Union Organizers and Restaurant Employees Protested Moon Rabbit’s Closure on the Wharf Right now

Union Organizers and Restaurant Employees Protested Moon Rabbit’s Closure on the Wharf Right now

The protest outdoors Moon Rabbit in the present day. {Photograph} by Keely Bastow.

Dozens of union organizers and restaurant and resort employees gathered on the Wharf in the present day to protest the InterContinental Lodge’s resolution to shut Moon Rabbit, its acclaimed modern-Vietnamese eating room helmed by chef Kevin Tien. The closure was reported Monday—the restaurant’s final day of service—by the Washington Publish.  The announcement that “IHG Inns & Resorts and Chef Kevin Tien have parted methods” got here as a unionization effort on the resort was ramping up, and demonstrators accused the resort of union busting.

The resort denies that. In an announcement to Washingtonian, a spokesperson for the IHG Inns & Resorts stated the “resort’s method to the parting of how was under no circumstances impacted by the union’s ongoing efforts to unionize the resort.”

UNITE HERE Native 25, a union for DC  resort, restaurant, and on line casino employees, represents over 6,500 employees, and started publicly making an attempt to type a union on the InterContinental Lodge in April. On Could 1, it despatched administration a petition to carry a union election. 

About 83 % of the 90 resort employees eligible for the union signed playing cards–together with nearly 50 Moon Rabbit workers, in response to Paul Schwalb, government secretary treasurer of UNITE HERE. Earlier this week, Moon Rabbit staffers have been advised the restaurant was closing and so they wouldn’t be given any extra hours.  

Schwalb, who’s been organizing unions for 20 years, stated, “I’ve by no means seen [a reaction] this unhealthy… Forty-five folks have been thrown out on the road.”  

Howie Posely, who’s labored on the resort since 2019, first heard concerning the union effort three months in the past. She was instantly . “[We’ve] had flip over of one million managers. There’s just one supervisor that’s nonetheless there from the start,” she stated. “It’s loopy. The home was like, shaking. It was a large number and it simply received worse.”  

Union Organizers and Restaurant Employees Protested Moon Rabbit’s Closure on the Wharf Right now
Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran spoke to protestors in help of their unionization effort. {Photograph} by Keely Bastow.

After Posely completed her shift at Moon Rabbit on Monday, the Common Supervisor and HR group pulled workers into a gathering. They have been advised the restaurant was closing and chef Kevin Tien, who was on the shortlist for a James Beard award earlier this yr, stated his goodbyes. “We thought we believed within the firm, however the firm doesn’t consider in us. So, it’s scary,” Posely stated. 

One other Moon Rabbit worker, Michael Cruz, turned inquisitive about unionizing as a result of he was involved about transparency in tip allocation.  He stated it was unclear the place service charges have been going, and it will take weeks to see lacking ideas present up in paychecks. The revolving door of managers meant nobody was held accountable. When he reached out to the union on his personal, he discovered a number of different employees had completed the identical.  

“We’re all in a spot of uncertainty,” Cruz says. “There have been lots of tears. Folks have payments to pay and we don’t have any earnings coming in at this level.” Nonetheless, each Cruz and Posely, who nonetheless work for the resort, stay dedicated to the unionization effort. They’re hopeful a vote will likely be scheduled within the subsequent few weeks. 

The resort has introduced that the area that held Moon Rabbit—and earlier than that, Kwame Onwuachi’s Kith/Kin— will likely be changed with a breakfast-only idea.


Editorial Fellow

Keely lately graduated together with her grasp’s in journalism from American College and has reported on native DC, nationwide politics, and enterprise. She has beforehand written for The Capitol Discussion board.