For over twenty years, Ellen's Stardust Diner was merely an innocent '50s-style diner where the waitstaff could kill time between auditions and gigs by serenading visiting tourists as they sipped on milkshakes and ate burgers. But with a new management regime making changes the staff doesn't like, things have taken a turn towards a less-beloved '50s standby: a union organizing campaign!
According to the New York Times, employees of Ellen's have organized a union in response to mass firings and scheduling changes that affect their theater careers. They haven't taken to singing "The Internationale" just yet, but they have added the equally-forceful Twisted Sister classic "We're Not Gonna Take It" to their musical repertoire.
Frustrated employees told that paper that over the last eight months, a new management team instituted changes (like a new scheduling system) that prevents them from switching shifts to go to auditions. With less job security (at least 30 of their colleagues have been fired) and a more opaque disciplinary system, they were inspired to organize a union, Stardust Family United. In addition to higher wages for non-tipped employees, the servers are hoping they can return to a job guarantee that allowed them to leave to perform in shows and then come back to their job when the performance was done.
For his part, owner Ken Sturm told the Times the complaints came as news to him, but they would be addressed. "[T]hat they would have to do something like this is kind of sad, and I feel bad for them," he also told the paper.