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IWW Direct Action! Demand Unpaid Wages for Worker at 3rd St. Diner in Richmond, Virginia

On behalf of Fellow Worker Moriah "Mo" Karn, the Richmond General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World and IU640 (Restaurant, Hotel, & Building Service Workers Industrial Union) are initiating a campaign to demand that $183.18 in unpaid wages be paid in full to fellow worker Karn.

Fellow worker Karn worked as a bartender and waitstaff for 3rd St. Diner located at 218 E. Main St. in Richmond, Virginia. Karn has yet to receive any compensation for their labor after working a total of 86 hours at a wage of $2.13 an hour, between November 3rd and November 22nd, 2011.

Although in the state of Virginia, it is a violation of law to withhold a final paycheck from an employee after removal (see §40.1-29 Va State Code), the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry was of little help. When fellow worker Karn filed a complaint with the Virginia Department of Labor, they were told that because there was no written proof of their hours worked, ie. a time sheet, schedule, etc., and because the employer failed to process their W2 form, there was nothing the Department of Labor could do for them.

In lieu of this news, on Friday April 6, 2012 a letter was issued to owner, Mr. William "Billy" Polyaris, requesting he do the right thing and pay fellow worker Karn in full by 4:00pm Friday April 12, 2012. Informing him that failure to do so would result in further action. We received no response.

Whereas the inability of the state to procure justice for workers who are victims of wage theft, and whereas Mr. Polyaris appears to have no remorse for the exploitation of his workers, we call upon supporters to participate in a phone blast, putting pressure on management and demanding retribution and accountability for Karn and her fellow workers.

Please call the following numbers:

  • Mr. William "Billy" Polyaris (804)218 2204
  • 3rd St. Diner (24 hours) (804) 788-4750

Sample Script: (first ask to speak with the manger) Hello, my name is _________ and I'm calling with support of Mo Karn in demanding that they be paid in full, $183.18 in stolen wages. The working people will not tolerate wage theft by any employer, large or small. Furthermore we demand that you provide tipped employees' with a minimum wage of $7.25 and hour, free shift meals, and that accountability in the form of time sheets be issued to all employee's at the end of every pay period.

Mr. Polyaris is also co/owner of several "Gentleman's Clubs" open between 11am & 2am on any given day, except Sunday 7pm - 2am:

  • Daddy Rabbits (804)232.0413
  • Candy Bar (804)232.5176
  • Old Dominion Club (804)643.0636
  • Club Rouge (804)643.2687
  • End Zone Gentleman's Club (804)458.2232
  • Some Facts About Tipped-Employees

    The Federal Minimum Wage was last raised in 2009 from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour in July, 2009. Some states (not Virginia) have raised the minimum wage, however there hasn't been any legislation to raise the Federal Minimum Wage for tipped employee's since 1991.

    Originally, the federal tipped worker minimum wage was 60% of the full minimum wage. However, it was frozen at just $2.13 per hour in 1991. Because it has not been increased at all in the decades since then, it has plummeted in value to less than 30% of the minimum wage.

    Many states provide stronger protections for tipped workers by requiring that tipped workers be paid above the federal rate. Illinois guarantees tipped workers 60% of the minimum wage. In New York and Connecticut it’s approximately 70%. And Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington guarantee tipped workers the full minimum wage – a best practice that has successfully reduced poverty among tipped workers in those states.

    Why can't Virginia become one of those states?

    According to the National Restaurant Association, 1 in 10 working Americans nationally work in restaurants which collectively register sales exceeding $600 billion. Virginia restaurants employ over 342,200 people, and were projected to register $12.8 billion in sales. Restaurant jobs represent 9% of employment in Virginia.