Darden Employees Demand Benefits, Higher Pay
Some Darden employees say they are being denied access to benefits. Members of a group called Dignity At Darden spoke at the company’s annual shareholders meeting today, asking board members to consider making it easier for part-time employees to move into full-time, salaried positions with benefits.
The group, which included workers from California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, said its biggest concerns are tips and promotions.
“’People say that ‘I love my job. I moved up within a year,'” said Eber Matias, who organizes Darden employees through Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. “But then, the reality is that those seem to be isolated cases. The majority of the people don’t move up and then they end up quitting. They can’t get pass 32 hours, which doesn’t let them access benefits.”
The group also submitted a petition with 5,800 signatures advocating to make tips automatic at the company’s restaurants. They cited instances in which employees served large groups and ended up without tips.
Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers said the restaurant industry requires flexibility and that Darden employees are happy, overall.
“Our team members are the most important part of our business, and we take pride in listening to them. We consistently seek their feedback and we offer multiple avenues for them to provide it directly to our leaders.”
According to Jeffers, most employees nationwide receive $15 dollars an hour. He says Dignity at Darden members are “levying unfounded allegations.”
Darden is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company. The Florida-based company has more than 150,000 employees.
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