Two of the owners of the Buona Beef restaurant chain, headquartered in Berwyn, were arrested on Monday, Aug. 14, and charged with battery over an altercation with union members protesting their business practices on a public sidewalk adjacent to the restaurant.
The incident occurred outside of the Buona Beef restaurant at 6745 W. Roosevelt Rd., where protesters with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 had erected a banner that read: "Shame on Buona Beef for using rat contractors."
Buona Beef also has a location at 7025 W. North Ave. in Oak Park.
According to the arresting documents from the Berwyn Police Department, Joseph J. Buonavolanto was charged with battery for slapping the cell phone out of the hand of a protester who was recording video of the incident.
Jim Buonavolanto was arrested and charged with two counts of battery for spraying the two protesters with a water hose.
Both were released on $1,000 bail.
A Buona Beef spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
The video, which was later posted on the union's website, also shows the Buonavolantos hurling profanity at the two demonstrators. Joseph Bounavolanto calls the protesters "losers" and "scumbags" among other things, as Jim Buonavolanto knocks over the banner and sprays the two with water.
Joseph Buonavolanto also taunts the two demonstrators in the videos, saying, "If you worked hard, maybe you could have a shot at being f***ing successful in life, instead of being a f***ing thief."
James M. Sweeney, president-business manager of IUOE Local 150, wrote on the union's website: "This aggressive behavior is unacceptable. These protesters were exercising their free speech rights in an entirely peaceful manner, and local law enforcement immediately recognized the serious nature of the offenders' attacks and threats and responded appropriately."
Ed Maher, a spokesman for the union, said the two protesters were demonstrating against Buona's use of non-union contractors in construction of three new Buona restaurants.
He said it is the only protest the union has held against Buona, but they are planning more as a result of the reaction to the Monday protest.
"As you saw in the video it was unprovoked, unbridled aggression," Maher said.
Maher alleged the union has learned that Buona is paying its contractors about $15 to $20 an hour off the books and with no benefits.
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