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actions & protests | labor

Turn up the heat on Dogs Dig It for illegal practices

Dogs Dig It dog daycare has been utilizing illegal labor practices for years, including not paying workers for all their time worked. One worker stood up, started organizing, and spoke out about it, and was fired for doing so. The owners have since called her landlord and had her evicted from her home for having a dog which they had urged her to rescue, knowing that she wasn't allowed a dog in her contract. We've been picketing all week, twice daily, but our demands still haven't been met. Now's the time to turn up the heat--and we need help from as many people as possible. Keep reading for all the back story and how you can help.
For years Ellie and Janel, the owners of Dogs Dig It dog daycare, have employed illegal labor practices. One of the most blatant is that workers are officially required, by the employee handbook and in all CAPS, to arrive for work 5 to 10 minutes before their shift is scheduled to start and clock in. During those minutes the workers are expected to be preparing their work stations for their shift and getting their safety gear together. However, the owners then go back at the end of the day and subtract those minutes from all the time cards, effectively stealing time worked from the workers. This amounts to about one week of work per year per worker that is stolen by Ellie and Janel--a very substantial sum of money. Other laws that have been broken are that workers have been required, via subtraction from their paycheck, for equipment damaged by the dogs, also blatantly illegal. If the cash register is short at all, that money is also taken from the front desk worker's paycheck, which is also illegal. Beyond that, workers who have been bitten by dogs have been strongly discouraged from going to the hospital and filing for worker's compensation, to the point that one worker had an infection spread up his arm and had to go to the emergency room.
With all this going on, one worker stood up and started taking action. Love started talking with her coworkers, the manager and the owners about changing these practices. She had one-on-one conversations with several workers, trying to organize according to shop-floor unionism principles. Her job was then threatened by her manager, at the behest of the owners, and subsequently fired last Friday. Then we started picketing, demanding Love's job back, back wages for lost work time, and back pay for all former and current employees that request it--there are at least 9 workers so far who have done so. The day we started picketing, one of the owners--Janel--got very very aggressive and, among other things, told Love she was going to call Love's landlord and tell him about Ilio. Ilio is a dog that Love rescued several months ago at the urging of the owners of Dogs Dig It so that it wouldn't be put to sleep, even though they knew that Love wasn't allowed to have a dog in her apartment. Sure enough, when Love got home that evening, there was a pet violation notice on her door, which requires her to either get rid of the dog or leave within ten days. She has refused to give up her dog, so this is in essence an eviction.
Since Love was fired for engaging in protected concerted activities, we have taken to the streets in
twice daily picketing. Picket line support has been great, from the surrounding community as well as from customers. But, our demands have still not been met by the owners. So, we are asking that everyone participate in a phone blast tomorrow, Friday 20th, from 4 to 630 pm. The phone number is 503-236-8222. Call Ellie and Janel and tell them in your own words that you are aware of their shameful and illegal actions, that you support the demands being made (rehire Love immediately, back pay for Love for time missed due to illegal firing, back pay for all employees, current and former, who request it for the 10 minute policy). Tell them you will not patronize their business until all those demands are met and/or you will discourage all your dog-owning friends from coming to Dogs Dig It until those demands are met. If you have the time, we would also love for you to write a comment on their facebook page, on Yelp, or on Citysearch.

 http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dogs-Dig-It-Doggie-Daycare/82126065799
 http://www.yelp.com/biz/dogs-dig-it-doggie-daycare-portland
 http://portland.citysearch.com/review/45296621

If you have the time and energy, we would love for you to come down to the picket at SE 12th and Salmon and join us in solidarity. We are there Monday through Friday in the mornings from 630 to 9 am, and in the afternoon from 4 to 630 pm. For updates, send an email to  worrieddoglover@gmail.com