The growing East Bay pizza empire known as Lanesplitter has been faced with a little PR issue after two employees staged a dramatic walkout during prime time last Monday night, as the East Bay Express reports. The employees announced their grievances to the assembled customers namely the lack of reasonable access to health insurance, misogyny, bullying, and "emotional abuse." The employees, who are choosing to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions with future employers, sound young and disgruntled, acknowledging that schedules are often unpredictable and people are often treated as expendable in the food service industry, but saying "we are tired of this having no consequence." They also point the finger specifically at the managers at the chain's three pub locations in Oakland, Emeryville, and Berkeley.
The grievances of a couple of employees can get quite a lot of attention these days, however, and after one of them, calling herself "Amanda Swift," posted their complaints on Reddit, the management has had to respond publicly themselves.
Posting on the Lanesplitter site, co-founders Daniel Rogers and Vic Gumper deny the allegations of misogyny, discrimination, or lack of access to health care. They write:
For clarity, 25% of our staff is on our group health policy (including one of the two employees who walked out) and another 8% are eligible but have declined it for their own reasons. Our only requirement for insurance is maintaining a schedule of 30 hours per week for six months...
Over the years, we have employed women in every position available at Lanesplitter Pizza. While we don’t currently have a female General Manager, the most recent management vacancy was offered to a woman first but she chose to stay employed by us in a different position. Three of our past female General Managers currently work for us in a different capacity. None of them were fired or forced to resign. In addition, we have given ownership in the business to ten employees over the years and six of them are women.
Lanesplitter currently has five locations, the three pubs being the largest, with two others in Albany, and Oakland's Lakeshore district.