Dylan's Candy Bar Workers Rally for Better Hours, Pay, & Respect
north america / mexico |
workplace struggles |
Saturday November 02, 2013 02:09 by Stephanie Basile - Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union ChangeDCB at gmail dot com 212-684-5300
Management calls the cops on their own employees
Dylan's Candy Bar workers staged a lively rally outside the store's flagship location Wednesday night.
Workers, community allies, and others rallied in front of the store
This past Wednesday a group of Dylan's Candy Bar workers, clergy leaders, community allies, and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra marching band staged a Halloween rally in front of the candy store at its Upper East Side location.
Owned by Dylan Lauren, daughter of famous fashion designer Ralph Lauren, Dylan's Candy Bar makes an estimated $25 million in annual sales. Dylan herself is worth a staggering $4.6 billion.
For a few months now, workers have been organizing for better wages and working conditions. After workers delivered their own petition to management in July, they reached out to the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU), to help take their campaign public.
Unsustainable scheduling practices, rampant favoritism, low wages, and a lack of respect were among the issues raised by workers. Workers shared stories with the crowd, touching on the difficulties they faced making ends meet with no guaranteed work hours per week.
"I was initially hired as a full-time worker when I took this job nearly a year ago," said Iris Velasquez, a Sales Associate at Dylan's. "But I've never received anywhere close to 40 hours per week. I had to get a second job, and instead of management working with my schedule, they refused to tell me how many hours I'd get each week. I often hustle to trade shifts or end up having to miss shifts at one of my additional two jobs."
The height of the evening was a petition delivery inside the store, in which workers delivered a stack of 1,356 signatures to management. "We delivered you our own petition in July, and you said you'd get back to us in a few weeks," Sales Associate Phil Arnone told management. "It's been three months. We just want to know when we can sit down and have our issues heard."
In response to the workers' petition delivery, rather than give the associates any indication as to if and when their issues will be dealt with, Dylan's management team called the cops on their own employees, and workers were escorted out of their own workplace, simply for requesting a meeting with their employer.