Richmond Hill Restaurant Labor Trouble Boils Over

Protesting for paychecks for hours already worked- nearly half dozen workers at Big A’s Cast Iron Café say they haven’t been paid.

One man says, this informational picket was the only option to bring his backpay plight to light. Former kitchen manager Shawntray Grant says his problem has fallen through the cracks. “I figured that I wouldn’t have to go to the media.  I wouldn’t have to go to the courthouse to sue.  I could call the labor board and they would do what’s right by us. But when I called them and they told me that because the business is brand new and hasn’t been open a year or hasn’t reached a certain amount of dollars, that they could not make sure that we got paid.”

Grant says he still has the very last check he received in May, but while it’s printed on paper, the bank says it might as well be rubber.

“Every time I go to the bank or try to attempt to cash it, they have no money in the account. When he says we’re going to get paid, he’s been promising me for 45 days and I haven’t got paid yet. So what does him promising now going to do for me?”

When WSAV approached the restaurant, Adrian Edwards had no problem discussing the payroll issues. “I have to own up,” Edwards says.  “I’ve made decisions, that, you know, maybe… it’s about cash flow right?  It’s about cash flow, how you manage that cash flow. I overspent with the payroll, the overtime.”

Edwards concedes overhead has been a killer in his first venture into the restaurant business.  Opening in January of this year with 17 people on staff, that number has been whittled to 7.  Grant says he’s owed well over $2,000- estimating that it’s around $6,000 everyone owed.  Edwards does not dispute owing unpaid wages to workers.

“It’s a real labor dispute,” Edwards says, “but at the same time, like I said, we know that we’re doing all that we physically, financially can and things will work out.  Like I said, I expressed it personally to them. You will get paid.”

Grant says he plans to move from the protest phase into a civil action for backpay in the coming weeks.



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