DC Restaurants Prepare For “A Day Without Immigrants” Strike on Thursday

Latino immigrants across Washington plan to skip work on Thursday as part of a “Day Without Immigrants” campaign aimed at showing their economic power and protesting Donald Trump‘s immigration policies.

In the meantime, many restaurateurs are scrambling to figure out exactly how many employees will be participating in the strike. Some restaurants are preparing to close for the day if need be.

The campaign has largely spread through word of mouth, paper and electronic fliers, and Facebook. One flier that’s been circulating calls on immigrants not to go to work, open businesses, shop, eat in restaurants, buy gas, go to classes, or send children to school. “Mr. President, without us and without our contribution this country is paralyzed,” the flyer reads in Spanish. A similar “Day Without Immigrants” protest took place earlier this week in Milwaukee.

“One of our delivery men who’s Latino told our kitchen about it, and then it started spreading from there,” says Compass Rose owner Rose Previte. In the kitchen, all but the chef and one line cook are immigrants and asked if they could participate. “My staff was like, ‘We feel this is something we have to do.’ They felt really strongly about it. I was like, ‘Okay, absolutely.’” Previte says a friend and at least one manager have offered to help keep the kitchen running on Thursday.

Compass Rose is also preparing for limited deliveries on Thursday. After all, many of the drivers are immigrants. “We’re just going to go with what we have that day and tell customers, ‘This is what happens when immigrants don’t come to work,’” Previte says.

A senior account manager for Lyon Bakery emailed restaurants yesterday to say the strike could disrupt deliveries: “With this is mind, we are encouraging our clients to double up their orders on Tuesday for delivery on Wednesday, as our Thursday deliveries may experience delays.”

By Jessica Sidman for WASHINGTONIAN
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