Iron Roots restaurant

Iron Roots is a restaurant in development. Its name speaks to how deeply embedded it will be in the community. The members of this co-op got to know each other through having come to Worker Justice Wisconsin to complain about wage theft or working conditions at their respective workplaces. WJW recommended starting a cooperative restaurant of their own, and they ran with the idea. Here they are in their own words…

The reason we are all coming together to start this co-op is because there is a plethora of exploitation in the restaurant industry, such as discrimination based on race or sex. Another issue is ‘golden carrots’ being used to motivate employees when the goal is extremely difficult to complete. We will be as transparent as possible so that employees know exactly what they are getting into without the problem of false promises.

As a Restaurant Co-op we will be getting rid of the idea of a tipping wage and we will start all staff off with a fair living wage. Minors will be paid $11-$13 an hour, and Adults $15-$22 depending on experience. This would be for Servers, Cooks, Bussers, Food runners, bartenders, and dishwashers. One of our main goals is to offer employees a career, not just a job, where they can work without worrying about being discriminated against or taken advantage of. Their Pay will be based upon their skill, experience and responsibilities. Due to us being a Co-op all staff members are owners, which gives them an equal voice in the direction of the restaurant and how it operates. As our business becomes profitable every employee will receive some of the profit, this will encourage strong work efforts as everyone gets a piece of the pie. We will also strive to allow our employees plenty of time to focus on their and their families’ lives, something overlooked by many corporations in today’s industry.