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Exploto Mi Cultura!

by Marlene Beltran Thursday, Apr. 24, 2003 at 5:35 PM

Ownership of Espresso Mi Cultura coffee house practices censorship and refuses a workers right to unite for a better working enviroment!

Attention to all Consciences Advocates ,

On April 10, 2003 the entire staff of Espresso Mi Cultura Coffee House presented a letter to the owner of the coffee house, Ramon Pantoja. The letter stated issues and concerns that all of the employees felt needed to be addressed and agreed upon taking action for change. Such basic things as: regulated breaks, flexibility with the schedule, requested monthly meetings, and establish system for wage increase, and attitude with employees and homeless. All seven employees understood and signed the letter.

By April 13, 2003 four of the seven were fired, via a memo, and two were confronted and intimidated. As a result of this unfair act, the two employees, whose jobs were not terminated, have gone on strike in solidarity with their fellow workers.

We believe the termination of the four employees was on obvious act of retaliation against the workers for organizing and writing the letter. We feel a deep responsibility to inform the Latino/Chicano, the socially conscience, and the artistic community of the injustices that are occurring at Espresso Mi Cultura Coffee House.

We have begun an active boycott against the coffee house and would appreciate your support by honoring this boycott. Ask ownership why he practices CENSORSHIP and refuses to recognize a workers right to organize!

If you are passionate about workers rights and want to learn the truth behind the scenes at Espresso Mi Cultura Coffee House, come, show your support at our meeting and honor the boycott!

Read the letter we presented to ownership of Exploto Mi Cultura. Click on the link provided, and make up your mind whether the fireing were just or not, and ask ownership WHY!

Issues and Concerns:

We, the employees of Espresso Mi Cultura have concluded that the following issues need to be resolved in a professional and timely manner. The following issues have culminated into a disagreement in the way ownership is operating the business. It has bee agreed upon that these issues are serious enough to be addressed with ownership to have an open dialogue for exchange. We, the employees of Espresso Mi Cultura would like to resolve these issues in a civilized manner as soon as possible. The resolutions have also been agreed upon as being fair and just.
An agreement has also been reached about grace period for changes to ensue. We believe that two weeks from the date of meeting for these conditions is enough time to begin the process for change. One month has been deemed the time limit for most, if not all condition to be met. If said issues and resolutions are not met, We the employees of Espresso Mi Cultura, will be forced to take action, for which we would not like to see happen. We will be just as fair and open-minded with ownership on ways to which to implement said changes.

* Scheduling
o We find it unfair that we cannot trade shifts amongst one another when both parties involved are in agreement that the shifts can be covered. If a morning person is willing to trade a shifts with a night worker why can't it be done? We all have lives that revolve around Espresso Mi Cultura and when there is something outside of the coffee house that needs to be attended to there seems to be no flexibility with the schedule for us to attend to our needs.
o Requested day off. 14 days notice.
* This issue is of big concern for us. Ownership has been critical about amount of time needed for requesting days off. Discrepancies in this grace period has ranged from one to three weeks, but what has disconcerted us is when the schedule is posted for the week of a requested day off, the day off is not given. This has set a precedent that we would not like to see go any further. If an employee makes the effort to comply with policy, we would like to see ownership follow the same strict guidelines by which we are told to follow. Not remembering is and never should be an issue when scheduling is involved. This not only impedes on the employee for whom the day off is needed, but it also impedes the scheduling for the other employees when scheduled days off and shifts must be compromised for the lack of policy enforcement.
* Gaps between shifts when employees are left alone during rush hours.
o This is a concern during the afternoon shift. There seems to be discrepancies between the hours after the morning shift ends and the afternoon shift begins. This seems unfair to the afternoon personnel since there is a rush during the 3-5 slot that is hectic. If there needs to be two employees working the afternoon shift, we believe that there needs to be additional staff to avoid these gaps between shifts. This is out of concern for the customers and the service of orders. Orders are slowed when having only one person there during the rush hour.
* Implementation of a system
o Chain of command when reprimanding employees.
* This issue is of major concern with us. There seems to be no system of enforcing policy. Ownership should be as keen on these details as it has implied our attention to detail should be. This issue has been raised with recent demotions that have occurred. If there were problems with staff, we demand a better way of addressing these problems before major circumstances are doled out. This is an unfair practice of spite that we do not condone. We believe steps or levels of warning should be implemented. This system is to be worked out with management so that they too are included in the chain of command.
o System of counting register. (count out 2x)
* This issue comes about from an incident that occurred a few months back. Missing monies are hard to trace to a sole perpetrator. Although rumors and speculation were thrown about, no one was charged with the theft. We believe that there should be a system of counting in and out the register when a new shift comes along. This will diminish the possibility of accusations being thrown about with careless abandon.
* Tips are not to cover register shortages. We believe that a system of counting the register will delete this problem. Once this system is implemented we would like to see this practice cease immediately. There is no reason to tax our hard earned money for problems that could have been avoided with ownership following policy that all to common in small and large coffee houses.
o .
* Have a system for wages.
* This is another practice that we find unfair. A hierarchy in wages is an antiquated notion that has lost all value in the work force. If a wage scale based on seniority were to be in effect we would like to see the scale in writing and worked out so that management is paid on the same level and the baristas all are paid on the same level also. The notion that wages should be scaled on the whim of ownership discretion is unjust to personnel that have worked hard and long for the establishment. Ownership
* Attitude
This is a concern to us for the sole purpose that we have come to believe that we are all friend. Although this is not a business issue, we want to address this because of the growing trend of impersonal and callus attitude towards customers, employees and the homeless. This is in no way a personal attack. We would just like it be known that further progression into an impersonal relationship with us will cause a rift in the relationships that we have built amongst ourselves. We would not like for this to cause any mal content.
o Reprimanded in front of the customers.
* We believe that this is an unfair practice that is all too embarrassing for us to bear any longer. We have experienced reprimand in the presence of customers while preparing orders. We feel that this diminishes the quality of the drink in the mind of the customer. At the moment the customer may feel that the drink is then inferior to what they have come to expect from Espresso Mi Cultura. We would like this practice to cease immediately. If there is a problem with preparation or speed of prep please advise us of the inconsistency in a more appropriate and timely manner. This will avoid any malcontent between employee and ownership.
o Impersonal attitude towards the homeless.
* We understand that the homeless are not allowed in the restroom or in the establishment. This is not the issue. What has concerned us is the fact of the rude and brash behavior has been used to deal with vagrants. As fellow humans we all deserve the same respect as the next person. There have been incidents where rude and brash behavior has been needed, but when the person is only there for some change, we believe that they should be addressed with in the same manner ownership would like to be addressed. A cup of water or a small cup of coffee usually works with vagrants as a trade off for their understanding as not to ask for change or take up space in the patio.
o Impersonal attitude with workers.
* We feel that we are not pawns for making money for the establishment. This feeling of disconnection stems from incidents for which we would not like to see happen again. We all agree that we are face of Espresso Mi Cultura, which it thrives on with our ability to maintain a positive and relaxed atmosphere.
* Check sensitivity. This issues stems from incidents concerning personnel and treatment during sad or hard times. Illnesses, deaths, and/or personal emergencies should be addresses in a more humane manner. A detached sense of compassion will not take to well to those that need compassion from their friend and peers. Just because someone has survived half or a full day of duties does not mean employee can finish out the day or week. Please be advised this attitude with personnel will cause more malcontent with ownership and will cause a revolving door of employees.
* Unprofessional comments. Sarcasm is welcomed when funny.
* Communication
o Communication with staff meetings.
* We believe that most, if not all, miscommunications and problems could be solved at these meetings. It has been agreed upon by us, the employees of Espresso Mi Cultura, that a meeting once a month at or near the establishment would be vital to resolving miscommunication and personnel issues. Meetings can be held the last Sunday of the month so that all issues of the ending month can be properly addressed and issues of the month ahead can be addressed as well.
o Better communication with managers.
* Filtering of employee backlash.
* This we find to be a foolish and cowardly act. When disgruntled employees are let loose on management that has been left out of the chain of command from the onset, there is no need to have management deal with this issue. This is another practice which we feel needs to cease immediately. If ownership has issues with employees and addresses them. Ownership should be prepared to take the load of response to which ownership opened a forum. Having management heed backlash for unfavorable policy, weighs heavily on how management will have to interact with the rest of the personnel.
* Include managers in chin command.
* This is of the simplest of requests that we would have figured ownership would have attempted to implement. A chain of command keeps ownership and/or management from making harsh or consequential decisions. This system of communication also allows ownership to be in coordination with events and issues, which are present with management and employees.
o If monetary value will be asserted to the employees let there be monetary compensation be awarded. This issue was raised with recent promotions and monetary compensation asserted to personnel contrary to the drawing power of said personnel with special events. We believe this is another unjust practice of ownership, which demeans appreciation for what we try to accomplish for the establishment. As was stated above, we are the face of Espresso and of what the establishment stands for. Using us, the employees of Espresso, to draw clientele of a certain demographic, which is prominent in the community and/or the city, is unjust and underhanded. Employees with said drawing power for events and/or performances need to be compensated accordingly. We believe a bonus or other forms of compensation for drawing customers in the quantity for which has been drawn before. A percentage of the register when events exceed (x-amount) during the time allotted for the event should be given to the employee as a reward for making the establishment money that would not have been made on any given day.
When demotions are doled out to management for unspecific reasons, do not expect ex-manager to continue their duties. Demotions by definition are a consequence for duties unfulfilled and/or issues unresolved. We believe if this practice continues, ownership should promote or hire personnel to take over for demoted personnel. This is another unjust practice we would like to have cease. Performing managerial duties while not considered management or being paid management wages is unfair.
* Risking going out and kicking the bums out of the store or patio.
No consequence if product is given to a vagrant.

* When ownership is present to assist personnel we believe that assistance should be given to personnel. There have been incidents when ownership will arrive on the premises when only one employee is attending to customer. This is unfair to employees that have to deal with the rush hour. We would like ownership to acknowledge that personnel need assistance and have ownership stay to assist until the rush has subsided or addition personnel has arrived.

Eddie Roque (fired)
Denice Salgueiro (intimidated; on strike)
Marlene Beltran (fired)
Edwin Asencio (fired)
Arturo Aranda (fired)
Daniel Baez (still employed)
Hector Cornejo (intimidated; on strike)

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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 31 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
Way to go, guys Juan Valdez Thursday, Apr. 24, 2003 at 6:39 PM
a couple comments johnk Friday, Apr. 25, 2003 at 1:46 PM
to johnk Juan Valdez Friday, Apr. 25, 2003 at 3:45 PM
You said it, amigo Antonio Banderas Saturday, Apr. 26, 2003 at 5:57 AM
Try again, Antonio Conservatives are Morons Saturday, Apr. 26, 2003 at 6:28 AM
A view from the inside. Eddie Roque Saturday, Apr. 26, 2003 at 12:02 PM
Solidaridad Lupita Dominguez Saturday, Apr. 26, 2003 at 2:54 PM
once a business... hEx... Thursday, May. 01, 2003 at 7:46 AM
Way to go! Raise the Red Star! Wednesday, May. 07, 2003 at 11:48 AM
Well fresca Wednesday, May. 07, 2003 at 1:14 PM
Bizarre Joscar Wednesday, May. 07, 2003 at 2:01 PM
RED STAR KOBE SBM Wednesday, May. 07, 2003 at 2:59 PM
Resolution, Peace, and Forgivness Eddie Roque Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 9:16 AM
Oh, my valve! Ignatius Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 11:12 AM
Not going to happen. Eric Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 11:17 AM
Eric ERIC IS A MORON Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 11:34 AM
faker is a jew hater lf Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 11:45 AM
help KOBE SBM Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 11:47 AM
KOBE & faker kf Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 11:55 AM
Wait a minute! Ignatius Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 1:13 PM
An affront to geometry! fresca Thursday, May. 15, 2003 at 3:09 PM
kf karma Friday, May. 16, 2003 at 7:55 AM
Beware of Jews Ignatius Friday, May. 16, 2003 at 10:54 AM
Ignatius Ariel Sharon Friday, May. 16, 2003 at 10:58 AM
There's an idea Ignatius Friday, May. 16, 2003 at 11:07 AM
Ignatius Ariel Sharon Friday, May. 16, 2003 at 11:10 AM
Eric Wordsmith Friday, May. 16, 2003 at 11:27 AM
Not exactly... Eric Saturday, May. 17, 2003 at 3:04 AM
Fire Them All Ricardo Escobar Saturday, Nov. 29, 2003 at 8:27 AM

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