Restaurant workers, ROC-Minnesota members and MN Attorney General Ellison Celebrate Historic Victory for over $230,000 Unpaid Wages Settlement with Bartmann Group

August 26, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MNToday, restaurant workers and members of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC)-Minnesota celebrated the more than $230,000 settlement agreement with the Bartmann Group over back wages, unpaid overtime and damages. More than 200 workers in Minneapolis will benefit from the largest settlement agreement in the history of ROC United.

“To me, the win shows that there are some instances where people with power and money will be held accountable for their wrongdoings. I’m lucky in this situation, and I know many of my former coworkers were not. Kim Bartmann for too long was playing with the livelihoods of her employees. This win shows that she won’t always get away with it. I hope this is true,” said Leore Wohl, former Bartmann Group worker.

A number of former Bartman employees, who have championed the fight against the Bartmann Group, joined Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and ROC-Minnesota in a virtual press conference early this afternoon, where they shared their perspective on what this victory and settlement means to them and their families. 

“Everyone should take home every dollar they earn, including overtime wages. It’s hard enough for people to afford their lives: when wages are stolen or illegally withheld, it’s that much harder,” said Minnesota Attorney General Ellison. “I’m pleased that the Bartmann Companies was willing to cooperate with my Office and to make things right with its workers. I hope that the damages these employees receive will help repair some of the harm to them from not getting all of the wages they were owed under the law on time.” 

In addition, before sundown, an in-person celebratory rally took place outside of the ROC-MN office in South Minneapolis. Led by ROC-Minnesota, restaurant workers and their allies gathered together and brought their victory in a grand show of unity and solidarity for fairness and justice in the workplace.

“At ROC-MN we have proven over and over that when workers come together, identify common issues and common solutions, workers win!” said Eli Stein, Lead Organizer of ROC-Minnesota. “What happened at the Bartmann Group happens in our industry all the time. Restaurant workers experience some of the highest rates of wage theft of any other industry and many bosses get away with it! This is one of the reasons that it is so important for workers to join together and demand what we deserve!”

The settlement ends a wage-theft investigation that the Minnesota attorney general’s office had opened into Bartmann Group, with eight neighborhood restaurants in Minneapolis—including Trapeze, Barbette, Tiny Diner, Pat’s Tap and Red Stag Supperclub. 

The Bartmann Group, the attorney general’s office added, has already paid its workers $98,980.94 in back wages and $66,105.92 in overtime wages that they were owed since the investigation started in March 2020. 

“The pandemic has underscored these abuses in the workplace that restaurant workers have long experienced,” said Dr. Sekou Siby, President and CEO of ROC United. “Today, however, it’s loud and clear that this $230,000 unpaid wages settlement marks a monumental victory for us—and for restaurant workers and their hardworking families that we serve.”

“This win means a lot to me and my coworkers. We organized and stood together and now we have won a little bit of justice! We couldn’t have done it without being a part of ROC-MN and the food-service workers movement!” said Naomi Hornstein, former Bartmann Group worker.