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SusieQ

Willows Inn, Lummi Island, WA fined, stops "stage" apprenticeship program

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http://www.seattletimes.com/life/food-drink/the-willows-inn-to-pay-workers-149k-for-overtime-and-minimum-wage-violations/

 

I hope this is the right place to post this topic. I've never been here, but the article says it's the most expensive restaurant in Washington state. The article also says that this ruling by the U.S. Dept. of Labor has "implications for high-end restaurants and their entry-level workers across the country."

 

I imagine so.  

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Volunteering to gain experience is common in education. Spending a summer in someone's lab is a time-honored undergraduate move. The only one who benefits is the undergraduate.

 

Somewhere there is a compromise position where a young chef can come and work his butt off in exchange for the experience and have it not be considered a labor violation. Perhaps have it explicitly stated that the stage won't lead to employment...which seems to be a big part of the DofLs objection...that they worked the first month for free.

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5 minutes ago, gfweb said:

Volunteering to gain experience is common in education. Spending a summer in someone's lab is a time-honored undergraduate move. The only one who benefits is the undergraduate.

 

Somewhere there is a compromise position where a young chef can come and work his butt off in exchange for the experience and have it not be considered a labor violation. Perhaps have it explicitly stated that the stage won't lead to employment...which seems to be a big part of the DofLs objection...that they worked the first month for free.

 

Well, I suspect that having to do tasks not directly related to cooking played a part as well. Having stagees paint the buildings' exteriors was definitely not helpful in furthering their culinary education.

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It's sad, but it seems like the culture of staging is a dying part of the industry.  There are restaurants who abuse it and take advantage of the young aspiring cooks who are desperate to break into the industry-- often leading to lawsuits, and labor laws basically outlaw it, unless its for part of a culinary school externship type of program.  Staging was once a sort of alternative for those who weren't able to afford a culinary school education, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

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I've learned plenty of things on the job that I never would have learned in school (although I do have a degree). And I was paid the entire time. Even when I was trying to break into a new industry (copyediting) and given very small tasks to see if I could do it, I was compensated for my time. I don't see why restaurants should do anything less than minimum wage. It's a cost of doing business.

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Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

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