The artisan chocolatier’s unionization vote passed in a 20-19 squeaker, but does it matter, since half of the ‘Yes’ voters have since been shown the door?
When SFist broke the June news of layoffs at Dandelion Chocolate, the Dandelion Chocolate Union said in a statement to us that “All 9 of these [dismissed] employees were outspoken supporters of the Dandelion Chocolate Union. All 9 of these employees were part of Dandelion Union’s Organizing Committee.”
But the Dandelion Chocolate Union was not, at that point, an actual union. Their April unionization vote had been challenged by both the chocolate retailer and the would-be unionizers, leaving the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to sort out which ballots would count, and which would not. Mission Local reported at the time this was a “process that could take months,” which it did.
Big update in the #UnionMadeChocolate world this week! pic.twitter.com/pPIjuxboXP— Dandelion Chocolate Union (@UnionDandelion) September 10, 2021
But the NLRB has handed down their verdict, and as the Chronicle reports, the union won the vote narrowly — that is, by literally one vote. While April’s vote was 18-16 in favor of the union, nine ballots were challenged by both parties combined. The NLRB ruled that five of those votes should be counted, but four others would not, and as seen in the screenshot below, the final vote was 20-19 to unionize.
Though if it’s true, as the union claims, that nine of those ‘yes’ votes are now no longer employees, what does it mean for the union that most of the remaining staff are against unionizing?
“The work environment there is not one that’s super conducive to union building or the union bargaining process,” Ryan Dowling, organizing director of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 6 (ILWU) that the Dandelion employees had aspired to join, told the Chron. “What we’re trying to do right now is assess how the workers are doing, what their priorities are and then make a plan that’s best for them.”
Dandelion Chocolate ownership did not respond to requests for comment from the Chronicle or Mission Local.
So where does this end? Probably in court! Dandelion does have five days to object to the ruling, and the union says they’re meeting tomorrow to discuss next steps. Per the Chronicle, those next steps are to “start requesting detailed information from Dandelion in advance of contract negotiations, including raises and benefits from the last 12 to 18 months, health insurance and how the company used federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. They also plan to reach out to all current employees — both established union supporters and ones who voted against it — to seek input.”
Related: Dandelion Chocolate Lays Off Staff, Union Effort Vows Legal Challenge [SFist]
Image: Elizabeth L. via Yelp