Workers at Jose Andres Restaurant Win Voluntary Recognition for Union

By Mark Pattison for the Catholic Labor Network

What a wonderful world it would be if Catholic employers lived by their church’s social teaching, and not just on Sundays.

For an example of what that would be like, you need look no further than Bazaar, the new Jose Andres Group restaurant residing in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in downtown Washington.

In January, the 100 or so workers sought voluntary recognition of their union, UNITE HERE Local 25, from the Jose Andres Group. And in early February, voluntary recognition was granted.

Therefore, no union campaign, no anti-union employer campaign, no NLRB election, and no lingering resentments – just for starters.

UNITE HERE Local 25 represents the other workers at the Waldorf Astoria.

Andres is a Catholic – a faithful, practicing Catholic. How deeply does he know Catholic social teaching, a doctrine that began with Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum” (Of New Things) in 1893? We don’t know. Efforts to interview Andres were unsuccessful.

“As an independent restaurant group based in Washington for over three decades amidst the most challenging of times, we are proud to have created places to work that are safe and equitable, with dignity for all,” said a statement from Jose Andres Group, the umbrella company for Andres’ many restaurants. “We hope in coming to the table together we can work cooperatively to preserve good jobs that will employ workers for years to come.”

In a separate statement, busser Evelyn Perez cheered the voluntary recognition. “I am thrilled that management recognized our union and so excited about what’s to come,” Perez said.

Andres is also behind the World Central Kitchen, created to bring meals to people facing natural disasters. It had its origin in the Haitian earthquake of 2010. Domestically, his kitchen-ship was anchored in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017, and he provided food at the start of the Covid pandemic. Worldwide, World Central Kitchen has provided meals in the Caribbean and at least one country on every continent except Antarctica.

Andres was nominated early in February 2024 – not for the first time – for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his work with World Central Kitchen. Andres and World Central Kitchen were also the subject of a Ron Howard (“Apollo 13”) documentary in 2022, “We Feed People.”