SF Solidarity Network began working with an ex-worker of Picaro Restaurant –Jane Doe– after she was told about the collective by one of our members. She was considering taking her grievances to the California Department of Industrial Relations but instead decided to work with us.
During her employment at Picaro Jane Doe was denied lunch breaks, though she was forced to write on her time card that she had taken them. She was also never paid overtime for her shifts that were often 10-12 hours a day.
Jane Doe demanded compensation for her unpaid overtime hours and an hours wage for every lunch break denied to her during the entirety of her employment. SF Solidarity Network agreed to fight with her for these demands and a letter was delivered to Mr. Muela on May 5. He was given until May 14 to meet our demands or face further action.
On Saturday, May 14th our demand letter went unanswered. That same night we began taking action agreed upon at the previous meeting. We covered the streets around the restaurant with fliers calling for a boycott of Picaro and its sister restaurant Esperpento. We also had SF Solidarity members outside of Picaro talking to people about Jane Doe’s case and asking them to join the boycott. We found the boycott tactic to be the most effective in pressuring the restaurant as it turned away a significant amount of business and was well received by the majority of people.
Within 24 hours of us starting our actions, the restaurant owner and his family became increasingly hostile. Two members of SF Solidarity were physically attacked on Sunday outside Picaro. That same day the management of Picaro requested a meeting for the following day, but this meeting turned confrontational and pointless due to the irrational behavior of Mr. Muela. The next day a representative was in contact with us again and we told her there would be no negotiation, no concessions, and protest would continue unless our demands were met. By Wednesday, May 18 Picaro Restaurant agreed to meet all of our demands. Jane Doe received her check on Thursday, May 19 signed, sealed and delivered, all $3234.18 of it.