Dandelion Chocolate Layoffs Spur Union-Busting Allegations
When the news broke Friday of layoffs at Dandelion Chocolate, affecting an estimated 40% of the company’s employees, you might have thought the high-end chocolatier was trying to bust its workers’ unionization movement. After all, the workers’ vote to unionize has been too close to call for several months, and as Mission Local reported in April, “the matter will be litigated in front of the National Labor Relations Board, a process that could take months.”
About 40 percent of the company will be affected, according to a statement by Dandelion Chocolate's CEO. Its plight to unionize appears unaffected. A lead member of Dandelion's union told @MLNow it's working on a statement to send out tomorrow. https://t.co/DHu4ksj0nx
— Mission Local (@MLNow) June 5, 2021
After last week’s layoffs, Dandelion Chocolate CEO Todd Masonis said in a statement to SFist that “some team members were laid off, at all levels, across the organization — based solely on the department’s profitability, margin, and the team member’s seniority.” That implied the layoffs had nothing to do with the unionization drive.
This week, 9 workers were laid off or terminated.
All 9 are vocal union supporters.
All 9 are part of the Dandelion Union Organizing Committee.
All 9 came into work, and were told it was their last day. pic.twitter.com/2rEBzSVVIP
— Dandelion Chocolate Union (@UnionDandelion) June 5, 2021
But the Dandelion Chocolate Union argues these layoffs had everything to do with the unionization drive. “On Wednesday 6/2 and Thursday 6/3, 9 employees were terminated or laid off from Dandelion Chocolate,” the union said in a Saturday statement. “All 9 of these employees were outspoken supporters of the Dandelion Chocolate Union. All 9 of these employees were part of Dandelion Union’s Organizing Committee. 2 of the employees laid off had testified in front of the NLRB in our post-election hearing two weeks prior. No workers who were not in support of the union were laid off.”
@DandelionChoco is retaliating against @UnionDandelion supporters in a blatant violation of their rights under the NLRA. Union activists will be bringing a ULP charge against the company. pic.twitter.com/VuzRb5uq0h
— ILWU No. 23 Young Workers (@ilwu23ywc) June 6, 2021
The union added that “7 out of the 9 employees who lost their jobs [were] people of color,” which stands out in the context of institutional racism complaints from Dandelion employees that Mission Local reported upon last summer.
— J😷e Kukura (@ExercisingDrunk) June 7, 2021
Yet the company presents different layoff numbers, and insists this was not related to union effort. “In total, 15 positions were eliminated, including managers and non-managers, voluntary and involuntary, both union supporters and not,” Masonis told the Chronicle in a Sunday column. “Another 19 team members are taking reduced hours or pay. These actions affect almost half of the company, most of whom are not eligible to participate in the union.”]
He also said this would not affect the union effort or vote. “Many vocal union supporters are still members of the team, and the departments that were cut were based on their profitability alone,” he added.
— bit.ly/hnhdsasf (@incredulist) June 7, 2021
In other words, both sides have slightly different numbers in terms of how many workers were laid off, and what the rationale behind this was. But if you want to support the laid-off workers, there is a MoveOn.org petition to Recall the Mission9 of Dandelion Chocolate SF.