The Milwaukee chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America condemns Mojofuco Restaurants’ decision to fire all employees of Comet Cafe and close the restaurant rather than provide these employees with safer working conditions. Employees should never be asked to risk their health to ensure profits for their employer, and they must retain the ability to act collectively in their own interests. We hope that Mojofuco chooses to consider how their callous and myopic decision might impact their reputation in the Milwaukee community. We ask the people of Milwaukee to stand against labor injustice in condemnation of Mojofuco establishments until they have proven the dangerous state of Comet Cafe has been fixed, and offers to rehire all staff are made.
On July 6, twenty-two employees of Comet Cafe delivered a list of demands to their employers. They asked for dispensers for hand sanitizer, a new vent to fix unhealthy air quality in the kitchen, repairs to a flattop grill that occasionally shot flames out of its right side, and repairs to a deep fryer and a dishwasher that consistently leaked fluid onto the floor. On July 10, Mojofuco notified Comet staff that they had been terminated and that the restaurant had ceased operations backdated to July 5. It is evident that Mojofuco was happy to risk the lives and wellbeing of their employees in order to continue operations, but once faced with the prospect of offering these employees safer work conditions they chose instead to close a famous Milwaukee restaurant.
It is yet another example of business owners placing their bottom line ahead of the wellbeing of their employees or customers. The owners of Mojofuco have invested in new restaurants Hiya Taco and the new Belair in Oak Creek while neglecting the safety of workers at Comet Cafe. Our economic system is broken, and only a renewed and reinvigorated labor movement is capable of rectifying the precarious position most food service employees find themselves in. The employees of Comet Cafe offer us an inspiring example of solidarity in their willingness to collectively act to improve their working conditions. Their bravery in defending the dignity of their work should be commended and Milwaukee DSA is committed to ensuring that this act does not go unrewarded.
Comet Cafe is a prominent establishment in the Milwaukee community with a loyal customer base, national profile, and dedicated staff. Mojofuco’s role in this establishment consists merely of skimming profits and skimping on worker safety. It’s almost as if the owners of the establishment offer nothing productive to the enterprise! If Mojofuco isn’t interested in running Comet Cafe anymore, perhaps they should step aside and give the employees a chance to run the place. We suspect the Bloody Marys would taste even better if they did.