After outrage among employees of an Atlanta-area Ikea store over a racist “Juneteenth Menu” featuring watermelon and fried chicken, the company is again under fire after it was revealed it informed its workers that they will not receive “incentivized pay” for the official national holiday.
According to Shon Gables of WGCL-TV, the furniture company told their employees that there will be no holiday pay for Juneteenth, despite it saying it is a paid federal holiday. The news station also reports that employees are required to provide a 30-day notice in order to take the holiday off.
The manager at an Atlanta area Ikea store is apologizing after a special Juneteenth menu featured in its restaurant was called out as racist.
According to CBS News, many of the store’s Black employees did not show up for work last Saturday (June 19) and some even thought about quitting over the gesture.
Employees — who requested their identities not be revealed due to fear of repercussions — showed WGCL-TV an email sent on Friday that said the special menu for customers and employees was a way to "honor the perseverance of Black Americans and acknowledge the progress yet to be made."
The menu featured foods such as fried chicken, watermelon, mac and cheese and collard greens. Employees argued it was racially insensitive, ignorant, and said management needs to do more to educate itself about Black culture.
"You cannot say serving watermelon on Juneteenth is a soul food menu when you don't even know the history -- they used to feed slaves watermelon during the slavery time," one employee said, according to CBS News. "It caused a lot of people to be upset. People actually wanted to quit. People weren't coming back to work.”
33 people reportedly called off work on Saturday, sparking an internal email from the store manager.
"I truly apologize if the menu came off as subjective,” it read in part. “It was created with the best of intentions by a few of our coworkers who believed they were representing their culture and tradition with these foods of celebration."
Outraged employees said that the Juneteenth menu and what was featured on it proves that there aren’t enough people of color making higher up decisions.
"None of the coworkers who sat down to create the menu – nobody was Black," the employee said.
Customers were also disappointed with one telling WGCL that the whole thing should never have happened.
"I'm just frankly disappointed in the learning process – you shouldn't learn after you have insulted all of your Black employees," the customer said.
The store manager told WGCL management deeply apologizes for what happened and realizes they got the menu wrong.