Celebrity meme chef Nusret Gökçe, otherwise known as Salt Bae, had his Union Square restaurant picketed by Scabby, a giant inflatable rat employed by labour unions who said they wanted to draw attention to non-union workers employed to build the chef's new restaurant.
Protesters gathered outside Salt Bae’s restaurant wearing fake Salt Bae mustaches and sprinkling salt on the sidewalk chanting “No way Salt Bae, union wage, we will pay” and “Keep your steak we don’t care, workers just want our fair share.”
Gökçe’s second New York restaurant called #saltbae is currently under construction on Park Avenue with the work being completed by Alba and protestors are alleging the company "profits by underpaying their workers."
A bill was also posted with the title ‘Shame on you Salt Bae’ highlighting the union’s issues with the company employed to build the new restaurant but also underlining previous labour issues associated with Gökçe and his other restaurants.
One of Gökçe’s lawyers said, “Chef Nusret was not involving in hiring Alba Services and neither he nor the company were aware of any labor issues that Alba Services may be having with its employees.”
Gökçe and his business, Nusr-Et Steakhouse, are also facing two lawsuits over wage theft, filed last year in New York and Miami. Last year the company paid $230,000 to four waiters from Salt Bae’s midtown steakhouse to settle a National Labor Relations Board complaint. Recently, another woman who worked at his Miami steakhouse filed a sex discrimination suit, claiming she was blocked from working as a server despite having years of experience.