The narrative of Birchwood Cafe crumbles

The connection between mental health and workload has never been more obvious during the pandemic. A former employee shares her story with Workday.

At three in the morning on Saturday, June 19th, Jess Bernstein was checking her email. She was preparing for a 4am shift at Birchwood Cafe, where she had been working for the past five years, once as a bar lead, then in the bakery.

“I almost wanted to go back to bed,” said Bernstein. “It definitely did not set the day up for success.”

That day, the cafe hosted a successful block party to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday. But a few days later, owner Tracy Singleton laid off 18 employees via email. Framing in articles by the Star Tribune and Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal suggested the owner was removing racist staff members. However, the workers were dealing with an increasingly toxic work environment while supporting the cafe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read the story here.

Featured on Workday:

James Coleman, a 22-year-old city council member for the City of South San Francisco and Nick Gonzalez, a 23-year-old policy analyst at UCLA, write for In These Times on the bleak future facing Gen Z and Millenials, and how they can benefit from the democratization of the workplace. As part of Gen Z, my heart pulses with dread when I think about the future and how the previous generations normalized the exploitation of people and the land. But stuff like this gives me hope that we have the power and means to build something new.

Good news:

The Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) have reached a tentative agreement with their employer, the state of Minnesota! Read highlights here.

Sad news:

A GoFundMe has been created for 19-year-old James Stanback who died while operating a forklift at the Golden Valley Menards on Thursday. From his mother’s description: “his soul filled every room with rays of light and happiness. He was so excited to be working , he got up every morning, went in early on days . My son wasn’t appreciated as a employee he wasn’t valued they kept the store open after my sons death and proceeded on with there day like I didn’t just lose a child.”

Remember to rest your body, rest your heart. We are each other’s harvest.