Update on Union Negotiations

We are pleased to announce on May 1st, we reached a stipulated agreement with Unite Here Local 217 and the NLRB on the terms of an election for both full time and regular part-time student and non-student employees. We appreciate everyone who had the patience to wait until the NLRB process was completed and not jump to conclusions, giving us the benefit of the doubt.

When faced with a situation where our employees have conflicting points of view with each other, we have done our best to treat everyone with fairness and act in the best interests of our organizations.

We look forward to the election and finishing this process. Further updates and notifications will be posted as required by the NLRB

We will continue to abide by the terms of our agreement, the NLRB rules that apply and will respect the results whatever the outcome.

– Karen & Ed

Our Statement on Recent Organizing Activities

To Our Customers, Friends and the Wesleyan Community:

Yesterday morning we heard rumors that a rally involving Bon Appetit student workers also included some of our student staff from both WesWings and Red & Black Café. And that they planned to march to one or both of our locations regarding unionizing.

At 12 noon, a group of 25-30 students arrived at Weswings reciting demands with an ultimatum to voluntarily recognize their union by Monday April 10th.

We literally had no idea what any of this meant. We had never been approached by any employee or been aware that anyone has had a problem working at WesWings or Red & Black. We felt completely blindsided. Within 9 hours organizers began spreading posts on social media encouraging a picketing event the next day along with a boycott of both locations.

We have attempted to reach out to our student staff to better understand their complaints and what any of this means. We have heard that some student staff were told the full time employees are for unionizing. This is a lie. Our non-student fulltime staff want nothing to do with unionizing and have requested a meeting with student staff to make their views known and to let them know how this may affect their livelihoods.  We are planning multiple meetings to meet with our staff after the Passover and Easter Holidays

Recent posts have referred to us as “management” and to refrain from litigation. We have no legal department. We have no HR department. “Management” is Karen and Ed. We are the ones who order the food, lug cases of avocadoes, pay the bills, make your sandwich, cook the wings and call your name.

For over 32 years we have prided ourselves for not only providing excellent food but being an exemplary employer.  We have always stood by our staff and provided for them during some of the most difficult times. We believe that the numerous employees who have been with us over 20 years and the overwhelming student applications we receive is a testament to our reputation as a caring and responsible employer.

When Covid shut down the country, before any public assistance was ever announced, we committed to paying our staff the remainder of the school year. We did not know if we would ever reopen but we wanted to help them despite the costs. When vaccines first became available, we went to incredible lengths to get all of our workers vaccinated weeks before they were publicly available or Wesleyan could provide them. We hosted a clinic to help all students and the custodial staff when no one else would.

We have been in business for over 32 years and have worked tirelessly to promote a positive, inclusive work environment. Most former employees will state Wes Wings and Red & Black was the best job they ever had. We are not anti-union; we want what is best for our employees and our company. We would like the opportunity to sit with our students and work together to solve their issues, like we have been doing since 1991.

-Karen & Ed

Reopening Plans and Updates

We are getting ready for reopening both Swings and Red & Black for the fall semester (Sept. 4) and we want to let everyone know what is new and what is old.

Number one: Our entire staff is 100% vaxed. We were very aggressive last spring getting people shots and we will continue to require ALL employees be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Number two: We are still take out only. Red & Black will be taking orders in person or by text (Zingle). Wes Wings will have the same system as last year. Lots of outdoor seating and the return of the Patio Grill

Number three: In accordance with university policy, masks will be required when indoors.

We are hopeful that restrictions on indoor seating and masking will be temporary. We have lots of new specials at both locations and can’t wait to see everyone.

-Karen & Ed

We’re 99% Vaxed

Today we hosted our second Moderna clinic for students, staff, family, and friends to get their second vaccine dose. 99% of our entire staff have now received both doses of Covid vaccines. As of tomorrow May 14th over 64% of our entire staff will be fully vaccinated two weeks past their second dose.

We are grateful to the Middletown Health Department and their volunteers who have helped us and so many residents of Middletown get their vaccine.

Staff Vaccinations over 97%

We are proud to announce that as of April 14, 2021 over 97% of our entire staff at both Wes Wings and Red & Black Cafe have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 32% have received second doses or a single JnJ dose.

We have been relentless as we have worked to get as many of our staff vaccinated as quickly as possible. With over seventy employees who are younger including over fifty students, it has been challenging.

Over the past two months, Karen and Ed waited day after day hoping for extra doses at Vine street and other locations, eventually getting them. We’ve driven staff to their appointments including 15 who we were able to get vaccinated off a waitlist March 28th at a local clinic.

All of our efforts culminated in a vaccination clinic that we hosted today with the Middletown Department of Health at Wes Wings. We were able to get almost all of our remaining staff their first shot. In addition, we provided shots for their family members, roommates and housemates. After reaching out to Wesleyan, we were also able to get 12 custodial employees their first shots as well. A total of 66 people received their first Moderna shot today.

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We All Did It

Thank you. Everyone. It is impossible to list every person.

We have completed the fall semester during the most difficult conditions in our 30 years and can proudly say it was an overwhelming success. But it took everyone’s help. Students, Wesleyan staff and administrators, Covid testing staff, the weather and most importantly our staff at Wes Wings and Red & Black Cafe.

When we abruptly closed last March there were so many uncertainties and how and when we might reopen was not clear. It took a tremendous amount of planning and hard work with our staff to create a system that was both safe and efficient while maintaining our menu and overall appeal that has made both of our restaurants so popular over the decades.

We told our customers the best way to help us come back from the financial hardship of last spring was to buy wings, mozzarella sticks, cookie dough, panini and smoothies. And you didn’t disappoint. You wore your masks and waited in long lines and your patience and cooperation contributed to this semester’s success. While shortened by several weeks, the fall semester was one of our most successful ever. October was the busiest month either location has ever experienced. And while we still have not fully recovered financially, we have made significant gains and both restaurants are on sound footing heading into the extended winter break.

The spring semester will look similar to the fall. We will still have our plexiglass. The doors will be open. The masks will be on. We’ll continue to kindly ask “if you have your food, could you please exit the waiting area so others can enter” The Patio Grill will return when the weather is warm enough. We look forward to expanding our specials and yes we are even thinking about Pail-A-Palooza and LobsterFest.

Please be safe during the winter break. We will enjoy a little break and time to rest and all of us will be ready to do it all again in February.

-Karen & Ed

The New Normal at Swings

A guide to all the changes at WesWings (in these unprecedented times)

  1. Takeout only. There is no inside dining at Swings at this time but plenty of outside tables.
  2. Order at the counter inside or outside for a quick special at the patio grill
  3. Meal Plan points, Middletown cash, credit cards. No cash.
  4. Open Everyday 11am-8pm

We’ve missed everyone and look forward to a busy and safe semester.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for daily specials and updates.

Red & Black Cafe in the Age of Corona

A handy guide to all things at RBC for the fall semester.

  1. Takeout only. There is no inside dining at the cafe at this time.
  2. Order at the counter or text us with Zingle 860-650-1214
  3. Set up your Zingle account simply by sending us at text 860-650-1214 and follow the prompts.
  4. Meal Plan points, Middletown cash, credit cards. No cash.
  5. Open Monday -Thursday 9am-8pm and Friday-Sunday 9am-5pm


Follow us on Instagram and Twitter for latest specials and updates