May 17, 2024 | News Story

NYC Board Game Cafe Owners Tell Workers to "Burn in Hell"

Following weeks of routine incidents of verbally abusive and threatening behavior at the bargaining table, the situation escalated last week when Andrew Hoffmann, the legal representative of owners Jon Freedman and Greg May, told workers they were ‘f*cking disgusting’ and to ‘burn in hell’ over his assumptions of their political views unrelated to negotiations or anything that was being discussed.

After months of attempting to calmly and respectfully respond to this tone of communication, the board game cafe workers of Hex&Co, the Brooklyn Strategist and the Uncommons are speaking out. They sent a letter to ownership the following day, responding to the breakdown in negotiations, and have started a public petition in support of their demand for respect during the bargaining process.

All three companies unionized in November and December of 2023, and are currently bargaining for a first contract under Tabletop Workers United. Workers cite their concerns with unfair compensation, lack of job security, and ineffective grievance procedures as their primary motivations for organizing.

There have been six bargaining sessions so far, during which ownership has called workers ‘disgusting, low-class morons’ for holding a community event in support of their union, and called their contract demands regarding diversity and equity the ‘insanity of the woke.’ Additionally, they have canceled or been late to bargaining sessions, asked workers to give up important standard protections in their counterproposals, and brought up their own unrelated political views, behavior that undoubtedly undermines negotiations.

"At Hex&Co we are always expected to uphold respect for ourselves, management, and the customer," said employee Gianluca Percovich. "Yet during our bargaining sessions our ownership has routinely arrived late, and put forth statements of such vitriol as to normally warrant a customer being kicked out of stores if used against a staff member. It’s abysmal and shameful that ownership is paying one man more for an afternoon of name calling and personal attacks than many full-time employees make in a week." Follow the workers' fight here!