Organizing a Union in the Disorganized World of Small Restaurants

The stresses of the pandemic and the demands for equity have moved many independent-restaurant workers to start labor-union drives. Will they get results?

The employees of Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis successfully unionized last August, and have inspired other workers to do the same. Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

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By Priya Krishna

Worried about returning to work during a pandemic and galvanized by the racial-justice protests throughout their city, 17 cocktail-room employees at Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis told the owners during a staff meeting in June 2020 that they intended to form a union. They wanted personal protective equipment, overtime pay and antiracism training.

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