Many restuarants closed in the Twin Cities last Thursday.
A lot were active, supportive participants in the nationwide "Day Without Immigrants" protest, an effort to prove to the Trump administration how vital immigrant labor is to the American economy, especially its restaurant indsutry.
Others were forced to close up shop against their will, once they realized they didn't have the staff to provide adequate service to customers.
Across the country, hundreds of employees in that situation -- where the individual supported the movement, but the restaurant itself wasn't on board -- got fired last week. At least one was here in the Twin Cities.
According to the Centro de Trabajadores Unides en Lucha (CTUL), an organization that “helps low-wage workers... build power and lead the struggle” for higher wages and better conditions, an employee at Dino's Gyros in Edina who participated in the protest was told not to bother coming back to work.
On Saturday, CTUL and supporters appeared at the Dino's in question, according to a Facebook post they published later that evening:
"The worker informed the company that it is against the law to retaliate against workers for participating in collective action calling for an end to discrimination in their workplace and in their communities. Representatives of the company said that they will meet with the worker on Monday to decide if he can continue working. We expect that Dino's Gyros will do the right thing, but let's remain vigilant."
Alicia Adamidis, operating officer for Dino's, gives a different version of events with her side of the story. The worker's firing was not a matter of retaliation against a protester, she says. It's just because he didn't come to work.
“He didn’t call, he did not show. He had plenty of opportunity to tell someone [what he planned to do]," says Adamidis, whose father is the "Dino" namesake of the four-restaurant chain.
“My dad came here from Greece to start this business, and we totally support immigrants," she says. "But [the employee] had an obligation to be here, and he let his team down.”
Adamidis added she was open to meeting with the employee to discuss the possibility of his continuing employment at the restaurant, but she says the big question in her mind is whether the team will be able to trust him in the future.
That meeting did take place on Monday, CTUL communicactions director Stephanie Gasca confirms. In a statement through Gasca, the fired worker (who did not want to comment directly) and the restaurant talked through the issue, and "out of that conversation [Dino's owners] were educated around worker's rights to go on strike, and that going forward they will respect worker's rights to strike.'
Gasca added that over the weekend, the individual was offered another job -- one with a higher rate of pay, to boot -- and has decided to move on.
UPDATE: Dino's owner Constantin Adamidis issued a statement telling the full side of the restaurant's story later on Monday. Click here to read what he had to say.
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