Di Bruno Bros. Is Facing Backlash From Its Own Employees and the Philadelphia Police
The iconic Philly market faced criticism from its staff on Wednesday for offering free lunches to on-duty police officers. They have since revoked the policy and apologized, angering police.
On Monday, CBS reporter Matt Petrillo tweeted a photo of Di Bruno Bros. boarded up storefront on Chestnut Street, sharing that they were one of few businesses in Center City that remained open in the wake of Sunday nights protests. The image showed a posted sign with the Di Bruno Bros. logo offering complimentary lunch and beverage for all on-duty Philadelphia Police Officers.
After a swift outcry on social media, the sign was reportedly removed. On Tuesday, Di Bruno Bros. participated in a nationwide social media blackout intended to support Black Lives Matter activists. The post is below.
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We stand in solidarity with the peaceful protests against racism, injustice, and violence against people of color. We realize that our position in the Philadelphia business and food community comes with great responsibility and what we say and do has meaning. We will use our voice to promote peace, equality, and unity and in addition to our continued support and commitment to these important organizations – Project Home, The St. James School, Philabundance, and the Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia – we will be donating to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. https://www.splcenter.org/ https://www.naacpldf.org/
On Wednesday morning, several staff members shared a letter to the company’s management condemning their employer’s “support for police while neglecting those rightfully demonstrating against racial justice.” The letter asserts that even after taking down the sign, “Di Bruno Bros. management continued to offer both free lunch and preferential treatment to on-duty officers.” The letter states that, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, employees intend to strike starting on June 5th if their demands, which include a public apology, a “meaningful and transparent donation” to the local BLM chapter, and a meeting with upper management, are not met.
Late in the day, Di Bruno Bros. issued a letter in response, apologizing for the sign and stating that the policy has been revoked. They also named organizations they would be donating to, including Black Lives Matter, detailed racial equity trainings they would be attending with all management staff, and said they would coordinate a meeting with staff to “understand, not to be understood.”
The letter also states that the “decision was made in haste after a night of destruction and looting.” A inquiry by Philly Mag to the company to further expand on that decision did not receive a response.
In response to Di Bruno’s withdrawal of free lunch, John McNesby, President of the Fraternal Order of the Police Lodge 5, tweeted that police would boycott the company.
— John McNesby (@john_mcnesby) June 4, 2020