Nearly two weeks after workers informed Ann Kim of their plans to unionize at Kim's, her Korean American restaurant in Uptown Minneapolis, the local celebrity chef addressed the move.

"I wholeheartedly believe we can come together as a Kim's team without a union," Kim wrote on her personal Instagram account alongside various photos of her working with her Kim's staff.

Because Kim, as the employer, has chosen to not recognize the employee union, the restaurant workers now must vote June 27 on whether to form a union, per National Labor Relations Act requirements. The 60 part-time and full-time employees at Kim's, from bartenders and servers to dishwashers and line cooks, filed a representation petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on May 31 after notifying Kim on May 28.

"We agree that everyone deserves the right to a voice and a vote," Kim said in a statement. "As an immigrant and minority, I believe in fighting for what is right and working together to make a positive impact for everyone who walks through our doors. What I am most proud of over the past 15 years is our ability to build strong communities within our restaurants and in the neighborhoods we serve."

A supermajority, or more than 70%, of Kim's employees signed the initial petition to unionize. The eatery would be the first union shop among the James Beard Award winner's family of restaurants, which includes Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza.

Workers at Kim's would join Unite Here Local 17, a hospitality union that represents workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as well as stadiums, hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs across Minnesota.

"We are disappointed that Vestalia Hospitality has chosen to engage in textbook union-busting tactics at Kim's rather than listen to a supermajority of their workers," Unite Here said in a statement of the parent company of Kim's restaurants. "The challenges of this restaurant — and any restaurant — can be addressed when workers, organized together as a union, have a meaningful and recognized voice in their own workplace."

An attorney for the restaurant filed a motion June 6 with the NLRB seeking to postpone a June 10 hearing, writing that the restaurant had "been investigating the exclusion of certain positions from the bargaining unit and the scope of supervisory taint present in this case." The NLRB can dismiss a petition for representation if a supervisor's involvement influences other employees' decisionmaking, but that motion is now moot since a vote is upcoming.

Unite Here said in a statement that it was "glad Kim's has abandoned its argument and agreed to an election."

In seeking to unionize, Kim's employees cited unpredictable work schedules they said made it hard to make a living. Kim's launched in November, taking the place of Sooki & Mimi, Ann Kim's Mexican restaurant in the same location that had opened in early 2021. Since opening, Kim's has expanded its hours to offer lunch and delivery.

Kim's was also a victim of vandalism this past weekend, when someone threw a concrete slab and paint through a window. The restaurant was closed Saturday because of the incident. Unite Here posted a message from Kim's workers on social media in response to the damage.

"We know our city and community face many challenges, and these occurrences are all too common," workers wrote. "But we also know how strong and loving our community is. We have been overwhelmed with support in the recent weeks, as so many neighbors and friends have come in to Kim's to encourage us in both our organizing and in our careers. [Please] keep coming! Get a meal, buy a drink and keep sharing your love for us and for Uptown!"