Conflict at Eddie Spaghetti protest ***UPDATED***

A protest by Asheville Mutual Aid over working conditions at Eddie Spaghetti resulted in confrontation today when cook Sasha Jenkinson grabbed the demonstrators’ signs and called them idiots, recorded in a short YouTube video by one of the protesters.

In the video, a small group of protesters can be seen around the Hendersonville Road restaurant, chanting “treat your workers right” and holding signs encouraging a boycott of the business. Jenkinson confronts them, saying “I’m a worker, I love my fucking job” while grabbing the signs. He also says “you’re a bunch of idiots.” One of the protesters tells him “don’t hit nobody” and another says “take pictures.” The video cuts off mid-confrontation.

According to AMA member Nable Wallin, a former worker came to them claiming that the business “had a generally abusive work environment” and didn’t compensate its workers properly. Two weeks before the protest, AMA presented a list of demands to management.

AMA, which formed earlier this year, is a network of workers and activists that aims to “create a climate in which bosses and landlords think twice before stiffing those under them,” according to its website.

“Because this is a service industry-oriented economy, you often see people getting treated really badly,” Wallin tells Xpress. “There’s no accountability for it, because you’re having to do this sort of work to survive, so the bosses can really shaft you, they can treat you like animals without you having any recourse. We’re trying to give people a way to stand up for themselves.”

Wallin said that along with the confrontation with Jenkinson today, the owner has reacted in a hostile manner to AMA’s demands, including at today’s protest.

“He would get in people’s faces, he was yelling,” Wallin tells Xpress. “He’s been nothing by hostile to us, so we decided we needed to put him in the spotlight a bit, see if we could get him to change his behavior.”

As for Jenkinson, he tells Xpress that he reacted the way he did because “these guys were wasting all this energy and this time on this one tiny restaurant, there’s seven employees here.”

He claims AMA’s protest was based on the word of only one employee and that their complaints don’t accurately reflect working conditions.

“It’s not the best job in the world, but it’s not the worst job in the world,” Jenkinson says. “I’ve got seven kids, they’re threatening my job. Of all the things to protest, they’re protesting this bullcrap.” He notes that the servers paid $8 an hour and get tips in their weekly paychecks.

“They’re standing in front of where I work, taking off my plate,” he adds. “I went out there, grabbed a few of their signs and let them know what they were doing, all they’re doing is threatening a bunch of hard-working people. They’re not changing anything.”

The protest, which lasted for about an hour, ended when the property manager asked the protesters to leave. By that point, a police officer had arrived. No one was charged.



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10 thoughts on “Conflict at Eddie Spaghetti protest ***UPDATED***

  1. Original tweet:
    #avlnews #Asheville Mutual Aid, protesting for #workersrights, assaulted by deranged manager at Eddie Spaghetti video:

    2:29 PM – 15 Aug 12

    About Mark:
    “Working class activist, Member ISO & Asheville IWW Delegate, Interests: marxism, equality, economics, history, Russian, German, Spanish.
    Asheville, NC”

  2. Bryan Smith

    I work at Eddie Spaghetti and have no complaints. This protest is all because of one employee that was disgruntled and quit. It really makes me sad to think that all of these people could be doing something worth while with their time like protesting fracking in North Carolina or protesting these large corporations that step on the hard workers all of the time and get away with it. This does nothing to help the employees that have bills to pay and depend on patrons to eat here!!!

  3. mat catastrophe

    So, why is AMA’s logo not two hands clasped instead of two hands making a bird shadow puppet?

  4. cwaster

    Being a former restaurant employee, I can attest to the fact that in general the working conditions for many people in the service industry are bad in Asheville in my opinion. Ultra low pay (9 an hour to be a line cook), the hours game (40 one week, 30 something the next, if it snows you get sent home), no insurance, no vacation, no sick time, in some cases no breaks (even though mandated by state law). I fact one local place I worked at in ’07 forced me to come in under threat of firing when I had the Norwalk flu and everyone in the kitchen got it. Sure you can report this behavior but you will still lose your job and then probably your home in the meantime.

    • Nate

      Hate to tell you this, but I learned recently that those “mandatory breaks” laws vary from state to state, and in North Carolina there basically isn’t one. No breaks are required, period.

  5. Werker

    Will not be eating there. It’s so hard to tell how workers are treated by appearances. Of course most waiters are not going to walk around grumbling when their ability to eat depends on tips.

    It’s sad when people pass the buck by saying “there are so many worse places to work”. Our idea of workers’ rights have really sunk to the lowest common denominator.

    I’m glad Asheville is organizing and winning some battles. Owners be aware, if you treat your workers shoddily, you could be outed next!

    • The Pizza man

      Hello Werker,
      I am very sorry to hear you will not be enjoying our excellent cuisine. We are a down to earth crew from the working owners to the dishwasher, cranking out a good living serving great people. you will be sorely missed. Hope to see you soon!
      Sincerly, The Pizza Man

  6. bearsnotyuppies

    That’s great that this one employee is happy to tolerate the work conditions there, but that doesn’t mean other workers should have to settle for unfair conditions. Good job AMA!

    • The Pizza Man

      Hello Bearsnotyuppies,
      I speak for all the employees. I consulted with them and found out how each one of them felt as the protest carried on and on. Then i stood up against this group of poorley guided people as the spokesperson for all of the employees of Eddie Spaghetti. Come by and grab a slice my friend!
      Sincerly, The Pizza Man

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