Columbus taproom closes after employees quit

Ohio

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus taproom has temporarily closed its doors after employees quit due to concerns regarding pay as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers encountered a sign on the door of the Platform Beer Co. taproom in downtown Columbus Saturday that reads, “The entire Platform Columbus crew has quit. The taproom is closed until further notice. Thank you!”

Meanwhile, the owners of Platform Brewery said they will meet with both former and current employees and attempt to address the concerns raised by the taproom employees who resigned.

In a letter posted to social media addressed to Platform co-founder Justin Carson, employees cited that with reduced capacity due to local and state pandemic restrictions, bartenders are often required to make food while kitchen staff has had their hours reduced.

“The Columbus taproom has weekdays where bartenders work seven or eight hours to walk away with $12 in tips,” the letter states. “Kitchen staff — who make three times the hourly rate — have had their hours reduced, while bartenders have been told to make food; even when they are the only person working and must leave front-of-house unattended.”

The letter also claims there were three employees at the location who tested positive for COVID-19, but that management only informed them of two cases. The letter further charges that management never used the tracer sheets to contact employees or the public about the positive cases.

“We believe the measures Platform has put in place are for legal reasons only, and that the safety of the staff and public are secondary,” the letter states.

A statement credited to Carson and co-founder Paul Benner says that over the last year, Platform has closely followed CDC and local health guidelines.

“Over the last year, our priority has been the health and safety of our employees and our guests,” the statement from Platform reads. “We have implemented health and safety protocols that closely follow CDC and local health authority guidelines, including contact tracing and proper communication following positive cases of COVID-19.”

In addition, the letter claims Platform has spend “thousands of dollars” to install a movie theater at the taproom, required “overworked bartenders” to work a pop-up sales truck while the salaried sales team is not required to, and is expanding to open more locations.

“The above example show that this is a pointed effort to both reduce company overhead, and to pass the responsibility of paying your employees a living wage, on to the customer,” the letter states.

The employees’ letter also claims there is “uncontrollable” black mold in the location’s cooler where food is stored and that the mold is moving into the main cooler, where “it attached itself to our cans and cardboard boxes and we have to use bar rags to wipe it off of cans on a regular basis.”

The letter states that the concerns were brought to a former general manager’s attention, but that the issues were never “addressed appropriately” by management.

In its Saturday statement, Platform said it would meet with current and former employees to learn more about the concerns raised in the letter.

“We are committed to making sure all of our employees know that their feedback will be heard anytime and anywhere,” the statement reads. “Starting on Monday, we will be scheduling small group conversations with all employees, across all locations as an open forum to ask questions so we can address any issues immediately.”

Below are the full letter from Columbus taphouse employees as well as the full response from Platform.

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