CrossRoads apologizes for threatening to fire anyone who asks other employees about wages
Plus a toddler's heartfelt bedtime conversation goes viral
First, an update to yesterday’s post about Powder King. A couple of readers informed that previous owner Jim Salisbury, who I referred to in yesterday’s post as having plans for its future development, passed away last year. That explains the sale, and hopefully someone can move his vision forward.
Five days ago, the above post was published to the pro-labour subreddit r/workreform. If you can’t read it, here’s the full text:
Recently it has come to my attention there is a lot of chatter about what other people are getting paid. Either through direct questioning or round about ways. There is some transparency out there, but this is a very private issue, and it should remain private.
It is meant to be confidential. My business mentor had made it a policy that anyone asking about other people’s payrate, they were essentially submitting resignation at the same time.
Moving forward, this is a policy at CrossRoads:
If you want to know what somebody else is making, you can ask them (very uncouth) or you can ask me. If you ask anybody or you are asked, please direct the question to me or direct the person asking the question to me.
The query will be deemed to be a letter of resignation and I kindly ask that this be stopped.
If you inadvertantly see someone else’s pay stub, please keep this info confidential and sharing of this will be met with dismissal.
Please respect each other and your own contribution and at the same time respect the business and my decisions on how people are paid and valued.
The original post was deleted a couple days later but not before it was crossposted to other subreddits, facebook groups, twitter, etc, including local Prince George forums, generating hundreds of comments, most pretty angry about both the content and tone of the post. Last night after 8 pm, they responded to it in an Instagram story and Facebook post:
Once again, in case you can’t read it, here’s the full text:
To begin, I have to say the current situation is exceedingly embarrassing and challenging for me as it is no way a reflection of how my employees are treated or paid.
If you will indulge me and allow me to give some background to the post: That internal e-mail was an ill thought response to some very specific issues within the organization. To be specific, several employees had approached me and asked me to have a discussion with a small group of employees that were continuously bothering others by asking their wage and were making those who did not want to share very uncomfortable. It went as far as someone gaining access to pay stubs. I said I would address it and clearly went about it with the completely wrong approach as I did not want to call out those specific employees. An internal post to managers was sent out in the middle of February that has now been distributed externally.
In retrospect, I should have instead spoken directly to that small group of people. A very regrettable and unfortunate move by me. CrossRoads is only as successful as those that work for the company, and I have the utmost respect for my employees.
No person has been dismissed, nor will they ever be dismissed for talking to each other about wages. We are very transparent here but some of my staff prefer confidentiality regarding their salaries. It put me in an untenable situation, and I know I handled it with a very poor response. Tough lesson learned, but without mistakes, there can never be anything learned or made better.
I know my staff are happy working here and we have several staff from our original beginnings. Something I am proud of when I look at the turnover in the service industry. No employee is paid at government mandated minimum wage and have always been paid more than the minimum. Our kitchen staff are one of the highest paid in Prince George (according to feedback from the kitchen staff and the applicants looking to change jobs and work at CrossRoads). We also have employee health and dental benefits which is highly unusual in this sector.
I am proud of what I have built in Prince George, I am proud to be from Prince George, and I am immensely honoured to have the staff I have and the success they have brought to CrossRoads. Without them, we would not be here and for them I am grateful. It was an unfortunate, off the cuff response and I am humbled by the response from the community.
Daryl Leiski, Owner of CrossRoads
This won’t be the first controversy CrossRoads has weathered, although it might be more of a hit to their reputation. Last time it was for enforcing COVID-19 health restrictions above-and-beyond what the province mandated, which prompted the pro-freedom convoy folks to announce a boycott. The result was the restaurant being busier than ever as other people showed it more support. The difference this time is there’s not much for people to rally around. The question largely will be how much goodwill they have built up, the extent to which people accept their apology, as well as the extent to which anyone was going to stop going there due to the notice being posted in the first place.
As for the issue of talking about wages: I’m not a labour lawyer, but everything I’ve looked up online indicates people in B.C. can be fired “without cause” unless they have a contract specifying otherwise or for certain discriminatory reasons. It would, of course, be a firing rather than a resignation. I’ve seen several posts referring to a new Pay Transparency Act in B.C. that would protect employees from being fired for sharing their salary with others, as well as providing more transparency from employers about what they pay others but I don’t see any language specifically protecting the ability to ask others what they get paid in this. Again, not a lawyer, though. And I mean, neither are most people working in the restaurant industry, either at the employee or employer level which is how you wind up in situations like this. Anyways, here’s an interesting article about whether talking about pay with other people at work results in fewer discrepancies between employees.
The Citizen followed up on CTV’s investigation of asbestos cement pipes in Canada, 394 km of which are in Prince George:
Asbestos inhalation has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer for decades, but research published in 2016 linked asbestos contamination in drinking water to increased risk of multiple forms of cancer, including gastric and colorectal cancers.
In an email, a spokesperson for the City of Prince George said the city operates a total of 588 km of water mains, of which around 394 km (not the 385 km reported by W5) are AC pipe.
"The City of Prince George operates our potable water systems in compliance with Health Canada, Northern Health, and provincial and federal water regulations. Our distribution system meets or exceeds all requirements for delivering safe and clean potable water to our residents," the spokesperson said. "Health Canada has not set any maximum contaminant levels for asbestos in water and the City does not currently test for it."
The city has not used AC pipe for more than 40 years, and most of the AC pipe still in use dates back from the 1960s to 1980s when the city was growing rapidly, the spokesperson said.
"The greatest threat to fibers entering the water system is when the pipe is cut during a repair or removal. As a result, municipal utilities follow strict procedures to mitigate or eliminate the release of fibers. Utility workers are at the greatest risk from the airborne dust and, therefore, must wear appropriate personal protective equipment when cutting into AC pipe," the spokesperson said. "The City of Prince George has seen very few AC water main breaks over the years and recorded just four in 2022. The City has seen an increase in budgets for water main replacement/renewal over the past decade and continues to work to replace our aging infrastructure when opportunities and funding allow."
Opposition MPs find reasons to oppose federal budget. Includes a shout-out to the Taylor Bridge, which has become a bit of a meme for criticizing governments not funding northeastern B.C. infrastructure. I should write about that sometime. This piece focuses more on Doherty’s specific criticism on a lack of mental health supports.
Mark Neilsen at the Citizen finds a lot of original stories by going through court stories. Today: “Northern Health suing ship owner for medical expenses” and “Murderer seeks damages for rectal search at prison.”
“A Prince George mother and her four-year-old son have gone viral online for a video of their heartfelt and reflective conversation on the young boy's emotions. Jonisa Padernos filmed her and her son Aldie as he explains and processes the feelings he had during the day.”
Northern Capital News is a free, daily newsletter about life in Prince George. Please consider subscribing or, if you have, sharing with someone else.
Send feedback by replying to this email. Find me online at akurjata.ca.