Oakland’s infamous dog diaper McDonald’s has settled with workers

The Golden Bull cuts its hours; Pizzeria Violetta reviewed; more Bites.

McDonald’s worker Angelay Rodriguez (left) helps to hold up a sign asking for protection for essential workers with Service Employees International Union 1021 member Jennifer Esteen in front of Angelay’s work place. Angelay and the SEIU are protesting McDonalds lack of PPE for their employees. Photo:: Pete Rosos

It’s been well over a year since workers at an Oakland McDonald’s banded together to claim the franchise owner told employees to make masks out of coffee filters and dog diapers, one of several alleged health order violations that they say was behind a COVID-19 outbreak at the 4514 Telegraph Ave. restaurant. (It’s a story that I covered here, if you’re interested in learning more.) This week, the New York Times reported that franchise owner Michael Smith (who has steadfastly denied the allegations) has come to an agreement with those workers, “in which the restaurant has agreed to enforce a variety of safety measures, including social distancing, contact tracing and paid sick leave policies.” As part of the settlement, Smith has also agreed to a management-worker committee, which will meet monthly to confirm that the restaurant is in compliance with all safety measures. Speaking with Nosh, a spokesperson for worker advocacy group Fight for $15 (which helped negotiate the settlement for the Oakland employees) said that the committee marks the “first time a McDonald’s has formally given workers a voice on the job.”

Oakland’s Golden Bull live music dive waited until mid-June to reopen, with its owners citing worker and patron safety as a reason for the delay. The current spike in COVID-19 cases prompted the bar to close down again last week, canceling the acts scheduled to perform at the venue. According to a Nosh contact close to the bar, after a staff meeting this week, the bar’s management has decided to reopen this Saturday, and will resume its usual Thursday-Sunday operations next week. Update Aug. 13: Bar management has reversed course, a spokesperson told Nosh Friday. Instead, the bar will only be open when live music is already booked. That means it will not be open on Saturday, and for now its hours will remain irregular.

Pizzeria Violetta, that new Piedmont slice house that we told you about in June, has just scored its first review. East Bay Express critic Jeffrey Edalatpour writes that the spot from food biz vet Jonathan Ruppert offers pies that “may look and photograph like New York pies, but the chewy dough is closer to that of a Neopolitan.” Intriguing! 

As Nosh noted in May, Lulu, the new Berkeley restaurant from The Mana’eesh Lady pop-up’s Mona Leena Michael, has settled on an opening date. The SF Chronicle reports that the Cal-Palestinian spot will open on Aug. 17 with a weekday breakfast and lunch menu of bowls and salads, and a weekend mezze brunch. Hours at the 1019 Camelia St. spot will be 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Eve Batey is Berkeleyside's interim Nosh editor. Email: eve@berkeleyside.org.