We have reports through our contacts that, after last week’s pressure, they have received paychecks and they DID clear. A full update on the situation is available here. Thanks to the Dahlonega community for their overwhelming support and to the workers for sticking with it to make this happen. Solidarity!
Action in Dahlonega has received word that, since our original story went viral and thanks to a tremendous outpouring of support and pressure from the Lumpkin County community, Meyer sent a text message to several of the affected workers that their final paychecks are being processed and mailed out today. We’ll continue to keep up the pressure until our fellow workers have the money they earned in their hands, but this seems like a promising development. We’ll post a follow-up article once we have more information.
Meyer publicly stated on Facebook and in text messages sent to some former workers that they would get paid “when Piazza is sold.” He has thus far refused to commit anything in writing or tell workers what they are owed. He has also stated he is not the owner of the new restaurants despite the Smoke Signals article, in which he’s quoted, suggesting otherwise. On Tuesday, his LinkedIn profile indicated he was the owner of Piazza, Main Street Burger, and Forks (it’s since been changed). Since Sunday, several of Meyer’s former employees have come forward about problems getting paid (among other things) or not receiving their final paycheck from Meyer.
We reiterate our demand that Meyer pay the workers what they’re owed to avoid further public action by Action in Dahlonega or legal action by exploited workers.
It appears Piazza, an Italian restaurant near the Dahlonega square, and Main Street Burger have (at least temporarily) closed up shop, but their owner keeps cooking up something rotten. He’s left some workers out of a job and without the wages they’re owed.
Action in Dahlonega members have spoken with former Piazza and Main Street workers over the course of several months and this appears to be nothing new. According to them, it was not unusual for paychecks to arrive late, if at all, or for the owner and managers to offer alternative methods of payment (such as beer).
The owner of Piazza is/was David Meyer, an Art Institute of Atlanta Culinary graduate and Dahlonega resident who has been in the restaurant business for over 15 years. He has since opened several restaurants near Big Canoe and Marble Hill, including Forks, Ed & Lucy’s Bistro, and Revered Billy’s BBQ. Whether Piazza, Main Street Burger, or any of the other restaurants operated by Meyer are struggling financially, the fact remains that workers, many of whom are University of North Georgia students, worked to keep the doors open as long as they could. There’s no reason to think Meyer won’t treat workers at these new restaurants with the same disregard.
Despite the closing and his continued refusal to pay workers what they’re owed. it doesn’t appear Meyer is any worse for the wear. Meyer continues to pour his efforts into new business ventures (the new restaurants opened in late 2015/early 2015) and line his pockets with money earned by our fellow workers in Dahlonega.
As friends, neighbors, and comrades of those exploited by Meyer, we stand in solidarity with the workers of Piazza, Main Street Burger, and Meyer’s new restaurants. We will work with those who have dedicated, and continue to dedicate, their time and labor to serve Dahlonega’s residents and visitors.
If Pizza and Main Street do re-open, we will take the fight to Meyer to make sure the workers’ voices are heard. In the meantime, we intend to make clear that exploitation of workers in our community will not, and must not, be tolerated. Meyer must do right by our fellow workers on whose backs they’ve built their business.
Email us if you’d like to be involved with this or our other campaigns at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on Meyers new ventures:
Contact Info for Meyer’s new restaurants:
Forks: 60 Northgate Station, Jasper, Georgia 30143 / phone: (706) 429.8530
Ed & Lucy’s Bistro: 60 Northgate Station, Jasper, Georgia 30143 / phone: (706) 608.8000
Reverend Billy’s BBQ: 60 Northgate Station, Jasper, Georgia 30143 / phone: (678) 787.2427