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Closure Of Joe’s Of Westlake Restaurant Leaves Workers With Uncertain Future

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DALY CITY (KCBS) – With the Daly City institution, Joe’s of Westlake, closing its doors for renovations on January 26, many workers are left wondering why they have been given little consideration for years of service.

The restaurant has been in the Scatena family since opening its doors in 1956. But late last year, owner Melinda Scatena, whose father opened Joe’s, decided to sell the space to the Duggan family, which owns and operates Original Joe’s in San Francisco.

Lucio Vera has been a waiter at Joe’s of Westlake for 14 years.

“Initially, I started off as a busboy. My dad had worked here for over 20 years, off-and-on,” Vera said. “He got me the job when I was 17 and from there, I was a maitre d’, and lastly a waiter.”

Vera and his fellow employees were given 60 days notice, with no severance pay or continued medical coverage, though negotiations are ongoing. And, the more than 100 workers have no guarantee of being rehired by the new owners.

Jeff Venturi has been a waiter for 20 years at Joe’s, and is one of many expressing frustration.

“How about stepping up, having some class, showing the people that have worked for you for 25 years, 35 years,” Venturi said. “We’ve all committed to this place. We’ve worked hard here.”

Joe’s has remained a popular destination over the years, and many regulars, like Jim Fitzgerald, have grown to know the ins-and-outs of the restaurant.

“I’m just happy I got here at 10:45. I came here for dinner two weeks ago and it was an hour and a half wait,” he said.

A spokesman for the union representing workers at Joe’s of Westlake said all legal requirements have been met, but they hope the current owners will “do the right thing.”

A spokesman for the Scatena family said negotiations are ongoing with the union, and points out that the Scatena family has contributed an impressive sum to the workers’ health care costs and pensions.

(Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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