A Day Without Immigrants: Maudie’s Tex-Mex issues statement regarding controversial letter

(Credit: Mark Matson FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
(Credit: Mark Matson FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

I heard grumblings early last week in the restaurant world that Maudie’s Tex-Mex would be paying double-time to employees who chose to work on Thursday, a day of protest and unity labeled “A Day Without Immigrants.” The Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant launched by Joe Draker in 1992 stayed true to those rumors, but Maudie’s received backlash on the Internet when an internal memo addressing the protest surfaced. The unauthorized communique, which many found condescending and disrespectful, eventually made its way to Reddit and led to negative comments on Facebook and elsewhere.

An internal memo posted without Maudie's ownership's approval caused a stir last week.
An internal memo posted without Maudie’s ownership’s approval caused a stir last week.

While Maudie’s chose not to address the letter or verify its authenticity late last week, Draker issued a statement today addressing the restaurant’s original intent and the ensuing controversy over the memo (seen on the right). That statement is below. Maudie’s has also said that no employee has been terminated as a result of the internal memo.

“We haven’t been concerned with where the source came from, but with spending our energy raising our consciousness about and learning from the situation,” Maudie’s ownership added via email.

“Our team at Maudie’s is like a family to us and sometimes, even in the best of families, people make mistakes, especially when it comes to communication.

We are truly sorry for the internal message sent to our stores regarding the ‘A Day without Immigrants’ protest.  In retrospect, we see that the language in the letter misrepresented not only our intentions, but also what was verbally communicated to our employees about this event, and unfortunately, the core values of Maudie’s.

Prior to the event, our management, including our HR Director, held numerous face-to-face meetings with employees (in both Spanish and English). In those conversations, we shared that each individual, without fear of repercussion, could decide for themselves whether or not to come to work that day.

Being open was in no way meant to slight the demonstrations. Simply, those in our employee family who wanted to work on that day had the opportunity to do so.

At Maudie’s, we have always valued our employees, and will continue to do so. We consider each other family.  We empathize with the plight of the immigrant community, and will keep advocating for key efforts in this movement. Our leadership is committed to respecting all of our employees, and we pledge to more thoughtfully show that respect in all that we do moving forward.”

 

Author: Matthew Odam

Restaurant critic & features writer at Austin American @Statesman and @Austin360. Austin-born 6th generation Texan. Left-handed.

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