Greedy Union to Destroy Black Restaurant Owner’s Business

-By Warner Todd Huston

An actress, model, and African American business entrepreneur credited with reviving a once-blighted neighborhood and bringing back theater goers to the New York Theater District is about to lose her business to a greedy union that wants to hike the rent for her famous restaurant 350 percent.

Back in 1986, Barbara Smith, sometimes called “the black Martha Stewart,” opened a restaurant in the Theater District called B. Smith’s. Her eatery soon became the toast of theater goers and stars alike. It also became a favorite in the African American community.

B. Smith’s was visited by such famous people as Denzel Washington, August Wilson, Danny Glover, Sidney Poitier, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Angela Bassett Liza Minnelli and more.

Unfortunately, the building in which Smith opened her famous restaurant is run by the Local One of the stagehands union and quite despite what she has done for New York Theater the union has decided to raise the rent so high on Smith that she will be priced out of her long-time business.

Now with the lease expiring in February, the union wants to increase the rent 350 percent — from around $13,500 a month to about $50,000, going up to $60,000 a month within five years.

Smith is aghast at the union’s uncaring attitude.

“The very nature of the money they are asking says they don’t want us here,” Smith said. “Our attitude is that we survived 11 years and gave the building and Restaurant Row more value than it had previously.”

So, once again, we see the lie put to every axiom that unions put to businesses. They say that they want “quality of life.” They say that tradition and people are more important than profits. Unions claim they are more interested in the community than evil businesses are.

Yet here they are in this case destroying every single thing they claim to champion.

These greedy, money hungry union thugs are the worst kind of hypocrites.

But, these are tough times, to be sure. Perhaps these stagehands need the money? Hardly. Many of these unionistas extort a salary of upwards to $422,000 per year from theaters. They hardly need the cash.

These are just moneygrubbing, greedy unions at work. Of course, we capitalists don’t mind that unions want the most for their rental property. But doesn’t this go against all the things they say capitalists are evil for doing? Hypocrites.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001