Just when we thought things were settled, seems that the ex-employees of De Rodriguez Cuba at the Astor are still seeking back pay and are back out in front of Douglas Rodriguez's Ocean Drive restaurant with signs and, in some cases, cops. According to one anonymous tipster, they have taken their case to the county, which is now investigating. " Last week, a benefit event scheduled to be held at the restaurant in October was canceled by the party after they found out about all this," wrote the protester in an email to Eater Miami. "Douglas and company have now admitted they owe money but are attempting to pay as little as possible while workers are committed to recuperating what they are owed by law." Though they are owed over $20,000 in unpaid wages and tips, Rodriguez reportedly told them the company was bankrupt and there is no money. Another protest is scheduled for this Saturday at 8 p.m. out front of De Rodriguez Ocean. We contacted Rodriguez's camp for comment and have not heard back.
Ex De Rodriguez Cuba Employees Protest for Back Overtime Pay [EM]
"Douglas Rodriguez closed the doors on De Rodriguez Cuba over at the Astor Hotel on 10th and Washington some months ago. In his very own words, he "relocated" to and merged the restaurant with De Rodriguez Ocean on 101 Ocean Drive. The restaurant was subsequently renamed De Rodriguez Cuba on Ocean and Douglas Rodriguez can now be seen there on most days and nights.
The problem is that when he left the Astor location, he did not pay workers their last week or two of tips and gave some workers worthless checks. This is in addition to not having paid overtime since workers can remember, not having paid tipped employees hourly wages from November 2010 to February 2011, and routinely paying workers for less hours than actually worked. (Douglas Rodriguez's OLA restaurant on 17th and James was recently busted by the Dept. of Labor for not paying OT and had to give some workers checks for that).
In all, 10 workers have gotten together to fight for their unpaid wages and tips totaling over $20,000. "During the past few weeks, cops have been called out the restaurant, customers have walked away in disgust at hearing about the situation, a hose has been turned on protesting workers, the front of the restaurant has been "remodeled" in a vain attempt to keep protestors out of view, etc. Douglas's excuse for not paying is that "there is no money" and that "the company is bankrupt." The company being De Rodriguez Cuba at Astor. All this despite the fact that it is basically the same restaurant and owned by the same ethically-challenged people," says a miffed ex-staffer.
We await Rodriguez's response. [EaterWire]