SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

East Bay | Labor & Workers

Workers at Lanesplitter in Oakland Walkout to Protest Working Conditions
by in solidarity
Tuesday Apr 16th, 2013 9:28 AM
Workers from the local Lanesplitter Pizza Pub walked off their shifts Monday night to protest the working conditions and poor food quality of the company; customers walked out in support.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Workers from the local Lanesplitter Pizza Pub walked off their shifts Monday night to protest the working conditions and poor food quality of the company; customers walked out in support.

Oakland, California - April 16, 2013- Customers responded to the walkout on Monday night with a standing ovation. Workers walked out to bring attention to an inconsistency in marketing, which advertises good treatment and health care benefits for their workers. In reality, argue the workers, less than ten percent of the staff are provided health care due to the impossible requirements necessary, servers and kitchen staff are paid poorly and constantly changing hours make it difficult for workers to meet their basic needs, succeed in school, and spend time with family.“Management and bosses are emotionally abusive,” states one worker who prefers to remain anonymous, “reprimanding us publicly, overworking us, being both blatantly and passive aggressively rude and nasty to us.”The workers also posit that the company is a “boys’ club,” saying women in higher positions are systematically pushed out. “They treat us as replaceable and expendable, which is common in the food service industry, but we are tired of this having no consequence. We are leaving tonight because we are no longer willing to take the misogyny, emotional abuse, horrible pay, disrespect, and unpredictable schedule,” say the workers.

They are also specifically demanding a liveable wage for kitchen staff and accessible healthcare.The workers stand in solidarity with all service workers who have recently gone on strike across the United States, and their coworkers who were not able to join them in the walkout Monday night. They encourage customers to support them by commenting on Yelp, talking to management, and emailing their bosses to let them know the community stands behind them: (miller [at] lanesplitterpizza.com,ian [at] lanesplitter.com, vic [at] lanesplitter.com,daniel [at] lanesplitter.com).

Amanda Swift
amandaswiftoakland [at] gmail.com
(510) 463 4125

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by long-time customer
Tuesday Apr 16th, 2013 10:58 AM
I usually hit the Oakland/Telegraph or Emeryville locations at least once a month, sometimes twice. They have historically been vegan-friendly, that's a big part of it. Plus tasty beer. I was so happy when they opened the Oakland/Tele one after the Berkeley one, didn't have to travel as far to eat there.

I have noticed that the quality of the food has gone down over the years, and portions have gotten smaller. For instance, the base vegetable for their vegan calzones used to be a nice green/red/yellow pepper mix, but now it's onions which are hella cheap. Last time I went, I noticed that they are charging $2.50 per topping for their calzones, which is kinda fucking nuts, for just some spinach or whatever. And the salad ingredients have gotten cheaper too.

My brother worked for about a year at the original Berkeley location when it first opened and they weren't sure they would make it as a restaurant, must less have, what, 5 or more now, including delivery. I don't think he got health benefits then even though he was full time plus in the kitchen.

I presume the walkout was at the Oakland Telegraph location that's usually packed and not the little Lake Merritt delivery one. Did everyone walk out and lock the doors behind them? Was management there to hold down the fort? Any photos you can post here??

Regardless, good for you for standing up for yourselves! And please keep us updated.
by Angelique
Tuesday Apr 16th, 2013 12:11 PM
Last night was my first time at Lanesplitter, and my last. It was a chilling, brave move by these bold young women!
by boycott!
Tuesday Apr 16th, 2013 12:48 PM
Boycott, boybott, boycott, until the workers tell us it's safe to go back
by Lanesplitter owner's responds
Tuesday Apr 16th, 2013 7:31 PM
here's what they had to say today:

Lanesplitter Pizza is a local East Bay company that was founded 15 years ago in Berkeley by Dan & Vic. With the support of many dedicated staff and the surrounding community, Lanesplitter has grown to five locations with over 100 employees serving many happy guests.

Last night, two staff members walked out in the middle of their shift without any prior notice or grievance to their managers. At the time, there were more than twenty people working at our restaurants. All remaining staff continued to serve our hungry and thirsty guests.

We pride ourselves in providing the best workplace we can for our employees. For us that means many things including a diverse staff, breaks, paid vacation, a 401k plan, a generous meal plan, employee discounts and access to health care. The costs of this is large as you can imagine and unusual in the pizza industry.

For clarity, 25% of our staff is on our group health policy (including one of the two employees who walked out) and another 8% are eligible but have declined it for their own reasons. Our only requirement for insurance is maintaining a schedule of 30 hours per week for six months. We try to get as many people as possible to get on the insurance, not only for the health reasons, but also because any employer knows that having full time employees reduces turnover and training.

Over the years, we have employed women in every position available at Lanesplitter Pizza. While we don’t currently have a female General Manager, the most recent management vacancy was offered to a woman first but she chose to stay employed by us in a different position. Three of our past female General Managers currently work for us in a different capacity. None of them were fired or forced to resign. In addition, we have given ownership in the business to ten employees over the years and six of them are women.

Lastly, our payroll as a percentage of sales is currently over 50% of our income, and our employee benefits cost has exceeded our profit every year since 2006.

For the record, it is still the same people running Lanesplitter that have been since the day we opened. We recently sat in a meeting and averaged our collective tenure of the people in attendance and the outcome was 9.7 years per person. We will continue to strive to improve as a business and as an employer of a growing number of people.

We appreciate all of the positive feedback that we have been receiving in response to the unfortunate current situation. Please do come in and meet our employees for yourself! They are friendly, outgoing, and are here to provide you with excellent service. Thank you very much for your feedback and for reading our response.


Thank you for your feedback,

Dan and Vic

Co-Founders

Lanesplitter Pizza
by Observer
Friday Apr 19th, 2013 8:53 PM
-- BUT you just can't have a 2 worker ''strike '' ! I know it's really hard to get a large majority (let alone 100 % ) to agreed to collective action . But otherwise it will be portrayed as just a action by a couple of ''disgruntled employees ''. Bullshit of course but that's the cold reality ,