In the months since COVID came to town, tensions between Tattersall Distilling Company’s owners, Jon Kreidler and Dan Oskey, and staff have reached a boiling point.
This morning, a statement released by Kreidler and Oskey pulled back the curtain on a conflict roiling beneath the northeast Minneapolis cocktailer’s cool facade. “We were informed that some of the Tattersall front-of-house and bottling staff are seeking to form a union,” began the owners. The use of words like “transparency,” “flexibility,” and “expression” served as touchstones throughout their statement, which felt noteworthy... right up until they cudgeled that movement.
“We don’t believe a union is necessary, nor is it in the best interest of our employees or our company,” they wrote, before attributing Tattersall’s “core values” as being responsible for recent achievements, like the production of All Hands sanitizer throughout the pandemic, the sales of which funded 1,000,000 meals for Second Harvest Heartland.
Within an hour of transparently sharing their views with the community, Tattersall’s reps had disabled commenting on their latest Instagram posts.
Representatives from the collective of Tattersall Workers were quick to respond in kind with their own statement:
View this post on Instagram
We have decided to unionize. Through group correspondence we got to a place where we needed help. Needed advice. We sought union help. Ownership declined to recognize our union. Our asks were reasonable. We wanted to have a collective voice in moving forward on how we reopen during a pandemic. We also saw systemic change is needed to the industry at large. Knowing Tattersall has been a leader and we, as workers, saw this as an opportunity for real change in our industry. We need your help and support. Thank you. @tattersalldistilling @dunordcs @justuswhiskey @johnsonbrothersofmn @unitehere Tattersall: 612-484-4152 Email: [email protected]
Included are answers to questions like, “Why are we unionizing?” In fact, they’re demanding… transparency! Yes, that very notion ownership co-opted to frame their own anti-union statement is what bottlers and front-of-house staff have mobilized to demand.
Tattersall’s workers are asking for basic protections (“Service sector work is typically flexible, but highly precarious, historically feminized and therefore un-unionized, unprotected labor,” writes the collective), and to be centered in the discussion of their own treatment.
It would seem a lack of transparency has pervaded the employment culture at the distillery since the pandemic began: “Were we furloughed or laid off? We honestly don’t know! Were our jobs ever safe, or was their plan to downsize the staff the entire time?” In addition to seeking clarity on these matters, the workers are demanding equity and diversity in the workplace, citing the need for growth on this front, as the inclusion of BIPOC individuals is “a necessity, not just a banner to wave.”
Tattersall’s workers have included actionable items for how fans of Tattersall’s products – and the good work they’ve brought to the community – can support the distiller’s staff during this time. This looks a lot like using the direct contact info they've provided for Kreidler and Oskey, as well as the brand’s email address, to express your thoughts on Tattersall's present and future work environment.
“We truly value the opinions of our current staff along with those who were laid off three months ago,” the owners’ statement concludes.
A recent recording obtained by City Pages prominently featuring Kreidler, however, suggests otherwise.
In it, the co-owner threatens to call the police on the Tattersall employees’ union rep, Sheigh Freeberg with Unite Here Local 17, after Kreidler was overheard questioning distillers about the union. In the audio recording, captured on the morning of June 24 on Tattersall’s patio, the owner can be heard yelling, “Please leave or I will call the cops.”
Even to a casual bystander, those words don’t sound like they belong to someone who values the opinions of his staff or, broadly, the future of Minneapolis. And while we at City Pages may not be experts in labor law (those we reached out to were not available for immediate comment), one thing we do know a whole lot about is crybabies… and we’re confident in saying Tattersall’s ownership is signaling strongly on that front.
You can read Tattersall ownership's statement on Facebook below, where -- without the option to turn off comments -- the liquor brand is getting absolutely torn to tatters.