A local hospitality union is calling Surly Brewing's decision to close its beer hall and restaurant in November an "illegal and disgusting act intended to intimidate and retaliate against the employees for forming a union."
Surly announced Wednesday it will close the beer hall "indefinitely" due to COVID-19 regulations causing a loss in revenue. Earlier this week, Surly said some of its employees informed the brewery of their intent to unionize. It claims this had no bearing on the decision to close, though admitted the timing of the announcement "is not ideal."
"We respect their decision to turn to an outside organization for representation and will continue the dialogue," Surly's announcement said. "That does not change the fact that our plans to close the Beer Hall were put in place weeks ago with the announcement planned for this week."
However, Sheigh Freeberg, the secretary-treasurer of UNITE HERE! Local 17, which Surly's employees intend to join, says differently.
"We think this is a clearly illegal and disgusting act intended to intimidate and retaliate against the employees for forming a Union. Up until Monday the employer let the employees know the intention was to stay open over winter. We have filed an unfair labor practice charge and will fight this as hard as possible," Freeberg told Bring Me The News.
"The employees are unafraid and are going forward with their fight to win Union recognition."