By A. Finn Moss | Beacon labor reporter
The lunch crowd at Bass Lake Inn-Convenience store has had it pretty good. The food was generally cooked and plentiful, the drink cheap and served up ice cold, and the wait staff was always friendly and ready with a quick laugh or a witty non-sequitur. But these days the jokes and giggles aren’t as forthcoming. These days the loudest sound is silence. It seems things aren’t all hunky-dory at the popular Bass Lake eating establishment.
“I’m fed up with this place,” said 14-year-old head waitress Connie Beavers. “We’ve been getting ripped off. And for what? We’re going on strike.”
Beavers has a right to be upset. For the past three years she and the rest of the staff at the inn-convenience store have been working for tips alone, unaware that the work they did qualified them for a wage. But recent noise by fast food workers striking to demand higher wages alerted the Bass Lake High School freshman to her rights.
“I saw those people in New York and Los Angeles waving signs and such,” Beavers said. “And when I found out they got paid for their work, I was like so mad I about lost it.”
Beavers said her boss, Bass Lake Inn-Convenience store owner Clem Brickston, told her because she and her co-workers are under 16 they don’t qualify for earnings.
“He told me I had to wait until I could drive to get a paycheck. He told me that’s the law,” she said.
Patrons were shocked to hear their trusty servers were working for free.
“I’m shocked,” said one lunch customer, while he ate his Braunschweiger on rye. “Shocked!!” The customer, who asked to remain anonymous, left a quarter on the table and dashed out the door.
Brickston could not be reached for comment.
“No comment,” he likely would have said had he been reached for comment.
Meanwhile, Beavers said the strike would last “as long as it takes to get Mr. Brickston to pay up, back-wages too.”
Brickston was still unavailable for comment.