Platform Beer's Entire Columbus Taproom Staff Quits, Citing Safety Concerns

In a letter to the owners, staff cited longstanding grievances, including feeling that the taproom's COVID-19 policies were window dressing and that concerns among staff were repeatedly ignored.

Mar 1, 2021 at 3:21 pm
Platform Beer Co. sign inside of Over-the-Rhine's LOCOBA taproom - Photo: Israel Viox
Photo: Israel Viox
Platform Beer Co. sign inside of Over-the-Rhine's LOCOBA taproom

“The entire Platform Columbus crew has quit. The taproom is closed until further notice. Thank you!”

That's what a sign posted on the front door of the Platform Beer Co. taproom in Columbus read on Saturday as the entire staff quit in a walkout.

In a letter to owner Justin Carson that was shared on social media, the staff cited longstanding grievances, including feeling that Platform's Covid policies were window dressing, that concerns among staff were repeatedly ignored, and that the brewery, which in 2019 was bought by Anheuser-Busch, set pandemic profits while workers were left on skeleton shifts with cratered tip wages.

“The shortsightedness of massively downsizing labor costs, under-appreciating employees, and ignoring the health and safety of staff in more ways than one is frustrating, and we think the brand and staff both suffer for it," the letter read.

In an interview with Columbus Alive, a former employee who was part of the mass walkout said Platform, with one exception, never shared with staff when a coworker tested positive for Covid and routinely ignored pleas for improved safety measures.

“We wanted to inspire the workers at the other [Platform] locations first and foremost, to stand up and not let the company have this kind of power over us,” the former employee told Columbus Alive. “And then also to the service workers in general, because there’s no service workers union here [in Columbus] that we could find, and it just seems like we’re being taken advantage of across the board.”

Platform's other locations remain open, including LOCOBA in Cincinnati's Over-The-Rhine neighborhood.

Former staffers flooded social media with sympathetic comments and shared stories of their own experiences through the years.

The brewery released a brief statement late Saturday evening.

Today, Feb. 27, several employees at our Columbus taproom location abruptly resigned. We take this action extremely seriously and we are currently gathering more information about the issues that were raised. While we meet with current and former employees to learn more, we are temporarily closing our Columbus taproom.

Over the last year, our priority has been the health and safety of our employees and our guests. We have implemented health and safety protocols that closely follow CDC and local health authority guidelines, including contact tracing and proper communication following positive cases of COVID-19.

Platform was founded in 2014 on the premise that collaboration should be the cornerstone of everything that we do. This principle guides us as we brew beer and work to support the communities in our six locations across Ohio. Since day one, we have prided ourselves on working together to be the best brewer in the state and supporting our full team that works so hard toward that goal.

We are committed to making sure all of our employees know that their feedback will bze heard anytime and anywhere. Starting on Monday, we will be scheduling small group conversations with all employees, across all locations as an open forum to ask questions so we can address any issues immediately.

-Justin Carson Paul Benner. Platform co-founders

In February, Platform announced a fundraising program that benefits the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.

This story was originally published by CityBeat sister paper Cleveland Scene.