When the legendary Nye’s Polonaise in northeast Minneapolis shut its doors for good April 3, about 40 members of UNITE HERE Local 17 lost their jobs. The workers, however, received a severance package, thanks to their union.
“We did get them a severance package, based on longevity,” reported Martin Goff, Local 17 senior vice president.
“Everybody got everything they were due contractually,” Goff added, included accumulated and unused paid time off.
The outpouring of community sentiment and nostalgia for Nye’s as the closing approached produced a flood of business for the famed piano bar and home of “The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band.” The business was closed to make way for new development on the site.
In the closing months, “I think the workers did well,” Goff said.
He said many of the workers had put in 20-30 years or more at Nye’s, where Local 17 has had a contract since the late 1950s.
“We’ve been in as long as the decor,” Goff joked.
Goff said many of the long-time Nye’s workers plan to retire. For those workers who need to continue to work, “one good thing about our industry right now is there are plenty of jobs,” Goff said.
One month after Nye’s closing, Goff said, the owners’ contract with Local 17 will terminate.
“That’s the end of a very historic place,” Goff said. “It’s a real loss to the community but good things come and go.”
This article is reprinted from the Minneapolis Labor Review.