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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Employees of Orlando's Dandelion Community Cafe locked out of work after unionizing

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2020 at 3:33 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA THE SEEDS/INSTAGRAM
  • Photo via The Seeds/Instagram
Employees of vegetarian restaurant and gathering place Dandelion Community Cafe say they were locked out of work at 4 p.m. Tuesday, after petitioning the owners to form a union.

The Dandelion employee union, dubbed "The Seeds," made their case through Instagram and Facebook accounts, where they recounted that one of their fellows requested a staff meeting on Aug. 8 and was fired. Following that, employees delivered a letter to Dandelion management on Monday, Aug. 10, explaining their motivations for unionizing and their workplace concerns, and requesting a meeting yet again.



Things went south quickly, and on Tuesday employees found themselves locked out of their place of employment, with a text by Dandelion owner Chris Blanc explaining that he was closing the restaurant until the end of the week and locking out employees.

The statement posted to the Seeds' Instagram on Monday night read in part:
DANDELION COMMUNITY CAFE JUST LOCKED OUT THEIR STAFF IN RETALIATION FOR UNION ORGANIZING. At 4pm the dandelion staff delivered a letter to management announcing our union. We wanted a meeting with management to address our concerns in a collaborative fashion, we also demanded the rehiring of an employee that was unlawfully fired on August 8th. This employee was fired for asking to have a staff meeting. Rather than meeting with us and working with our union to address our concerns, the owner, Chris Blanc, sent a group message stating they were closing the cafe until the end of the week and that all employees are locked out until further notice. This is a clear retaliation and violation of our right to unionize and participate in concerted activity. THIS LOCK OUT IS AN UNLAWFUL. We are publicly calling on Dandelion to immediately end the lockout and allow us back to work.

We are asking the central Florida community, especially our customers, to support us and stand in solidarity with us to sign our public letter of support.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Dandelion employees staged impromptu demonstrations in front of the locked restaurant to take their case directly to the public and customers.

Additionally, there is a community letter of support and solidarity with Dandelion workers that can be viewed or signed here. The Seeds are unionizing over concerns about workplace safety and compensation, and for food industry workers during a pandemic, these aren't outrageous things to ask.
click to enlarge PHOTO VIA THE SEEDS/INSTAGRAM
  • Photo via The Seeds/Instagram
As of the time of writing, Dandelion Community Cafe has not responded to the workers, but the temporary closure seems to have been expanded from the "end of the week" to "indefinite," as evidenced by a notice on their website on Wednesday.

Dandelion Community Cafe has not responded to a request for comment from Orlando Weekly.
click image SCREENSHOT COURTESY DANDELION COMMUNITY CAFE
  • Screenshot courtesy Dandelion Community Cafe
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