest you take your own advice and calm down.

what the heck? and deva 21.Aug.2004 00:00

redworker

what?
just cause craigs got money to fund arrisa, does that mean that we should get a free pass? jesus man.

what the hell do you mean overthrow the government instead of building up working class instituions? who is gonna overthrow the damn thing, arrisa? who runs the show after the state is gone. Craig in charge? fuck, what if he fires you?

as to your carpentry collective. i think the problem was that you did not want to get insurance to cover injuries that might result from you teaching people to use power tools. i think you said we could hold a benifit or something. for a missinfg eye. or thumb.

sorry about that mumbo jumbo comment. it was snide. but i don't don't think that workers that are forced to work or starve under capitalism can just transcend their conditions thruogh spiritual awareness. maybe that works in certain parts (for certain people) in the first world, but capitalism is a global system. and the international market will impose it's draconian disipline here in the west sooner or later.

hmm 21.Aug.2004 06:18

mb

People shouldn't do free work to help people that really need it cause?:
1)They couldn't get health insurance or workers comp if they were injured.
2)If they did the work and if was vaguely similar to work that a union worker does then they're busters?

You're right to say I'm riled up, pissed off and all that. I don't want to be it's begining to seem like a lot of you're caught up in all this, trying to do the right thing. The thing is this ain't it.

Wanting to do good revolutionary work and have funds to do that work is substantiativly different from wanting to be "the leader of the revolution."

again

porpsefull missrepresentation.

the truth. 21.Aug.2004 15:54

Katharine Atkinson, striking floor manager, Calendula Cafe

Ok. I am not a liar. What I am about to write here is true.
I sacreficed a lot for Calendula Cafe. When I was hired I was still relatively new in town and did not know much about Craig's political background so let's just leave that out of it. Here are some facts for you all to consider:
- When i was hired at Calendula, I left a job where i was weeks away from receiving health benefits, believing that after 90 days of employment at Calendula, I'd receive them. Eight months later, health insurance is nowhere in sight.
- At my prior job, I'd been given time off to go home over the holidays to visit my family. I had to reschedule my trip in order to be in pdx for calendula training. I spent all of the money I had left to change my flight, because craig said there were lots of other people out there who wanted my job and he needed his employees to be there for the restaurant. I changed my flight, shortened my trip, and returned to town for a training that was cancelled. Craig never said thanks for spending your last dollar to be here for the restaurant, he never said, sorry you changed your plans, spent all your money, and then we didn't even have the training. he never said anything. i sucked it up and continued to be grateful to have my job.
- When craig fired the general manager shortly after the restaurant opened, i was given a promotion, which came with a huge job description and a $1/hr raise (which means that if the servers I am working with during a shift make $8 more in tips than I do, which is common, we make the same amount of money for that shift, even though I have tons more responsibility). As the only staff member other than craig who had the ability to settle banks and close up at the end of the night, i worked every weekend and did not take a summer vacation, because I didn't want to put too much stress on craig, the only person who could cover my shifts. I fucking did it for him and for his fucking business. I never had evenings to spend with friends outside of the restaurant, i never could just take a weekend and go out of town. And I did that for him.
- As the floor manager, it is in my job description to "counsel with employees on job problems, keep owner informed at all times as to service activities, progress, and major problems." When I told Craig that the servers were disappointed with lowered wages and loss of shift beverages, and that I was upset he hadn't explained the new policies to me, the manager, beforehand, he said, "Let them (them being the servers who had worked for him for 7 months, did a great job, cleaned the floor every night on their hands and knees) quit! If they don't like it they can work somewhere else! If you think the conditions here are so bad Katharine, then go get a job at another restaurant! This isn't a utopia, its a business!" he then sent me home from work for having a bad attitude. Before I brought up my disatisfaction, Craig had always been pleased with my attitude and performance.
- When the last round of paycuts came around, the day the strike began, craig informed me that he was lowering my manager's wage from $9 to $8/hr. I started there as a server for $8 and was not willing to perform manager's duties for server's wages. I told him that in that case I'd like to go back to just waiting tables. He said, "there's no server position open here for you katharine, you're a manager. and if a position does open, you'll have to apply for it just like anyone else." This he said to me, the employee whose review stated, "katharine has an ability to be a team player, has demonstrated a good customer service ethic, strong leadership skills, a full grasp of her position... owing to the outstanding work katharine has done, she was promoted..." Why wouldn't he want to keep me around? Was it because I stood up for myself and my co-workers?
This is the truth and this is just pieces of my story. I tried to talk to craig, didn't want to walk out on a business that I had helped create. But he would not listen, and only got angry. And for the record, we have NEVER called anyone still working there a scab. And yes, we do care about the dishwashers, many of us have been dishwashers in the past. Futhermore, the three dishwashers who were hired in the beginning had all quit before this all started. what does that tell you???

Letter from Current Shift Lead/Server 22.Aug.2004 18:03

Alison Bagby

I was so excited when I got a phone call from Calendula Cafe in early February. Not because I needed any job (I had one already and would have been comfortable with only one), but because I wanted to work specifically for Calendula. I was the hostess
and/or busser for the first six months the restaurant was open. I worked five shifts from Friday to Sunday, which included driving a total of at least three hours between Friday afternoon and Sunday evening for work. My boyfriend worked during the week, and I gave up weekends with him in order to be a part of Calendula.

I did not expect that so soon I would be waiting tables without the four servers whom I had enjoyed working with so much and for so long. I was shocked when I heard that two of them walked out before a dinner shift, and I was shocked again two days later when we lost the remaining two.

They called me after they "went on strike" and asked me not to cover their shifts, as if they did not do enough damage when they shut down the restaurant for a night. People lost their shifts, the restaurant lost money, and Craig had to spend hours and hours going through resumes and having interviews in order to hire a new staff.

After working with the four servers in a great work environment for six months, I can see only one explanation that leaves room for their recent behavior and their caring about more than just money (which they did). With time they expected more and more
because they were working harder and harder, and an increase in pay was included in their expectations. They put a lot into the restaurant and after a while they unfortunately felt like they weren't getting enough back. After a while, Craig's appreciation and everything that originally sounded so wonderful was not enough.

I was treated no differently than they were. When we re-opened, everybody worked so hard in such a short period of time to get everything ready, and Craig worked harder than all of us combined. When the menu prices dropped, the servers consequently made fewer
tips. I heard complaints from them often. It was so difficult for the servers to tip out 25% of their tips to the back of the house when the cooks and dishwasher were working at least as hard as they were.

I can say with certainty (now that I am waiting tables) that we as servers do not work harder than the rest of the house does, that our jobs are not more important than
everybody else's, but that we do make significantly more money.

In six months of working very hard hosting and bussing (often at the same time), I got tipped out fewer times than I have fingers and never more than five dollars from the four servers who left. It never bothered me then that they kept as much of their money as they could, and it only does now because it has been suggested that the workplace is unhealthy when it is not.

It has been suggested that Craig does not appreciate his staff, when the truth is that he does and always did. Of course it would be great if we could all have free meals, but in order for the restaurant to be successful (which is very important to me and to the people who still work with us), we have discounts instead of free meals. I have previously quit two jobs due to single occasions of my bosses saying something rude to me. I would leave this job too if there was any reason to.

Our new servers have each asked me what happened and when they hear that nothing has changed they are confused. They assume, due to their enjoyment of the workplace and working with Craig, that there must have been something huge that caused the servers' behavior. But the truth is that they, over time, expected more than verbal appreciation when that was all that Craig could offer without closing down the restaurant. I have been told by one server that he wishes he could go back and handle things differently.

If the servers could not afford to have a minor reduction in hourly wage, they could have given their two weeks notice when Craig informed them apologetically of the change. Instead they let little things (for example tipping out 25%) build up (while talking to me at the hostess stand instead of to Craig, who was available), and then they let everything out at once when Craig was forced to lower pay. I have felt very lucky for the last seven months to have had this job. I love the people I work with most of all and I have not before seen a restaurant with such commitment to healthy food, animals and the environment.

Alison Bagby
Front End Lead/Server
Calendula, A Natural Cafe

correction 23.Aug.2004 11:04

Katharine Atkinson, striking floor manager, Calendula Cafe

For the record:
-the tip-out policy has absolutely nothing to do with the strike, read our statements. we do not claim to work harder than cooks, that is not an issue here.
-the floor staff did not expect anything more than what we were promised when we were hired. it is not true that we expected more and more.
-craig did not inform us apologetically of the wage decreases, he did it with attitude, and when we voiced our dissatisfaction he got angry and was NEVER sympathetic. if he had been nice and understanding about everything from the beginning, we never would have felt disrespected. instead, he treated us like peons.
-those of us on strike were excited when we were hired, too, because we thought we were going to be a part of a business that was progressive socially as well as environmentally. but a business that does not promote within, keep its promises, respect the labor of its workers, allow grievances to be aired without fear of retalliation, discipline male and female employees equally, or follow fair labor laws (meaning allow collective activity) is not progressive or ethical.

In response to Craig's ad and the article in the Willamette Week 25.Aug.2004 12:07

digusted

I am totally disgusted by this article. Craig, how can you possibly afford to take out a FULL PAGE ad in the Willamette and hire one of the highest paid labor lawyers in Portland, yet you couldnt find it in your heart or wallet to pay your employees what they were promised. You even said in your "Ad" that you gave Katherine and Jimmy Ray good reviews and promotion offers right before this all happened and now you claim that YOU fired THEM?!? What for? If they were great employees, why would you give them a demotion in pay and expect that they do the same work without thinking that they may be upset by this? When you promise workers health benefits after 90 days and tell them at day 87 that they aren't going to get them, how do you expect them to feel? When your employees ask for more staff to help lighten their (minumum wage) workload, you tell them you dont have the money then hire a pastry chef so you dont have to bake anymore. Or just as you lowered their wages this last time, you hired a full time General Manager to help lighten YOUR workload again... where did that money come from?

When the workers arrived at your restaurant with the IWW, you claim it was "an apparent show of intimidation" and wonder, "how well would most people respond to that?". I find this incredibly humorous, and ask you Mr. Rosebraugh, if you find these tactics so insulting and ineffective, how do you think Vera Katz felt when you marched on her front lawn yelling at her about an issue that you felt was important, while she was recovering from surgery? How do you think the SUV dealers or luxury home owners felt as their property was burned to the ground? I noticed you didnt like it too much when some tried to torch your multi-million dollar "luxury" building. Gee Craig, a taste of your own medicine is hard to swallow, isn't it? By the way, How many trees had to be cut down to decorate the walls and floor of your "environmentally friendly" restaurant.

In the end, I guess I am just left wondering one thing, since you make mention that the profits from the restaurant are to help "fund certain current social change venues" what exactly do you plan to do AFTER you have this "revolution" you so adamantly speak of? I sure as hell hope your plans for how to run this country are better written than your plans for this restaurant. I (a strict vegetarian) personally will never give a dime of my money to Calendula. Craig Rosebraugh even charges his own father (you know, the one who helped to fund the whole place) to eat at the restaurant! I wonder if Craig really gives a shit about anyone but himself?

All I know is.... 26.Aug.2004 22:04

Allergy sufferer

Calendula is a one of the few places that I can eat without having an allergic reaction. This place caters to wheat, gluten and dairy intolerant folks that have a hard time eating out in this meat, wheat and cheese oriented society. It is like a haven for folks like me. I can actually go out to eat and have a vegan meal and dessert without paying for it for a week with allergies. If the place is having financial troubles, then I hope Craig does what he can to make things work, cause there is no other restuarant in this town that even comes close. I've got to give him some respect for that alone.

What is FAIR people? 01.Sep.2004 01:21

it does not matter

The question here is really what is fundamentally FAIR. And this judgement can be obtained without prejudice of ideology, which just cloud the issues. All parties involved, including the workers, and Craig, are responsible for their actions. Their actions seem that Craig is LOSING money right now BIG TIME, and working 100 hour weeks, and that the majority consensus by his employees is that he is a pretty fair guy, and likeable. These 4 people that don't like him probably are in a personality conflict with him, but he is responsible for making this venture succeed or fail, they are not, he is the one with his balls in a vice, not them, and so he must try to make this thing work, for the benefit of all of his workers, again, most of which seem to like him an awful lot. If it succeeds it will help set an example for organic, natural, environmental local causes, and also provide a source of funding for Craig's revolutionary activities, that I for one think are important, in a city full of dirty, undisciplined, pacifist, sectarian, one-issue, drug and alcohol soaked dreamers who think their cool street art and cool music or body piercings will somehow change the world. Craig can see a bit beyond you losers, and perhaps that is why you hate him so much, nobody likes a black sheep, and I guess you wish he would join you all for some worthless candlelight vigil. All he says is that change is needed, and that change usually comes at a violent price, and he is right on both counts, in spite of the well-meaning but usually pointless "non-violent" activists. But I digress, really the issue is what is fair, and the tactics that the 4 ex-employees took cost Craig thousands of dollars already, and for what? Craig is already paying the workers more than he can afford, and I think that we can all assume that when and if the restaurant is running a profit, the workers will be the first to know and benefit. But if these 4 don't have the patience to wait for that day, then let them leave. But don't let them fuck it up for all the others still working there, who want to stick it out, and make it pay off for them eventually. The IWW, who in general is a great organization, has really screwed the pooch on this one. And all of the ideologically driven people who have been writing and talking about a world of workers collectives, I support your ideals, but for the meantime, we are stuck with a "mixed economy", but I would much rather have Craig as a boss than someone with no environmental and social morals, if we must have private ownership. IWW, fuck you, you need to backtrack on this, and re-evaluate what you are doing. Don't forget your roots, you used to support revolution, and now you are just like a dog eating it's own tail, Craig is not the enemy, but the enemy loves what you are doing right now, right now the IWW is sucking shit out of the FBI's asshole, thanks IWW, thanks a lot - why don't you go organize some social workers and make yourselves useful, instead of trying to destroy a real revolutionary (like you used to be, 100 years ago). IWW shitheads why don't you read about Big Bill Haywood, hell, if he could see you now he would smack your little bitch ass granola heads, or Vincent St. John "The Saint", yes, the "Saint" would really be pleased with your collusion with Johnny Law. Go read about the "Saint" you latte drinking tattooed brats, read and learn, the "Saint" started the Western Federation of Miners and then went on to the IWW. The WFM fought a pitched battle with the "Man" for years, not that your pacifist loser asses would know. And all the pure "revolutionaries" who are slandering Craig, fuck you too, if you do put Craig out of business you can be sure that the next restaurant will have a grease pit, and dump lard into the sewer, pay it's workers less, hell, maybe "Hooters" can be put there instead of "Calendula" and you will be happy, then all of you idealistic dreamers can wail and moan about exploitation of women with big tits? You don't know what you have until it is gone, and believe me, as restaurant managers go, Craig is the shit, environmentally, and for workers rights, and so on, even if you don't like his revolution thing. You are the same short-sighted assholes who want to breach the dams and replace them all with coal-fired electricity plants - yes, destroy the whole planet with the greenhouse effect to save the salmon, fuck you, take a science class you dirtbag irresponsible dreamers, and a history class while you are at it, and read about the violent struggle for workers rights, it was not a candlelight vigil, it was a fucking war, and always will be. Craig seems like a good manager, he is running the best restaurant in Portland (and maybe the entire country) in terms of morals, ethics, workers rights, and environment, and for those of you revolutionaries out there who still see reality for what it is, Craig is hip!

To: It doesn't matter: Your speculation is off the mark 02.Sep.2004 09:08

LJ

I think Craig is hip too and I respect his political choices, but that's not what this is about. Everyone's just projecting it onto the situation. He SEEMS like a good manager? Just because his ethics are rock solid doesn't mean that he is able to run a restaraunt well.

To: LJ 02.Sep.2004 13:56

Pancho (it does not matter)

Craig's politics and activism aside - when he presented his case in his 1 page ad in the willamette week it made sense. And it correlates well with the fact that most of the employees like him and his mission, and how he treats them. If all of his employees voted for a union, then fine, but they did not. Just 4 employees who seem to be in a personality conflict with him. The rest of the employees seem to think that these 4 are whiners. I am going with the democratic majority of the employees, not the 4 wildcat strikers. A wildcat strike has to include the majority. The selfishness of these 4 workers could destroy the careers of the rest of the employees, and the positive political message of the restaurant.

Anyhow, you cannot separate his politics from his business, since his business is a political statement in terms of living wages, biodiesel, using organic foods et cetera, NO OTHER RESTAURANT DOES ALL THIS, so yes, his politics do matter. His restaurant is setting a political example for other restaurants.

Pancho 02.Sep.2004 19:11

c

Yeah, actually you can seperate his politics from his business because there are people involved who are there to work, to support themselves and their families. Perhaps his business is somewhat of a political endeavor for him and for some of his workers. But for others, who are just there to have dinner or employees of Calendula who are trying to support themselves, Calendula is - well, a restaraunt. And a superb restaraunt at that. I think eveyone should go eat there.
I used to work there are I can tell you first hand that serving as an employee doesn't necessarily entail serving as part of some activist agenda. Maybe some workers happen to be activists in their personal life and gravitated towards employment at Calendula because it provides them more than just a food service job. That was most certainly the case for me. But ultimately, people are there to work.
Just because the boss has struggled so hard to make this world a better place, and he's tired and overworked doesn't make it okay for him to be unfair to his employees. I agree that the 4 have acted rashly and that running to the IWW is over the top. However, the underlying message is that Craig committed to creating a supportive ennvironment where workers could voice their concerns and observations without being shut down -- and he unquestionably failed at his first attempt. Come on -- You don't send your general manager home on the busiest night for voicing the collective concern of your staff! That's so childish, not to mention inefficient.
You're right in stating that Craig's statement (although grossly overexaggerated and full of assumptions) makes sense. What really doesn't make sense though is the fact that he would rather spend however many thousands of dollars defending his ego and pride than simply taking a few minutes to sit down and talk.
Neither the 4 nor the IWW are attempting to shut Calendula down. That's crystal clear. If the resaraunt wanted to fully embrace the whole political statement, it would be a co-op. And even then, it's members would deserve respect. But respect is hard to give when you're burdened with running a restaraunt and on top of trying to save the world.

Jimmy Ray 02.Sep.2004 19:37

Sheepish

I just wanted to say sorry for the melodrama comment. It's not that I don't agree with the principles behind your perspective, I just would have chosen to act differently. I had a blast working with you and I hope you and yours are well.

Love, Carolyn

C 04.Sep.2004 11:31

Pancho

A co-op might not work for Calendula, because Craig, if he wants to use the restaurants profits to fund his activism, the majority of activists in Portland are not in favor of. So that would compromise his ability to fully fund what he considers important, and he is a vanguard, a very unique activist, and it is important for the revolutionary movement to have people like him not compromised by some "co-op" or "committee" of drugged-out, hung-over pacifists. When you are on the vanguard, you need discipline and control, and Craig has proven his worth and does not need to justify himself. Not to say that a co-op is a great thing, however, just not in this case.

It sounds like from what you said that Craig may have contributed to the personality conflict with the 4 wildcats, but who really knows, only those 5 people. And it is too bad if Craig could have done better, perhaps he was on a short fuse due to overwork. But still, the majority of the employees are happy and are sticking by him, so that gives him credibility. It sounds like Craig had a right to lock them out due to the amount of money that they already cost him, in the thousands of dollars. If they wanted to "just sit down and be reasonable" then perhaps they should not have cost him lots of money and bad publicity with their antics and tactics.

This restaurant and it's mission is too important to lose, as is Craig's activism. The IWW has shown itself to be a disappointment, a disgrace to Big Bill Haywood and Vincent St. John, and the memory of real revolutionaries. Attacking a fellow leftist on dubious circumstances and going to the press is beyond the pale. Perhaps the IWW and it's comrades should be boycotted as well, then they get a taste of their own medicine. Because all this press is clearly going to hurt Calendula financially, and I am sure the FBI loves that. Maybe a "Boycott BACK TO BACK CAFE" is in order? Maybe that is a little extreme, and it is bad to lower yourself to another's low level, but the IWW has been arrogant and irresponsible.

Pancho 04.Sep.2004 22:11

C

I didn't mean to say that I think Calendula should be a co-op. I don't. If Craig has some kind of covert agenda, fine. As owner, sure he can use profits to fund whatever the hell he wants. And I agree that his choices are indispensible. Of course he's tired and overworked. I'm glad that you are compassionate enough to see that this may be fueling some of his inappropriate behavior.

But we're not talking about defense against a mob of violent servers. We're not talking about "antics and tactics" as you say. We're not talking about politics. We're talking about sitting down like grown ups and talking and working things out -- with words. Really simple stuff.

Yes, they cost him money when they walked out. But he cost himself money when he chose not to communicate maturely. It was only at his refusal to talk that the news went public. No one forced him to place that ad in the Willy Week. No one forced him to hire a lawyer. No one involved even implied a desire to shut down the restaraunt. On the contrary, we all wanted it to thrive. Craig's the only one who initiated that kind of talk.

You wrote:
"It sounds like from what you said that Craig may have contributed to the personality conflict with the 4 wildcats, but who really knows, only those 5 people. "

I choose not to share intimate details out of respect, but I do have insight into the matter. At least consider the possibility that something is out of balance here.

opinions.....ahhh 06.Sep.2004 08:30

jimmy ray

No probem <Carolyn, thanks, ya know everyone seems to have a little bit of a different angle to the situation; I miss working with you too, you are a rockstar and I can appreciate your stance. To the future.

missing you

To: C 09.Sep.2004 11:27

Pancho

C

yes, I think there is a possibility that Craig in this case acted like an arrogant asshole, and a bad listener. And in doing so wronged the 4 people. I don't know everything about this, nor was I there. If so it reflects badly on Craig's character as a revolutionary leader as well. Other people think he can be arrogant at times, talking a lot about "my book my book blah blah blah". When I met him I thought he was a quiet, nice person, but I also detected that he was a little bit full of himself, and a good leader is supposed to be humble. He also gives himself a little too much credit for Arissa being the big new shit as far as revolutionary groups (again, being a little bit full of himself).

But all those things withstanding, it is important to try to keep a sense of priority, and the remaining 18 workers and their future is the issue here. I don't think, after all the bad blood, that "just sitting down and talking" is an option any more, but who knows? The main thing is that people move on, the 4 can get other jobs, perhaps Craig can learn something from this, from a personal standpoint, and try to be a little more humble and a better listener. This would help him as a businessman and as a revolutionary leader.

The world is full of egotistical sectarian leftists who are in it for their own pleasure, and I hope Craig can do better, if he truly wants to be a revolutionary, and he needs to understand that starts with the people right around you.